science project- need equipment to take shots of subject from the exact same angles every week

Started Jan 16, 2013 | Questions
stm08007
New MemberPosts: 3
Like?
science project- need equipment to take shots of subject from the exact same angles every week
Jan 16, 2013

so basically im doing a science project where im using a single camera to take pictures of a small (1 inch) subject from 2 different angles. these will be combined to form a 3-D composite image. the test subject will change over time and it will be stored in a separate container. 
if this doesnt make sense, imagine you put a small plate on a table. the plate would stay in the same spot, but the camera will need to take pictures from 2 different positions. the problem is i need to replicate the exact positioning of the equipment and subject for this procedure every week. this is very scientific, so "eye-balling" it wont be good enough. i know nothing about cameras but i imagine this isnt the first time someone has had to do something like this, so id appreciate any bits of advice

it will be a small-ish digital camera so weight wont be a huge issue.  im not sure if the best bet is to get some sort of oscillating type thing going and just take pictures from both extremes. or getting a mount with multiple holders and then like marking where its supposed to go each time (where the downfall is that the pictures would need to be taken from the same room every time; ie this wouldnt be portable).  im on a bit of a budget, and it would actually be a plus if this was something that can be built by me

ANSWER:
This question has not been answered yet.
mosswings
Veteran MemberPosts: 5,778Gear list
Like?
Re: science project- need equipment to take shots of subject from the exact same angles every week
In reply to stm08007, Jan 16, 2013

The best solution would be to use two cameras in a fixed mount with two arms.  If you need very fine precision, a swing-arm mount would not give you the necessary precision over time.  And custom-fabricating one with the required repeatability would be far more expensive than buying a second camera.  Fixed position armatures can be built a lot more quickly and inexpensively.

If you are using point and shoots for this project (and why not?) the direction to go is clear.  If you're using an SLR, you're stuck either way.  Another camera would be very expensive, suitable mounts less so but still not trivial.

 mosswings's gear list:mosswings's gear list
Olympus XZ-1 Nikon D90 Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
stm08007
New MemberPosts: 3
Like?
Re: science project- need equipment to take shots of subject from the exact same angles every week
In reply to mosswings, Jan 16, 2013

mosswings wrote:

The best solution would be to use two cameras in a fixed mount with two arms. If you need very fine precision, a swing-arm mount would not give you the necessary precision over time. And custom-fabricating one with the required repeatability would be far more expensive than buying a second camera. Fixed position armatures can be built a lot more quickly and inexpensively.

If you are using point and shoots for this project (and why not?) the direction to go is clear. If you're using an SLR, you're stuck either way. Another camera would be very expensive, suitable mounts less so but still not trivial.

we're using cheap digital cameras (i dont know what a "point and shoot" is but im assuming thats what this would be?)... if we were to use a fixed mount with two arms, what would be wrong with attaching the camera to one arm, taking the picture, and then switching it to the other arm?

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
markkuk
Contributing MemberPosts: 554Gear list
Like?
Re: science project- need equipment to take shots of subject from the exact same angles every week
In reply to stm08007, Jan 16, 2013

stm08007 wrote:

if we were to use a fixed mount with two arms, what would be wrong with attaching the camera to one arm, taking the picture, and then switching it to the other arm?

The arms would need to be very rigid to prevent them from moving while detaching/attaching the camera and you would need to devise a mounting system that allows the camera to be remounted in exactly the same position after being detached.

 markkuk's gear list:markkuk's gear list
Pentax K20D Pentax K-3 Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM Pentax smc DA 55-300mm F4.0-5.8 ED Pentax smc FA 77mm 1.8 Limited +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Russell Evans
Veteran MemberPosts: 9,002
Like?
Re: science project- need equipment to take shots of subject from the exact same angles every week
In reply to stm08007, Jan 16, 2013

Can you put the subject on a Lazy Susanne instead?  The 1/4-20 tripod mount on most cameras will make it easy to build a platform for the camera to keep it locked in place, or if you are sure nothing will be bumped or moved, a simple tripod will work. Putting the subject matter on a rotating platform means the subject can be locked into place into the center of the lazy Susanne as well. It just comes down to making the same rotation every time and that seem like it would be easy to do.

Besides having the same positions for everything, you're going to want to have a camera that can be manually set. You will want the color balance, and exposure to remain constant. That means you'll probably want to control the light.

Thank you
Russell

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
mosswings
Veteran MemberPosts: 5,778Gear list
Like?
Re: science project- need equipment to take shots of subject from the exact same angles every week
In reply to Russell Evans, Jan 16, 2013

Russell Evans wrote:

Can you put the subject on a Lazy Susanne instead? The 1/4-20 tripod mount on most cameras will make it easy to build a platform for the camera to keep it locked in place, or if you are sure nothing will be bumped or moved, a simple tripod will work. Putting the subject matter on a rotating platform means the subject can be locked into place into the center of the lazy Susanne as well. It just comes down to making the same rotation every time and that seem like it would be easy to do.

Besides having the same positions for everything, you're going to want to have a camera that can be manually set. You will want the color balance, and exposure to remain constant. That means you'll probably want to control the light.

