OTTO, the Customizable, Open Source, DIY Camera

OTTO - The Customizable, Open Source, DIY CameraEver wonder what goes into making a modern digital camera? Check out the OTTO, an open source,  homegrown camera that allows for extensive customization of both the hardware and software.

Previously, DIY Tripods featured a different open source camera, however, it was analog, using traditional film to capture and store images. The OTTO attacks the problem from a differently, using the Raspberry Pi (also open source) to take digital pictures. This gives end users a lot more options.  Users can post-process images, automatically  adjust shutter speeds, take timed photo sequences, or anything else one can program the ‘Pi to do.

One of the coolest features of the OTTO is its ability to make animated gifs. As seen in the video below, Continue reading

Easy to Build Open Source Camera

a 3D printed open source cameraThis open source camera combines practicality, simplicity, and ingenuity to make a camera out of readily available parts. In addition, it gives individuals the chance to build their own camera. This encourages experimentation and forces the builder to learn more about the nitty-gritty of photography.

Even though there is not a detailed instruction list, the parts list is complete. It shouldn’t be too hard  to assemble the camera based on the pictures and some common sense. Being open source, maybe someone will contribute a full instruction manual in the future.

open source camera before assemblyThe body is constructed from 3D printed plastic and an adafruit trinket (knockoff arduino) controls the shutter. Actual film (as opposed to a CCD) is used to capture the image. This allows the design to stay simple and effective. The camera is simple and it’s easy to understand how it works. Because of this, it would be easy to experiment with long-exposure or other “exotic” filming techniques.  See our explanation of light graffiti if you need some ideas!

On the other hand, as a result of the simplicity there are two major downsides to this camera:

  • The battery is difficult to access
  • It is difficult to aim the camera

However, these things could easily be improved upon in a future design.

Undoubtedly, the best part of this camera is the fact that it is open source. This opens the door for all kinds of experimentation and new features. Maybe we’ll see a 3D printed tripod or other crazy accessory show up for it soon!