Controlling time-lapse photography (Long)

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I am experimenting with time-lapse photography in the bush, leaving the
camera unattended.
I have had very satisfying results using a Canon G2 connected to a very old
Toshiba laptop running XP and Breeze Systems "G2 Remote".
Shooting every ten seconds and capturing the images directly to the computer
works well until the Toshiba battery runs out after about ninety minutes.
G2 Remote will not run on a Vista machine or on any Linux machine.
The advantage of using the G2 over any of the impressive DSLRs is that the
G2 has no shutter, and therefore no shutter noise. The other advantage is
that the camera battery lasts longer each session because, I believe, the
shutter mechanism in the DSLRs gobbles battery power.
I have bought a second G2 (ebay) and I wonder if I really need to use a
computer at all.
The memory card in the G2 is adequate for a recording session, if I can find
a way to trigger the exposures at the time interval of my choice,
automatically, or with some kind of remote triggering.
The first possibility is a bolt-on solenoid that pushes the button,
controlled by a timer circuit that I could probably cobble together from
circuits published over the years in S.C.
A bit noisy and a bit violent, I imagine.
The second possibility is something similar but a bit more delicate, pushing
the button on the little IR remote control that comes with the G2.
I don't think the IR remote is robust enough to withstand much of that kind
of punishment.
The third possibility is to butcher one of those remotes (available for
about $20) and bypass the mechanical part of the switch with a similar timer
mechanism.
The fourth possibility is to make a little box with its own IR transmitter,
sending the appropriate sequence as recognised by the G2. I don't know how
to discover what this sequence would be, but I am sure it is discoverable.
The fifth possibility is that there is some product out there, affordable,
that does the job already.
It is interesting that the G3, and the G5, and perhaps other Canons of that
series have the time-lapse facility built in.
Has anyone any experience in this area?
Has anyone any suggestions?






Re: Controlling time-lapse photography (Long)

"L.A.T."
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** This sounds like a nice project for SC magazine.

All it takes is a small RC servo, a pulse position contol circuit ( can be
as simple as one LM555) and an adjustable interval timer. The lot could be
done with one of the simplest PICs.

The whole caboodle then goes in a plastic box with the servo positioned so
it can push the camera shutter.

To make a waterproof version for weather photography, add a clear lid.

Power could be from four AA size NiMH cells  - go for months.

DLJ  -  where are you ??



.....  Phil



Re: Controlling time-lapse photography (Long)

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Speaking of SC, the June edition has an updated version of the Flexitimer.
It is designed to energise a 12Volt relay.
It seems to me that I could leave out the relay and replace it with two
leads going to a butchered Canon IR remote with appropriate resistance to
lower the voltage to the three volts required by the remote. These two leads
would replace the shutter switch on the remote. The flexitimer could sit on
the ground and the IR remote could be fixed up near the camera, pointing at
the IR receiver.
IR remotes claiming to be suitable for the G2 camera are available for less
than $10. I am tempted to give it a try. I like the idea of a system that
has no mechanical components and uses existing systems.



Re: Controlling time-lapse photography (Long)

"L.A.T."
 "Phil Allison"
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** I like idea of a dead simple, low cost method that will works with a huge
range of budget priced digital cameras.

Plus it involves no access to the insides of the camera or anything else.

Be great for surveillance applications as well as time lapse imaging.




.....   Phil







Re: Controlling time-lapse photography (Long)
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IR would be the best solution.
I know someone that got an IR kit (from China via eBay I think) for a
G2, and I believe there are many circuits and PIC code etc around the
web.
I like the idea of no mechanical bits too.

Why don't modern cameras have this function? Would be great if they
could power up in the last mode, take a pic, then shut down until the
next time period. It's just a bit of firmware.

Dave.

Re: Controlling time-lapse photography (Long)

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2 out of 3 digital cameras I have owned have this function.

Samsung 210
Canon 3S IS

AFAIK the Canon A75 has it too.


--
Regards,

Adrian Jansen           adrianjansen at internode dot on dot net
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Re: Controlling time-lapse photography (Long)
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In that case the OP is much better off simply getting one of these. No
mess, no fuss, and best us of battery life.

Dave.

Re: Controlling time-lapse photography (Long)
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Your only fault, and the OP too for considering it, a servo would
introduce camera shake, resulting in blurry photos. Much better to use
IR in this application, or by using the remote shutter release port on
the camera, if the camera has one.

Re: Controlling time-lapse photography (Long)
Go to someone local to you who can design and build electronic circuits.
They can custom design and build a variable timer for you that should be
able to trigger your camera.

If you visit some professional camera stores, I am sure there must be some
commercial products for this type of thing. There are many people who
require various types of photo timers for specific aspects of industry. I
would check that out.

I don't know how compact your set-up has to be. It may be possible to adapt
some type of system using solar panels to charge your batteries if the
photos are being taken during daylight hours.

