I recently bought myself a nice Pentax K100D camera to complement my traditional film cameras.
Whilst taking some self portraits, I realised that I could benefit from a remote for the camera, rather than relying on the self-timer. There are two official choices:
1) A Pentax cable release that connects to the 2.5mm socket on the side of the camera
2) A wireless Pentax IR remote
Now The first option didn't really appeal as I'd need a reasonably long cable and there is the potential for it getting in shot. The second option was preferable but rather more pricey and would also require waiting a week or two for one to be ordered.
So what did I do? I spent �2 and created my own.
Note: Whilst I did this for a Pentax camera, it should work for any camera that has an IR receiver built in to it for a remote.
Step 1: Obtaining the Components
Now, the wireless remote is IR based, so my first thought was to create my own with a few spare components I had lying around. But then I thought I'd have to figure out the IR modulation that Pentax use. Not impossible, but more effort than I wanted to expend.
Then I realised that a universal remote control (intended to amalgamate all your TV and DVD remote controls into one device) would possibly work, since out of th ehundreds of supported TVs one is likely to have a similar IR code to the pentax remote.
Universal remotes can be found at any high street electrical store and usually cost around £15-£20 for a basic model. Now this was more than I wanted to spend as I might as well buy the official Pentax remote in that case. So, a quick trip to my local Poundland (That's a $1.90 dollar store to my American visitors) in my lunch break and I was equipped with:
1) An incredibly cheaply produced universal remote.
2) Some AAA batteries for the remote.
Step 2: Find the Code
Now you need to find a code for your remote that will activate the camera. Obviously the instructions that come with your remote won't contain a code for your camera since they are designed for TVs and the like. Instead you'll have to use the manual search mode to step through each code to find one that works.
The details for doing this vary for each remote so read the charming engrish instructions for your remote.
For me it took 2 minutes of working through the device codes on manual search and the remote was operating the camera shutter when I pressed the power button!
So there we have it, for £2 (less really since I still have 16 batteries left) I have a working remote for my camera that also lets me change channels on my tv :-)
Admittedly the remote is much bigger than the Pentax one but I'm unlikely to be carrying it round with me so that doesn't really matter. And yes it's rather flimsy but again that's not an issue for me since I'm not going to be putting it to heavy use.