I had a couple of situations which made me add a couple of Canon lens to my Amazon wishlist.
After trying to photograph the Milky Way, I was reading that I needed a faster lens then the 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 that I was using. So, I found a 24 mm f/2.8 that I thought would be something to try.
Additionally, for the sunsets I was starting to take, I wanted a larger field of view. So, I I found the 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 lens.
I took a series of pictures with the Canon a tripod to look at the different field of views.
55mm using 18-55mm
18mm using 18-55mm
22mm using 24mm
18mm using 10-18mm
10mm using 10-18mm
With upgrading my weather computer to Windows 7, I found out the Canon PowerShot A520 doesn’t work with the Willing Webcam software. Though it is listed on the supported camera page, a second reading showed that it was only supported under Windows XP. I did some further research and found out that Canon stopped adding the feature that allowed remote control of the PowerShot line via USB cable a few camera generations back. I did find a possible alternative in something called CHDK. CHDK is short for the Canon Hack Development Kit. It is a technique to install an alternative firmware on a SD card and boot the camera to it. I had a newer Canon PowerShot SD780IS and gave it a shot. I tested it with a different time-lapse software called VideoVelocity which supported CHDK. Unfortunately, after all that configuration, it still didn’t work with either VideoVelocity or Willing Webcam. So, I threw in the towel and went back to the Logitech C910. It was fuzzy but worked under Windows 7 and Willing Webcam.
I originally setup my weather camera to use a Logitech QuickCam C910 web camera. I did some previous research and the choices seems to be either a Logitech or Microsoft web camera. I liked the C910 because it said it was HD and had a good lens with auto-focus.
The operation went fine however over time I became less impressed with the C910 camera. My biggest compliant was the images were blurry. It didn’t seem like it was an auto-focus issue as I had the focus on manual focus to infinity. But, this change required me to leave the software running all the time which was an issue when the computer rebooted and I would have to turn off the auto-focus again. Lastly, the CPU was always running around 50% usage.
But, the image quality became the sticking point. I decided to do some more research. The research pointed me to using an actual digital camera. The Willing Webcam software said it supported some models of Canon cameras. I had two cameras but neither worked. I did some more research and found out that Canon supported a protocol called PTP (Picture Transfer Protocol). A free software called gPhoto has a list of camera that support PTP so that explained why my two didn’t work. But, now I had a list of what did.
I was thinking of buying a new camera didn’t make a lot of sense. I looked at eBay first but actually found better results at Amazon which sold many old, used camera. I selected a Canon PowerShot A520. It only cost around $20. I needed to order an USB cable, too.
I tested the camera and it worked fine. I had to change my mount on the window frame but finally got the right position for the camera view. The images were excellent. In fact, I had to reduce the resolution because the time-lapse movie was too big to store. Check out the results at Woicik Weather Camera.