Thank you
Russell

The problem we're having with your request is that it's extremely vague. We don't know how precisely you need to position your shots, and we don't know how you will be lighting the subject. If you are trying to minimize the number of variables in this project, you will want to keep the relative position of the lighting, cameras, and subject constant.  If what you are doing is shooting the decay process of the subject, you'll want to consider the effects of rotating it during the latter, more decrepit stages of the project.

In general, though, you can proceed in this manner.

1. Find, as Russell suggested, a Lazy Susan turntable bearing at your local woodworking supply or possibly home improvement store.  The larger the diameter, the more stable.  Something like this will do:

http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=2273&site=ROCKLER

Note that it's got a large hole in its center.  This is important.

2. get a couple pieces of 1/4" apple-ply or other dimensionally stable plywood. Don't go for the cruddy stuff at Home Depot. One will be the turntable plate, the other will be the base.

3. Make a large hole in the center of one of the pieces.  What you are going to do here is place the subject on a small raised table that mounts to the base through that hole in the turntable bearing and that hole in the turntable plate.

4. Mount your camera on the turntable with small clamps, tabletop tripods, or museum clay. Secure the base to something solid. Mount your lighting off-table.

5. Drill a hole sized for a 6 or 8 penny nail in the table. Make sure that it's a barely-slip fit, not sloppy. Make sure that the hole lies in the interior of the base. Drill that hole all the way through into the base. This will be your first alignment point.

6. Rotate the turntable to your 2nd position and drill down through the hole in the turntable into the base. Now you have your 2 index points.

7. Take your pictures by dropping the nail through the hole in the turntable plate into the first hole in the base, then rotating and dropping into the 2nd hole.

 mosswings's gear list:mosswings's gear list
Olympus XZ-1 Nikon D90 Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Sailor Blue
Senior MemberPosts: 6,108Gear list
Like?
Re: science project- need equipment to take shots of subject from the exact same angles every week
In reply to stm08007, Jan 17, 2013

Here is a simpler and cheaper solution.

Since the object is small I am assuming that the distance the camera will move between shots is small.

Use a sheet of plywood that is thick enough to be ridged, I suggest 1/2" to 1" thick.  The sheet should be large enough to hold the object to be photographed and the camera.

Buy a 2-way Macro Shot Focus Rail Slider tripod head such as this one.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-way-Macro-Shot-Focus-Rail-Slider-tripod-head-for-Canon-Nikon-Camera-DSLR-LP-01-/251149171327?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a79a83a7f

Counter sink a hole in the bottom of the plywood sheet and use a 1/4"x20 thread bolt to secure the slider to the plywood sheet. If the camera can be left in place the simply assemble this and place it on any available surface like a table or laboratory bench.  You can add screws or pegs to stop the slider in the two positions you use, allowing you to accurately reposition the camera every time.

If you have to remove the camera then you may need to add short legs so you can access the bottom of the plywood sheet.  You can cut another hole in the plywood sheet to allow you to attach and detach the camera.

-- hide signature --

Living and loving it in Bangkok, Thailand. Canon 7D - See the gear list for the rest.

 Sailor Blue's gear list:Sailor Blue's gear list
Canon EOS 7D +10 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
stm08007
New MemberPosts: 3
Like?
Re: science project- need equipment to take shots of subject from the exact same angles every week
In reply to Sailor Blue, Jan 17, 2013

Sailor Blue wrote:

Here is a simpler and cheaper solution.

Since the object is small I am assuming that the distance the camera will move between shots is small.

Use a sheet of plywood that is thick enough to be ridged, I suggest 1/2" to 1" thick. The sheet should be large enough to hold the object to be photographed and the camera.

Buy a 2-way Macro Shot Focus Rail Slider tripod head such as this one.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-way-Macro-Shot-Focus-Rail-Slider-tripod-head-for-Canon-Nikon-Camera-DSLR-LP-01-/251149171327?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a79a83a7f

Counter sink a hole in the bottom of the plywood sheet and use a 1/4"x20 thread bolt to secure the slider to the plywood sheet. If the camera can be left in place the simply assemble this and place it on any available surface like a table or laboratory bench. You can add screws or pegs to stop the slider in the two positions you use, allowing you to accurately reposition the camera every time.

If you have to remove the camera then you may need to add short legs so you can access the bottom of the plywood sheet. You can cut another hole in the plywood sheet to allow you to attach and detach the camera.

-- hide signature --

Living and loving it in Bangkok, Thailand. Canon 7D - See the gear list for the rest.

so far these ideas are all great and much better than what ive been thinking up

alot of this is going over my head cuz like i said i have no experience with this.  so if im understanding this properly, the plywood would essentially serve as a "stage" where the sample's position and tripod would be stored?

also, im not sure if it will change things but the object *must* be stored elsewhere- there is no way any sort of camera equipment will be able to accompany it... imagine like a fridge holding a grape and you needed to take a picture of the grape outside the fridge every so often.. im not sure if that changes the feasibility of the plywood idea

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Sailor Blue
Senior MemberPosts: 6,108Gear list
Like?
Re: science project- need equipment to take shots of subject from the exact same angles every week
In reply to stm08007, Jan 18, 2013

stm08007 wrote:

Sailor Blue wrote:

Here is a simpler and cheaper solution.

