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Sony DSC-S70 Digital Camera

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Jim Thompson, Feb 6, 2004.

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  1. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson Guest

    Sony DSC-S70 Digital Camera

    I'd like remote shutter operation.

    Does anyone know if that might be doable via the USB port?

    I can find nothing in the instructions or specifications.

    ...Jim Thompson
  2. Mark J.

    Mark J. Guest

    In news: (Jim Thompson):

    Jim, why all the fascination with USB?

    Last I checked, you were anti-uC, and any USB chip pretty much is a uC and
    USB driver married in one, such as,, or Unless
    you really want to delve into the 8051/uC arena, USB is going to be
    proprietary or bust...

  3. Jim,
    There is no support for a remote or cable release on this camera.

    Unless you hack it open and add the wires to the exposure switch.
  4. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson Guest

    Last time I looked I designed the USBv1 cells for Intel. And I
    designed the serial chips 1488 and 1489.
    Being anti-uC ('cause I'm an Analog guy) doesn't necessarily make me

    This was posted as a *camera-specific* question. I own a Sony DSC-S70
    that I'd like to have the modern equivalent of a cable release (for
    wildlife shots, etc.).

    Since there's no classic screw-in-cable on the shutter, I was just
    muttering to myself if the shutter might be activated thru its USB

    ...Jim Thompson
  5. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson Guest


    Thanks, Martin! Maybe I'll just do a mechanical hack with a clamp-on
    solenoid ;-)

    ...Jim Thompson
  6. Ian Stirling

    Ian Stirling Guest

    It's deeply annoying that the bastards don't.
    It's essentially free, and makes the camera usefull for many other

    If you want to do this, you need to spend a lot more...
  7. Mark J.

    Mark J. Guest

    In news: (Jim Thompson):
    Well pardon me. :)

    Oh ok. Sounds reasonable, but is this "remote shutter" to be controlled
    from a PC or a discrete driver? And does the camera have the capability of
    actuating the shutter via a command from the USB bus? If it does and you
    want to use a computer to control then it may require a device driver to be
    compiled and a small program made which calls the driver and sends the
    command. Seems like overkill for such a simple application, therefore I
    assume a discrete solution is what you're talking about. seems to be a great help with USB, they even have complete
    reference designs such as:
    or related available online. I guess it boils down to "does the camera
    support USB shutter control?"

  8. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson Guest

    You "PC" guys always want to involve your computer... I just want to
    push a button ;-)

    From other posters it appears that the function I want doesn't exist,
    so I'll probably hack a electro-mechanical solution :-(

    ...Jim Thompson
  9. Michael

    Michael Guest

    For general use - i.e. fast *and* slow shutter speeds - you might
    consider pneumatics.
    I used to have an el cheapo remote shutter release (bought in Tokyo back
    in the 60's) that I used with an SLR. Piston screwed onto the shutter;
    10-12 ft. soft rubber tubing connected piston to a hand operated squeeze
    bulb. This low-tech thing was so gentle that I retired the handsome
    cable release I had been using.
  10. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson Guest

    This shutter button has no threaded insert like you usually find on
    better film cameras. So I'm studying my tripod to see how I can rig
    it up.

    ...Jim Thompson
  11. I recall one model rocket project that used a 555 to trigger the electronic shutter in a film cammera as the rocket was ascending.
    Neat pictures.


  12. Mark J.

    Mark J. Guest

    In news: (Jim Thompson):


    Computers are getting darn small these days, check out this 400MHz
    handheld: It's only
    $280! One of these models includes its own digital camera, so it would not
    even apply... :)
  13. I had a similar requirement a couple of years ago and ended up doing
    that, i.e improvising a gadget attached to tripod.

    It's a scandal that modern cameras heave neither an electronic socket
    to operate the shutter nor even a screw thread for mounting a simple
    release. I spent ages getting this thing working. Rather than my Sony
    DSC-1, I used an old Olympus Zoom auto-focus. Felt less nervous about
    leaving that outside overnight.

