I need a camera that can be controlled by a computer. I have to take shot of some irregular steel plates that have corners marked with paint. What is important is that I get a good quality picture to see the painted spots.

  • The camera will be fixed at the top of the building (25 feet from the target).
  • The steel plate can be at the maximum 24 feet width by 12 feet height, so need to be able to take a shot of this size.
  • The computer is about the same distance, so it needs a long wire (I've read that usb could not go longer than 5 meters?).
  • The plate will be flat on a "table".
  • There might be welding sparks, but we can try to avoid this.
  • The camera is supposed to be fixed, so it needs to be permanently installed
  • The painted spot needs to look the same color, so I don't know if a flash is going to change the brightness.
  • It's supposed to take one picture for each plate that we work with.
  • It's inside a shop, so it's not very bright (Maybe spot would be great?).

My real problem is that I can't find a good camera that can be used by a computer and also has the required qualities to take this type of shot.

I hope there is enought informations :)


  • 1
    No. There is not enough information. Is the camera 25ft from the computer?, from the user? from the steel plate? Is the steel plate in a riksy environment? Welding sparks? a forge? Near the sea? Is it a fast speed process? do you have aditional ilumination? Can a flash be used? Does this process need a fast recharge cycle? What is the size of this spots?... Etc. – Rafael May 28 '15 at 20:47
  • Going to edit to be more specific. – Wanceslas May 28 '15 at 20:49

Use a camera with wifi, so you don't have to worry about the distance of usb limits. You might look at the Sony ICLC QX1. They have not sold well, so they are available cheaper. I have one.

It is essentially an alpha 5000 with no controls or screen. It is meant to be controlled remotely. I've not tried with open-source USB/wifi controlling software, but newer cameras follow an interface standard for essential functions and support for fancy stuff varies. See the cross-platform successor to "dSLR Dashboard", in particular.

This uses E-mount lenses so you can choose a lens with the desired focal length.

It has a built-in flash. That could have a lens added in front to focus it at just that spot, in which case it would be bright enough; or it can optically trigger a slave flash placed near to the panel and at a proper lighting angle.

If a camera can't be controlled well enough with on-board wifi (in particular, some might not download full files) but can be controlled over usb, you can use a router with a usb plug and open-source firmware, with dSLR dashboard, to control the camera via USB but remotely via network (the router is placed near the camera to plug into usb). That avoids the cable length problem, but the controlling program needs to know to use that tunneling protocol.

That solution (dSLR Dashboard (whatever the new codebase is called, by the same author) with wifi or usb tunneling over network ( hard ethernet or wifi) with some dSLR that can be adequately controlled (e.g. download and erase the full files) is what you should look into. You might try proofing with cameras you and your coworkers already own.

Any dSLR or mirrorless uses interchangeable lenses, so choosing a lens of the proper length will allow you to take that shot. Remote flash is common and can be discussed separately without regard to this particular problem. So look at the various tethering programs and see what cameras are best supported.

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  • Thanks for the great suggestion. I would only like to know how far you can take shot with a cellphone? – Wanceslas May 29 '15 at 12:58
  • About a quarter million miles. Or, through a welding visor, 93 million miles. Maybe Venus woukd show up, but you'd have a hard time settingnan exposure on a dumbed-down point-and-shoot. Phones have a wide-angle perspectice, so an object 25 feet away would be small in the frame. You can try for yourself. – JDługosz May 30 '15 at 3:35

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