Canon M3 Wired Cable Shutter Release - Homemade

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Being a Canon guy for the last 10 years I've recently decided to invest in a mirrorless camera for my skydiving that I can also use with my collection of Canon lenses with an adapter. I got a good deal on the Canon M3 and so went for that.

Only problem is, as anybody who's got one for skydiving knows, it doesn't have a port for a wired shutter release. The only way to trigger the shutter off-camera seems to be with the RC-6 infrared remote.

I've bashed together a little rig for making a full tongue switch wired cable shutter release for the Canon M3 on the cheap and thought I'd share it with you.

What you'll need:
1 Canon RC-6 Shutter Remote - get a 3rd party one from eBay for £2.99 ($3.70)
1 Canon M3 Silicone Rubber Sleeve - again another eBay job £4.80 ($6)
1 Male - Female 3.5mm jack cable £1.50 ($1.90)
1 small switch that you can press with your tongue £0.50 ($0.60)
1 Can of Silicone Sealant (IMPORTANT: Has be be neutral cure sealant, otherwise it'll corrode the electronics of the remote) £4.60 ($5.70)
Some heat shrink to seal cables £1.50 ($1.90)

Also a soldering iron and solder. And that's it.
Now essentially the aim is to get the remote wired up to the tongue switch, which in turn has a 3.5mm connector jack to connect the remote to, and the remote will be glued to the side of the silicone case. We'll extend the IR diode around to be right in front of the camera's IR sensor so triggering it will always trigger the sensor.

Step 1:
Take the RC-6 remote apart. Unsolder the IR diode at the front, and extend it about an inch with two wires. Also notice the tracks on the back where the remote switch makes contact to cause the trigger to fire, they conveniently go to the other side of the board via two holes. Use these two holes to solder in two cables that will go to your female 3.5mm connector which will be glued onto the back. The two cables will exit out of the back of the remote via a small hole you'll drill.
[inline remote_front_solder.jpg]
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Step 2:
Measure out the length of your cables for your helmet. On one end solder the tongue switch. On the other solder the male part of the 3.5mm jack. Cover both sides with several layers of heat shrink and shrink it down to make a nice solid and tight seal.
[inline cables_naked.jpg]
[inline cables_finished.jpg]

Step 3:
Now because the M3 sleeve case is silicone, pretty much the only thing that will glue to it is more silicone, hence we'll be using the silicone sealant (plus it's nice and rubbery so will take movement well). First make a small hole just right of the IR sensor hole in the sleeve, through this push your extended IR diode so it lines up nicely in front of the sensor when it's on the camera. Then using a good strong dose of the silicone sealant go mad with glueing your remote to the case (as it's naturally cured sealant, feel free to completely douse your remote electronics in it, it won't react with them and will actually protect them in a rubbery silicone seal)

Easy! That's basically it. Obviously test every step of the way that it works with triggering the camera, but at the end of it you should have a nice wired switch for your Canon M3

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Shutter lag when on manual focus seems to be okay. Not as quick as pressing the physical shutter obviously, but maybe like 0.3 of a second.

Not tested it in sunlight yet. We've got a distinct lack of that here in the UK winter right now. Hoping to test it in the sky this weekend though.

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So I've just measured how long the shutter lag is exactly (manual focus, high shutter speed):

Shutter lag using normal shutter button on camera = 0.13s
Shutter lag using homemade IR wired shutter release = 0.23s

Also interesting on the note of FPS, I've changed the drive mode to continuous and found that once you press and release the IR shutter button it starts shooting max fps (4.2fps at jpeg setting) and does not stop until you press it a second time! This essentially turns it into a GoPro style "Continuous N-photos every second" approach which could be useful.

Unfortunately the way the software for the M3 is compiled there is no Magic/Tragic Lantern version available for it, and most likely never will be, hence my homemade hack. (Luckily a lot of the video features of MagicLantern are already built into the M3 anyway: focus peeking, audio monitoring)

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