New camera

I finally took the plunge and got a Canon PowerShot SD750, and finally this weekend had a chance to start playing with it. Here are a few notes on using it with Debian.

Gnome (gnome-volume-manager, in particular) just deals with the camera quite well. Connect it to its USB cable, connect the USB cable to the computer, and gnome-volume-manager pops up a dialog box asking if you want to import the pictures. You do need to have gthumb installed or importing does nothing without an error message.

The default high-quality large size is probably overkill. I'm not sure if I'm going to keep the huge images or not. ImageMagick is, as usual, my favorite program to do resizing and similar transformations (specifically the convert command-line utility). The camera writes out the standard Exif image attributes. After looking through the available options for an Exif tag editor, I picked exiv2 since it would let me edit Exif comments. Unfortunately, you have to know the tag names in order to use it (some shortcuts for common options would be nice), but there are useful examples in the man page.

The first application I wanted it for was to get cover images for book reviews when the publisher and similar information databases don't already conveniently have one. That took a bit of experimentation, since I can't ues flash (it reflects too much off the cover) and it's hard to get enough light otherwise for the camera to not have to increase the shutter speed and hence blur the picture if you're holding the camera in your hand. Putting the books on a TV tray on my balcony in the direct sunlight worked out wonderfully, though, and I'm very happy with the results. I resized the pictures to 1024x768, then used ImageMagick's display program to crop them and shrunk them down to the size I use for thumbnails on review pages. For the most part, except where I didn't get the book quite square, you can't tell the difference between my pictures and cover art from the publisher.

I'm probably not going to use the camera very much regularly, as I'm not that much of a camera person, but being able to capture cover images is really cool. And it can go with me the next time I go on vacation. I might try taking some video of waves crashing over rocks at Yachats during my October vacation.

Posted: 2007-08-04 23:00 — Why no comments?

Cameras make good ersatz scanners.

I see that the SD750 can manage a wider aperture when the lens is at its shortest (i.e. widest angle) which might help with the lighting issues at less sunny times of year.

Posted by Richard Kettlewell at 2007-08-05 02:10

Yeah, and they're way less clunky than scanners, which is rather nice.

Thanks for the tip!

Posted by eagle at 2007-08-05 10:15

Let me suggest a gorillapod. The smallest one for P&S cameras should only cost about $20. It will let you put the camera just about anywhere and not worry about handshake or blurry photos.

My girlfriend is getting a PhD in English, concentrating on illustrations, and frequently needs to take photos out of rare books. The gorillapod has made her life a thousand times better.

Posted by Chris Cotter at 2007-08-06 10:11

Last spun 2013-07-01 from thread modified 2013-01-04