Author Topic: Upgraded external camera  (Read 6857 times)

zsalab2

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Upgraded external camera
« on: October 21, 2018, 05:51:31 pm »
I wonder if there is any info regarding whether a higher-resolution external camera will be available?

Ifanafi

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« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2018, 12:02:08 pm »
That upgrade camera has been wish-listed to Planet Computers for inclusion in the (likely) Gemini 2.0 version.

As cameras go, the Gem's camera is woefully outdated.

Planet intended to include a 10mp camera but size / fitting that into the Gem's body was not possible at the production stage.

I suspect the sourced vendor couldn't deliver the agreed upon camera size, so Planet settled for the 5mp camera and thereby not delay further its slipping delivery dates any more than they had already.

Here's hoping version 2.0 includes a current state-of-the art 10+mp camera.

Ifanafi

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Quote from: zsalab2
I wonder if there is any info regarding whether a higher-resolution external camera will be available?

Daniel W

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« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2018, 07:41:29 am »
I wouldn't mind 5MP if they were five GOOD megapixels, like on par with what a reasonably good standalone point-and-shoot camera used to deliver back when those were about 5MP.

But yeah, integrating the rear-facing camera at the factory and locating the module such that it doesn't overlap the screen, should provide enough depth to use a contemporary quality camera. A decent LED flash wouldn't hurt either. The front-facing camera could be quite a bit better too. Try having a video chat somewhere dim and show something like a business card to the other end.

All those things would increase the price though, so maybe they'd have to offer an option without either or both cameras, much like the current Gemini can be bought without the 4G modem.

If they really can't fit decent cameras at any price, I'd prefer an add-on camera plugging into a USB-C port. Clunky, yes, but then the module could be whatever size it would need to be. Ideally, it would fit the current Geminis too. I already have the current add-on, but its quality often prevents me from using it.

Jeffers

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« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2018, 10:41:23 am »
I found the quality of the addon camera to be excruciatingly bad. After a few weeks of not wanting to use it because it was so bad, I removed it and sold it.

If there's a Gemini v2 that has a proper camera that doesn't stick out, Planet will get my money.

shuntcap

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« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2018, 04:04:41 pm »
Quote from: Daniel W
I wouldn't mind 5MP if they were five GOOD megapixels, like on par with what a reasonably good standalone point-and-shoot camera used to deliver back when those were about 5MP.

Exactly.  The rear camera isn't just woefully outdated, it's downright horrible.  Blurry, smeared, no detail, severe chromatic aberration... it's a sorry excuse for a camera in the year 2018.  In fact, all of my QWERTY smartphones from the 2009-2013 era (six different models, 3MP to 8MP) take far superior pictures.

I contacted Planet some time ago asking for a hardware reference manual for the SP5509 module (which is the rear camera), but they could not obtain one.  I was hoping to ensure that the kernel driver was properly configuring the camera sensor.  I also asked for a connector pinout, but they didn't even respond to that request.  I got the distinct impression that they really have very little knowledge of the rear camera module and that their vendor doesn't have much more, either.

I also wrote to SuperPix, the manufacturer of the SP5509 camera module.  They didn't respond.

E-con Systems manufactures a large number of camera modules.  I found a 13MP module with matching physical dimensions, but the connector is larger (and uses a different bus).  But that suggests that may be possible to fit a better module into the Gemini's confined space.  However, as I said, I was unable to glean any interface information from Planet and I doubt they see the camera quality as a priority issue.  They have more pressing matters.

For anyone interested in a clunky USB camera solution (maybe), e-con Systems has this 13MP board:
https://www.e-consystems.com/13mp-autofocus-usb-camera.asp

qbiot

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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2018, 01:52:03 am »
Well. I tried to fit camera modules from xiaomi nikel, and Homton HT20 (based on MTK x27). Same issue. Even though source code of kernel modules for said cameras is available (both use sony sensor), the problem is with connector size.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2018, 01:52:45 am by qbiot »

NCI

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« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2018, 10:59:43 pm »
Could someone please post a high quality photo of Gemini add-on camera's connector?
« Last Edit: October 27, 2018, 11:00:12 pm by NCI »

qbiot

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« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2018, 07:51:08 am »
 [ Invalid Attachment ]

Here. Hope this helps.

NCI

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« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2018, 09:05:48 am »
Quote from: qbiot
Here. Hope this helps.
Thank you!

NCI

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« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2018, 09:34:59 am »
This 13MP module looks awfully similar, no?

https://korean.alibaba.com/product-detail/m...0706875939.html

jakfish

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« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2018, 10:57:15 am »
I don't own the camera add-on, but as a brief aside, could someone recommend a very small camera, with reasonable specs? Pocket-sized. Something to carry with the Gemini.

Jake

Daniel W

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« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2018, 02:53:41 pm »
Quote from: NCI
This 13MP module looks awfully similar, no?
As it so happens, I measured my SP5509 before mounting it. Width and height matches closely. The JAL-IMX135-E10B is 8.6 x 16.7mm, while the SP5509 is 8.5 x 17.4mm (the length includes the flex cable and connector). Both seems to use a "2 lane MIPI interface" (whatever that is).

However, the JAL-IMX135-E10B datasheet says its "lens" is 5.75mm thick (possibly plus mounting and the flex cable), while the SP5509 is 4.00mm thick in total (my calipers says 4.04mm, including the blue protective sticker).

Given its 1.12um BSI pixels, one could easily think the SP5509 could be better. At "only" 5MP, it's 1/5" type sensor size shouldn't have to be a problem, but for some reason, the images are indeed quite terrible. Given the lack of detail in even the best of light, it kind of looks like the Gemini would be doing something weird, like upsampling a screen grab of the viewfinder stream.

While it likely wouldn't solve anything, maybe I should try to estimate the useful level of detail at different resolutions. If nothing else, should it turn out that 5MP images only contains, say, 2MP worth of detail, at least I could lower the resolution to that when taking pictures, and get smaller files.

As for truly compact cameras, they seem to have been pushed out of the market by smartphones. I used to have good experiences with the Canon Ixus series, but current models seems to have grown thicker to fit more zoom. Casio and Sony used to make thin cameras too, but no longer it seems. Perhaps you can find something cheap second hand, though finding replacement battery packs might be tricky.

a1astair

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« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2018, 03:44:20 am »
Quote from: jakfish
I don't own the camera add-on, but as a brief aside, could someone recommend a very small camera, with reasonable specs? Pocket-sized. Something to carry with the Gemini.

Jake

OK - not exactly small, but this has a flash and allows you to remotely control it over WiFi (includes built-in access point):

http://www.pixpro.world/products/smart-lenses/sl5/

Another model has 25x optical zoom and 30s shutter speed option for night time photography:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1085..._lens_with.html

I picked them both up on eBay new. Perfect companions to the Gemini!

bobamser

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« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2018, 05:50:29 pm »
I went for a snap - https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/snap-the...action-camera#/

Waiting for delivery and will see how it does.

jakfish

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« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2018, 01:26:56 pm »
Thanks to all for small camera ideas. That Snap looks very intriguing. Can't decide whether to go for a small camera or wait for the Cosmos...

Jake
« Last Edit: November 10, 2018, 01:31:15 pm by jakfish »