A Mechanical Shutter Release For A Digital Camera

Most digital cameras these days come with some kind of electronic remote shutter release. Various solutions exist, using USB cables, smartphone apps, or dedicated remotes. [Steloherd] wasn’t happy with the options available for his Ricoh GRII, though, so built a rig to do things the old fashioned way.

The spring plate helps protect the shutter button from damage.

[Steloherd] wanted to use an old-school mechanical release cable, so devised a way to use it to trigger the Ricoh’s standard shutter button. A small aluminium bracket was created, attached to the hot shoe on top of the camera via a mounting foot from a standard flash accessory. A spring plate was then created to help spread the load from the mechanical release pin, ensuring it triggers the camera effectively without damaging anything.

Installing the mechanical release proved difficult, as the DIN standard calls for an obscure M3.4 conical tapped thread. Rather than muck about finding rare tooling, [Steloherd] simply recut the thread on the release cable to a straight M3x0.5, and did the same for the bracket.

Overall, it’s a tidy hack, and one that could be adapted to other cameras fairly easily. Other methods we’ve seen involve such odd choices as linear actuators harvested from air fresheners, if you’d believe it. As always, if it works, it works!

19 thoughts on “A Mechanical Shutter Release For A Digital Camera

  1. I just need something like this for my !#%%? smartphone. For decades I was a super-steady SLR photographer, but the low moment of inertia and poor placement of the button for triggering the shutter on smartphones has confounded me.

      1. Even better, (I think) most phones allow you to use the remote volume control buttons found on most earbud-style headphones as a shutter release in their phone apps. I’ve carried a pair of earbuds around just for that purpose, before. Repurpose those pack-ins that you might otherwise throw away!

        (And yes, I know, insert headphone jack jokes here.)

  2. Back in 1999-2000 I wanted to set my camera up on a little tripod and take photos of things without disturbing the position so I made a similar remote shutter trigger for my (now antique) Nikon Coolpix 800.
    It didn’t have a flash shoe like this article so I just bent up some 3mm aluminium strip to slide onto the camera from the back, and threaded a cheap remote trigger into it. It worked absolutely brilliantly, just got it out of the back of the cupboard to take a photo:
    http://www.surfacezero.com/g503/data/500/Coolpix_800_remote_button.jpg

  3. I bought one of these universal remote triggers for my Pentax film camera, that just mounted itself with the tripod screw (flat bar with slot) and a bar that could be adjusted for height

  4. I used a Lego piece (one of the 2×2 round ones), drilled a hole through the middle, screwed the end of the plunger (from my old Olympus OM-1, so it was threaded) into the hole. Then I use a rubber band to strap that to the camera. The Lego piece fits exactly over the shutter button, so it doesn’t move.

    Janky? Sure. But it works great.

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