Arduino-Controlled Single-Leaf Shutter

Single-Leaf Shutter

[Kevin] has made an interesting camera shutter mechanism using an Arduino and a solenoid. To keep it extremely simple, he is only controlling a single leaf. In the linked video, you can see him take it through its paces from 1/125 seconds up to infinite. This is, of course, a proof of concept, and [Kevin] mentions using smaller components to make everything fit easily inside a Holga-like body. As he points out in the video’s comments, digitally controlling the flash would be a simple matter as well.

A basic camera is incredibly simple to make, and [Kevin's] design certainly isn’t complicated. That said, if you look at the big picture, [Kevin] is demonstrating how feasible it could be to build an entirely custom camera with a standard microcontroller as the brain. We can’t help but think of all of the possibilities when you are able to control the entire photo taking process.

Interestingly, [Kevin] is also behind this twin lens reflex Kickstarter project from earlier in the year. It will be interesting to see what other camera-related hacks we will see from him.

Bluetooth control for your DSLR or just about any other IR operated device

Just the other day we were reading a Reddit thread asking about how to control a television with a smartphone. The conversation started by talking about adding an IR LED to the phone.  Then it was suggested that there should be standalone Bluetooth devices that convert commands to IR, and came around to the ideas that TV’s should ship with native Bluetooth hardware. We couldn’t agree more but we’re also not about to replace our TV just for this option. That’s why we were delighted to find this project waiting on our tip line. It’s a method of controlling a camera shutter from a smartphone using Bluetooth. But the technique will work for any device which uses an infrared remote control.

The video after the break shows two different devices controlling the camera shutter. As you can see in the diagram above, the iPhone is the master controller, connecting to a Bluetooth headset mounted on the camera. That headset was altered to feed the speaker connections into an IR LED pointed at the camera’s receiver. The iPhone plays an encoded audio track matching the IR remote command, resulting in the properly formatted message flashing on the LED. The watch doesn’t have the ability to playback audio, but it can send a message to the phone, which then plays the proper audio track through the headset.

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Laser-triggered camera rig update: 2011 version

[Fotoopa] keeps churning out new iterations of his laser-triggered camera rig. This is his latest, which he calls the 2011 setup. Regular readers will remember that we just covered a different version back in November; that one was the 2010 rendition. It had two DSLR cameras offset by 90 degrees with mirrors to face forward. This time around he has gone back to the single camera setup which was what he used on the first and second versions seen way back in 2008.

Whew, that’s a lot of links to specialty DSLR hardware. Let’s bring it back to this newest model (the link at the top). The biggest improvement is the shutter delay between when the laser beam is tripped and the image is take. [Fotoopa] reports that he’s managed to reduce that time down to 3.3 milliseconds. This is thanks to an external shutter replacement which improves on the stock shutter’s 52 millisecond delay.

For those that are seeing this for the first time. [Fotoopa] uses this rig to photograph insects in motion. A laser trip wire is responsible for triggering the shutter, and it does so with stunning results!

IR remote for DSLR cameras

Since most DSLR cameras now have an IR communication port, [Julius] thought it would be a good idea to build an  IR shutter release remote. He has released the plans for two versions; a single sided hand etched one, and a double sided one to have made professionally. He notes that it should have a range of at least 10 meters thanks to the 100mAh Li-Po battery and a reasonably high power IR LED.  You can download the source code as well as the etching mask and eagle files from the wiki page.  He does note that you may have to change the pattern sent to match your camera.

Eyelid shutter glasses: fake but still a hack

If you’ve been keeping up with our featured stories this year you’ll remember the post about using your own eyelids as 3D shutter glasses. Throngs of commenters called this one as fake and they were right. But we still enjoyed the experience… it’s more fun to be trolled when the trolls are skilled and idea is original. The perpetrators have released a follow-up video that shows how it was done. It’s not just an electronic trinket and some acting. There’s well executed post-production which maps out the area around this gentleman’s eyes and edits in the rhythmic blinking that made the farce somewhat believable. Check it out after the break.

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Triggering a DSLR shutter with an audio clip

Apparently Pentax DSLR cameras have a remote shutter option that used infrared signals. [Pies for you] gathered up several different hacks and built a method of triggering the camera using custom audio. He put together the dongle above, just a headphone extension cord and two IR LEDs, which plugs into the headphone jack of any audio device like an iPod or an Android phone. When you play back a file the audio signals drive the IR LEDs. This is completely worthless unless you craft your own audio file using the correct frequency, duty cycle, and bit encoding. [Pies for you] did just that and got things up and running. Looks like the system doesn’t do so well with MP3 compression, but take a look at the waveform analysis that he posted and then make sure you’re using a lossless format.

Is your camera lying?

It is easy to rely on the ratings marked on different tools, whether it is a power supply, scale, or speedometer. However calibration is essential for any part that is relied upon either professionally or for a hobby. [Jeremy] wanted to see if his Lomography camera shutter really was only open for 1/100ths of a second when set to that. In order to test his rig, he set up an LED on one side of the shutter, and a high speed phototransistor to gauge the time spent open, using an oscilloscope to measure the time the reference point was pulled low. In his case, when the camera was set to 1/100, the shutter was actually open for closer to 1/150th of a second (the mean was 1/148ths of a second, with a standard deviation of 417 uSecs). This difference can make a large difference in picture brightness.

Be sure to check his blog for more pictures of the setup, as well as some useful part references and circuit diagrams.