I'm now seeing lots of "selfie sticks" with trigger buttons (Like this one), and I always think "Hey, that's a good idea!". But although these sticks all work nicely and effortlessly with a smartphone, life is not so easy if you want to use another camera.
I've seen 2 types of those selfie sticks: Some use Bluetooth triggers, others connect using the audio jack. Since the audio jack doesn't require batteries, radios, etc, I decided it would be simplest to use one of those.
I'm not a huge fan of selfies myself, but I love spherical pictures and I own a Ricoh Theta. The problem with a spherical camera is that every picture becomes a selfie, so you must be careful: If you are too close, you end up distorted, and if you are holding tha camera your fingers always looks huge!
The usual solution is to put the camera in a tripod or stick and use the Wifi trigger from your smartphone. But in my experience, picking the phone, unlocking, pairing with the camera, opening the app and clicking to take a picture takes a couple of minutes instead of seconds, and you end facing your phone when the picture is taken, so it's not that great. Using a button on the stick seems like a much better solution.
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Step 1: Step 1: Hack Your Camera
You will need a way to connect the trigger to your camera. There are a few cameras out there that have a connector, for an external trigger, but that's rare.
In my case, I opened my camera, found the trigger button and soldered 2 wires in parallel to it. Whenever you short-circuit these wires, it is seen as a "trigger button clicked" by the camera and a picture is taken. I exposed these in a small external connector at the bottom.
The exactly steps to do it will depend on your camera, of course
Step 2: Remove the Circuit Board From the Monopod
Pull the cap from the end of the monopod.
You will see a tiny circuit board between the wires from the button and the wires from the phone jack. It encodes the simple on/off signal from the button into something your phone will decode as a "Take Picture" event. (I'm don't know what encoding it uses, let me know if you do).
Since we are adapting it to a camera that doesn't have a phone jack and doesn't understand this protocol, let's remove this board altogether. solder the headphone jack wires directly to the button wires.
Isolate it and close the end of the monopod again. Be extra careful when closing, so that you don't create knots or short-circuits.
Step 3: Replace the Connector at the Top
When hacking my camera, I exposed a simple 2-pin connector instead of an audio jack
(I had it around, plus it is much smaller).
I used tape and super-glue to shape my connector the way I wanted
Step 4: Test Your Camera
Everything should be ready, stick your camera to it and take a few pictures
Step 5: It Can Still Work With Cellphones If You Want
Remember that little circuit board and audio jack we removed? We can have it back if you want.
Solder the audio jack directly into the circuit board, put the connector where we used to have the button wires.
Now your modified selfie stick can still trigger your phone.