Kickstarting an open hardware SLR networking add-on




And, as usual, my Nikon D3100 isn’t supported. Hmm. time for a new body?


Personally i’ve been wanting to see an open source camera. Hardware-wise it might be too difficult and expensive to attempt, but i’ve been more interested in the idea of a camera supporting alternate open source software. This kind of exists, kind of… some people will hack in missing functionality for certain dSLR cameras, or they’ll provide user created fixes for stupid design/UI decisions. But if it worked like Android that would be great, then dedicated people could program in extra functionality to give certain cameras more usefulness.


It’s on there, they’ve just named all the Nikons really oddly: “Nikon DSC D3100”


It’d be expensive, but I don’t think impossible. The trick would be sourcing good quality sensors - you could reuse existing mount systems by 3D printing adaptors, and the rest of the electronics shouldn’t be insurmountable…


Oops. Still, the extent of the support isn’t mentioned, and unfortunately, support for the lowest tier of Nikon’s DSLRs is hindered by the lack of an SDK, so it can be as simple as “trigger the shutter”. On better supported cameras it can include LiveView, f stop, shutter speed, focus point selection, and so on.

This is a computer interface for the D90, which is slotted in the “prosumer” bracket.



Yeah, I noticed that they’re a little vague as to what exactly is supported on which models. (Mine isn’t supported at all so I won’t be backing, but they could stand to be a little clearer as to whether all functionality is available on each model.)


Hey guys, greetings from Lumera team!, your Nikon D3100 camera is supported. Please have a look at our Kickstarter website, we have been updating our camera list support.


you could reuse existing mount systems by 3D printing adaptors

I recently replaced the focusing screen in my camera with a split prism. Unfortunately, I had not noticed that a s shim had floated off my table. so I was initially disappointed with the results. The shim, which I found and replaced, was only a micron thick, and corrected the errors to my satisfaction. Is your 3D printer up to the task?


This is quite cool, but I’m going to put this here as another option that is using open source software and a common bit of hardware. I’m using it on my HTC One M7 and my Canon T2i (550) and 5DmkII quite successfully. It seems to lack a couple of features (no bluetooth for one). I’m told it supports Nikon as well, but I can’t verify that.

However, the hardware is not open, and this little item looks to be much more nicely integrated and portable, whereas my current setup ends up with the wireless box hanging off the tripod.


I think the obstacles to a quality open-source platform are significantly more challenging than people seem to think, and would result (at first) in products significantly more expensive than their mass-market competitors.

Major players benefit from vast economies of scale, as well as the ability to develop their software/firmware for their most expensive products and then neuter it for their consumer lineups in an exercise of price discrimination. They have the facilities and infrastructure to manufacture to extremely high tolerances. Customized lens/sensor image processing, correction, and optimization is probably more challenging than it might appear given that there are few independent companies that offer products that do this (DxO and PTLens being perhaps the most prominent), while the lack of consumer-created lens profiles in Adobe Lightroom suggests there really aren’t that many private individuals interested in helping create solutions.

I think the best hope is that some manufacturer decides to open things up and offer something like a Nikon/Cannon App Store (though maybe this coming from Pentax is more likely, since they have more to gain and less to lose).

People with $400 bodies probably aren’t the target market for a $200 interface gizmo, just like they didn’t really make data backs for consumer SLR back in the film-based days.


Have you priced Nikon’s lenses lately? Prices start at $200, and go into the thousands of dollars. An entry level body does have limitations, but most of the advise I’ve seen tends to be-- “spend your money on glass.”


Those whose only body is a $400 one aren’t really in the market for many lenses, either—and certainly not professional-level ones. I suspect most owners of entry-level DLSRs have only one or maybe two lenses.

By my count, 9 of the top-20-best-selling lenses on Amazon are under $200, and lenses are a far easier purchase to justify than a smartphone tether.

Entry-level DSLRs have great image quality, especially today, but pairing one with a 70-200/2.8 is an interesting ergonomic experience and unlikely to be spotted in the wild.


By my count, 9 of the top-20-best-selling lenses on Amazon are under $200, and lenses are a far easier purchase to justify than a smartphone tether.

  • Canon
  • Nikon
  • Over 200 (Nikon)
  • Nikon-- but it won’t focus on an entry level camera
  • Over 200 (Canon)
  • Over 200 (Canon)
  • Over 200 (Canon)
  • Over 200 (Nikon)
  • Over 200 (Nikon)
  • Canon
  • Nikon (kit lens)
  • bizarre lens attachment
  • Over 200 (Canon)
  • Over 200 (Nikon)
  • Canon
  • Way over 200 (Nikon)
  • Way over 200 (Canon)
  • Sigma for Nikon
  • Canon
  • Over 200 (Sigma)

Slim pickings.



OK, discard the attachment and the 50/1.8 Nikkor. 7/20 is slim pickings? That’s one-third of the lenses in the top 20. More than two-thirds of the Nikon lineup is over $200, and the same can be said of Canon. If anything, the top-20 reflects the understandable fact that cheaper lenses are bigger sellers than expensive lenses. Talking about how individual lenses can run into the thousands of dollars (and tens of thousands, and even hundreds of thousands) isn’t hugely relevant to what the market actually is, any more than talking about million-dollar cars says much about the car market as a whole.

And what does it say about the lens-buying habits of entry-level DSLR owners that the second-highest-selling Nikon lens won’t even AF on entry-level DSLRs?

What is true is that someone who owns a professional-level lens likely owns a number of lenses, and has made a considerable investment in photography gear. They are unlikely to balk at spending another few hundred dollars to step up to a mid-level body. It’s even more likely they will plump for a full-frame body, since most expensive/professional lenses are designed to cover the full frame and you’re paying for the privilege.

Unlike Kai Wong’s humorous take on the issue, I’ve never seen anyone pair a $5,000 body with a used Sigma super-zoom; a $500 body with two L-series lenses that together cost $4,000, cover the same focal range, and don’t go wider than the FF equivalent of 36mm is also an unlikely kit. A full-frame 6D and the 24-105/4 would be a more realistic combination than either, for half the money.

I don’t understand how Kai’s video really contradicted anything I said, such as that entry-level bodies tend to have great IQ these days. Plus, as Kai says, most lenses these days are actually pretty decent.


And what does it say about the lens-buying habits of entry-level DSLR owners that the second-highest-selling Nikon lens won’t even AF on entry-level DSLRs?

It’s possible that some are using it in manual mode-- it is cheap, and it meters. Though manual focus can be a tricky business with a focal screen that isn’t designed for it.

I hear that the 35mmNikon 1.8 (just a bit over $200) is a really nice lens.


They list Kodak in their list of other cameras to support survey but not Pentax? Uh huh.


I find it difficult to believe that people with entry-level cameras are deciding to buy a 50/1.8 lens that doesn’t AF (and has a crummy focusing ring) to use on a camera with no MF aids, especially when it sells in lower volumes than the 35/1.8 and 50/1.8 that will both work on entry-level bodies. But if people are chosing to buy a lens that will be difficult to focus (especially at f/1.8) on their cameras simply because it saves them $100 over the AF-S version, then this says even more about the market for a $200 doodad.


The afs 50mm lens was released in 2011, long after Nikon started releasing AFS-only bodies. The AFS 35mm lens was released in 2009. The D40, which was released in 2007 was first body released without an autofocus motor.

(Nikon started releasing AFS lenses in 1998-- starting with some very expensive zooms)