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Ayer, Massachusetts, USA
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Over the last several years, I have disguised my camera to make it look like a press camera from the 1930's for various steampunk events.  After awhile I started adding bits and pieces to the camera, trying to various things you find in a smart phone to the setup.  One of the things I added was a telegraph key for communication.  A number of people asked me whether the telegraph key could fire the camera, and eventually I did.

Originally, I just connected the key into the camera's wired shutter release, with one connection for the ground, and the other connection to the other two wires (focus and shoot) in a wired shutter release.  The camera that I use (Olympus E-5) is a little slow at auto-focusing when I'm using it in live view mode.  If I connect both the focus and shoot wires to ground together, the E-5 would sometimes shoot before it got a focus lock.

This program runs on the Arduino (UNO R3).  When you make contact on the telegraph key, the Arduino through an opto-isolator (4N26JP) connects the ground and focus wires which tells the camera to focus.  When you release the telegraph key, it keeps the ground and focus wires connected, and through another opto-isolator, it connects the ground and shoot wires for a period of time.  The period of time is specified by a potentiometer.

After the shot is done, I use a buzzer to send out the word "fire" in Morse code.  The buzzer is a little annoying, and eventually I may decide to remove it, or just use LED flashes.  I use the Morse code library written by Erik Linder SM0RVV and Mark VandeWettering K6HX.

I use the protoshield that I got from yourdunio.com.  The idea is when I want to do something else, I can easily just take off the shield, and the buttons, etc. are preserved.  I bought two shields initially, and may buy more if I have different projects.  When I want to go back to the telegraph, I can just plop on the shield and once I reflash the software, it will work immediately.  Eventually, I will probably dispense with the breadboard, and just solder the bits on the protoshield.

Here are pictures of the setup:





Here is a fritzing representation of the setup:



The code is at:


Here are pictures of my 3 steampunk cameras:

  • The left camera is my Olympus E-P2 inside of a 1915 Kodak Pony Premo 5x7 field camera
  • The center camera is my Olympus E-5 inside of a custom box, complete with critters.  This is the camera that has the telegraph key (note, the Arduino has not been integrated into this picture, and I have the telegraph key pushing a wired shutter release).
  • The right camera is my Olympus VG-120 inside of a wooden frame.





Other pictures of the evolution of the steampunk cameras are at:


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« Last Edit: August 07, 2012, 09:08:21 am by MichaelMeissner » Logged

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