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 Post subject: Panasonic FS6
PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:54 pm 
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Somebody please help me! I have a serious problem...stopped by the local camera shop today to test out a few cams. I chatted with a very knowledgeable salesman and we tried out quite a few different point and shoots. There were some decent cams we tried out...said I was looking for something that was quick, good flash and nice crisp images. He steered me mainly towards the Panasonic cams...mostly in the 175 - 275 is price range.

I had absolutley no intensions of buying any...heck I hadn't even planned on going there but saw the shop as I was driving home from work...anyway I got him to show me some of the cheaper Panasonics, and he gave me one of last years models (that they still have quite a bit of stock in) and said that it's better than the one that replaced it in 2010.

It is the Panasonic FS6...at only $115 brand new the cam started up fairly quick in the store and took some nice pics. The guy said they have a 14 day return policy if I wanted to buy it and take it back after testing it...so I walked out of there with a brand new FS6. Took some pics in the yard when I got home, and the color and clarity of them were actually very nice.

I took it out tonight outside town to do some flash pics, along with the new Sony W370 and the FS6 blew the 370 out of the water for night pics. I plan to take more daytime shots with this one tomorrow, and do some more speed tests with it, but so far this one looks very promising.

W370 with Dog at 5 yards
Image

Panasonic FS6 with dog at 5 yards
Image

W370 with far trees at 12 yards
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Panasonic FS6 with far trees at 12 yards
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 Post subject: Re: Panasonic FS6
PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:01 pm 
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I have been heading in this direction to. I have 2 FS3 out now. The Lieca lens has me interested. These are not cheap cameras so it does take work to get one at a good price. Does the FS6 have the slide on and off switch. If it does it takes a little different programing.


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 Post subject: Re: Panasonic FS6
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 5:15 am 
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Is this the style camera you had to use the read relays with Charles?


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 Post subject: Re: Panasonic FS6
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 5:50 am 
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How fast do you think it is? The relay issue doesn't bother me, just a small extra step added to the board.


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 Post subject: Re: Panasonic FS6
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 6:57 am 
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buckshot164 wrote:
I have been heading in this direction to. I have 2 FS3 out now. The Lieca lens has me interested. These are not cheap cameras so it does take work to get one at a good price. Does the FS6 have the slide on and off switch. If it does it takes a little different programing.


Yeah it does...I was wondering if that might become an issue for hacking.

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 Post subject: Re: Panasonic FS6
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:01 am 
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egbertdavis wrote:
How fast do you think it is? The relay issue doesn't bother me, just a small extra step added to the board.


The cam is about 3 seconds from full start up to picture storage. I timed it with a stop watch with both forced flash and flash off and there was only about .2 seconds difference (2.9 without and 3.1 with). I havn't recorded any of this, but will soon. Actaully I will probably set up another spreadsheet for the cams we hand test.

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 Post subject: Re: Panasonic FS6
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:06 am 
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The FS6 has the Leica lens, but the one that replaced it for this year has the Lumix lens. The salesman figures the Leica lens is much better. Not sure what price these were when they first came out but they are still selling them in the store for $115 (CDN) new in the box...can't go wrong with that considering it takes better pictures than cameras twice it's price (W370).

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 Post subject: Re: Panasonic FS6
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:13 am 
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Here a daytime shot from yesterday in the backyard. I will hopefully get more today.

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 Post subject: Re: Panasonic FS6
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:01 am 
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No that was the Sony s2100. This one has the slide switch to power on and off. So you turn the camera on and take a picture. Then you turn it off. Not like the Sony where you push a switch to turn it on and then you push switch again to turn it off. I have one fs3 set to a shutter delay of 1500 and another set to 2000. Did you happen to have looked at a LZ8 or a LZ10 i think theyare a 3.8 second camera and that is real slow. The FS20 has promise 2 second camera and a 21 foot affective flash.

Program for the FS3.

*
'SS camera controller code for 08M Picaxe chip...revised 5-4-09



'This program will control several cameras, including the Sony P41, P32

'and most other Sony cameras that are typically used for trail cameras.

'Notice that all lines that begin with ' are green. These lines are what

'are called comments. They have no affect on the program at all, but are

'a very useful way to keep notes in your picaxe code to easily remind you

'what a particular area of code is for. So, by each line of code, you will

'see comments to explain what they are for.



'I will put some explanation of what these most used commands mean, and you

'can find good examples in the Picaxe manuals also. The manuals should be

'included when you download your free copy of the Picaxe Program Editor.

'At the top, click help, and you can see your choices....







'disablebod...Disable brownout detection. see manual 2 for more details.

'.............This lets the chip run using less power for better battery life.



