Cheapest digital camera with remote shutter?
January 24, 2008 10:06 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for the cheapest digital camera with remote shutter capability. Lets say under $400 (preferably much less). NOT wireless remote shutter, just a wire with a button. No other specs matter, I don't care about any other features. Extra points if the camera uses SD memory.

I've exhausted what I feel to be all of my sources for finding this, so I turn to the hive mind. I'm working on a project that might require 10+ cameras, and we're hoping to hack the remote shutter cables to get 10 images at roughly the same time.
posted by dujoducom to Technology (6 answers total)
Just to let you know, most cheap digital cameras come with custom software. While most of it is garbage, they seem to inevitably include an application that enables you to use your camera as a web cam, or at least stream the images to the computer and operate the shutter via the keyboard/mouse as well.

If you have a laptop and a usb hub, you could look into any of the $50-$100 models at your local store and see what the included software does. You would have a fairly large "remote", but depending on your ability to reprogram/trick the software, this may have limited usefulness to you.

Are you trying to do some sort of bullet-time on a budget sort of thing?
posted by JeremiahBritt at 10:17 AM on January 24, 2008

If you know anyone who is handy with a screwdriver and a soldering iron, it probably wouldn't be too hard to add a remote shutter button to cheap cameras. Take apart the camera body, look for the button on the circuit board that is pushed by the actual shutter button (usually, an inset plastic piece in the case pushes down on a microswitch), and solder a wire to the pads. Drill a hole in the case to thread wires through, and put a Radio$hack pushbutton on the other end. Shouldn't take more than 15 minutes per camera, after you've done the first.
posted by leapfrog at 10:20 AM on January 24, 2008

Have you seen How to Enter the Ghetto Matrix (DIY Bullet Time). This instructables lists the Olympus SP-510 UZ + remote cable shutter control as $299.99 or less.
posted by ArcAm at 10:21 AM on January 24, 2008

Response by poster: Yes, we're trying to make something similar to the ghetto matrix / bullet time, but as automated as possible. I had considered manually hacking the cameras, but thought I would check out this route first. I guess it would be worth it if we could get away with using $80 cameras instead of $300 ones.

I don't know if the camera software would work very well because from my experience most cameras force you into a non-shooting mode to transfer the images. Also those packages don't anticipate 10+ cameras being hooked up at once or have any sort of scripting capabilities.
posted by dujoducom at 12:03 PM on January 24, 2008

Take apart the camera body, look for the button on the circuit board that is pushed by the actual shutter button

Autofocus cameras have a two-stage shutter button; half-press autofocusses, full-press takes the picture. If you go straight to the full-press then it'll probably autofocus then shoot, unless of course you've already locked the focus. It's possible that some cameras will do something weird if you wire a remote switch to the full-press contacts and turn it on without also turning on the half-press contacts.

This is easy enough to fix, of course; two separate switches, an SPDT switch connected to both of them, or probably even a simple SPST switch that connects to both sets of contacts. But you do need to know there are two sets of contacts in there, or you could end up making a remote switch that only autofocusses, or something.
posted by dansdata at 1:16 PM on January 24, 2008

How about this one? Its a cable release for 16 €. It seems to be shown in use with canon powershot s40 but I am sure you can get it to work with many other models.
posted by A! at 3:46 PM on January 24, 2008

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