How to test your camera’s shutter speed using lasers and an Arduino

Jul 20, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

How to test your camera’s shutter speed using lasers and an Arduino

Jul 20, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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At some point, many of us will have a camera that just doesn’t feel right when it comes to shutter speeds. Maybe we’re seeing flicker when we’re shooting timelapse, or perhaps we have an old camera that doesn’t seem as quick anymore.

In the olden days, confirming shutter speeds was no easy feat. It required some specialised hardware and a book of charts to compare. These days, you can do it with an Arduino and a couple of lasers. This project by Stuart Brown shows you how.

The basic device is quite simple, requiring relatively few but quite specific components. You’ve got the Arduino Nano microcontroller itself, some laser diodes and ISO203 laser receivers, a LiPo charger & voltage regulator, a level shifter, a tiny 2.2″ TFT display and a handful of switches and connectors.

The system uses the three lasers to accurately determine the camera’s shutter speed down to the millisecond. This lets you quickly and easily see if your camera’s shutter is in spec or needs a little attention.

While this isn’t a project that everybody will need, it’s certainly a valuable one for those who shoot film cameras. Or, if you regularly acquire new cameras, you can check the shutter speed is exactly what it says it is.

Usually, we can hear when something’s not right, but this just lets you double-check.

I’ve got some old cameras here with shutter speeds that are most definitely wrong. The last shutter speed tester we featured here on DIYP was not this simple and easy to build. This one, though, will have to go on my build list!

If you want to have a go at making your own, you can download the code and all the info on GitHub.

[via Hackaday]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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