I have an old 5 megapixel Sony Cybershot DSC (I think it's this one) lying around somewhere, and since it is pretty much obsolete (but it shoots great quality 640x480 video) I keep wondering if I could hack it and use it as a webcam somehow.

Did anyone ever attempt to do such a thing? The camera has a usb data transfer cable and a composite video out but you probably can't screw with the software to feed video through those while you're shooting it. But how hard could it be to leech live video off of some point on it's way to the memory card or something?

I have some experience with arduinos and whatnot but I have a feeling that you shouldn't need one to pull this off.

Don't know much about how cameras are wired though. What do you guys think?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ "But how hard could it be to leech live video off of some point on it's way to the memory card or something?" Short answer: quite hard, unless you've done similar things. Not only from a functional point of view, but also probably from a mechanical point of view (how to solder wires to very tiny pins). \$\endgroup\$ – Telaclavo May 22 '12 at 1:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ the thing is, the memory card my camera uses is huge. link You can solder to contacts that big any day. But you may have a point there, as I haven't taken it apart to see what's inside. \$\endgroup\$ – Spectraljump May 22 '12 at 6:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @tudor then you only need to implement virtual MMC and transmit that data faster then the camera throws it at you. This may be much much harder then you realize. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk May 22 '12 at 16:28

There may be a hardware solution to your problem, but I would generally consider it too much work when a webcam can be commonly bought retail for less than $15.

The concept of "Tethering" allows control of the camera to actually take pictures etc as though you are manually using the camera. It has to be supported in the cameras firmware. Then a PC application can be used to control the camera.

Otherwise look for drivers that allow the camera to appear as a WIA device (similar to a Scanner) on your computer. Then use a photo application or even MS Paint to view the active camera view and capture screen shots or video as the application allows.


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