5-Minute Camera Foot Switch

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Introduction: 5-Minute Camera Foot Switch

About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author ...


I needed a foot switch for my DSLR camera so that I could take hands-free pictures. On a long-shot, I went down to the local Radioshack to see if they had one. As expected, they didn't have any camera foot switches, but I did luck out that they had all the parts necessary to build my own. Here is how to throw together a 5-minute camera foot switch with easily obtainable parts from Radioshack.

Step 1: Go Get Stuff


You will need:

(x1) 3/32" Mono Plug (part # 274-0289)
(x1) Sustain Foot Pedal (part # 42-4053)
(x1) 20' Stereo 1/4" female to 1/8" male Cable (part # 42-2561)

Step 2: Cut the Cable


Cut the cable in two such that you are left with a few feet worth of cable still attached to the 1/4" female jack.

Step 3: Prepare for Soldering


Peel back the vinyl rubber jacket from the cable to expose the two audio cables and the ground sheath.

Separate the two wire from the ground sheath.

Cut away the black wire entirely and strip the jacket off the end of the red wire to prepare it for soldering.

Step 4: Solder


Open the 3/32" plug by twisting it apart.

Slide the plug cover onto the cable before you solder.

Solder the red wire to the middle metal lug and then solder the ground sheathing to the large outer metal tab.

I put a drop of hot glue in-between these two terminals to make sure that they can't accidentally cross later.

Step 5: Plug It In


Plug the foot switch into the 1/4" female socket. You can now plug the 3/32" male plug into your camera.

Step 6: Enjoy a Hands-free Existence


Now that both hands are free to work, you can do things like photographing yourself hitting computers with hammers.

Put your camera on a tripod and give it a whirl (the foot switch... not hitting computers with hammers...).

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    45 Discussions

    Hgow can I do this with a Nikon D750?

    Will this work with canon cameras?

    I'd love one of these, but i've got a nikon D3100 :/ doesnt exactally play nice with maker/hacker community.

    Nice work! But, saddly, mine Sony Alpha had stock three-pin in-row socket, so jack is no solution for me. Anyway, thanks for idea, when I get this socket I needed, I want to built wireless shutter remote.

    2 replies

    My Sony has this, electrically it is the same. Check out https://www.instructables.com/id/Homebew-Wired-SONY-ALPHA-Remote/

    My Nikon D200 has a specialized DIN plug on the front of camera for a remote shutter. The plug on the side says it's for audio out. If the Pentax is the same, how does it work as a shutter release?

    3 replies

    The Pentax plug isn't audio out, it is just the same form-factor. It is definitely a remote jack.

    So in order to do the same I'd need the DIN connector to connect to the Nikon remote switches?

    Just put this together for my EOS t2i
    .
    Parts:
    Hosa Stereo Breakout 3.5 mm TRS to Dual 1/2 in TSF - Mode YMP-137

    On-Stage Gear KSP20 Keyboard Sustain Pedal

    3.5 (f) mm to 2.5 (m) mm barrel adapter from Radio Shack - sorry no model number.

    The Sustain Pedal mono phone (m) plugs goes into the black mono leg (f) of the Hosa splitter. This side is labeled 'Tip' on the Hosa.

    Sustain cable to Hosa Tip leg, Hosa 3.5 into barrel plug, 2.5 into t2i

    t2i on Manual.

    Set t2i timer to 2 seconds.

    Step on pedal, t2i auto focuses then takes photo. This is the same behavior you get if you use the Canon infra-red remote or the Canon wired remote.

    Setting the timer on the Canon is required to make this work - same as Canon controllers.

    Thanks for the original info. All parts from Amazon except RShack barrel adapter.


    After much work i figured out a setup for my new canon t3i

    6 Foot 2.5mm Stereo Male Plug to 3.5mm Stereo Female Jack
    http://www.pchcables.com/6fo2stmaplto.html

    Hosa Tech Stereo Breakout 3.5 mm TRS to Dual 1/4 in TSF
    http://www.pchcables.com/ymp-137-bulk.html

    M-Audio SP-1 Sustain Pedal
    (important that you can set polarity for any pedal you are considering)
    http://www.guitarcenter.com/M-Audio-SP-1-Sustain-Pedal-102952298-i1154552.gc

    the key here is the hosa tech piece which turns a stereo 3.5mm plug into two 1/4 mono plugs. one will be shutter the other if you wish can be hooked into a second pedal for autofocus (i dont need this). a schematic for the resoning behind this can be found here:
    http://www.mariasphoto.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/03/canon-diy-shutter-release.jpg

    hope this helps someone

    It is just fantastic.....

    Most of the Panasonic cameras use a 4 conductor mini phone plug for the remote. You can get these plugs here and there eg Jaycar. Overall though I would get a cheap remote from eBay ( I got one not long ago for about $8) and just adapt the insides to a foot switch. This would also give you the pre-focus as well.
    The thing that surprises me though is the interest in this; I can't remember ever wanting to take a photo with my foot. What are the typical uses for this?

    4 replies

    If you use a stereo plug you can get the focus, but then you would need a second foot switch, which would over-complicate it (or an expensive two position rocker pedal). I think I might make a more advanced version to do that at some point.

    Why take pictures with my feet? After making 135 Instructables, I found that it is useful to have both hands free to actually make things, rather than have one tied up taking pictures. Using a camera timer is unreliable, slow and annoying. A foot switch allows me to keep the flow of what I am doing.

    Pretty sure I could hack the two stage switch out of a cheap remote into a two stage foot switch. Nevertheless I guess most of the time you would use a foot switch you would be in one spot with much the same focus distance. If so you could run your camera on a power adapter and set it for continuous auto focus. Then a single stage switch would do the job.

    I really like this idea for enabling simple autophotography; most of the time when I have both hands occupied and need to take a photo I call my son into help.

    By the way you may have sold yourself short saying "135 Instructables" your tag image says 150! Either way 135 or 150 it is an amazing contribution, congratulations.

    USE FOR FOOT PEDAL -
    I've been setting up a white backdrop with a couple of soft boxes at parties that I've been going to lately and running a "photo booth" for everybody at the party. The pics have turned out awesome, its a really fun way to get killer pics of your friends. I've been trying to figure out how to make the entire experience more natural, especially for peeps that dont like their pics taken.
    --Enter Foot Pedal---
    By having a foot pedal where you pose, you can take as many pics as you want, and with somebody standing there "supervising", the pictures energy and fun increase 100 times. This way people get quite a bit more crazy because I setup all the goods, put in an empty 16gb card, and the everybody else just lets it rip. I come back at the end of the night, pack up, and upload all the pics to my server and then everybody can download them. Its pretty hilarious, I would recommend to all.

    Great idea; I have worked the photo booth idea into wedding receptions and engagement parties in the past but never thought of using a foot switch.

    Radio Shack "you've got questions, we've got dumb looks". With Nikon you can opt for the infra-red remote which will auto-focus and will start the self timer. Its about the size of a car remote and costs 20 dollars.

    1 reply

    Speaking from experience, the self-timer is less than ideal when you are actually trying to do things (like make an Instructable).