Tag Archives: Camera control

Which camera is best for my photo booth?

We are often asked which camera is best for a photo booth. Canon cameras have very good live view quality, an important attribute for photo booths. The models below are not the only cameras you can use. Many older Canon DSLR cameras work very well. This table lists the cameras you can use with DSLR Remote Pro 3.10.

At the time of writing* (May 2018) we believe the ultimate photo booth camera is ….. the new (mirrorless) Canon  EOS M50.

The standard kit lens ( EF-M 15-45mm STM ) has a flexible 15-45 mm zoom. For a super slim booth, try the EF-M 22mm STM lens

Best: Canon EOS M50

A big thank you to Caroline Winata of Giggle and Riot Funbooth  for sharing this example of slow motion video (EOS M50 with DSLR Remote Pro 3.10)

  • 120FPS Slow motion video with no additional processing
  •  Similar performance to the Canon EOS 200D/Rebel SL2 including Canon’s excellent dual pixel auto focus in live view.
  • Suitable for video with external microphone socket.
  • Compact, slim and light; the M50 will fit in a smaller housing than Canon’s DSLR cameras.

The photo below shows the different sizes of the new EOS M50, EOS 200D/Rebel SL2 and new EOS 2000D/Rebel T7:

Photos of Canon EOS M50, 200D and 2000D with kit and pancake style lenses
[top to bottom] EOS M50 with EF-M 22mm STM lens, EOS M50 with standard kit lens EF-M 15-45mm STM , EOS 200D/Rebel SL2 with 24mm pancake lens, EOS 2000D/Rebel T7with 18-55mm kit lens

Disadvantages

  • Access for external power is underneath the camera instead of at the side.
  • Live view cannot be switched off, which may make this camera prone to overheating. (Note: live view display in DSLR Remote Pro can still be switched off using Advanced Settings)
Photo of Canon EOS M50 showing power cable attached to base of camera
The external power cord connection for the M50 is on the camera base

Good for video: 200D/Rebel SL2, 750D/Rebel T6i

These cameras do everything the M50 can do except slow motion video. They are larger and heavier than the M50.

  • Excellent auto focus in live view
  • Suitable for video & have an external microphone socket

Budget: 2000D/Rebel T7, 1300D/T6

Good for still photos and boomerang and slideshow animated GIFs. Slightly higher resolution live view than 200D or 750D.

Disadvantages

  • No external microphone socket so not a good choice for video including sound.
  • Power zoom is not supported.
  • Autofocus less reliable

New Canon 2000D/Rebel T7

Update of the Canon EOS 1300D/Rebel T6 and virtually identical but with a higher resolution 24 mega pixel sensor.

New Canon EOS 4000D

Similar to the Canon EOS 1300D/Rebel T6 with the same 18 mega pixel sensor but cheaper build quality (plastic lens mount, fewer buttons, no remote release socket and no cable access for external power)

Web cameras & iPad booths

This post does not cover booths powered by web cameras or the built-in cameras provided with iPads, laptops and tablets. The new Breeze Booth for iPad will use the camera built into an iPad. Breeze Webcam Photobooth software will run a booth with either a webcam or built in camera in a Windows 10, 8 or 7 PC or laptop.

*As new cameras are introduced this post will inevitably become outdated.

© Breeze Systems 2018

Auto focus blues & how to cure them

Canon’s DSLR cameras can be set to auto focus (AF)  or manual focus (MF). The auto focus setting is very convenient for photo booth operators, but when the camera cannot find anything to focus on it will not take a photo.

This post has been written for DLSR Remote Pro 3.7.3

What can go wrong using auto focus?

You may notice a long pause before the camera takes  a photo. The focus motor whirrs and the camera lens moves as the camera tries to focus. Two different error messages may be displayed: ‘Unable to release shutter’ or ‘Unable to focus’.

Unable to release shutter

When setting up the booth the operator presses Release(F8)  or Preview (F9) to check camera operation. No photo is taken and this error message is displayed:

Error message for DSLR Remote Pro 3.7.3 displayed: Unable to release shutter. This may be because the AF was unable to lock
DSLR Remote Pro 3.7.3 ‘Unable to release shutter’ error message

Unable to focus

After the countdown there is a long pause before the camera takes  the first photo. The focus motor whirrs and the camera lens moves as the camera tries to focus. Eventually this message* is displayed:

DSLR Remote Pro 3.7.3 error message 'Unable to focus! If you are standing close to the camera please try moving back a bit. The booth will retake the photo in ... seconds...
DSLR Remote Pro 3.7.3 ‘Unable to focus!’ error message *

*Hint (localization) You can translate this message into your local language using the PhotoboothAfErrorMsg message in the configuration files

Why does this happen?

Usually the camera cannot focus because

  • there is not enough light
  • the booth is empty and has a plain background
  • guests are too close to the camera
  • the lens cap has not been removed

Autofocus works best with good lighting and guests positioned at the right distance from the camera. It may be improved by changing from a plain background. The most reliable solution is to switch the camera to manual focus.

