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As I find the bulk of my DSLR too much of an inconvenience for most of my photography, I'm considering replacing it with a high-end compact (maybe a Lumix LX5). However, I'm getting intrigued by the possibilities of timelapse photography, so a compact which can be 'tethered' to a PC for remote control would be ideal.

Are such things available?

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

I don't know of any that can be tethered to a PC. However the open source CHDK firmware for Cannon cameras support on camera scripting that may fulfill your needs.

Alternatively for any camera that has support for an external shutter release you can drive that shutter release externally from a PIC or a USBIO module attached to a PC.

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And to go one step further, you may also look into the EyeFi SD cards to store the photos directly on your computer via wifi. – wildpeaks Aug 4 '11 at 17:44

Older Canon P&S support remote operation via the USB and a PC.
Canon discontinued this feature after the G10.

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My old Kodak was tethered in the 1990's - that eliminated much of the vibration caused by manually clicking the shutter, on macros - was a standard part of their software then. May still be applicable. It appears as if software is going backwards.

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Are you sure it was a compact camera? Could you tell us the model number? It seems Kodak EasyShare line of digital compacts came out much later, in 2001. – Imre Oct 29 '12 at 8:57
@Imre: it would have been from the DC line, not the EasyShare line. These could be controlled by the computer (via serial port, if I remember right). But I think this answer falls more under "historical trivia" than presently useful, unfortunately. :) – mattdm Oct 29 '12 at 13:45

The following small and light cameras that can be tethered to a computer:

  1. Sony A7sr
  2. Sony A7s IR
  3. Sony A6000 IR
  4. Sony A7s
  5. Sony A7r
  6. Sony A7
  7. Sony A6000

But the drawback is no live-view because Sony DO NOT make camera for the working professionals.

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As of October 2014, Olympus has announced full USB tethering support for their OM-D E-M1 micro four thirds camera. Olympus Capture, the application that is announced, offers full control of the camera's functions.

Panasonic's DMC-GH4 (also a micro four thirds) is supported by a far simpler USB tethering application.

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Neither the E-M1 nor the GH4 of those cameras would normally be called a compact camera, which the question is specifically asking for. – Philip Kendall Sep 29 '14 at 9:51
Ah, sorry, I read "compact" as an adjective here since I thought it would have been capitalized if it was meant to denote a device class. – jstarek Sep 29 '14 at 9:54
Seems these mirror-less cameras are still smaller than most DSLRs. The OP asked this question in 2010, so things have changed a lot since then. IMHO jsrarek's answer is valid. – JerryKur Sep 29 '14 at 23:11
I used compact as a noun in the question body (a high-end compact, a compact) which I hoped would have made it clear that I meant the well-known device class of pocketable fixed-lens cameras. – Roddy Oct 2 '14 at 21:44

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