How to build a shutter release cable for the Canon EOS Rebel T3i

Picture of How to build a shutter release cable for the Canon EOS Rebel T3i


One of the things that plague photography, particularly long exposure photography is unintentional blurring of the image, often caused by knocking of the camera.

The best defense against blurred pictures is to use a tripod and follow the rule "hands off the camera". But how do you take a photo with your hands off the camera?

IR Remote Control
An IR remote control works pretty much the same as the remote you use to turn your TV on and off, except instead of turning the tele on and off the IR Remote Control for your camera allows you to take photos, and in some cases control basic attributes of the camera.

Problem with an IR remote control is that it doesn't work to well in bright conditions and it requires batteries as well as requires you to be roughly in front of the camera.

Shutter Release Cable
A shutter release cable is basically a device that connects to the camera and either electronically or mechanically manipulates the camera shutter button.

On the Canon EOS Rebel T3i it is an electronic remote that often has an intervalometer and other smarts built in.

These range from about $40 on ebay (some have a timer, others are just a button) all the way up to $70+ for the smarty pants ones that are wireless.

The funny thing is though, there isn't all that much to building your own and it doesn't cost all that much in both time and money.
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Raitis made it!1 month ago

Thanks for adding the plug pinout in picture, didn't even need anything else to make one. (:

jacynthe.hart4 months ago

You can buy these off ebay for like 3 dollars.

skrix4 months ago

Hi mbainrot, I recently built a similar system, but cheaper. I used Jaycar's 2-button remote keyfob case (HB5605), 2 metres of stereo coaxial cable (WB1504), 2 tactile PCB-mount buttons (SP0601) and a 90-degree 2.5mm TPS plug (PP0104). In total it was $9.60 and it's nice and small and robust.

dan300810 months ago

Making :D will have to post back when i'm done :)

There is a 3rd option to trigger the shutter without your hands on the camera: the self timer. Setup your scene and set the shutter to self-timer, depress the shutter release and take your hands off. Depending on your tripod and focal length, 2 seconds might not be enough for the vibrations to die out, so go for 10 seconds.

Personally I have only ever used the 10s option with telescopes.

reoozeit1 year ago
If anyone is going to decide to do this great project themselves, whether it be with cables with 3.5mm and adapters or with 2.5mm cables, make sure you pay close attention to the type of cable (and socket) you get. you need the type shown which is basically a "stereo" type plug where you have 2 separate wires(normally right and left channel audio) and ground(s). If you look at the pictures, there are 2 dark stripes which are insulators separating each of the 2 channels and the ground, thus making 3 electrically-separate sections on the plug. Don't go home with the wrong parts and try to make it, and then have to get the right parts. Easy mistake I would make. Just helping you all to get the right parts the first time.
yoyology3 years ago
I love this explanation of how everything functions. Makes it very easy to understand how to make one. I only wish that my PowerShot G6 would take one of these.

I am curious, though, why you didn't just wire in a cable with a 2.5mm plug at the end instead of the jack/cable/adaptor rig. Just using what you have, or is there another rationale?
mbainrot (author)  yoyology3 years ago
I bought all the parts to do it (2.5mm plug and a 3.5mm line socket), then it started to bucket down with lots of wind and I didn't want to get my camera wet. (Whilst where I work is under cover, it's not enclosed)

You can get a 2.5mm plug to 3.5mm plug but I found the ones locally available the 2.5mm plug's sheath was too big.
I personally like this method better because many times cables get damaged or go bad and doing it this way, you replace the cable and you are done, without desoldering, stripping delicate cables, resoldering the new ones, etc. Just my preference maybe, but I would definitely do it this way if I was to choose.
fgramsch2 years ago
Awesome Bro!!! thanks a lot!
searched a very long time for a tutorial like this, and now my 600D has a remote shutter:D
arvjohn133 years ago
Hello mbrainrot,
I am interested in making this cable and would like to know if it will work with my Canon EOS 550D??
and also that can I use a 2.5mm socket instead of the 3.5mm one, so as to reduce the use of the 2.5 to 3.5mm converter..??
toyowner3 years ago
Sorry. Programable shutter release cables are available on Amazon for under $20. several different functions and bulb features.
Amazon isn't available in Australia, it is too expansive to send.
mbainrot (author)  WolfDog093 years ago
It is available, it's how I got my DSLR and depends on the parcel size as to cost.

Main reason I prefer to make stuff is so then I don't have to wait, takes from 3-4 days to a week even with the priority shipping from Amazon via DHL.

It's too expensive to get stuff from America if you go through the wrong carrier (e.g. a carrier that packs your stuff in caviare or gold leaf) or your getting a large/bulky/heavy parcel.
Higgs Boson3 years ago
This is very cool! In fact I need one of these for a project I am working on, but unless you have the parts lying around it would probably be cheaper to order one on amazon. From my last search they were selling a lot of them for around $10.00. Very cool instructable though.