El Duce

Best gadget for taking internal photos of violins etc.?

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There have been several discussions about using inexpensive USB cameras for doing this. It needs to be less than 5.5mm diameter, and good interior lighting is a must! My Luthier Lights (tm) are perfect for this, giving nice, bright lighting to the interior. 

Note: The USB endoscope cameras are readily available on Ebay.  

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5 hours ago, El Duce said:

Hi looking for recommendations of a cheap but decent inspection camera/gadget for internal photo shots. Thanks

What sort of price and image quality are you looking for? In other words, what is "cheap but decent", to you?

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International violin has some small endoscopic cameras with LEDs that blue tooth to an iPhone or Android 'phone.  They seem to work pretty well.  The one I have was about $50.00.  I'm sure there are fancier ones but it seems to work.

 

DLB

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46 minutes ago, Dwight Brown said:

International violin has some small endoscopic cameras with LEDs that blue tooth to an iPhone or Android 'phone.  They seem to work pretty well.  The one I have was about $50.00.  I'm sure there are fancier ones but it seems to work.

 

DLB

They also have one for $35 which plugs directly into the USB port on a computer for live viewing, which will also take photos directly to your computer.

https://internationalviolin.com/ProductDetail/t995_endoscope-camera-55mm-tip-androidcomputer-use

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I have three different endoscopes, but the key for the good pictures in the good lightening (appropriate lightening, more precisely).

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9 hours ago, David Burgess said:

They also have one for $35 which plugs directly into the USB port on a computer for live viewing, which will also take photos directly to your computer.

https://internationalviolin.com/ProductDetail/t995_endoscope-camera-55mm-tip-androidcomputer-use

I hadn't looked around for these things until now (even though I occasionally thought it would be good to have).

This one was too reasonable to pass up, so I ordered it:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0778XT2VN/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 

The description says 5.5mm dia., but there's a photo that hints it might be 7 mm.  I'll see.

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I got the one from International that connects to my phone via wifi. I really like being able to monitor right on my phone screen or take stills so I can email them to customers or just show them on my phone to explain what’s going on inside the body or where old repairs are failing. The only problem is that it takes a little practice to get the camera in position. I put the camera in through the larger eye of the f, so I don’t have any issues with its diameter. 

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8 hours ago, Don Noon said:

I hadn't looked around for these things until now (even though I occasionally thought it would be good to have).

This one was too reasonable to pass up, so I ordered it:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0778XT2VN/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 

The description says 5.5mm dia., but there's a photo that hints it might be 7 mm.  I'll see.

Cool, keep us posted, I think I might get one too!  :) 

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Great gadget - up until now I had never realised how bad atrociously bad some of my violins were :huh: ...it opens up a whole new world of old and poor repairs! But apart from that aspect it is brilliant to have a good root around with - certainly gives another viewpoint. I'm finding that the image on screen is better than the snapshots I capture but perhaps I have downloaded a bad app and there are better resolutions out there for image capture. Does anyone have any app recommendations?

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With the phone I use the app CameraFi.

I think the low resolution is because the camera not the app.

The way to improve the quality of the pics is to use a better inside light.

 

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14 hours ago, El Duce said:

I have downloaded a bad app and there are better resolutions out there for image capture. Does anyone have any app recommendations?

If you want to use a PC instead of a phone then just use the camera program on windows 10.

To access it, plug your camera into a usb port and click on the start button and type in "camera".

The quality of the picture will depend on the endoscope cameras resoloution and any extra light source.

I had very poor pictures until I realised that the cameras lens was dirty !

 

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On 1/8/2018 at 5:28 PM, Don Noon said:

I hadn't looked around for these things until now (even though I occasionally thought it would be good to have).

This one was too reasonable to pass up, so I ordered it:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0778XT2VN/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 

The description says 5.5mm dia., but there's a photo that hints it might be 7 mm.  I'll see.

It measures out to 5.5mm diameter.  That's the good news.

