Thursday, June 7, 2007

DSLR's and the Shutter Button Blues

I love photography but I tend to get annoyed at my inability to control the shutter button so much that I 'walk' away from my hobby for periods of time. I keep googling and hoping some wizard has developed a functional remote control - keep on dreaming.

My new Nikon D-80 is good stuff, and have found ways to take some decent photos. Let me quickly add that while I think the D80 is a better camera, any model Olympus with the live LCD is perhaps a better camera for wheelchair users. The ability to place the camera high or low (down and dirty even) and take photos removes the ever so standard perspective one can produce from a wheelchair. If I ever get to go on safari, I'm buying another Oly with a 12mm-24mm lens for wide-angle 'perspective' shots.

Nikon sells a 18mm to 200mm lens that has all but eliminated the need for a 2nd lens to lug around. Thats a huge benefit for us rolling shutterbugs. In six months I've never once removed the lens! Its compact so I downsized my camera bag and has VR (vibration reduction) which is makes my so-so ability to hold a camera steady look so very good. At appx $900, its very pricey, but even this penny-pincher can see the value.

Reluctantly, I'm using the Nikon wired remote-control in my mouth to activate the shutter with my tongue. Its way too big and I feel very uncomfortable using it, but it works better than anything out there. I bought 2 after-market models with the idea of modifying them but the electronics arent too reliable. The actual nikon switch is much more responsive, but of late even it is not firing reliably. Perhaps its not saliva-proof.

The best part of my new setup is that I can compress the shutter 1/2 way and focus the shot, or move the focus point like those normal people do. Even better, you can hold down the button and fire off 3-shot bursts each second. Its looks pathetic but the results are damn nice.

Let me finish this by saying that if there is a clever engineer on this rock who wants to partner up and develop a slick shutter control (mechanical, electronic or somehing in between)I'll finance the endeavor. I'm sick of choking whilst I wait for the perfect shot.

See Jim Watters' remote review of Nikon remote for many D-series cameras.


Ralph said...

Hey Loren,

Good to see your still working on your great blog. Sorry I don't stop by more often. Like you I use a wired remote (Canon RC-1) in my mouth and it works well. I agree that a different device would be cool. If you find something lemme know! Keep up the good work. RalphRollingpix

Tim said...

Hey Loren,

Just stumbled across your site, and your descriptions of mouth controlled shutter has got me thinking how it could be made more versatile.

I'm picturing something that has multiple breath controls - so there would be several holes you could blow into, and you could cover individual holes with your tongue to prevent air going through that one when you blow.

There could also be a bite control.

Ideally, each control could be mapped to different functions, but I'm thinking of a typical setup like this:

Bite - release tripod grip so you can move the camera position.

Release bite - tripod locks camera in position.

Blow (right side) - focus (equivalent to half-pressed shutter button)

Blow (all) - take photo (fully pressed shutter button)

The left & centre blow positions could be used for +/- exposure compensation, or shooting mode, or menu options, etc.

Does this sound like something that could be useful?