The vast majority of those who use digital cameras haven’t the foggiest idea what’s inside them. Well some lucky children are finding out.
A group at the Computer Vision Laboratory at Columbia University designed and built the BigShot digital camera. The BigShot comes in a kit that contains all the necessary parts for building a basic digital camera with a 1.9 megapixel image sensor.
The BigShot website provides detailed illustrations and interactive demonstrations about how to assemble the camera. It also provides instructions on how to use it, including how to compose photos. The composition guide provides a lesson on the time-honored Rule of Thirds, which they say is “one of the basic, yet very effective, rules that one can follow while composing a photo.”
The site offers tips and tricks for using the camera including how to download and process photos, how to make stitched panoramas and scene collages, and how to take 3D photos. Red/cyan 3D glasses are required to view photos in stereo.
The BigShot sports a unique, external Lens Wheel which gives the photographer a choice of Normal Lens, Panoramic Lens and Stereo Prism.
You can power up the BigShot in two ways: using a 1.5V volt AA battery, or by rotating a hand crank (dynamo). The camera can take one picture for every four to six rotations, however the only way the built-in flash works is with the battery installed.
While the BigShot doesn’t have a LCD screen to use for taking and reviewing photos, it does have a viewfinder. It also has sufficient external features, including a self-timer and power and memory level LEDs, to keep any child-photographer happy.
Did I say child-photographer? Hey, I want a BigShot if and when they go on sale to the general public!
As of this writing, the camera prototypes are used in workshops. They are being conducted for children between the ages of 8 and 14 years attending schools in New York City. In addition, field tests are planned for a few selected cities around the globe. For more information, visit the BigShot website.