Camera Hacker

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3D Photo with Vivitar Mini Digital Camera

Check this out! I stuck two of these together and made a 3D CAMERA!

I taped the two cameras together, side by side, with an "X" of scotch tape on the front and back. I spaced them apart from each other by about a half inch, with a foam earplug as a spacer. I have to "disassemble" the camera (that is, remove the tape) to download images from the camera that has the plug in the middle.

I take a 3D photo by clicking the two cameras' shutter buttons at the same time. Each 3D photo consists of two separate images that were taken at the same time -- one image from each camera.

To view a 3D photo, download the images from your cameras, and line up a pair side-by-side on your computer screen. The one from the "left eye camera" goes on the right. Cross your eyes, and view the image aligned in the middle (this takes some practice). If you want to learn more about 3D photography in general, Wikipedia is a reasonable place to start: Stereoscopy

Obviously photos taken in bright OUTDOOR LIGHT are best with this camera, but I also found lamp-lit indoor 3D photos to be low-grade fun.

Neat, neat, neat! A 3D camera for just $20, plus scotch tape. ;-)

P.S. Here are a few battery tips: (a) the original battery that comes with the camera is a cheap one without much juice; your own batteries should last longer. (b) Remove the battery while you're hooked up via USB, to save battery life. (I'm not sure it's actually running down the battery then, but some folks on this forum thought so. The USB provides power, so removing the battery doesn't hurt.) (c) If you're out in the cold, keep the camera inside your coat to keep the batteries warm and active. I'd hate to lose photos because my camera battery froze. (This camera loses photos when it loses battery power. Which is muchas bad.)

Attached Image:


Anne W
Sat, 02 Feb 2008 18:08:08 +0000

Here is a 3D photo I took with the taped-together pair of cameras that I just posted about above. The photo is not framed terribly well (it's hard to use the little plastic viewer for precision shots, as you may know), but the 3D effect is right on. The cameras turned out to be quite uniform with each other, in that they appear to point in the same direction, and grab an image with the same field of view. I was worried that the cheap electronics or "glue" inside might cause misalignment, but it's actually great.

Those blue things in my photo are lights hanging from the ceiling in the kitchen at my work. They're hanging over a long table in front of the window. That's Chicago's Tribune Tower out the window. Not the finest photo, but it's a nice view, and hey, I'm just getting started! To view the photo, cross your eyes and line up the image in the center. Trouble viewing it? Here's a nice tutorial on how to "free view" 3D images like this one: How to View a 3D Stereogram (although if you can do their process without using the pen as they suggest, you may find it easier in the end.)

Attached Image:


Anne W
Sat, 02 Feb 2008 18:27:46 +0000

I had the same idea when I saw those $10 digital cameras. (A $20 stereo camera)
My approach was with popsicle sticks and rubber bands.
I took printouts of the results to our local stereo group, here in Austin Texas.

Matt Ellsworth
Sat, 02 May 2009 07:11:33 +0000

i did the same project with the same cameras a couple years ago with some success. Granted, the cameras have terrible resolution but the stereo images i took were true enough to see the effect. to better sync the cameras I opened the cases and soldered in wires to the trigger and connected them to a $1 momentary contact switch from radio shack.

Thu, 05 Aug 2010 08:54:52 +0000

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