Public Lab Wiki documentation

Camera Trigger

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This page describes how to set up a camera to repeatedly/continuously take pictures during balloon or kite mapping

for timing two cameras together, see dual camera triggering

How do you keep the camera continuously shooting photos during flight?

Many cameras can be set in "continuous shooting mode", which generally allows you to hold down the trigger button to take many continuous photos. The mode is different for each camera, and not all cameras have it. Check the camera selection page. We recommend Canon cameras for reliability; some cameras will shut off after a few minutes. See below for details.

Some cameras can be set programmatically, such as Canons using the Canon Hack Development Kit (CHDK). Some Canons can also also be triggered by infrared remote control codes, useful for stereo or near infrared camera pairs, along with Stereo DataMaker. Cris Benton and others use motors to trigger cameras that can't be programmed. A more drastic option is to hack a timer directly into the camera's shutter button circuit, like this 555 timer.

Taking lots of photos is generally easier than controlling when a photo is taken. Once you find a camera with continuous shot, test the battery to see how long it will shoot. Put in a memory card with 4gb+. Consider getting a second battery.

Super Simple: Holding down the shutter

This is for use with the PET Bottle Rig

Instead of using a balled up piece of tape, a pebble, or some other thing to hold down my camera's shutter, I've gone to using a knot. This makes it easy to hold in place, and makes setting it easier. I prefer a rubber band, but tape also holds it down. tape may be more useful for bulging, non rectangular cameras.

My Canon SD1000 needs the rubber band tripled up to hold it in place:

knot+rubberband+continuous shot = easier than CDHK

knot+rubberband+continuous shot = easier than CDHK

knot for shutter with tape