How to make sure the camera will fire: Set the camera to manual focus

Exception : cameras with dual pixel AF. If your camera has dual pixel AF please see the Camera Settings section of the program help files. (At present the Canon EOS DSLR cameras with dual pixel AF are the Canon EOS 800D/Rebel T7i, 200D/Rebel SL2, 70D,  77D, 80D, 7D Mark II, 5D Mark IV and 6D Mark II*.)

*Support for the EOS 6D Mark II will be added to the next release of DSLR Remote Pro.

Simplest way to set the camera to manual focus

  1. Set the AF/MF switch on the camera lens to the MF (manual focus) position.
  2. Each time you set up the booth turn the focus ring on the camera lens until you see a sharp image on the PC live view display.
Photo of Canon REBEL T5 camera how how to switch between auto and manual focus
Canon REBEL T5 (1200D) showing AF/MF switch
Photo by Kārlis Dambrāns (edited to highlight AF MF switch)

Photo sourced from Flickr

Use the camera controls to set manual focus

Use the screen on the back of the camera to set the custom function “C.Fn IV: Operations/Others – Shutter/AE lock button” to “1:AE lock/AF” (refer to your camera manual if necessary).

Canon 200D camera display showing Customer Function IV
Customer function IV screen on Canon EOS 200D camera

This setting has the advantage that focus can still be adjusted remotely from the PC but auto focus won’t be used when taking a photo. The lens can be focused in fullscreen photobooth mode by typing Ctrl+A.

For more precise control of focus exit photobooth mode and type Ctrl+L to display the live view window. Then use the <<<, <<, <, >, >>, >> buttons or the mouse wheel to manually adjust the focus.

If you found this post helpful please share it with others.

Try out DSLR Remote Pro                         Breeze Systems website

Copyright Breeze Systems 2017

Light painting without a tent

When we first showed light painting in a bright exhibition hall at Photo Booth Expo 2016, the industry was amazed. This post explains how to use light painting at indoor venues with an open or closed booth using DSLR Remote Pro.

You can use the same technique with DSLR Remote Pro Multi-Camera .

DSLR Remote Pro Multi Camera animated GIF (5 cameras). Flash with 3 second exposure.

What equipment do I need?

  • Camera
  • Photo booth software that lets you control the camera settings
  • Flash
  • Black backdrop
  • Lighting props

Camera: we recommend using a Canon DSLR camera. Webcams and iPads are not suitable because you need complete control over the exposure and settings (including aperture). This is not possible with a webcam or an IPad.

Photobooth software: The examples here use DSLR Remote Pro and DSLR Remote Pro Multi-Camera. You can use the same technique with other programs which allow you to control the camera settings.

DSLR Remote Pro with open photobooth at Photo Booth Expo 2017

Flash: You need a powerful flash to freeze the subject at the start of the exposure. We like to position the flash high up so that people are less likely to look directly at it and be dazzled by the light. The flash also acts as a cue to the guests to start light painting. Ask them to pose until the flash fires and then start moving the lights.

Black backdrop: the light trails show up best against a black background. If you have a light background you may get ghosting (dark shadows) when guests move around.

Lighting props: guests’ phones, colored torches, LED batons or more elaborate props such as pixel sticks.

How do I use DSLR Remote Pro to control the camera to create the light trails?

  • Use external flash mode
  • Set a slow shutter speed
  • Use a small aperture and low ISO to cut out ambient lighting

External flash mode: Run the photo booth setup wizard; select <Advanced Settings> and check the box to set external flash mode. If you also check ‘Mirror output images’ the words guests write with the lights will be reversed to read correctly:

DSLR Remote Pro 3.7.3 Photobooth Settings screen: check boxes for External flash mode and Mirror Output Images highlighted

Shutter speed: You need an exposure of at least 1 second to create the light trails. We find between 2 and 3 seconds is best. (Guests start to run out of ideas with exposures longer than 3 seconds).

In the <Advanced Settings> screen select camera settings mode Bank 1, then click on the <Camera Settings> button to the right. This takes you to the camera settings screen. You need to adjust the Bank 1 settings for both taking photos and live view.

DSLR Remote Pro 3.7.3 Photobooth Settings screen: select Bank 1 and click on <Camera Settings>

Camera settings: Start with  exposure (Tv) set to 2″ (2 seconds), aperture (Av) 22, ISO 100 and white balance ‘flash’.

DSLR Remote Pro 3.7.3 Camera Settings screen: Bank 1 ‘taking photos’ settings highlighted

Live view: Select Tv: bulb for a bright live view image and White balance: Auto (ambience) for reliable colors.

DSLR Remote Pro 3.7.3 Camera Settings screen: Bank 1 live view settings highlighted

In a brightly lit venue you may need to reduce the length of the exposure or use a screen to dim the ambient light.

DSLR Remote Pro Multi-Camera users should use the same technique.

Ideas for lighting props

Colored torches (DSLR Remote Pro with open photobooth)

The simplest props are guest’s own mobile phones and colored LED torches. A set of LED finger torches can be glued together.

LED baton (DSLR Remote Pro with open photobooth)

Our most popular props are made from LED lighting strips wound round a foam baton and powered by rechargeable batteries. Pixel sticks can be customized for branded events.

For more ideas search for specialist websites such as lightpaintingphotography.com

Copyright Breeze Systems Ltd 2017