Help me make my Mac into a Polaroid !
April 27, 2008 9:53 AM   Subscribe

Can I use my external digital camera while its connected to my Mac?

We are having a photo booth at our daughter's birthday party today and I am trying to come up with an alternative to a Polaroid.

I have Photo Booth and a digital camera. I would like to avoid having the kids stand in front of the computer (a la 'iSight').

Ideally, our older kid would sit in front of the computer, tell the kids to pose, snap the picture and print it out. Is this possible? Any solution appreciated.
posted by duckus to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
According to Apple, Photo Booth will work with certain external cameras. If your digital camera has a "webcam" mode (technically called "USB video class"), Photo Booth should recognize it as a compatible source. Alternately, you could buy a cheap webcam and use that.
posted by jjg at 10:19 AM on April 27, 2008

Photo Booth, as you have doubtless discovered, lacks any preferences that would allow you to select a video source. However, I've read elsewhere that if you "lock up" the iSight by having it active in iChat for example, and then launch Photo Booth, it'll grab the next video input, your camera. I've only seen reference to this with firewire-connected cameras, though, and your tags suggest you're using USB. The only way to know for sure is to try it yourself.

Is there a reason that you want to use Photo Booth in particular? One of the effects, perhaps? I mean, if all you want is the ability to take a snap and print it out quickly, I would think Image Capture, which inherently supports USB connections and all, might be the better choice for this application.
posted by mumkin at 10:34 AM on April 27, 2008

In my experience, it really depends on the camera. I know there are program to control various Canon cameras from a computer, though their names totally escape me.

Google for "tethered" and your camera model and you might come up with something.
posted by jjb at 12:07 PM on April 27, 2008

The free Canon Remote Capture works, but is painful to use. Capture One Pro does tethered shooting. There's a trial of the "4" version, but I'm not sure it has that feature too.

Are the kids really that impatient? :)
posted by stereo at 7:18 PM on April 27, 2008

Any firewire camera will work with the method Mumkin mentions above.
posted by rokusan at 9:04 PM on April 27, 2008

Response by poster: Actually, it worked quite well enough for them to stand in front of the laptop. The kids were more intrigued by the actual photo booth than the pictures.

But thanks for these suggestions !
posted by duckus at 7:41 AM on April 28, 2008

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