Thursday, July 16, 2015

Bino-zoom for cheap camera

Thanks to my kind friend Thomas who used to lend me his Sony Mavica in 2002. This became the first digital camera I handled and this little experience helped me when another friend George gifted me a very basic camera, an Emprex, in 2006.  Not long after, another kind friend in the US presented me with a Fuji FinePix A120. 

This Emprex was the bridge between film camera and the digital era which was beginning around 2006, in India.  Obviously, quality of pictures from the Emprex were low.  There is not much one can expect from such a low priced gadget.  Here is one taken in 2006, market. 

Fuji was a slight promotion in quality. It gave good colour if not sharpness, but still it was worthy.  I had used it on my tour to Bhopal and several shots in my garden. 

The Emprex, with its 3 MP sensor and a very tiny lens, could never provide a sharp image, even with my innovative methods.  But I tried to squeeze the most out the Fuji using my own little innovations, both for taking long zoom shots and also close-ups for which, the camera was not at all equipped. It was a point and shoot camera. 

I had made a telescope in the 1970s from which I had taken the picture [ordinary film camera]of the hill top palace, miles away.  Here is the picture.

Thirty years later, I tried it with the Fuji with my 7x binocular. This is what I got.  The scratches above were for marking the area of the palace for printing only that portion.  The horizontal line is the electric cable.  B&W film negative.  Interestingly, in both photos, by coincidence, roof tiles are seen, but both different locations as we changed houses. The tree near that palace is still there. 

But still, my dream of having a zoom camera remained.  I was also trying close-ups using my own innovation from the lenses I had kept from the projector I had man-handled! Here are the lens holders I made for this close-up 'add-ons', 'hand-hold-ons' to be precise.  This was to get more magnification of the image.

I could hold one, two or three lenses in front of the camera lens, one in front of the other, in alignment. This helped, but did not give good results.  But I found my watch repairer's eye piece [seen above] to be of good use. I got vignettes on the edges using this but pictures were reasonably sharp.

Some images with the projector lens, no vignetting.

.A friend's tripod was with me for some days.  So I devised a frame to fix the binocular to it and keep the camera - the Fuji - in the exact position.  This helped alignment of the eye-piece and the camera lens.

I marked, cut and bent a stiff aluminium plate for this. I fixed the binocular to the tripod using a broken table lamp fixture.

Another gift came in the form of a Panasonic Lumix FZ8 which had amazing macro ability and 12x zoom.  With it I could go eye-to-eye with a butterfly.

This is the butterfly, a Lemon.

This is a garden pest on my thumbnail..... enlarge this thumbnail and see its legs.

I can zoom in on an object from many feet without my binocular fitting!

And zoom in to see craters on the moon.

... and see 'sun spots' on the morning sun. 

All these without any extra attachments.  There appears to be no end to technological advancements, but the fun in getting the most out of the limitations can never be paralleled.

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