For an automated photo studio I'm going to need a camera with a image quality that is comparable to better compact cameras, especially regarding color accuracy. Setting a custom white balance will be necessary. At the same time it must be able to withstand a volume of thousands of pictures per day. Imagine a conveyor belt going through a properly lighted box with a camera hanging over it.
- A DSLR taking pictures is not going to work, because it will quickly waste the shutter or wear out some other mechanical part.
- A DSLR recording video, from which stills could be taken, gives a too low resolution of 2MP whereas 8MP is desirable.
- A high end compact camera (e.g. PowerShot G10) might work; it lacks the mirror but still has mechanical parts that are not designed for this volume, and therefore might not outlive a DSLR by much.
- Most other compact or mirrorless system cameras (including the EOS M) don't offer support for automation, i.e. EDSDK or similar (USB or GigE shooting without writing to flash first).
- Machine vision cameras like Basler's probably don't offer acceptable image quality (again color accuracy), since the images are used for promotion purposes rather than analysis.
Actually the camera of a modern iPhone would offer sufficient quality, and might well last longer, since it is completely electronic as far as I'm aware. But if such quality can be offered in a $700 device of which I don't need any other parts, I wonder what I could get if I were to spend the same amount on just a camera. The issue is I don't really know where to look. It just needs to be a ready to use device; I can't go and put some parts (except for a lens) together.