Toy Digital Camera Control Set with Shutter for Time Lapse Photography

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As the second project of the toy digital camera control set series, we produced the automatic shutter that enables slow shutter speed photography (also called time-lapse photography or interval photography). The circuit of the shutter is built on the breadboard. There is nothing that requires programming. You only need to buy necessary electronic components and put them in, and do some soldering to make the shutter part. As for the toy digital camera, we disassembled one and modified it by using a soldering iron.


The entire system is composed of (from the left):
• Modified toy digital camera (BONZART Lit)
• USB mini B male – USB mini B male cable
• Slow shutter
• USB miniB male – USB A male cable
• Mobile battery (imprinc ILU60-SPC01K) 4500mAh


Install the system like this and set it to release the shutter at about 30 second intervals. We stitched the taken images together to make a video like this.

It is a toy digital camera, so we can only take still images. It’s an extra work, but we stitched these still images together by using the video editor software to create a video.

Recorders that can shoot the video like this are also commercially available; “recolo” of KING JIM, for example. It makes a video by stitching photos and records it. Or, as an ordinary digital camera for which the shutter interval time can be set (which can take a set of still images), we can name Ricoh’s GR or CX series. Fancy cameras have the infrared remote controller, and you can do interval shooting by using “Multi interval timer remote controller”, which can send the signal to release the shutter to the remote controller at a certain intervals.

So, we can buy one, but we can make any interval setting (*1) with our own camera. We’d rather want to make one if we consider future application to other cameras; we can modify various cameras to support the time-lapse shooting and create inexpensive interval shooting environment with high-quality images.

(*1) The interval setting that can be set for each product is as follows (as of August 27, 2013):
• KING JIM “recolo”→At intervals of between 3 seconds at minimum to 24 hours at maximum
• Ricoh GR →1 second/ 2 seconds/ 5 seconds to 1 hour (in increments of 5 seconds)
• Ricoh CX →Between 5 seconds to 1 hour in increments of 5 seconds
• Multi interval timer remote controller →In increments of 1 second between 1 to 10 seconds, or in increments of 5 seconds between 15 to 40 seconds; total of 16 patterns.

For the versions we’ve created, we had to open up the toy digital camera to modify. More expensive cameras may have the remote controller as mentioned above or have an electric release to release the shutter. We’ll let you know when we create something like these.

Here, we’d explain the system that was used to shoot the ice pop some more. Compared to simplicity of creation of the shutter part, modification of the toy digital camera is way more difficult. We’ll create a unit that can be modified more easily someday…and would not explain the detail of the modification of the toy digital camera here. (The quality of the image is not so good with BONZART Lit, but the toy digital camera itself is about 3000 yen and reasonable, we may explain it for those with the advanced soldering technique some day in the future…)


This is the shutter part. It is enclosed in a transparent case, which is the cover for breadboard introduced in other article. Lead-through breadboards which are introduced in other article are also used, being arranged back to back.


The circuit is like this.


A microcomputer or alike is not used. Instead, the timer IC and the logic IC are used. For the part to set the time, several resistors and the DIP switch are used. A four-position DIP switch is used for now, so five different settings can be made. If we modify this part, we can make more types of interval setting or adjust the interval time through analog operation by using half fixed resistances.

The list of components and circuit diagram of this circuit will be provided later separately.

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