Use for an old video camera...

by beejay5169

I was given a JVC GR-DF430AA that had developed an appetite for DV tapes - it would occasionally eat them, and give the owner a pleasant few hours picking the wreckage out of the spinny bits. I never really tried to solve the problem, but found that although it only had 15X zoom, it DID have a honkin' macro function, so I rigged up a simple mount for it on my old 35mm enlarger stand, hooked it up to a 17 inch Dell 1600 x 1200 monitor with an analog video input, and used it to get a GOOOOOD look at things that my vintage eyes could no longer see all that well. It will bring a 16 pin integrated circuit up large enough to occupy the full width of the screen - which means that (a) I no longer have to peer myopically at chips to read the part number, and (b) changing watch batteries and soldering and inspecting joints on the modern tiny stuff is now extremely easy.

(I set up a variation of this for my father - he had an old Sony camcorder which I mounted on a bracket attached to the wall over his reading desk and got a 40 inch HDTV so he could read paperback novels after his eyes failed following surgery. He used the camera's remote control to set the zoom to get the full page width on the screen, and simply slide the book up as he read down the page.)

Even with the analog 'TV out' driving the monitor, picture quality is very good, but I'm keeping an eye out for a DV camera with a HDMI output in the local hock-shops. There's still several inches between the work and the camera lens at maximum zoom and macro, and if you're doing any fine work and need to see it clearly, a 'zoomable magnifying glass' is an excellent use for an old video camera, if it has reasonable optics, and you can't bear to toss it out..... It certainly beats the old sweat-band mounted magnifier hands down for comfort and ease of use!

Posted on Mar 15, 2017, 12:16 AM

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