    My aim was to photograph whatever was coming through a hole dug below
    my garden fence. I thought it might be foxes. So I had to arrange to
    press and release the button. Eventually, after a lot of
    experimenting, I designed a unit inside a small plastic case. I
    connected an old-style cable at one end to a solenoid plunger in the
    case, and its other end was just on top of the button. The mechanics
    proved a greater challenge than the electronics for me. But after
    virtually constructing Hubble single-handed I imagine you'll get it
    sorted a lot faster <g>.

    My sensors were micro-switches attached to lightweight, camouflaged
    board, and provided the trigger. All crude, temporary stuff. Circuit
    ensured camera wouldn't get re-triggered within 5 seconds or so, while
    motor wound film on for next shot. A mono powered the solenoid driver.
    Power supplies were via mains. A *long* extension cord. And we get
    rain here, so weather-proofing was another challenge.

    The trickiest aspect was powering the solenoid. Extensive
    trial and error to get reliable action. The surplus component I had
    available was rated at 24V and my first approach was to use a
    multiplier and largish capacitor to power it from the 6V supply I was
    using to emulate the camera's battery. But eventually that proved
    inadequate, so I added a 29V line.

    Block diagram, circuit and a few photos:

    Bottom line: three cats, two squirrels - no foxes!
  14. Louis Bybee

    Louis Bybee Guest

    Well done!

    This gives me an idea to document the damage I believe the neighbors cat is
    responsible for. The fellow next denies it's his cat, but I've seen it. He
    says bring me the proof, and I will pay for it. This seems a much better
    solution that hurting the cat. :-]

    Remove the two fish in address to respond
  15. Andre

    Andre Guest


    You could hook up a timer that takes a picture after the onboard
    beeper sounds a specific tone, most cameras beep when you download the

    (though don't choose the tone it makes when you take a picture :) )
  16. Al Yeager

    Al Yeager Guest

    Have you checked ?
  17. So, it looks like the NPN is not even needed, and eliminating it would
    save quite a bit of current. If you got the current drain down, you
    could use batteries. I'm a bit leery of using a 4001 for a one shot,
    which passes slowly thru the voltage range on the inputs.

  18. I don't know about the -S70, but my -F717 can't do anything except
    downloading files to/from the PC when the USB cable is connected. This
    is strictly a firmware feature. If the -S70's FW is similar, remote
    operation via the USB would be impossible.
    Canon G2, on the other hand, could operate under remote control from
    PC via the USB and a special application running on the PC.
  19. Michael

    Michael Guest

    Yeah, that occurred to me after I had replied. I encountered the same
    problem (no threaded shutter button) some 20 years after buying the
    pneumatic release, wanted a release for a Polaroid SX-70 camera. (I
    think Polaroid did offer something, but probably it cost big bucks.)
    Shutter button looked like a "Klixon" switch, the kind used for
    keyswitches on the Bomar Brain calculator. So no threaded hole.
    Anyway, I cut a small block of hard maple about an inch square and about
    half an inch thick, drilled a through hole in it to pass the plunger
    rod, counterbored it slightly so it would take the thread of the
    pneumatic plunger, and on the other side (and with plunger hole as
    center) used an auger and counterbored about 3/32". That last bored
    depression fit fairly well around the metal collar of the camera's
    shutter button and kept the plunger hole centered over that button.
    Screwed a piece of spring steel to the switch button side of the wood
    block, it clamping the block and attached pneumatic plunger to the body
    of the camera. It was easy to put on and take off without tools.

    The key to this solution was that the part of the SX-70 body on which
    the button is mounted is not terribly thick .... mebbe 5/8" or 3/4".

    If I had thought I would use the kludge very much - which I didn't - I
    would have protected the camera's shutter button from the small diameter
    pneumatic plunger rod.
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