$17 Arduino-based nikon IR intervalometer + code

invervalometer_4

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.

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How to use Ac power to replace the Nikon D40 battery

I still haven’t gotten the grip I mentioned a few posts ago. I don’t know if I will. I have figured out a clumsy hack to get the job done and I might just run it this way, or perhaps clean it up a tiny bit.

This is the battery with little aluminum strips taped to it. The battery compartment is too tight for regular wires, so foil was the only way to do it.

aluminum foil wiring for battery pack d40

aluminum foil wiring for battery pack d40

This pic shows the “wires” coming out of the battery grip. I have alligator clips on a 7.3V 200Ma cell phone charger. I connect it to the foil and off we go!

battery grip showing aluminum "wiring"

The reason why I have the battery in there is because without it, there isn’t enough juice to fully actuate the shutter. I think that some kind/type of capacitor would also do this, but I’m afraid I don’t what kind would work.

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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 nuelectronics.com

lcd shield from nuelectronics.com

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?


8 tips for Time lapse photography

Here’s a few things I have learned while sitting in fields waiting for my camera to finish working for me.
8 tips for shooting SLR time lapses

 

1) Put your camera on full manual – otherwise the still will flicker from one to the next.

 

2) Try to pick objects that are still, or are far away enough that they won’t be overly distracting (trees are great in the background, but tend to look bad in the foreground because they move so much.)

 

3) Set your camera to a fixed iso – mine was on auto iso (even in manual mode) and it took me a while to really figure that out.

 

4) Sometimes you will have to make concessions for the brightness / amount of motion blur issue. Either get more light, a faster lens, or a more realistic view of what is possible.

 

5) Set your camera to be as energy efficient as possible. Turn the auto preview off, and turn the auto focus off (after focusing) It is uncanny how much power holding the mirror up takes. If you are planning on shooting all night you’re going to need to be running efficient.

 

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