Help me build a witheboard reading system (for the visualy impared)
April 24, 2008 6:14 AM   Subscribe

Help me find a digital camera with real tv-out

I'm visually impared and i'm looking to build my own whiteboard reading system based on a notebook and a digtial camera. Now i'm looking for decent camera (with very high zoom, 10x would be quite nice). The requirement is that the camera passes the live video from the camera to video out (not only pictures and videos taken).
I'm particulary fond of panaonic lumix cameras, my parents own a tz3 which would be good, the tz5 would be even more awsome. But they do only the dumbed down tv-out. Panasonic support told me there was a trick with holding the delete key (sounded weird) but i couldn't get it to work.

I'm not looking for a dlsr, it should be a liittle bit more portable, but price is not important, it can be expensive.

So if anyone can recomend a good camera (or help me with the lumix ting) it would be great.
posted by kall to Technology (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Not particularly helpful, but I have a Kodak z650 and it has 10x optical zoom and tv out. However, it times out pretty quickly and turns the tv out off. There may be a similar trick or setting to change this, I never investigated.

I'm not sure I can visualize the system you are trying to set up, however. Do you want to view the screen of the laptop on your tv? Or do you want to use the camera to view documents and display them on the screen of the laptop? If it's the latter, maybe try a USB webcam?
posted by gjc at 6:51 AM on April 24, 2008

Response by poster: I want to display the camera image on the notebook, and the camera should have a good zoom to view the whiteboard of my class. Dedicated systems are around 6000 Euros, so an awsome notebook and a great camera would still come cheaper, be more portable and also have other uses.
posted by kall at 7:04 AM on April 24, 2008

It sounds like what you might want is a camera that supports tethered shooting, where you hook up the camera via USB and control all the settings through the PC. This would include giving you a live preview on your laptop screen, and you could capture a still every so often as a way of taking notes.

Most DSLRs support tethered shooting, but unless you get one of the fancy brand-new ones, they mostly don't have a live preview, which would be essential for you. A compact or bridge camera might do the job.

You'll want a tripod to hold up the camera for you, too.
posted by echo target at 7:40 AM on April 24, 2008

Here's some more info on tethered shooting. Here's a review of the Canon A640 that claims (in the Software section) that it will do tethers. I'm having trouble finding positive information, but perhaps if you contact Canon (or Nikon or anyone else) they could tell you something more conclusive.
posted by echo target at 7:52 AM on April 24, 2008

If I understand correctly, you want a camera that will provide continuous output of a standard-definition composite video signal.

Is there some reason that a regular cheap video camera wouldn't do the job for you?
posted by standbythree at 8:09 AM on April 24, 2008

What format do you want your video signal to be? What's the connector type on your laptop? Because all the smallish Canon cameras I had came with a video out connector (RCA type), and it would allow me to see exactly what the camera was pointing at, live. If you need USB, different story. Maybe a good webcam (with zoom capability) would do the trick then.
posted by ddaavviidd at 9:14 AM on April 24, 2008

Are you sure the notebook will accept the video signal you are generating? Because most won't.
posted by gjc at 4:49 PM on April 24, 2008

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