There is nothing worse than attempting to get near a rare animal as it is doing something cute, only to have it notice you and dart off into the unattainable distance. A remote focus and shutter release switch for your digital SLR allows you to set up your camera anywhere and then retreat to a safe distance to take the shot. You are limited only by the length of your wire. A remote shutter release can also be used in the studio to set up self-portraits, as well as modified to include an autofocus trigger. As long as your digital camera has a 2.5mm port that can accommodate a headphone jack, you can construct your own remote shutter release for less than £6.
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Things you need
- 2.5mm hands-free phone headset
- Nail scissors or clippers
Gather your equipment. Check the ports and terminals on your camera for size to assure the 2.5mm jack will fit. The headset must have a mute button along the cable to serve as your trigger. These types of triggers have been tested on Canon 300D/350D/400D/450D/1000D digital cameras, as well as the Pentax K100D/K110D, istDS/istDS2, istDL/istDL2 and K10D digital cameras.
Pry open the two halves of the mute switch of the earpiece. This part is most commonly pea-pod shaped and will contain a tiny circuit board and microphone across which the 3.5mm wire lies. Cut the wire at the tip of the case leading up to the headphone so you only have the button case at one end, and the 3.5mm jack at the other.
Turn on your camera and set the focus to auto. Plug the trigger into the remote port (located near your camera's USB port) and press the button once to test the response. If the camera snaps, you are done. If nothing happens, you will need to remove the microphone piece.
Unplug the switch from the camera. Gently snip the wires surrounding the microphone piece, if they exist. Use the tip of the scissors to pry out the microphone from the case. Plug the switch back in and test again. Reassemble the case.
Tips and warnings
- Tie a small knot in the wire just above where it exits the casing to lead to the jack. This will prevent slip. You could also solder the ends or apply a ring of epoxy or rubber cement to the outside of the reassembled case where the cable exits.
- If you are having trouble getting the switch to fire, use the tip of the scissor to scratch the tiny connectors on the circuit board leading from the top of the button to where the microphone was. If you need a longer cable, simply pick up an extension cable at your local Fry's or Radio Shack.
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