gearing up for (update: went on shoot) with Doc Russel Brown after Comic-Con, and I’m seriously considering NOT hiking 15 miles in the desert heat with an entire 5DMkII outfit. This preliminary test is to see how much can be squeezed from a point and shoot.
I bought the Polaroid X530, a 4.5 MP Foveon based camera “broken” on Ebay for $15. Actually they were so cheap I bought two guessing I could fix one with parts from both, but both cameras arrived in perfect working order. I wanted to use the Foveon after reading “The Silicon Eye” by George Gilder. Having started out with an Amiga, I can relate to the pariah aspect of the Sigma chips. Other things going for it: A raw image format, It has a Ricoh lens, and I assume they make better lenses than the Polaroid holding company, even though I know it can’t touch a Canon L – though all lenses have their share of aberrations. The Foveon chip design moots Bayer pattern artifacts (for this level of resolution – I don’t think the Bayer pattern has much of an effect on the 5D2 with a 5.4 micron element size) and the sealed imager means far fewer sensor dirt spots than a DSLR.
The plan: to rewire all of the camera functions to be under Viliv control, so that HDR sequences and other functions can be captured without touching or jostling the camera. Ideally it will be a roadmap to gaining total control of every function on the E-P1 when it arrives.
This is where I start to wonder why some cameras are not built for hacking. The wires are run to a control harness in the only free space available inside the camera. From there, they will be run to a microcontroller circuit that chats with the Viliv.
Some test images: the X530 saves to a Sigma raw format, and from nine images stacked in HDR software we can get true 32-bit images from a 99 cent camera. (The rest of the cost was for shipping.)
Since some grumpy old coots think being too interested in the “process” makes me a technician, not a photographer, I submit these technographs… remember they’re not photos!