View Full Version : DIY camera shutter trip by wildlife

11-21-2004, 01:58 PM
Hello has anyone come up with a simple home made camera/flash trigger. I have a Nikon 4s/ sb24 flash. I want to photograph critters such as weasels, pine martins etc. or should I say I want them to photograph themselves. Any suggestions welcome, thanks.

11-21-2004, 02:04 PM
There are a couple of IR-based triggering devices available commercially, and I've also seen circuit diagrams for building one yourself. Sorry I don't have a link, but you should be able to find one with a Google on "circuit diagrams" and/or "IR triggers". Essentially, they amount to an IR beam the animal triggers by breaking the beam, and an associated solenoid that activates a cable release. The commercial unit included a housing into which the camera was placed. As the F4s has a manual cable release socket, rather than electrical, it should be relatively simple to construct.

03-12-2011, 06:40 PM
I'd absolutely recommend a camera that utilizes an electric release instead of having to engineer a solenoid on a standard cable release socket. Your Nikon F4S should work well as it has an electric cable release (2-pin, easy to splice into once you have the right connector) and OTF flash metering. You really don't have to build a triggering device yourself, but will need to splice a jack into an electrical cable release.

Several retro-reflective NIR triggers are available commercially that will do everything you need and cost less than $100 each. You'll likely want two for a crossed-beam trigger array for pinpointing composition and avoiding false triggering. (They're wired in series so that both beams must be broken simultaneously in order for the camera to fire).

I use SecoLarm Enforcer devices with sub 10 millisecond latency, that draw only 20 milli-amp-hours of juice off 12 VDC (run off AC or DC over a wide range of voltages down to a minimum of 10.8VDC) are waterproof and about the size of a jumbo pack of chewing gum.

There are a bunch of similar devices nowadays but the Enforcers are especially nice. Used with film cameras and flash as they won't run through a whole roll of film once they lose power, as will several units I've used in the past. And while they are self-contained with their own IR light source, they can also be used to detect red LED laser pointers substituted for the reflectors.

I use Quantum Turbo 2x2 battery packs for powering up flashes for several days. These recycle a full pop from a Nikon SB800 in one second. If you dial down the flash (and use several) you can keep up with motor-driven sequences. To avoid eye-shine, take the flash off-axis. Use the widest lenses you've got.