Olympus M Remote Cord question

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Piltdown Man, Apr 10, 2010.

  1. Piltdown Man

    Piltdown Man Guest

    Throwing myself on the mercy of a newsgroup where I've never posted

    After, oh, at least 15 years of non-activity, I recently dusted off my old
    35mm SLR, an Olympus IS-2DLX (or IS-2000, depending on where you live --
    mine is labelled IS-2DLX on the camera and in two of the three manuals that
    came with it, IS-2000 in the other manual, which confusingly combines not
    only all material from the other two manuals, but some extra helpful stuff
    as well). Since the only thing I want to use it for are macro shots on a
    mini-tripod, a cable release would be useful. It's not essential, I can use
    the selftimer as a workaround, but still.

    Olympus provided the IS-2 with a jack for what was called the M Remote Cord
    (or M.Remote or M-Remote, depending on which source one follows -- the IS-1
    didn't have a connection for a cable release, with the IS-3 they switched
    to wireless IR). This was actually the remote cord for the motor drives of
    the OM system. I've looked around for it online, and it can be found, but
    at prices that I find a bit steep for what is really a non-essential
    luxury. But I found myself wondering: what is this "M Remote Cord" anyway?
    Physically, it has a 2.5mm jack at one end. And my best layman's
    hypothesis is: it's really nothing more than that, with a wire and a
    single-pole switch at the other end attached. Would I be correct in that
    assumption? Because if I am, I don't have to look around for the genuine
    article at a reasonable price anymore, I can cobble together a functional
    equivalent myself. It would be easy enough to check experimentally: just
    put in a 2.5mm jack plug, connect the two poles, and see if the camera goes
    click. But I don't like to try that experiment without some corroboration,
    because I'd be creating a short-circuit in an electrical system I don't
    understand anything about, and risk damaging an excellent camera. My guess
    is just that that is exactly what this M Remote Cord does: nothing more
    than closing the shutter release button circuit.

    Any input is appreciated.
    Piltdown Man, Apr 10, 2010
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  2. Piltdown Man

    Ofnuts Guest

    From you description it looks like the wire remote still used with the
    Pentax and the low-end Canon DSLRs (1000D and xxxD). Costs a couple of
    dollars (OEM brands) or a dozen (Canon) in most web photo shops.

    If you want to test first, find a 2.5mm stero jack, wire it up, and
    measure voltage bewteen the wires. You may even detect presses on the
    camera shutter button that way, if the two are merely connected in parallel.
    Ofnuts, Apr 10, 2010
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  3. Piltdown Man

    Piltdown Man Guest

    Thank you for finding that! I did my fair share of googling before asking
    my question here, yet managed to miss that one. It even has a scanned PDF
    version of the manual. Which, when it comes to use of this remote with the
    IS-2/IS-2000, is so extensive I'll quote it in its entirety:

    "1. Focus lock is not possible."
    "2. Press shutter release button halfway to re-display LCD panel."
    "3. Be careful to avoid backlight entering through the viewfinder."

    Disregarding 3, 1 and 2 confirm what I (and you) already surmised: it's
    just a two wire switch. If it had three states (like the shutter button on
    the camera itself), it could duplicate the focus lock function too, as well
    as that of reviving the display, which is shut down when you haven't touched
    any controls for a while (although I fail to see how or why one would want
    to use focus lock with a wired remote).
    I feel your pain (I think). I've always thought of myself as a bit of a
    klutz in all things mechanical and electrical, and only recently discovered
    that I'm not as hopeless at it as I always thought. But trying out
    something of one's own construction that might, potentially, damage
    something valuable, or FAPP irreplacable, remains scary.
    Piltdown Man, Apr 11, 2010
  4. Piltdown Man

    Piltdown Man Guest

    An excellent pointer, thank you. As a result, I found this:
    http://www.camerahacker.com/RS60-E3_pin-out/pin-out.php. I'm certain such a
    Canon remote would do the job, but however simple, it's still technological
    overkill -- unless I'm very much mistaken, the Olympus "M Remote Cord" is a
    much simpler on/off job. But I might still buy one if I decide my planned
    home-brew version doesn't look nice enough. You're right, they're cheap
    enough, and I can pick one up on the way the next time I go grocery shopping
    -- oh the joys of living in the center of a compact European city, where
    specialist photography stores are a literal stone's throw away from
    Your response, and Charles', gave me the courage to try out my camera with
    a 2.5mm mono jack, one that came with a switchable-voltage power supply
    with a lot of different connectors, and that conveniently has the two poles
    sticking out at the end as little metal rods. And yes, when I connect the
    two rods, the camera goes click, as I suspected it would. You've both
    helped me to overcome my fear of possibly frying the camera's electrics,
    and made me a happy boy today.
    Piltdown Man, Apr 11, 2010
  5. Piltdown Man

    Piltdown Man Guest

    Just a last followup to bring this little thread to a happy end...

    Great minds must think alike, because my first idea was to use a pen-sized
    torch body for the switch end of my contraption, too. I have a couple of
    those in my box of Bits And Pieces That Still Might Come In Useful One Day,
    from when I replaced the ones with lightbulbs with LED ones. But after some
    experimenting for maximum ergonomics, I decided on a light switch saved
    from a long-gone desk lamp instead.
    My self-build path almost effortlessly led to the perfect solution. As I
    walked past the big consumer-electronics store on the corner, as I do
    pretty much every day, I decided to see what they had in the way of 2.5 mm
    plugs. The cheapest thing with such a plug I could spot on their rack of
    audio leads was a 10 cm long 2.5 mm to 3.5 mm adapter. And since like
    probably everyone I have plenty of 3.5 mm leads in my box of BAPTSMCIUOD
    (these things breed, I swear), I bought that. It cost me 5 euro, so that's
    about US$ 3.5. Back home, two minutes after leaving the store, I lopped off
    one end of a short 3.5 mm stereo lead, left over from some long-forgotten
    piece of audio equipment, and turned it into a mono lead by wiring it into
    one half of the light switch. And there it was: a fully functional cable
    remote for my old camera. And it even looks, well, 'professional'.

    It wasn't until the next day that I realized that in creating this rather
    haphazard three-component device, I'd managed to accidentally include two
    useful features, which I can now retroactively try to pretend are the
    result of clever design. First, because it uses an ordinary light switch,
    you have to switch it off again after making a picture. This creates
    a perfect safety against accidentally making two identical exposures if
    your thumb is a bit unsteady on the button. Second, I made a short lead
    because I only intend it for tabletop use. But by separating the two ends
    of the cable in the way I did, it means if I ever need a much longer one, I
    can just stick any 3.5 mm audio extension lead in there. (I couldn't keep
    myself from seeking out the longest such lead I had around, and amusing
    myself by making the camera go click from the other side of the room, just
    to prove to myself it does work.)

    Well, it may not seem like much, but it's still my very first entirely
    self-engineered, fully functional piece of photographic equipment, even if
    all I did really was reverse-engineer a single-pole switch. Or perhaps it's
    my second, if one counts my much-improved take on the classic Strobist $10
    desktop macro studio/light tent

    Mine isn't some flimsy cardboard and duct tape construction, but a sturdy
    yet lightweight wood construction, with your choice of slide-in diffusors
    or reflectors, a magnetic rear panel for easy fixing of backdrops, and when
    not in use disassembles in seconds to fit into a pizzabox-sized carrying
    case, for easy storage and portability. And the best thing it: it still
    probably came in at around that $10 price mark, since I built most of it
    out of completely free material: mostly plywood from fruit crates, and a
    throwaway cookie tin for the magnetic panel.
    Piltdown Man, Apr 21, 2010
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