L’espion Digital Camera and Linux

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l'espion cameraL’espion is a tiny (58mm x 40mm x 15mm) digital camera that weighs only 40g. It has a USB interface and is powered by a single AAA battery, but best of all it only costs £40. The picture quality is not fantastic but is plenty good enough for a small cheap camera that you can carry with you at all times.

You will also be pleased to know that as this camera uses the STV0680
chipset it is compatible with Linux via the Pencam2 and gphoto2 packages.

The camera can store 20 photos in high quality mode (352×288 pixels), or 80 in low-resolution mode (176×144). To retrieve the images from the camera you can use Pencam2 interactively from a terminal
window or use one of the front ends to gphoto2 such as Kamera or just use gphoto from the command line:

View number of pictures:gphoto2 –port “usb:” –camera “AEG Snap 300” -n


Retrieve picture number 1:gphoto2 –port “usb:” –camera “AEG Snap 300” -p 1

Get all images:

gphoto2 –port “usb:” –camera “AEG Snap 300” –get-all-images

For some reason L’espion would not work with gphoto2 when configured as STV0680 but I found it works fine when set as the AEG Snap 300 (which also uses the STV0680). I mainly use pencam2 as I have found that due to the post-processing done on the images it currently gives much better results than gphoto2. Once I have downloaded the ppm images from the camera I usually convert them to jpeg with a small script:

for i in *.ppm ; do

ppmtojpeg > `echo |sed -e ‘s/ppm/jpg/’`


rm -f *.ppm

Pencam2 is integrated with another program called Pensnap which offers basic webcam functionality taking snaps at up to 1 frame per second. Alternatively you can use the STV680 driver which allows you to use the camera with Video4Linux compatible apps such as xawtv or gnomemeeting.

Last modified: 21 July 2012