The Slime Mould Collective

An international network of/for intelligent organisms

Hi everyone!

I work with communications in an open community lab in Ghent (Reagent), Belgium. We organize some open lab days and experiments and I look forward to having time lapse videos of them. Would you have tips for finding a nice camera or setting that would work well with low light and possibly send pictures to a drive automatically?

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Hey, i'm fairly new to this forum as well, but I have been taking some timelapses with a low light setup. My setup consists of a Canon DSLR fit with a macro lense (i.e. 1:1 magnification). I use a raspberry pi to control both the camera and a LED panel. This way I only switch on the light when exposing the sensor, minimising the exposure of the organism to light. I am not sure if it is strictly needed (I have not tested if continouus illumination of the organism in my setup causes altered behaviour). With this setup, it is easy to transfer the images to a drive.

If you are looking for a camera, I would check if its supported by gphoto2 (a linux tool to control many different cameras over USB), this way you can easily hook it up to a pc or raspberry pi and control the timelapse and transfer the files. Additionally, I would check if you can get something that has an electronic shutter mode. DSLRs have a mechanical shutter that is rated for a finite number of actuations (100.000 on my camera), which you will reach faster than you might expect (see  https://www.chungdha.nl/?p=3830). Electronic shutter mode is common on many mirrorless cameras, and some nikon dslrs I think.

Alternatively you could use an android phone or webcam, as both use electronic shutters. Android phones can be controlled using ADB (https://developer.android.com/studio/command-line/adb) via a raspberry pi or pc.

Hope this helps!

I'm using a nikon slr with its own flash and a bit of white card to diffuse the flash a little.  Although slr have a limited number of shutter firings both my d3100s are past 600,0000 frames and still running though they will fail at some point  I buy second hand bodies to keep the cost down.  

Canon cameras can run a bit of software called Magic Lantern that gives the camera itself extra features like time lapse controls. 

I'm struggling with android cameras - plenty of tl software but none of it will activate the flash on any of my phones - dunno of that's common or because I use custom roms 

BTW if you have leads attached to your device,  tape them to your tripod or whatever so plugging them in doesn't jog the camera 

Hey Nemo!

Thanks very much for answering and giving me an overview of how you have been dealing with this. It is nice to know about the connections with the rasberry pi and the gphoto2! I will make sure it happens. :)

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