Super Simple Sensor Makes DSLR Camera Motion Sensitive

Do you have a need to photographically document the doings of warm-blooded animals? If so, a game camera from the nearest hunting supplier is probably your best bet. But if you don’t need the value-added features such as a weather-resistant housing that can be chained to a tree, this DIY motion trigger for a DSLR is a quick and easy build, and probably loads more fun.

The BOM on [Jeremy S Cook]’s build is extremely short – just a PIR sensor and an optoisolator, with a battery, a plug for the camera’s remote jack, and a 3D-printed bracket. The PIR sensor is housed in a shroud to limit its wide field of view; [Jeremy] added a second shroud when an even narrower field is needed. No microcontroller is needed because all it does is trigger the camera when motion is sensed, but one could be added to support more complicated use cases, like an intervalometer or constraining the motion sensing to certain times of the day. The video below shows the build and some quick tests.

Speaking of intervalometers, we’ve seen quite a few of those over the years. From the tiny to the tinier to the electromechanical, people seem to have a thing for taking snapshots at regular intervals.

11 thoughts on “Super Simple Sensor Makes DSLR Camera Motion Sensitive

  1. For this Canon DSLR, you could install Magic Lantern. It gives motion sensor detection (fast enough to trap lightning!) and a boatload of other features – better intervalometer, auto-bracket, movie tweaks, etc

    If you have a P&S you can use CHDK instead.

    1. ML is very nice for doing a lots of stuff, but in this case PIR sensor may be a better solution as it can save battery life. With ML sensor is constantly active and camera is processing data to detect movement. With PIR sensor it’s in sleep mode until movement is detected.

  2. This is awesome.. over my head due to the lack of a printer etc.. but I really like the idea. I am currently using a game cam which i do not find sensitive enough to capture birds at any distance.. I have to wonder if this would suit my needs and whether it would have the sensitivity required for such small objects at some distance 10-20 feet.

  3. Thank you very much Jeremy, it works great on a 35mm camera. I tried attaching it to a Camtraptions transmitter but it would not trigger the transmitter though it triggers the camera. A Vivitar motion sensor does trigger the Camtraptions transmitter. Any thoughts on triggering the Camtraptions transmitter would be greatly appreciated.

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