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VistaQuest VQ1005 hack ideas

I found the notes on the VQ1005 very interesting, and had to dig a bit deeper. Here is a link to some good pictures of the insides of the VQ1005 .....

Easy IR solution

Notice that the guts of the camera is the SQ908 chip. There are a number of docs about this (and related chips) at www.sq.com.tw. I had trouble getting through to this site, and it took several tries over two days to get to them, but it was worth the effort. Yes, there are some language, font and other problems, but you can find the chip pin out and reasonable desriptions of the chip and pins. (while you are there, check out the SQ916, it adds
sound and more). In short, the 908 chip supports several CMOS sensors (1.3, 2.0 and 3.0 Mpix), does JPEG, interpolation (1x to 4x), color gain, white balance, and supports 888+icon LCD or 96x64 stripe panel displays.
It also seems to support a flash trigger and more than just SD cards. It is not clear how much of this depends on the firmware stored in ROM. Good reading, even if it left me with a lot of questions.

Related is the review of a 3Mpix camera apparently based on the SQ908 at Review: "Generic" SQ908 MEGA-cam 3.0MP USB Pocket Digital Camera
I also found the notice about the SD card reader limitation in the "Storage" forum interesting.

Has anyone actually tried to down load directly from an SD card rather than through the USB? What did you find? I do not find any claim to the files system the SQ908 uses.

WizardOfOdds
Thu, 18 Jan 2007 17:59:10 -0800

WizardOfOdds,

I just posted a message regarding download directly from SD Card. See the "warning on using the VistaQuest VQ1005 digital camera as a SD Card reader" TrackBack below. It might give you some insight.

Chieh Cheng
Thu, 18 Jan 2007 18:21:52 -0800

This is a very interesting camera. I am amazed by the resolution of the imager in such an inexpensive camera, but the images are pretty heavily compressed before storing. Is there any way to hack around this and get uncompressed or less agressively compressed images?

Robert LaGrange
Tue, 23 Jan 2007 09:53:55 -0800

I do not own this camera (at least not yet), but according to my reading of the manual you can save the 1.3 Mpix image in a 2 Mpix format. This implies that the image is interpolated up to 1600x1200 prior to compression. This is like a "digital zoom of the whole image". Contrary to popular lore, digital zoom could provide some value if the image is to be compressed prior to storage. That is, it is often a little better to zoom & compress rather than to compress and then zoom (on the PC). I expect the 2MPix file to be larger, but appear a bit more detailed, but don't expect a lot of improvement. So much for theory: could some owner of the camera please post two pictures of the same scene, one saved as 2 Mpix and the other at 1.3 (just as they come off the camera to avoid extraneous effects)? I tried experiments like this with my Olympus C700 some time ago; the results must not have been spectacular because I would have remembered the outcome better.

WizardOfOdds
Tue, 23 Jan 2007 17:26:12 -0800

Sure, I can do that . . . take two pictures at two resolutions. I'll post them when I'm done.

Chieh Cheng
Tue, 23 Jan 2007 17:49:09 -0800

WizardOfOdds, I've just shot three photos using the VQ1005; 1280x1024, 640x480, and 1600x1200. All of the original JPEG's have been uploaded to the "JPEG Images Straight from the VistaQuest VQ1005" thread. See the TrackBack below.

Chieh Cheng
Wed, 24 Jan 2007 01:20:41 -0800

Does anyone know if the length of the video clips on the VQ1005 can be increased?

Cheap0 RC-Cam
Mon, 11 Aug 2008 16:09:47 +0000

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Title: Pictures from weather balloon
Weblog: Camera Hacker
Excerpt: Take a look at the VistaQuest VQ1005 Digital Keychain Camera. I reviewed it recently on this web site. I think you will find that it comes with everything you'd get from hacking the original Dakota digital camera, straight out of the package. It's got 1 MP. And the weight is not a problem. And best . . .
Tracked: Wed, 24 Jan 2007 01:07:15 -0800

Title: warning on using the VistaQuest VQ1005 digital camera as a SD Card reader
Weblog: Camera Hacker
Excerpt: The VistaQuest VQ1005 Digital Keychain Camera is a really fun and robust camera to carry around. As a bonus, it serves as a memory card reader as well. So far, it worked without any special driver installation in Linux or Windows XP. However, here is lesson I learned the hard way. The VQ1005 can . . .
Tracked: Wed, 24 Jan 2007 01:08:36 -0800

Title: JPEG Images Straight from the VistaQuest VQ1005
Weblog: Camera Hacker
Excerpt: This thread contains the JPEG images that are straight from the VistaQuest VQ1005 digital camera for examination. IMG_0001.JPG is normal mode image. 1280x1024. Make sure you click on the scaled-down image below and download the full-size image.
Tracked: Wed, 24 Jan 2007 01:19:00 -0800

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