DIY: Making a Very Wide Angle Webcam on the Cheap
After I made my Webcam Cart and blogged about it a package I'd forgotten about arrived. It was a cheap "Zeikos ZE-WA37S 37mm 0.45X Wide Angle Lens." Only $10. I've looked all over for wide-angle webcams and they just don't exist. Over the counter webcams have a very narrow field of view.
I started with my favorite webcam, an amazing value, the Lifecam Cinema HD. I've got 4 of these. Now, the wide angle lens has a large opening, about an inch and a half, while the Lifecam is maybe an inch in diameter. I needed something to build up the diameter in such a way that it'd hold the wide angle lens in position while avoiding ruining the camera itself.
How? Electrical tape. Lots of it. I wrapped it around and around until it could offer enough outward tension to keep the lens on tightly.
Here's a still shot taken with the Lifecam Cinema HD with the lens it came with.
Here's a still shot taken with the same Lifecam Cinema HD with the cheap Zeikos Wide-Angle lens attached. Note the blurriness in the periphery and the slight fish-eye warping in the shelves.
The Lifecam is ideal for this kind of hack because it has a built in AutoFocus that REALLY works hard to keep things focused. I'll be using this for meetings and "getting a sense of the room" since I can't afford a $3000 "Roundtable" camera. I haven't measured it, but I fell I'm getting at least 100 degrees or more of field of view (my gut) so I think it's a good tradeoff of visual acuity for seeing a LOT more of the room for only $10.
Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.
By the way, cool idea to have a clock behind you. This way your callers can see the local time and know if they are intruding :). I will be working from home from March and I would love to read a post of yours with tips and tricks about the subject of working remotely. Here is one of mine: http://devblog.papadi.gr/5-simple-non-state-of-the-art-features-that-m
Not the best decision if you ask me.
No reflection on your athletic frame.
:-P this is the reason...
this was done with 3 D700, but I'm planning a baby-video version...
I'm quite confident I can hack them to stitch together the right way. Close objects will always be tricky, but...
... who knows!!
Ciao from Venice/ Italy.
And you call yourself a geek with a lot of hobbies... jeesh! :)
Nice Idea with the wide angle.
I like your comments about "being there". Remote work is particularly tough when everyone else is "in the office" and you're not. I highly prefer when everyone is in the same boat (remote). It usually works out much better.
Would something like this work? It's a variable-diameter lens adapter to couple two optics in the 12mm - 41mm range.
The LifeCam Cinema looks like it has a 20mm lens from the product details page.
where did you get the wide angle lens? Also, have you looked to see if you could remove the lens from the camera, and replace with something else?
Also the Lifecam Cinema says it's 720p 30fps, but the 720p res can only do 10fps. What's up with that?
1. It's a lot quicker because of the extra thickness
2. It gives a little 'springyness' to the attachment, so you can sort of squeeze the wide angle lens on in such away that (I'm guessing) it'll stay on a little more reliably without any additional persuasion.
Oh, and I'm surprised at how little the image distorts, and how good the auto-focus remains.
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