creating a programmable remote shutter release for Pentax Kx

In an earlier DIY post, I showed a mechanical shutter release for continuous shooting with the Kx. This time we are looking at creating a programmable remote by combining an infrared remote control with a cabled programmable timer. Total cost was £23 from ebay. Choose a suitable infrared remote and a programmable remote. I have used a Pentax/Canon, as the connector is a standard 2.5mm plug.

Peel the label from the infrared remote and identify the contacts for the button. Scrape away any of the insulating varnish (green in my example). Solder wires to the contacts, slightly away from the button if you can (so that the button will still work). Solder a 2.5mm socket to the other end of the wires and test. If all is well, the remote will now trigger the infrared pulse. If it does not, check the wiring. My soldering skills are poor and I had to revise my connections twice.

Now you can use the programmable remote to control the infrared remote and control the camera. With long delays, you do need to make sure the camera does not go to sleep, as the infrared pulse does not wake it up.

As well as being able to select the interval of photos, you can use this to control the camera in bulb mode. If your infrared remote will hold the shutter open while the button is pressed you can use the timer remote as described in the instructions. If your infrared remote only sends a pulse when the button is pressed, you will have to send one pulse to open the shutter, one to close it. This means that you need to be a little more creative when programming the timer. The first pulse will open the shutter and the length of the exposure in this case is set by the delay, when a second pulse is sent. The next exposure will start after the same delay, but as long exposures are likely to be followed by dark frame subtraction, this is not necessarily a problem. It sounds complicated more complicated than it is, so best have a try to see how it works in practice before a crucial shoot.

2 thoughts on “creating a programmable remote shutter release for Pentax Kx”

  1. You mention this is for a Pentax Kx, but say “Pentax/Canon” in the article. Will this same thing work for a canon rebel? (fingers crossed it will!)

    1. Hi, the wired part of the remote will work with most Pentax or some of the Canons (if your rebel has a 2.5mm mini headphone type remote socket it should be fine). The infrared is a Pentax version, but you could do the same thing with a Canon infrared remote. If you have a wired socket you do not need all the extra complication of soldering the infrared remote on. This is only needed as Pentax decided to omit a wired remote from the ‘entry level’ Kx. Good luck.

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