nikon d40 camera external power supply hack

d40powercord crop

I have been looking for a way to add external power to my camera for a while. I have had some good ideas and even hacked together a workable prototype a while back. The problem was it wasn’t very ‘tight’ and I was always afraid I was going to reverse polarity, or short it out, and it took a lot of time to set it up every time I wanted to use it.

Continue reading

$17 Arduino-based nikon IR intervalometer + code


This is one of those projects I’ve been working on for quite a while now, but never well enough to actually put it in a box! Well.. it still has no box, but it’s much closer to a boxable form.

It is a RBBB arduino clone (but any arduinowillwork) with an ir led, a potentiometer, a resistor, and some perfboard. The perfboard is as much there to help provide a little bit of wire strain relief as it is to provide a place to mount the pot. The code simply reads the pot input and converts it into a delay() function. Then it fires the IR led with the nikon-specific magic to tell my d40 to shoot.

Here is an example of one of the timelapses I have shot.

Continue reading

quickie Nikon lens question

I was at my local camera shop the other day and saw this lens in a junk bin. Does anyone know why? It is a nikon 135 f/3.5 that has no apparent fogging, oil on blades or fungus. It focuses and shoots fine.

nikon135 front

nikon135 front

nikon 135

nikon 135

My initial thoughts are: it has the “ears” so it can only go on a few dslr’s unmodified. It also is full manual focus and aperture. Is it that the 135 is an odd length?

Here’s a newer faster version for $1,250!

The other weird thing is that someone has scratched off the nikkor name on the front of the lens. I should have asked the shop, but does anyone know why this lens would be $5? Thanks for your guesses!

Arduino Intervalometer for my Nikon d40

After seeing this project from cibomahto a while ago, I finally got my act together and bought a $1 IR led from radio$hack so I could build an intervalometer for my SLR.

For those who don’t know an intervalometer is, it tells your computer to take a picture every given interval. This enables you to shoot video with a still camera over a long period of time. Sometimes you have two intervals on fancy ones. Those allow you to use the bulb setting on your camera. Right now it has two potentiometers to indicate seconds and minutes between shots. It is run from a nine volt battery, and I expect it to have fairly good battery life. Only time will tell. The IR LED can’t take too much juice! It has a status led to show when it is firing (for trouble shooting) and not a whole lot else.

This currently needs a housing and a interface. I am debating the merits of a small lcd vs just using a printed label to mark the pot positions. It’s pretty much spray and pray right now. At least it is adjustable!

arduino d40 ir intervalometer

arduino d40 ir intervalometer

I’m thinking about getting one of these and eliminating the pots completely.

lcd shield from

lcd shield from

Which would end up making my project very similar to this one but for a nikon.

One last thought is possibly adding the functionality to use the bulb setting and then add a bracketing ability. Isn’t technology wonderful!

powering a nikon d40 from an ac outlet

I have been shooting a lot of time lapses lately. The biggest problem with that is battery life. I have a very ghetto hack to power the camera from a cell phone charger, but I am looking for a more permanent solution. I found a fotodiox battery grip on amazon that has an internal battery, and is able to charge from the wall. Getting the right answers out of the vendor has proved to be difficult, so I’m afraid that I may just have to buy it and try it. Does anyone out there in internet-land have this already? And can anyone tell me if it will run from ac power? I am looking at multiple day long shoots, so changing batteries (and bumping the camera each time) just isn’t an option.

Here’s the link to the grip – Any opinions?

Ahhhh…. Thrift stores

I was checking out the local thrift store yesterday and I saw a few filters in their (usually just point and shoot) camera section. I grabbed them and wandered around for a while. When it was time for checkout I tested a theory I have had for a while now. Thrift stores in general (and this one in specific) are really arbitrary about their pricing. Sometimes they will give you a great price on good gear, and sometimes they will gouge you for junk.

Here is how the conversation went.

Me – Here you go!

Her – What are those things?

Me – I dunno, they look like slides, or maybe tiny picture frames.

Her – really? Let me see?

Her – oh, do you know what these are?

Me – Nope

Her – I think they are camera lenses?

Me – really? I was thinking I was going to paint on them?

Her – OK, Cool! That’ll be $1.61

Now this was for a polarizer, a Neutral Density filter and another I don’t remember. The tax alone on those three filters new would have been more than I paid for them. I feel a little bad about lying, but then again, why don’t they price their stuff before you bring it up to the register?

I love looking in thrift stores, I love finding even more!

time lapses – getting to know your intervalometer

I’ve been inspired to shoot more pictures lately. Like everything else in my life I tend to go for quantity over quality, so I shot a LOT of pictures. I acquired a battery/intervalometer for my Nikon D40 a while back and didn’t even notice the intervalometer settings until recently.


I’ve shot quite a few tests with it and I’ll post them below. The first was clouds through my kitchen window.


The second was more clouds from the roof at my work.


Continue reading