'high.........When you see this, it tells the editor we want the pin number

'.............that follows, to be an output pin, and we want it to be "on"





'low 0........This command tells the editor that we want this pin...pin 0

'.............to become an output, and we want it "off"



'pause........The lines below use the "pause" command. This is a command

'............ that you will use a lot. It simply tells the program to pause

'.............for a set amount of time. It is measured in thousands of a second.

'.............so, the "pause 1000 command below tells the program to pause for

'.............one second. If you want it to pause for say 1/10th of a second,

'.............then you would use "pause 100",

'.............1/2 second would be "pause 500",

'.............1 minute would be "pause 60000" etc.

'.............You can use a number up to 65535 with the pause command;

'.............which would amount to 65.535 seconds.



'xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

'xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx





'These next few lines are just initially setting the pins how we want them.





low 0 'set the pin that controls the camera shutter to low



low 1 'set the pin that controls the camera power to low



input 2 'let the picaxe chip know that pin2 (for the switch) will need'

'to be an input so we'll be able to see if the switch is set to'

'trail or feeder.



input 3 'Pin 3 is kind of special and can only be used as an input,

'The picaxe chip knows that, so we don't really need to set it up,

'but we will anyway, just to help new guys know what is going on.



low 4 'set the LED pin to low to make sure the LED is OFF.



disablebod 'remember, this lets the chip run using less power (see above)



pause 3000 'wait for 3 seconds





'xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

'xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx





'Here we want time for the motion sensor to warm up, and we will turn the

'camera on too, so the flash can be pre-charged or "refreshed"



'We will use the opto on the SS board to "push" the buttons on the camera.

'When we do this, we need to think of how we would do this manually...

'We will push the button for a time, then release it, to turn the camera on

'then do it again, to turn the camera back off.





warmup:





high 4 'turn on LED to indicate warm-up mode

pause 1000



high 1 'turn on camera power opto pin to "push" camera power button



pause 10000 'pause 10 seconds for camera to charge the flash



low 1 'turn the camera power opto back off

pause 1000



low 4 'turn LED off indicating warm-up has timed out





'xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

'xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx





'This part of the code is for the walk test part of the board operation.

'You see w0 = 300 here, this is what is called a variable. A variable is

'just that...variable, meaning you can change the number to suit the need.

'We are using this variable as a timer for the walk test mode, and you can

'adjust the time to suit your needs, or make w0 = 0, and the walk test will

'not happen at all. This walk test resets the timer every time motion is

'seen, so don't forget to make changes to "re-start timer from beginning if

'motion detected" as well as the first w0 = ___





walk_test:



w0 = 300 '30 seconds..' How many 100ms - 300 x 100 = 30,000ms = 30s

Do While w0 > 0 'walk test lasts till timer is timed out

If pin3 = 0 Then 'pin3 goes to the PIR, when PIR detects motion...then...

high 4 'light walk test LED to show detection

pause 1000 'keep LED on for a 1 second pause

low 4 'turn walk test LED off

pause 100

w0 = 300 'restart timer from beginning if motion detected

pause 3000 'wait for PIR to settle



Else 'if no motion is seen this time, still count down the timer anyway

low 4

End If 'when you use an "if" you also need to tell the chip where it ends

Pause 100

w0 = w0 - 1 'deducting from walk test time

Loop 'this just says to keep the walk test running till timed out

pause 100

high 4 'turn on walk test LED to show walk test over

pause 3000 'LED on time

low 4 'turn LED off

pause 1000 'wait





'Walk test finished, now go to regular camera mode



'xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

'xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx





'This is the part of the program where the SS is armed and ready to

'take a picture when motion is seen. You see another variable here

'This variable..w1...is going to be the refresh interval timer

'We are using a "do loop" (see manual 2) with a low power command

'called a "nap" The SS will check for a motion detection...take a short

'"nap to save power, then deduct 1 from the variable. This loop

'will keep looping till the timer runs out, then the SS will "goto"

'the refresh, which keeps the cameras flash charged.



'You can change how often the camera is refreshed by changing "w1"

'Be sure to also change the "w1" in the refresh part of the code below

'as the refresh interval timer is re-set after the camera refreshes.





standby:



W1 = 10000 'refresh interval...10,000 is 50 minutes

Do While W1 > 0

if pin3 = 0 then goto take_picture 'pin3 is motion detector triggered

Nap 4

W1 = W1 - 1

Loop

goto refresh





'xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

'xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx





'This is where the camera will turn on for a few seconds to refresh the flash

'so the camera will be ready to take a picture quickly. Most cameras should be

'able to top the flash charge off within a few seconds. When changing things in

'this section, be sure to make similar changes where they relate to other parts.

