Looking for ways to make work the following setup:

  • camera on a tripod, not reachable by cables, but within WiFi range
  • POSIX-compliant computer

in order to perform the following:

  • producing relatively high resolution photographs (making pictures) of still nature for their potential aesthetic merits automatically at some intervals that I should be able to control using the above computer.

What I own already:

  • POSIX-compiant computer
  • WiFi infrastructure
  • programming skills.

This will be the last edit of this question. If the question still doesn't qualify or I am unable to make myself clear however hard I try, please feel free to remove or block it and accept my apologies for taking your time, as I will be looking for help elsewhere.

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Looking for a set of hardware and software meeting these requirements:

  • WiFi enabled
  • remotely controlled with some open source software, i.e. I must be able to make a program to shoot automatically on Linux or Mac
  • good for landscape photos (if this make sense)

Please don't be too technical on me, I know nothing about photography.


Specific problem I am trying to solve: I need to put a camera on a tripod and have it shoot automatically at certain predefined times according to a non-trivial algorithm.

By "technical" I mean photo technicalities, not computer ones. Open-source is prefered just because I am not sure that vendors provide their software for Linux, which I am using.


What concerns the reasons given for suspension ("product or service recommendations become obsolete quickly"), I would like to note that gphoto software which some comments mention has been in development since 2003, that is, for eleven years, which doesn't lead me to agree that any answer mentioning this product (with virtually no alternative) will become obsolete or irrelevant soon, or, at least, certainly not "quickly".


Original question rephrased. My ultimate goal is to "produce photographs", if any doubts thereof may have been a reason to suspend this question.


Please also note that this is not a product or service solicitation. This is a question "I have a need for the functionality above, what should I do?" Answers involving sticks, ropes, broken mirror, unnamed microcontroller board are perfectly fine.

  • @dpollitt I could be wrong but I don't think that a webcam is what punund is looking for. Shooting landscapes has never been a strong point among webcams. I think punund is looking for a DSLR, MILC or a higher end point and shoot. But I agree that it could meet the requirements just as a surveillance camera could. – Hugo Jul 3 '14 at 23:53
  • @dpollitt I do understand that and agree with you. I just thought that the way you proved your point was a bit harsh. The question he/she asked, albeit maybe of topic, was sincere. – Hugo Jul 4 '14 at 12:04
  • Maybe the question could be rephrased but I don't see its substance as OT. I also find it interesting that one of the moderators who apparently gave advice on the topic then marked it as OT and additionally removed their other comments from this thread. – moorej Jul 5 '14 at 17:37
  • Shopping questions are off topic for a number of reasons beyond timeliness. Ultimately, the point of the site is to aid learning, and you're explicitly asking to be told what to buy without wanting to learn. Not every question has to be an educational experience, but.... Make an effort? Plus, it seems like you want the camera for some technical use and not actually with the goal of producing photographs. There's nothing wrong with that — it's just off-topic here. – mattdm Jul 6 '14 at 14:14
  • @mattdm What is "producing photographs?" Was Étienne-Jules Marey en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89tienne-Jules_Marey not "producing photographs?" – moorej Jul 6 '14 at 16:32

I'll tell you right away that there is no chance for me to answer without being very technical. Since you're looking for an open source solution it cuts away all of the commonly used programs and leaves us with a bunch of programs that require more from the user. The advanced part has nothing to do with photography though. The technicalities lies in programming.

Basic answer that could be what you're looking for

The program that I would use is gPhoto. It is open source and licensed under GNU LGPL. It allows for remote controlled configuration and capture, depending on the camera. A list of the supported models can be found here.

You also wanted the camera to be WiFi enabled and I'm most familiar with DSLR:s so that makes me think of the Canon EOS 70D and EOS 6D as well as the Nikon D5300. The D5300 is not on the official gPhoto supported list yet (although it might work fine anyway). The big problem here is that as far as I know there is no way to remote control these cameras wih gPhoto (or any other open source program that I know of) over Wifi - you need a wired connection. You were not clear regarding whether these were two separate requirements or if you wanted to use the WiFi connection to remote control it. If it is the latter I can't help you as of now.

Regarding the landscape photo aspect any of these cameras will do. The 6D has a slight edge being full frame and will give you a wider angle of view when using the same focal as the cropped bodies, but it's not a game changer.

Possible solutions if you want to remote control the camera over WiFi

If you can abandon the open source requirement and go for a closed source solution instead there are always the official Canon EOS Utility software (included with camera) or Camera Control Pro 2 (not included with camera) or third party options like Adobe Lightroom. They work on Mac, but not on Linux without you having to mess around a bit first.

If you are not prepared to deviate from the open source requirement I can think of one solution that will require a lot of skill from you. If you use a Raspberry Pi and hook it up to the camera by USB you can remote control it using gPhoto. Then you can attach a WiFi dongle to the Raspberry Pi and then use an SSH connection to remote control the Raspberry Pi using a command line interface from any computer that has an SSH client, running Linux, Mac or whatever. You have to solve a few problems such as powering the Raspberry Pi and accommodate it somewhere while using it with the camera. Photographer David Hunt actually wrote a guide about how he fit a very similar solution inside his battery grip to his Canon 5D Mark II. I know that this last solution is very advanced indeed, but it's the easiest one I can think of that satisfies all your need if you also want to remote control it over WiFi. Note that this solution doesn't require you to use a WiFi enabled camera since the Raspberry Pi enables this for you.

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