What’s the Best Camera I can use in my DIY photobooth?

The program we will be using is www.snapstrip.com which can use either a web camera or a video camera that has an IEEE1394 connection also known as firewire or i-link connection.  Web cameras will give you average looking images. Even the most expensive $200 web camera will not look as good as a cheap $200 video camera. The lenses in web cameras are just cheap and the ones in video cameras are able to pick up around 8 times as much light.

The problem with video cameras is you will need to buy an additional 4pin to 4pin firewire cable AND your computer needs to have a firewire port on it. Many laptops do NOT have a firewire port so you’ll have to buy a $20 PCMCIA to firewire adapter card. Like this one on newegg,firewirecard
And here’s a nice long firewire cable to go from the camera to the computer, 14.7 foot long firewire cable.
While you are shopping for parts you might as well get the USB extention cable and monitor extention cable as well as a USB number keypad

Now the only thing you have to purchase is a video camera. Well you can buy cheap refurbished ones for around $250 on places like www.ubid.com However if you are really looking for a bargain you can get one off ebay.
Search EBAY
Basically you are looking for a camera with a firewire port. Usually the ads dont’ mention if it has one or not, but 90% of the cameras do and you can always call up the manufacturer and ask them. for the best deals you can buy a camera that doesn’t play tapes any more due to a broken tape transport mechanism, but powers on fine. Only buy cameras that come with an AC adapter as well. Sound like a lot of homework? It is and for most people just buying a new or refurbished camcorder is the way to go.
Once last thing, most video cameras don’t have a very wide zoom setting on them, so buying a 0.7x 0.8x wide angle lens adapter is really helpfull in getting more people in your image. Each camera has a different filter size so make sure you get a wide angle lens that fits your camera. Ebay is a good place for this as well. Avoid the more extreme wide angle lenses like 0.5x or 0.45x ones as they have poorer image quality.
Great, you have a lot of gear in place, the next article will discuss the best printers for your photo booth.

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