TDC Stereo Vivid
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The A5 story
I chose to use a Canon PowerShot A5 as my base
camera. My reasons were several:
- They use compact flash media (for which I already own a reader)
- They use a rechargeable battery (for which I already own a charger)
- They are small and light (so when I have a pair of them I can still carry
and control them)
- They take nice pictures
- They have a pretty wide 5 mm (38 mm equivalent in 35 mm camera terms) lens
- They are non-zoom (so I don't have to synchronize lenses as well as
- They shot at about ASA 400 in their low-res mode
- They have a metal body put together with screws
With all that in mind, I started shopping USENET and e-bay for a pair of A5s.
I was able to find a couple of cameras in very good condition for a total of $350.
As each of my "new" cameras arrived from their previous owners, I
confirmed that they were functional and had good optics. Everything was
great until I started taking test shots with both cameras. I was stunned to discover that the two
cameras were aimed differently. Both had their lens/CCD assembly aligned
with their view finder, but when set on a horizontal surface (or mounted on a
tripod) one took pictures several degrees higher than the other. To
correct the misalignment and create usable pairs from my twin, I would
- edit each resulting pair to correct the alignment
- shim the camera bases to bring them back into alignment
- buy more cameras until I found two that lined up nicely
I chose the third option and with one more camera, I scored with an excellent
alignment match. Further investigation
revealed that the winning pair had serial numbers much closer together than the
whether that represented information or was just coincidence, I don't know.
My camera choice was made late in 1999 and early 2000. Many things have
changed in the digital imaging world since then. In mid 2002, I decided to
make a new twin and chose to base it on the Canon A100. Its firmware
offers many great features not found on the A5 with slightly improved image