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Old May 1, 2011, 6:50 PM   #1
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Default Remote-control picture-taking with Canon PowerShots: Will this solution work?

I'd like to be able to remotely control the shutter of a Canon PowerShot, so that I can take pictures without needing to physically touch the camera.

I also need the remote control to be Radio Frequency (RF), not infra-red, because infra-red requires clear line-of-sight and will not work in the situations I'm envisioning (kite photography, etc.).

But, as you know, PowerShots do not have any remote-control function, nor do they even have a shutter-release port (for an external cabled shutter-release).

It took a great deal of research, but I think I figured out a multi-part solution that just may work! Hopefully.

Question: Will the following set-up work to remotely control a PowerShot?

Step 1: Go to the "Gentles" site and figure out which lightweight PowerShots are compatible with their hardware: http://www.gentles.ltd.uk/gentwire/usb.htm .
Step 2: Then also go to the CDHK site and see if they have any software packages that match a Gentles-compatible model: http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK. In this case, I note for example that the PowerShot SD940 is compatible with both, and since that's a small model that suits my purposes, I'm good to go.
Step 3: I buy a used SD940 (or any other model compatible with both).
Step 4. I buy a "gentWIRE-USB USB cable camera triggering for RC systems" from Gentles: http://www.gentles.ltd.uk/gentwire/usb.htm
Step 5: I buy a "ZAP-SHOT ZS-2" from the Zap-Shot company: http://www.zap-shot.com/support_compatibility.htm ; this works as a radio-frequency remote-control for higher-end Canons that have a shutter-release port. (There are other RF remote-control brands; I just chose this one because it seemed reliable.)
Step 6: I Download the "CDHK" (Canon Hack Development Kit) software for the SD940, which alters the firmware of PowerShots to have extra features.
Step 7: I put it all together thusly:
- Upload the CDHK to the PowerShot SD 940 via the HD card as instructed;
- Plug the "gentWIRE-USB" into the SD940's mini-USB port;
- Plug the ZAP-SHOT into the gent-WIRE-USB's other end (where the remote shutter-release is supposed to go -- presumably the plug sizes match);
- Turn everything on and it should all work -- if I press the ZAP-SHOT's remote control, it should activate the gent-WIRE-USB shutter-release command, which sends it to the PowerShot, which thanks to the CDHK firmware, the PowerShot will obey. Press the remote-control button and click! I've taken a picture.


Or am I failing to notice some critical flaw in the concept?

I'm not much of a techno-head, so I can't really explain the specifics of how the gent-WIRE USB and the ZAP-SHOT work, but if you read their descriptions carefully, it seems that they could plug into each other and theoretically work as described.

Any help or suggestions or debunking of this jerry-rigged solution would be most appreciated! (Before I go out and drop a pile of $$$ on a purported solution that has no chance of working, that is.)

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