So the idea is to gut-out an old, broken camcorder i found in my Supply Depot for Electronic Stuff™ (basically the dumpster) and replace the internals with a Raspberry Pi and the (hopefully) soon-to-be-released camera addon-board, combining a modern. dirt-cheap digital HD video camera with the badass optics in the camcorder. (Namely: 10x zoom, manual focus and a manual shutter)
The first task was popping it open and remove the casette player and the old circuitry; which was, appart from some minor cursing, fairly simple. It is really amazing how much stuff was crammed into this tiny case. To great relief the inner metal housing and the outer plastic case could easily be assembled back together, leaving lots and lots of space inside for the raspberry pi, a battery and possibly a 2.5" hard drive for storage.
The second task was (obviously) to figure out how the mini-crt in the viewfinder was wired (since crt:s are seriously badass) and these viewfinders often are very easy to interface, having all the required circuitry integrated. With some more cursing, a multimeter and an old TV with composite video input we were able to figure it out and feed it the composite signal from the raspberry pi. The text in the terminal is actually quite readable, but the pictures i managed to take of it doesn't do it justice however.
Until the camera board is released focus will probably be on creating utility circuitry like a power supply and getting the pi to interface all the buttons of knobs on the camera using the gpio-port. A motor driver will also be required for controlling the zoom, manual focus and the manual shutter (which will be used mainly for fading effects).