I've been looking into this- making my own 3d scanner for my 3d printer- and all the DIY instructions require a DSLR... but they don't explain why- exactly.

Maybe it has something to do with "seeing" the depth of the laser cross section of the 3d object being scanned?

Anyway, I have a rather dated Nikon L20 Coolpix- and was trying to determine if it was a DSLR or not- and if it would be usable in this application. No rangefinder at all- I don't think any mirrors either-

  • So I guess my main question is: why do you suppose the laser line scanning requires any of that stuff- and would my humble digital camera be up to the task?
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    \$\begingroup\$ I do not know which DIY instructions you've read, so can't judge why they direct you to a DSLR. However, it might have something to do with the fact that DSLR's allow for manual focus, full manual exposure controls and (often) tethering to a computer. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 18, 2015 at 21:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ No. You can do a 3D scanner with your phone if you want. 123dapp.com/catch \$\endgroup\$
    – Rafael
    Oct 18, 2015 at 23:22

1 Answer 1


A DSLR is not required for 3D scanning. With simple, low-poly scans, you're better off with a multi-sensor array like a Kinect or Leap-Motion. However, for ultra-high quality, high-poly scans, a camera like a DSLR would be advantageous. a Nikon L20 Coolpix is not a DSLR, but it will serve the purpose with its 10.34MP sensor.


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