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Build-It-Yourself Camera

Sometimes, I think the only way to really understand a technology is to build it from scratch.

I’m not sure if that’s really true, or what the folks who created the Bigshot camera had in mind either, but, I have to admit, their product looks like they agree with me.
I usually try to avoid advertising things here, especially if I’m not getting anything cash out of it myself, but I couldn’t resist talking about this fascinating project.  If you read any photography blogs, you’ve probably already heard about this, but, well, I’m going to mention it anyway because you might have missed it.  And, I’ll be honest, I’m having trouble coming up with interesting posts for Fridays this week, so this is the best I’ve got.  Hopefully, I’ll feel more inspired next week.

In any case, the Bigshot is meant to be a teaching aid.
In a nutshell, it’s a digital camera that you can assemble yourself and actually use to take photos.  You don’t have to wire any electronics, they’ve done that for you, but pretty much everything else needs to be glued or screwed together.  It has a couple of lenses on a rotating ring, so your students can produce some different effects that include “regular”, panoramic and 3D modes.  So, yeah, this little $89 camera will take 3D shots!  Obviously, it’s a digital camera, because pretty much only old people and effete artists use film any more.
The camera also includes an LED flash and a timer.  But the feature I think is the most interesting, and most useful to early digital photography students, is that it includes a hand-crank charger!  So, yeah, no batteries required!

The website has information about the camera specifications and instructions for assembly, as well as the free photographic processing software that lets students manipulate their photos.
According to the site, the “…major goal of the Bigshot project is to exploit the engaging nature of cameras to draw young minds to science and engineering.”  That’s something we need more of in this country, and the world, I think, which is another reason I’m mentioning this project this week.

So, anyway, go check it out and maybe buy one for that kid in your life you want to inspire.  It’s a good cause.


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