High Speed Laser Based Camera Flash Trigger for Only $2

Laser Triggered Camera Flash

[Matt Kane] works at a really cool company in the UK where he recently finished working on the Triggertrap Ada — the highest-performance, most feature packed camera trigger out there. So just for fun, he decided to challenge himself again — could he make a super basic, super fast, bare-bones camera trigger for $2 instead?

At the most basic level this is just a laser pointer and a light sensor. When the object your photographing breaks the light path, the flash triggers. Typically this is done with an IR laser, but since he’s going for a low-cost system, he’ll use a basic 1mw red laser pointer — the only downfall is you might see it in the picture.

Next up is the sensor. Ideally we’d use a photodiode which is very fast, but also expensive. A photoresistor is cheap, but not fast enough. A nice medium between the two is a phototransistor, which is relatively fast, and cheap. Finally, we need a minimum trigger period to offset the flash. [Matt] thought about using a 555 timer but instead decided to just generate a pulse with an Attiny45.  [Read more...]

Long-range Canon DSLR remote video trigger


Instructables user [Justin] generally enjoyed shooting video with his Canon 60D DSLR, though there was one small problem. The only way that the camera could be remotely triggered to shoot video was via a small IR remote with a paltry 10 foot range. Even worse, the remote had to be pointed directly at the front of the camera to work at all. To remedy the situation, he decided to rig up his own long-range trigger mechanism.

He cobbled together an Arduino with components he had sitting around, mounting it in a project box on top of the camera. A commercially available RF remote shutter release is also mounted on the top of the camera, and wired to the Arduino using a small 2.5mm plug. When he activates the RF remote, it sends a pulse to the Arduino, which in turn sends the appropriate signal to his camera via a small IR LED.

While he readily admits that he could have likely used a much simpler configuration, the Arduino does its job, and he’s quite happy with his solution. We agree with him about the Arduino, but it’s hard to argue with saving money by using components you already have on-hand.

Automatic trigger for lightning photography


[Vicktor] has always been fascinated by photographs of lightning and decided to try his hand at capturing a few strikes on his camera. Every time he attempted it however, he didn’t have much success. Instead of trying to operate his camera manually to take the images, he decided to build a lightning trigger that would do it for him.

His circuit uses a large photodiode to sense when lightning strikes, triggering the camera via a hacked shutter release cable. A PIC micro controller is used to adjust the sensitivity of the device, as well as to send the actual trigger signal to the camera. His circuit is connected to the camera via a pair of opto couplers to ensure that his circuit cannot cause any harm to the camera.

When the box is powered on, it enters a calibration mode where the user can adjust the circuit to compensate for whatever amount of ambient light is present. Once armed, the box waits for a sudden change in ambient lighting, sending the exposure release signal to the camera.

A schematic is available on his site, and he will send you the code he use on request. There is currently no video of the trigger in action, but hopefully we’ll see one soon.

If you’re interested in seeing some other remote camera triggers, check out this one made from air freshener parts, and this one which uses lasers.

Arduino camera laser trigger


[Adam] made a remote camera trigger that uses a laser. He had to install CHDK on his camera, which we’ve featured in a how-to, in order for it to work. CHDK allowed for a remote shutter trigger through the USB port. The laser bounces off a mirror and onto the photoresisitor hooked up to an Arduino. When the beam is broken, the Arduino sets off the trigger. He also plans to use the trigger to tweet over ethernet. Embedded is a video demonstrating its functionality.

[Read more...]