If, like me, you have a DSLR for Christmas, you can start buying some accessories soon enough. (and be sure to check out these great DSLR tips sites, ) . One accessory you will no doubt be hunting for is a remote shutter; this allows you to place the camera on a tripod or put it somewhere and activate the shutter without the risk of jitter that can occur when holding it, or use for self-portraits without a timer. Today I’m going to talk about the magic of remote shutter releases, how to make them yourself, and how to extend them for high-speed photography as well.

The first thing to know is what really there are no magic or complex digital protocols associated with shutter release; it’s a simple switch that completes the circuit — two touches of the wire would do the trick. No need to worry about voltages, power supplies or electronic circuits — just a switch. From the side of the camera, this is standard 2.5mm connector for stereo jack.

My Canon Rebel T4i (reviewed here) can remote focus and shutter release, although yours can only do shutter release. Since most cameras have autofocus anyway, you might not even need a remote focus button, but I’ll turn it on anyway.

Camera side: 2.5mm plug

2.5 mm used, among other things, on older mobile phones or walkie-talkies to connect an external microphone or earpiece. note that 2.5mm is a little smaller than the more widely used standard plug 3.5mm used in most consumer headphones and cheap speakers. Even though I have a lot of spools of 3.5mm cables, I had to find a small adapter With 2.5 mm by 3.5 mm to connect to the camera. As long as you have a 2.5mm plug to attach to the end of your camera, you can mount something useful.

DSLR shutter release

Creating a trigger

You have several options here:

if you have 3.5mm or 2.5mm plug connection at trigger end and you want to get a real job McGuire, without breaking and soldering original cable, remove the tab from the soda can and use a pair of pliers to bend it in the middle. Slide it firmly onto the base of the plug, then press it against the lug to complete the circuit and activate the shutter. This instructable does a great job of showing you how it’s done, so I’ll just point you in that direction; Except I don’t drink soda (please don’t take this as a smug «I’m so healthy» statement — I make my own beer so I have an endless supply of it!)

remote shutter DSLR

For a more robust option, you might have a button or two buttons lying around; these are switches that engage briefly before being pushed again by the spring. Here is what I used:

  • Male 2.5mm male to female 3.5mm adapter
  • 3.5mm audio plug
  • Soldered 2 lead wires to each phono plug connected to the breadboard with 2 momentary push switches I found in my Arduino starter kit.

DSLR shutter release
For a wireless solution, consider this doorbell adaptation.

To go to a completely different level, use either a base transistor (e.g. 2N2222), or opto-isolator, controlled by Arduino. Add a sound sensor and an external flash and you have an extremely advanced trigger for high-speed photography, as shown in this video below. One button turns off the lights in the room, and when sound is detected, the flash and shutter will fire, and then the lights will turn on again. (Code available on GitHub)

For an even more detailed guide on creating a basic trigger, or if your camera is a little different from what we were looking at, check out this PDF.

Did you install the remote shutter yourself? What did you use?

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