I'd like to purchase a camera that should be capable of taking simple stop motion animation. In order not to mess the scene by moving the camera, it should feature remote triggering from the PC (via standard USB cable, I'd presume), and immediate upload to the PC so that the picture could be added to the frames and one could evaluate whether the changes are appropriate.

I am not sure if the remote triggering and upload are enough standardized features of PC-to-camera protocols for me to have any hope in finding a piece of software that would know how to carry out these operations on range of cameras, and would have decent interface for animation reviewing.

The price should not go above 300 EUR. I don't know if that is reasonable expectation.

What keywords should I be using, when looking for the described functionality?

  • If you're just going to be using it connected to the computer, for animation, have you considered just getting a HD webcam? Obviously how well this works would depend on what exactly you're expecting from the camera, but you've not really included any details about that and a good webcam would fit into your budget... – forsvarir Feb 2 '12 at 8:14
  • No, I'd like to use this camera also for general-purpose tasks, ie taking casual snapshots, short videos), so an HD videocam will not do this time. – Passiday Feb 2 '12 at 18:05

Most entry-level DSLR's should have tethering capabilities. To my knowledge, Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, and Olympus all support tethering in some of their camera models. Any of the low end entry level DSLR's from both Canon and Nikon should do it, however you might have to resort to slightly higher end models from the other three.

For software, Lightroom supports tethering with Canon and Nikon at least. There is no standard protocol as far as I am aware, so you'll need to pick a software tool that supports the camera brand and model you choose. Most of the major brands have their own software that should support all of the cameras features, such as Canon's DPP.

As for price, your limit is pretty much as low as you could go. You might have to be willing to spend a bit more than that if you want a brand new camera. You could probably get away with 300 EUR if you were willing to get a used camera from someone (or maybe via Amazon.)

  • Thanks for the keyword, tethering is the thing I was looking for. As for the software, I am a little cautious, because I am on Linux here (Ubuntu 11.10), but there are ways how to trick it into running Windows software. – Passiday Feb 2 '12 at 18:11

If you have a little flexibility in your approach, another way to achieve the same outcome via a slightly different path would be to use an Eye-Fi card, set up an ad-hoc wireless network on your computer (or configure the card to connect to an available wi-fi hotspot if it's within range), and use a plug-in remote/intervalometer (some newer point-and-shoot cameras include this these days). I'm not sure about the budget, though. I think it will be very difficult to find any solution for under 300 EUR without buying some, maybe several components in a "previously enjoyed" condition. But if you're willing to do that, you can find some really great deals on older but still quite capable used equipment (for stop-motion, you don't generally need massive megapixels).

  • It's interesting to learn that such product as Eye-Fi exists, I never knew one could squeeze the WiFi hardware in that space. But since the remote trigger will require some extra hardware anyway, I am not sure if this fix is justified. What's more, I'd really like to use some software that is built with stop-motion animation creation in mind. – Passiday Feb 3 '12 at 9:48

for Pentax Cameras, there are two free possibilities: PK_Tether (freeware) which should work with: Pentax k-x, K7, K5, k-r, K20D, K10D, K200 - while the K-x and K-r are entry level, but very good cameras for the price

second is pkTriggerCord (opensource) - which is for windows and linux which should fully support Pentax K-x, Pentax K10D (Samsung GX-10), Pentax K20D (Samsung GX-20), Pentax istDS, Pentax K200D, Pentax K-7, Pentax K-r, Pentax K-5, Pentax K-m/K2000 and limited support for istD, istDS2, istDL, K110D, K100D

I have Pentax K-x and I am surely going to try both programs :-)

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