I met with the team making the Tiny 1 astro camera on Friday at a workspace in South Park. my take away as short as possible? you want this camera if you are aiming at the night sky.

now the long of it. you may have seen the Android app demo. it is all of that but now I have seen it running on hardware. the night sky map is overlaid on the live sky coming through the lens. the map updates as you point the camera. it shows what is both above and below the horizon which will help you know when that shot of Vesta is going to be possible. and because there is a map you will know you have the correct framing in your attempt to capture the fourth largest asteroid.

the camera remembers your settings unlike most of the cameras I have been aiming over the last year. the Panasonic and the Canon both remember some of it but not the all of it. it will be very nice to set it and have it the same same every time. there are features that will help you in the dark. like Horizon leveling. this is non obvious until you see it. of course you want this. there is a grid (rule of thirds) to turn on/off. a dark mode. if you have snapped the night sky and wished for a feature you need it is likely there. all of it controlled from the touch screen.

an app on your zorg will control the camera. this means I will not have to remember to set the self timer for 2 seconds to allow for camera/tripod shake to disappear after touching the shutter.

the body is aluminum. it comes in two colors. silver (aka raw aluminum) is pretty. black anodized is stunning. the body is really is not designed to be held. although you will when changing settings. as the Tiny 1 is going to live on a tripod or a telescope there is no need to have curvy to make hand feel better. and I admire the tradeoffs this allows.  lighter weight overall. a stronger tripod mount. and a strong support for the lens. although you will not want to hang a 500mm mirror lens here but you can hang the camera on the lens.

there are two rubber covers hiding connectors. a USB port that allows for both a computer connection and power! this means you can hang a big battery on your tripod allowing for an uninterrupted extended session. a MicroSD slot. and a gizmo connector that could be HDMI (a future feature?) or used for controlling a moveable mount. of course GPIO can be used for nearly anything. so start thinking about what hardware the hardware could control. the other cover hides Sound In and Out. this is a mystery until you think about it. sound out could be voice cues. and sound in might be used to set close the shutter after a meteor fly over, making finding the event in a nights worth of nothing much easier. BTW making a radio that detects meteors is not hard project.

it was fun to interact with the team. they answered all of my questions in the 30 minute meeting. clearly there are bugs and issues with the software. there is months to go before the cameras ship. and everything I saw is completely fixable. debug screens and extra info will be gone. and maybe a few more features will get snuck in the 1.o build. FOV degrees grid please!

my one last question was, “this is your last stop before you go home. what are you going to do here?” “we’re off to see the SpaceX launch!” nerds. not ride the cable car. not go to the Fish Warf. not go see the GGB. not any of those San Francisco destination. off to see a rocket launch 6 hours south! I love these guys.

here is a link to what is possible. hearing the story of the capture was pretty cool. now. who wants to chase planets and space stations?

How to – photograph Saturn and ISS transits part 1

we took a group picture and then I was off into the night. I cannot wait to use this camera.