'In other words...if you change w1, which is the refresh interval, be sure to

'change it in standby too.





refresh:



high 1 'push power button

pause 3000 'camera on for 3 seconds...remember 1000 is one second

low 1 'release power button



W1 = 10000 'refresh interval...10,000 is 50 minutes



pause 1000

goto standby





'xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

'xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx





'Here we are, this is where the sensor has seen motion and we want to

'take a picture of what set it off. This code is written to include

'activity mode, which is where the camera will stay powered on after

'picture, so additional detection will result in an almost instant shutter.

'There is a switch on the board that lets you choose between activity

'mode and feeder mode. Feeder mode will take one picture, then the camera

'will save the picture, charge the flash, then shut off.





take_picture:



high 1 'push power button



pause 2000 'This is your shutter delay time. Different cameras need different

'amounts of time between when you hit the power button to when you

'hit the shutter button. A few cameras will let you hit the shutter

'right away, as long as you hold it till the picture is taken.



high 0 'Now that we have had the pause, we will push the shutter button

pause 3000 'holding the shutter button down

low 0 'releasing the shutter button



W1 = 10000 'resetting the refresh timer



'xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx





'This is important for you to understand. Remember from the beginning

'we said high is on and low is off...well now we need to expand on that.



'The switch on the board will connect pin2, which is an input here, to either

'positive or negative. We say 1 (one) if the pin is positive, meaning it is

'connecting to the positive voltage, and we call it 0 (zero) if it is grounded.

'We are telling the Picaxe that if this pin2 has positive going to it that

'means we want the camera to be in activity mode.



'What is assumed here, is if pin2 is 0, we don't want activity mode, so

'the picaxe will skip the activity mode and keep going down the page. You

'can use the switch for other things instead of activity mode if you want

'to...for example, you could have two different delays instead.





if pin2 = 1 then activity_mode





'xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx





'If pin2 = 0 meaning you have it set to feeder mode, then this part of the

'code will run instead of it jumping past to activity mode.



'The picture has been taken, and now we need a pause for the camera to save

'the picture and charge the flash up, if it was used. I chose pause 15000

'which is 15 seconds, because in the worst case, with the batteries getting

'low, and the flash used to the fullest, it can take this long to recharge.

'If you turn the camera off before the flash is fully charged, it will

'have to finish charging before it can take another picture. This delay

'will likely cause a missed picture...and we don't want that to happen.







pause 15000 '1000 is one second, so this is 15 seconds


low 1 'release power button



'xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx





'This next line is your picture to picture delay when not using activity

'Sleep is a low power mode, and each sleep 1 is equal to about 2.3 seconds.

'I timed this with a stopwatch, and sleep 43 turned out to be right about

'2 minutes, because you also have the time where the camera stays on after

'the picture taken. It's up to you to make this delay what you want it to

'be. You can go from 0 to 65535.By my calculations sleep 65535 is too long.





sleep 43 'This should be about 2 minutes





goto standby 'from here the code will goto and wait for another detection





'xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

'xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx





'Here is the activity mode instructions. You see it is almost the same as

'the walk test. We can even re-use the variable w0 to set the time it keeps

'the camera on and waiting for another detection.





activity_mode:



w0 = 300 '30 seconds..' How many 100ms - 300 x 100 = 30,000ms = 30s

Do While w0 > 0 'activity mode lasts till timer is timed out

If pin3 = 0 Then 'pin3 goes to the PIR, when PIR detects motion...then...

high 0 'press the shutter button

pause 300 'hold shutter button down

low 0 'release shutter button

w0 = 300 're-start timer from beginning because motion was detected

pause 3000 'wait for PIR to settle

End If



Pause 100

w0 = w0 - 1 'deducting from camera on time

Loop 'this just says to keep running till timed out





'xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx





'Now that there has been no more motion seen for the time you choose

'which is about 30 seconds in this example, it is time to turn the camera

'off and go back to watching for another event.





low 1 'release the power button and the camera should be off now

w1 = 10000 'we are resetting the refresh timer



'xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx



'You have a decision to make here.



'THIS IS ONLY CHANGING THE DELAY IN ACTIVITY MODE, It is separate

'from the delay in feeder mode. This time will be for after the activity mode

'has timed out, and maybe you want to have a delay before it can start

'popping off pictures again. If you are going to use a delay longer than

'a second or so, I would use sleep, to save board battery power.





pause 1000

goto standby


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 Post subject: Re: Panasonic FS6
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:14 pm 
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Posts: 462
Jeremi, I have heard the same thing about the new Sony Cameras. Sony switched to a new cheaper lens, and this years cameras are not as good as last years. I have also heard the new lens is made in China. Maybe you should look at more of last years cameras. i have always used Burris rifle scopes. So I ordered a Burris spotting scope. When it arrived, I was disappointed to see a "made in China" sticker on the scope. That was five years ago, and maybe Chinese optics have improved. It seems everything is made in China these days.
Bob


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