If solar panels are not practical, maybe you can have an external battery
pack custom made that can use larger batteries such as a gel cell pack. As
long as the voltage is correct, and everything is wired properly this should
work out very well.

--

JANA
_____


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Re: Controlling time-lapse photography (Long)
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The other way is to buy something like Canon S2 IS, it has the ability in the
firmware. You just specify time interval and number of pictures to take. I'm
sure other Canon models have this ability as well.

Tom

Re: Controlling time-lapse photography (Long)

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Not only that, but most cameras have an external trigger, you just have to
find the right pins, usually its not even mentioned in the manual either.



Re: Controlling time-lapse photography (Long)

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Once again, thank you all for your comments and suggestions.
Buying a new camera is out of the question, alas.
I have decided to make the Flexitimer Mk4 from June's S.C. and use it to
switch an I.R. remote.
I have ordered a couple of remotes from a place in Hong Kong at, wait for
it, $1.90 each. Postage $7.00
It seems a very low price but I know of people who have dealt with them and
they are legit.
I imagine I will destroy the first one as I try to find out how to get
inside it.
My electronics expertise ended with the valve era, so I am uncertain about a
few things. Has anyone seen the circuit for this flexitimer?
It seems to me that the only reason it needs 12Volts is to actuate the
relay. Anything else is on the other side of a 5Volt regulator.
My question: If I use the device without the relay, would it work if its
supply was 6Volts?

 



Re: Controlling time-lapse photography (Long)


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It doesn't look like anything other than the relay needs 12V. As it
stands, the 5V to the PIC will start to droop if you go below about
7.5V (drop across D8, and the requirements of the 78L05), but you
might be hard pressed to notice the difference since the PIC should be
happy with its voltage below 5V. The specification for the PIC used
says it will run as low as 3V but it could depend on whether they have
programmed "brownout reset" to be enabled.

Andy Wood
snipped-for-privacy@trap.ozemail.com.au

Re: Controlling time-lapse photography (Long)

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For the record, and for those interested, I have made the flexitimer without
installing the relay.
It runs well at nine volts and if I remove the LED and take two wires from
its site, it seems to actuate the I.R. remote reliably.
Next step is to see if I can find a simple, small,  I.R. transmitter circuit
and
1. discover what sort of sequence the Canon expects, and
2. discover how to transmit such a sequence.

Google (everybody's friend) tells me that many of the cameras with some sort
of time-lapse built in are not versatile enough to do even the simple task
we want.
And that there is a $40 plug-in device already available from Hong Kong that
does exactly what we want for the Canon 350D and 450D.
It is called the Phottix C1.



Re: Controlling time-lapse photography (Long)

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Once more, for those interested, I have finished my timer/remote
combination.
It is called the iThumb.

I have used one of the IR remotes from Hong Kong.
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3292/2666610006_1fb60ba735_o.jpg

The PCB is covered by a stick-on plastic cover with membrane switches and
can be peeled off..
The box in the middle has the switches for the Canon camera, and the top
left "S" is the shutter release.
Shorting this switch actuates the shutter.
The add-on block of white domestic terminals is held in place by one screw
and Araldite.
The outer two terminals are soldered to appropriate places on the PCB and
the two centre terminals are soldered to the site of the 3Volt button
battery so that a battery-holder with 2 AA batteries can be connected.
The IR LED is removed and soldered to the lugs on a RCA plug.
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3242/2666610690_e90eb242f8_o.jpg
The PCB lugs where the IR LED was sited are connected to a RCA socket in the
jiffy box.
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3222/2666610556_d6609c2d0e_o.jpg
The IR LED can be plugged directly into the box
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3117/2665785795_4fbb8cafde_o.jpg
or attached to the box via a short RCA cable with a plug at one end and a
socket at the other..

The device works reliably with the box sitting at the base of the tripod,
pointing up to the camera, best with a piece of cardboard at an angle over
the IR receiver in the camera as a deflector.

 



Re: Controlling time-lapse photography (Long)
 > The other way is to buy something like Canon S2 IS, it has the
 > ability in the firmware. You just specify time interval and number
 > of pictures to take. I'm sure other Canon models have this ability
 > as well.

A number of last-generation Canon powershot cameras can be
reprogrammed with free software firmware THAT LEAVES EVERYTHING ELSE
FOR DEAD. See: http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page

With CHDK, there's motion-sensing triggering (fast enough to capture
lightning!), BASIC scripting, arbitary ISO control, Exposure control
(from infinity to ~1/50,000s), and about a hundred of other features.
It's GPL software that turns a $100 camera into a $80,000 camera for
free...

I'm doing exactly the same thing the original poster is doing to
capture noctural fuana in the act, but with a "$100" Canon Powershot
A550, using the 'allbest' replacement firmware, and no modifictions to
the camera at all-- not even to the onboard firmware. The only
hardware you'd probably need is an external 3.15VDC power source--
something that's trivial to provide.

--
Chris

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