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A remote camera trigger makes it easy and cheap to try your hand at aerial photography with the retired family camera. They can also be used with other inexpensive camera's such as the Aiptek PenCamera or similar.
Unless you have a tiny monkey on board, you’re going to need a way to “trigger” the camera while airborne. The cheapest and easiest way is to mount a mini servo in the plane that will push the “capture” button on the camera.
A cleaner and more reliable method is to install an electronic switch between your airplane's receiver and on board camera. This wireless camera trigger eliminates the extra weight of a servo.
Non Obtrusive Switches
Unless you're an electronic guru, you may not be comfortable ripping into the guts of your camera to solder in a switch.
There are a couple types of non-obtrusive switches used with RC aerial photography that you can simply plug in without having to rip your camera apart.
You've probably noticed that many household digital cameras come with infrared remotes for snapping pictures remotely.
A Photography Radio-Infrared Shutter Module (PRISM)converts a pulse signal from your receiver into an infrared signal that tells the camera to snap the pictures. This is known as remote camera trigger pwm controller or optical camera trigger . Follow the above link for a list of cameras compatible with the PRISM interface.
As you can see in the image, the PRISM interface is simply
taped to the front of the camera with clear tape. Notice the IR
transmitter is lined up with the IR receiver on the camera.
The URBI Camera Control Switch forms a remote camera trigger by connecting the USB port of your onboard camera. You can program the switch to perform any of the camera's USB controlled functions with your transmitter. This switch is compatible with most Nikon and Canon digital cameras.
If you are good with electronics and know how to solder, Mr.CamMan's detailed instructions will show you step by step how to build the CamMan-Aiptek RC Digital Camera Controller.
The cost to build this diy camera trigger is around $10. The Aiptek PenCam can be had for under $30 bucks. When searching for deals on eBay, keep in mind that you want the "SD" version so you can use an SD memory card if you plan to record video as well as photos.
This route gives you a very nice set up without spending a lot of money! The trick is being good at soldering on tiny tabs.
The following switches can be used with just about any type of camera, provided you know what your doing.
Keep in mind that you will have to take your camera apart to solder
these switches into place. It's probably not a good idea to tear apart
the family camera unless you're prepared to buy your wife a new one! ;0)
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