The tiny leaflet sortof explains how to get the driving software, I got that, but it was a compressed version (.rar) that I had to find and download some decompressing software for.  I managed to get the camera software going, but it only recognized my built-in PC camera, not the USB device.  The advertisement on Amazon says "Android and Compute", the box only says "Android Camera", and somewhere on the leaflet it said Win7 (I have a Win10 machine).  I tried a couple of other USB camera software applications, but none of them recognized the device.

Returning for refund.  Maybe a computer whiz could make this work, but I don't really need it anyway, especially if it's going to take more of my time.

 

p.s. - predominantly glowing reviews on Amazon... but there is some indication that most of them are fake.

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When I bought the vastly expensive Cremona Tools camera - which at the time was the only thing in the market, and proved it’s value - it didn’t come with its own software. For Mac the recommendation is an app called i-glasses which automatically detects any camera. Once that is running and has locked into the external camera (it works for all kinds of microscopes and such), I then open “photo booth” and use that as my capture software. 

It would not surprise me if there are better systems out there now. But for the moment that works and I have not been bothered to seek a better solution. 

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Well, I got one of these... https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0778XT2VN/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 

Don (and anyone having trouble with the software), if you have Windows 10, the Camera app that comes in Windows should automatically recognize this camera once it's plugged to your computer. Also mine came with a CD with the proprietary software in it. I installed that but saw no advantage to it over the built-in Windows camera app (but it does have a bunch more options to manipulate the image like vertical/horizontal flips and such).

The business end of the endoscope measures 5.5mm.

In this day of super-ultra-high-resolution, the image quality is crap relatively speaking, but it does give you a clear-enough view of the interior of whatever you're looking into. The quality is hugely improved if you add more light (such as from an inspection light). I took some pictures to demonstrate that...

 

Built-in light:

WIN_20180116_18_31_00_Pro.jpg.d6fee35c2887d45d454c7cdfc43ed6e3.jpg WIN_20180116_18_26_01_Pro.jpg.9b44a3f84cebb6b9933d9ffd2b5bc67d.jpg

 

 

With added light:

WIN_20180116_18_31_24_Pro.jpg.5feb4b789e194f76020dcff04476309a.jpg WIN_20180116_18_25_34_Pro.jpg.682ebb2839d095e7c0c6abfc5ce8633c.jpg

 

 

And a couple of pictures with the proprietary software:

With built-in light:

Snapshot000001.jpg.75975ccee787f4817c1591308b83beac.jpg 

 

With extra light:

Snapshot000002.jpg.df81bab5c63c72a8c0fb9defcc7209a3.jpg

 

The phone app (apparently only Android, so I guess suck it iPhone users?  :P ) is bloated with ads and watermarks the photos, which to me is grounds for immediate rejection! Also I saw no advantage in quality to the photos taken with the phone, so if mobility isn't an issue I'll stick to using it with the computer.

Phone photo with built-in light:

180116_185233.jpg.c8912e8c048b81f988d7bef50b96f574.jpg

 

Phone photo with extra light:

180116_185304.jpg.484104d8cc8ef3165f1f1f391c87a1ce.jpg

 

My conclusion is that for how little it costs it's worth the price for the novelty of being able to show an image of the interior of an instrument on your screen, and it probably makes it easier to read/identify markings on the inside. It sure is simpler than my method with mirrors and lights and phone  camera, but it's not without issues: The resolution is unacceptably low for this time and age, the lighting isn't sufficient for good quality photos (but does the job for a quick peek), and maneuvering it is a bit cumbersome and I'm not sure how many bendings the cable would take before it starts to fail. And the 90-degrees 'mirror' attachment that comes with it is an insult, really! It's not even a proper mirror, it's a piece of plastic with a silver back, it does not work!

All in all, I have no regrets. I'll probably use it from now on because it is like I said more practical than my own methods for this, but it's no luxury high quality item. Basic rules of photography still apply: You need proper lightning and steadiness.

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I picked this one up from ebay for $16 but it looks as though they've lowered the price.  I found that it works well with my PC but that the right angle mirror accessory that comes with it doesn't work for some reason.  https://www.ebay.com/itm/5-5mm-Lens-Endoscope-720P-Android-PC-USB-Endoscope-Inspection-Borescope-Tupe-Cam/132421897744?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

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