Since the object is small I am assuming that the distance the camera will move between shots is small.

Use a sheet of plywood that is thick enough to be ridged, I suggest 1/2" to 1" thick. The sheet should be large enough to hold the object to be photographed and the camera.

Buy a 2-way Macro Shot Focus Rail Slider tripod head such as this one.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-way-Macro-Shot-Focus-Rail-Slider-tripod-head-for-Canon-Nikon-Camera-DSLR-LP-01-/251149171327?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a79a83a7f

Counter sink a hole in the bottom of the plywood sheet and use a 1/4"x20 thread bolt to secure the slider to the plywood sheet. If the camera can be left in place the simply assemble this and place it on any available surface like a table or laboratory bench. You can add screws or pegs to stop the slider in the two positions you use, allowing you to accurately reposition the camera every time.

If you have to remove the camera then you may need to add short legs so you can access the bottom of the plywood sheet. You can cut another hole in the plywood sheet to allow you to attach and detach the camera.

-- hide signature --

Living and loving it in Bangkok, Thailand. Canon 7D - See the gear list for the rest.

so far these ideas are all great and much better than what ive been thinking up

alot of this is going over my head cuz like i said i have no experience with this. so if im understanding this properly, the plywood would essentially serve as a "stage" where the sample's position and tripod would be stored?

also, im not sure if it will change things but the object *must* be stored elsewhere- there is no way any sort of camera equipment will be able to accompany it... imagine like a fridge holding a grape and you needed to take a picture of the grape outside the fridge every so often.. im not sure if that changes the feasibility of the plywood idea

Yes, the plywood sheet is a stage.

I'm trying to keep this a cheap and simple DIY project yet accurate enough that the 3D images won't jump all over the place.  Ideally you should be able to string them together to create a video.

If you must move the object to be photographed then you want to be able to return it to an exact position on the stage.  This means using something like a ceramic plate glued to a small sheet of plywood or a metal plate to hold the object.  Into the small sheet of plywood or metal plate you drill two holes just big enough for a nail to slide through.  Once the ceramic plate & plywood or metal plate are positioned you drive a nail through each hole then cut off the heads of the nails.  These are now alignment pegs for the plate holding the object to be photographed.

Nails with their heads cut off will also make good pegs to limit the travel of the slider rail - better than the screws or wooden pegs in my first post.

I'm assuming you are in high school.  Draw up a sketch of what I have outlined then ask your science teacher and shop teacher for suggestions and improvements.

If you are going to use shop tools to construct the stage be sure that you understand and follow all the safety rules - safety glasses, safety guards for power equipment, pusher sticks, etc.  Be sure the shop teacher knows what you intend to make and is there to be sure you follow all safety rules.  No experiment is worth an accident that can maim you.

-- hide signature --

Living and loving it in Bangkok, Thailand. Canon 7D - See the gear list for the rest.

 Sailor Blue's gear list:Sailor Blue's gear list
Canon EOS 7D +10 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Pileot
New MemberPosts: 8
Like?
Re: science project- need equipment to take shots of subject from the exact same angles every week
In reply to stm08007, Jan 18, 2013

If you have to "put away" the setup and re-set it again every week try this. It may require a second camera for initial setup.

Set up the camera in the desired position. Take a picture without the subject (so if your at a desk/table/whatever, get the background and foreground in the picture)

Now position the subject and take a second picture.

These are your control. Take a picture of your setup so you can refer to it next week.

Now, next week, position the camera on the tripod in the aprox position as per the pictures you took. Use the live view function and try to match the first picture you took. you should be able to fine tune the camera position so the background / foreground match your first control picture.

Now that you have the camera in the correct position, move the subject into position and again use the live view to match positions with the control pics you took earlier.

If your camera supports it, connect via USB to your computer to see high res images to make it easier to fine tune positioning of the camera and subject.

This seems like the most cost efficent method (without knowing what your up to) however it is also likely one of the most tedious because every movment of the camera means it will have to be re calibrated.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
sarissa
Junior MemberPosts: 26Gear list
Like?
Re: science project- need equipment to take shots of subject from the exact same angles every week
In reply to stm08007, Jan 20, 2013

Sounds like you need a large board (plywood?) as a base, on which you permanently fasten a pair of Arca-Swiss compatible channels for canera mounting plates/clamps - provided the camera positions are in the same horihontal plane.Sunwayfoto has a very wide range of fittings:

http://www.sunwayfoto.com/html/index2.html

If the heights are dirfferent, maybe something from Manfrotto's range of arms. clamps and rods might be the answer:

http://www.manfrotto.co.uk/photo-arms-brackets-bars-arms

sarissa

 sarissa's gear list:sarissa's gear list
Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Canon PowerShot G1 X Canon EOS 60D Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS +5 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads