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Old Jul 31, 2006, 12:52 AM   #1
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Hello out there,

This is not your usual type of enquiry but I have tried all others I can think of.

Maybe this is not the right type of forum. Anything is worth a try.

Photography for disabled people. I am physically disabled and I am hoping there is a technical person who can you please advise me if it is possible to put an external switch on a good quality compact digital camera.



I have been searching for a number of years for a camera that I can operate independently. What I mean is, without me having to have somebody set up a tripod or fit an extendable arm on to my power drive wheelchair or have to engage in any other elaborate preparation just to take a photograph.



I am a quadriplegic, a spinal injury from a fall from a tree in 1963.

I can hold the camera up and look through the viewfinder but cannot press the shutter release button.I prefer to use the standard viewfinder because I have more control that way. I have no finger movement or wrist movement.

I can raise my arms some what but I do not have much strength in them and not all the arm muscles work.



I have taken photos in the past with a Ricoh film camera using the timer function. The timer switch was a little slider button that was raised above the body of the camera and I could click it on with my teeth. Once it was triggered, there was a 10 second delay and the camera took the shot automatically. That camera got water damage unfortunately.



Besides I want a good digital, maybe 7 megapixel + several optical zoom. Canon, Panasonic, Nikon, Olympus one of those brands. It does not have to be one of them I know there are many others.



Using a timer switch is really not suitable. I want to be able to just pickup the camera and shoot. Of course a setting or two might need to be set but I will sort that out some way.

A good name brand digital with automatic everything is what I want. I realise it will cost but that is to be expected.



I have corresponded with a couple of technical type people and received the following advice.
"Look for a camera, which has an infrared remote control. Then you have a separate remote which controls the shutter release.


You are likely to still need some help to open the camera, set it up, and wake it up if it has gone to sleep. Once it is set up and ready to go, you can take pictures independently by just pressing the switch to activate the shutter release."

Another one -

Below is a copy of a letter I sent to Technical Solutions. A company here in Australia that specializes in making electronic equipment especially toys for disabled children.

Their reply

"I suggest that you find a camera that has a remote shutter release as an optional extra. These are usually the more expensive "professional" cameras. Make sure that it is an "electric" shutter release NOT a "mechanical" shutter release - hopefully the camera sales person will understand this!



You should send me the camera specifications sheet before buying the

Camera and I will comment on its suitability. Then send us the camera with remote release cable, which we should be able to adapt for use with a sip/puff switch."

The "professional" cameras that he is referring to, would they be Digital SLR's? Do you know any models with an "electric" shutter release?



Technical Solutions have a large rang of switches I could use beside a sip/puff.

Maybe if the cable was very short a switch that I could bite on might work.



Now this is maybe a possibility. My only reservation is that the "professional" camera might be out of my price range and might be big & heavy. $500-600 Aust. $ would be my range maybe a bit more.



Do you have any ideas ? Is putting a switch on a good compact digital camera impossible?

Maybe there is different way of being able to activate the shutter.

Hoping to hear from somebody.

Argonaut.



http://www.tecsol.com.au/ - Technical Solutions



http://www.novitatech.org.au/ - Novita Tech


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Old Jul 31, 2006, 3:37 AM   #2
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Hi there,

So far I have found this on Google. I will keep looking untill we can find some decent information for you.

http://www.dps-uk.org.uk/main.html

Here is another link but it may be to the same place.

http://www.dps-uk.org.uk/

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Old Jul 31, 2006, 6:36 AM   #3
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I had a "remote" shutter release for my old Canon SLR that operated like a standard cable release (screwed into the shutter button) except that it was several feet long and was activated by squeezing a rubber bulb. The bulb was connected to a piece of tubing that activated the plunger rod to trip the shutter. With a device like this, you wouldn't be limited to a camera that has an electronic shutter release. If you could fit the bulb between your teeth, you could bite down to release the shutter. If the bulb were too big to fit, you might be able to find a smaller one that would work.
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Old Jul 31, 2006, 6:37 PM   #4
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There are shutter cable releases designed to be bitten to trip the shutter, skydivers use these when they have the camera strapped on their helmet, cable in the teeth and bite when they want to take the picture. Let me see if I can find a link...



Found it...

http://www.paragear.com/templates/pa...55&level=1

There are a few different ones, the 2nd and 3rd items and then a couple more further down the list, there are different sizes so you would have to make sure the size of the plug, eg. 2.5mm. They range in price from $35 to $60.

Good Luck!
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Old Jul 31, 2006, 11:00 PM   #5
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I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but this is one of the more intriguing posts I've read in a long time. I've not really had to think about that amount of limitation before.

My concern is that a single external switch (for the shutter for instance) isn't really sufficient for really using a digicam from a wheelchair. I'd go nuts without at least having some zoom capability to get me a bit closer to the action. If that's not your concern, and you don't want zoom controls at all, finding any camera with a remote shutter control port & pressure device (like the skydiving recommendation) should suffice.

So I'm sure "the answer" (which doesn't exist for people with full control of everything on their bodies either) has a lot to do with what your specific capabiliites and desires are.

For instance, if you can reliably hit levers that aren't as tiny as on a typical camera, while still holding the camera, you might want to consider investing in an underwater housing for a P/S camera. These often have oversized controls that are meant for operation underwater where people that are wearing dive gloves, so it may make it easier for you to control shutter release and zoom. I'm not sure how else you're going to manage to get something like zoom controls (which is all the more important when you can't move the body easily) unless you can hold a DSLR and move the zoom by physically moving the ring on the lens. There are some digicams that have ring-based controls for focus/zoom, but (esp focus) tend to be pretty difficult to use for someone with good finger control so may be practically useless for you, or placed on expensive&heavy units. Ignoring the price, do you think that something like this might work for you from a control perspective (remove the handlebars of course)?

http://www.ikelite.com/web_two/can_s2is.html

There's cheaper camera/housing combos out there, but that's a good pic of a top-of-the-line solution to see if its even feasible. The extra weight may be too much, but I don't know what you're comfortable with. Something like this would pretty much guarentee you won't harm it by dropping it/running over it/etc, but it'll make it less simple to whip out and play with.
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Old Aug 1, 2006, 1:57 AM   #6
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Old Jim, Thanks for replying and doing the research. I am aware of that web site and I have sent them an email. I received a reply saying they had passed on my enquiry to somebody in the group. I waited for about a month then sent off another enquiry but I never received an answer. I will give their Forum a try, it might be better to put my enquiry to a bigger group.

Thanks again for looking. When I get a solution to the problem will let you know.

I will take a shot and send it to you.

Cheers


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Old Aug 1, 2006, 3:23 AM   #7
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Thanks for the suggestion. I have tried varuious camera shops without any luck. All the balloons are quite large. The length of tubing would be a problem. I am not sure if cutting and shortening the cable would damage it.


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Old Aug 1, 2006, 3:47 AM   #8
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Thanks for the suggestion. I will definately look into this. I have cut & pasted the half dozen skydiving switches on that web site. The Bite & Tongue switches look promising. Great idea. I will let you know how I go. I might take a while getting things done but now that I have a target to focus on I can get some where.


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Old Aug 1, 2006, 4:07 AM   #9
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Thanks for your good suggestion. I will be getting back to you tomorrow. My life is governed by the clock. Time is up.
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Old Aug 1, 2006, 4:07 AM   #10
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Thanks for your good suggestion. I will be getting back to you tomorrow. My life is governed by the clock. Time is up.
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