I have a project that requires high-quality video and stills to be acquired (almost) live with computer controls. By "almost" live, I mean that a five second delay is acceptable, but five minutes isn't. (And by "acquired", I mean a computer readable file, JPG, H.264 or otherwise.)
So far, I'm using a Sanyo VDC HD 3500 camera, that gives me 4M stills and 1920x1080 30 fps video through an IP camera. However, 4M is low resolution for stills, and the optics (for both stills and videos) leaves much to be desired. The HD3500 costs ~US$900.
Canon's EOS 550D/Rebel T2i has ridiculously good optics, can do 18 MP stills, and 1080p that is way better than the Sanyo... And costs US$700 - US$800.
A GoPro HERO HD Camera can do wide-angle 1080p with better optics than the Sanyo... For US$260.
And there are others that optically and sensorly fit the bill much better than the Sanyo. However, neither the Canon nor the GoPro seem to yield to computer control and/or live video streaming - they both write their respective streams to an SD card from which you have to read stuff later, when the camera is not taking pictures.
How do I modify a GoPro, T2i or any other cheap point&shoot / DSLR to provide the interface I need? Alternatively, is it possible to construct an SD card which is not actually a card, but rather a computer posing as a card so I can get the streams as they are being written?