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Recently I found my old digital 3.2 MPix point & shoot camera which has been mainly just sitting on my shelf for the last few years. I'd like to get it back to use, but since it is rather bulky and underpowered in nowadays standards I could dedicate it to some experimental DIY photography projects.

What I am asking is: What good DIY projects (which involves digital camera) do you know? Do you have any experiences? How were the results?

It is an old P&S, so I don't mind:

  • tearing it apart and fiddling with its insides
  • using it in projects that carries a risk of the camera being destroyed (e.g. kite photography)
  • salvaging it to as a part of my other gear

Some tangentially related questions:

  • DIY gear successfully made and used?
    • I'm looking for projects that concerns the camera, not the gear. Though I accept if the project modifies the camera to be part of the gear
  • What to do with an old film camera?
    • The question is about film cameras, and the answers aren't really project-oriented (with 1 exception)
  • What are good photography projects?
    • These are more photographing projects, though dedicating the P&S to one project might be a good idea (e.g. keeping it in the bathroom and taking a morning glory -shot every morning for a year. But this is a bit offtopic (not much DIY here).

I've found some photography related projects at Instructables, but they are also rather gear-oriented.


As this is a community wiki, please limit one project per post and give at least a short description. If you have your own results to show - even better!

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6 Answers 6

The first thing that comes to my mind is convert it to infrared. That way, you can take pictures unlike what your other cameras can get with it, returning it, potentially, to a place of prominence in your camera line-up.

(Many more pages about this exist. I picked one that seemed DIY and P&S oriented, but it may well behoove you to find one specific to your particular camera model, and/or to read a bunch of them before you begin.)

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Well, if had an old point and shoot hanging around, I'd probably give camera tossing a go. You can get some interesting shots doing this. Alternately you could leash the carry strap and whirl it around. This is more fun if the camera has a built in intervalometer for taking snaps on time intervals.

Anyways, marked my answer community wiki in anticipation of the question being so marked.

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You could fix or just hold it to the top of a car and take some long exposure shots during night rides. Repeat it enough times and you may end up getting quite interesting results... :o)

This one used a 1/8 seconds exposure, the taxi was going around 70km/h.

Car and Lights 2 | Carro e luzes

And this one used a 0.6 seconds exposure, at 80 km/h and under rain. Note the absence of ambient lights, therefore the need of a longer exposure time which resulted in a increase in the blur.

Lightning Fast | Raios e coriscos

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This is something I must try after the temperature gets a bit higher! At 80 kmph and -20 °C it would be somewhat equivalent to -40 °C, which would probably kill the old battery in no-time :D –  koiyu Dec 27 '10 at 16:12
    
Good point! :o) –  André Carregal Dec 27 '10 at 16:30
4  
Wind chill won't have much effect on a camera, as water (hopefully) isn't evaporating out of your camera. To a camera, at 80 kmph and -20 °C, it would be somewhat equivalent to -20 °C. –  Evan Krall Dec 28 '10 at 7:25
    
I stand corrected. Temperature is still rather low – but not THAT low, so driveshots are sooner possible. –  koiyu Dec 28 '10 at 22:03

I suggest removing the lens and using it for pinhole photography! There are many many sites that explain how to make a pinhole (needle hole through tinfoil + taping it to cardstock and the camera itself works well for my dslr).

Be prepared to experiment with different sized pinholes and multiple exposure times. it's fun!

This technique can be coupled with some of the above, if by some misfortune you ruin the lens or focusing train when disassembling the camera.

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If it can be controlled with gPhoto: http://www.gphoto.org/proj/libgphoto2/ you could do all sorts of fun stuff:

  • make a photo booth
  • set it up for super long time lapse
  • turn it into a security cam

But if you've got a little extra money, get a gps unit and a weather balloon and send it into space!: http://www.tomsguide.com/us/Camera-Space-Photos-Earth-Balloon,news-6255.html

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For an old film camera try star trails, if you have access to a good dark sky site. I have also had some fun taking night landscapes with the moon providing the light. When your exposure time goes past 20 minutes a film camera is a must! (no dark noise and no battery to die)

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