Lightning trigger


aliengrove

Link Posted 04/07/2012 - 01:56
I am probably going to get a Lightning Trigger to use on my K5 to take pictures of storms at night with, and was wondering if anyone here has tried one? With a shutter lag of 92 milliseconds the K5 is pushing the envelope a bit for this device, so I would be very intereted in anyone elses experience with the K5 or other Pentax.
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steven9761

Link Posted 04/07/2012 - 07:38
link

Have a read at the above link to see if it answers your question, AG. TBH, I think the shutter lag on any digital camera is going to seriously hinder what you're trying to achieve, although not entirely impossible. I think it's a case of "more luck than judgement" though.
Last Edited by steven9761 on 04/07/2012 - 07:38

Frogherder

Link Posted 04/07/2012 - 12:06
Having googled 'Lightning Trigger' I was amazed to find they are so expensive.

I have an optical flash slave (a few pounds of ebay) which fires a flash gun when lightning is 'seen'. I found this out by accident when a lightning flash occured whilst using it.

So I wonder how much more circuitry/pluggery is needed to fire a camera. It doesn't appear to be 'rocket science' so why the high price?


regards
Bernard

Father Ted

Link Posted 04/07/2012 - 13:04
One method I've heard of, but never tried yet, is to be somewhere very dark ( or use filters), hold the shutter open, then allow it to close after the lightning strike.
Getting there! Thanks to you guys

Pentax K10d, *istDL, Kit lens ( 18-55mm ), 50mm f1.7 lens, Tamron 70-300mm lens, Prinzflex 70-162 manual lens, Various old flashes.

petrochemist

Link Posted 04/07/2012 - 20:46
Father Ted wrote:
One method I've heard of, but never tried yet, is to be somewhere very dark ( or use filters), hold the shutter open, then allow it to close after the lightning strike.

This seems to be the standard approach, but I suspect it's intended for locations with much more lightning than we get in the UK. Parts of the states regularly get storms with lightning strikes several times a minute. I rarely see one with 10 strikes in an hour.
Mike
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montyaus

Link Posted 04/07/2012 - 22:05
The easiest way is to use bulb,

Open the shutter until a lightning strike is in the field of view,this is no more difficult than a trigger ,and you have to know ,or guess where the lightning is going to strike,and close the shutter after the strike,not knowing a lot about dark frame subtraction you would have to have it turned off or loose the next strike (ah the beauty of film cameras)and a good supply of power.

Almost any settings will work as the lightening is similar to a flash, and you can experiment to achieve the results you want
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pentaxian450

Link Posted 06/07/2012 - 02:01
I tried lightning triggers. They don't work. When the shutter finally opens, the lightning is "long gone". There is that little thing called shutter lag, plus the fact that lightning don't last as long as they seem to do (caused by retinal image retention, which is what makes it possible to see movies or TV as an uninterrupted scene, although it's made by combining many still images).
Yves (another one of those crazy Canucks)

aliengrove

Link Posted 07/07/2012 - 05:24
Thanks for the replies. The company that makes these claims they work on any camera with a shutter lag of less than 120 milliseconds. The K5's shutter lag is 92ms. It seems a bit of a risk spending all that money and then finding it doesn't work, but I may try it. Bulb is not an option, I want to shhot lightning from an aircraft.

I have had limited success using exposures of 3 to 5 seconds handheld, as long as there is no moon (the clouds end up blurred) and only one lightning flash, which acts like a flashgun. Some taken on my K5 can be seen here . I only have about a 1% success rate using this method though.
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Last Edited by aliengrove on 07/07/2012 - 05:26

amoringello

Link Posted 07/07/2012 - 12:12
I know someone who owns one of these and says they work great!

http://www.lightningtrigger.com/

They are a bit pricey, but apparently it is more than a light sensor. It is also supposed to work on the change in charge in the air before the strike happens as well as the light. Although I am finding it difficult to find that information on their website.

Pentax is listed with an "n/a" on their compatibility list. I'm not sure if that means it will not work, or simply that they have not tested. You may try to contact them and see what they think.

I believe they are also built to order, so I don't know what sort of distribution they handle. (US Only??)

aliengrove

Link Posted 07/07/2012 - 13:19
amoringello wrote:
I know someone who owns one of these and says they work great!

http://www.lightningtrigger.com/

They are a bit pricey, but apparently it is more than a light sensor. It is also supposed to work on the change in charge in the air before the strike happens as well as the light. Although I am finding it difficult to find that information on their website.

Pentax is listed with an "n/a" on their compatibility list. I'm not sure if that means it will not work, or simply that they have not tested. You may try to contact them and see what they think.

I believe they are also built to order, so I don't know what sort of distribution they handle. (US Only??)

They are selling a cord for Pentax, so I assume it must work on Pentaxes. What camera is the person you know using? It would be interesting to compare the shutter lag on that camera to the K5's. I would be ordering it for delivery in the USA.
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Last Edited by aliengrove on 07/07/2012 - 13:21

Don

Link Posted 07/07/2012 - 13:54
I tried some experiments once with my k10 that might actually work for lightening...
I plugged the headphone out from a digital recorder to the cable release socket for sound activated firing..
I also tried using a photoelectric cell to activate the shutter by light...

seems to me that if you wired the electric photocell and microphone element to a double headded cord and used the 10 second shutter speed, either the flash (ideal) or the sound (would only work if lightening was up close or a multiburst) might trip your shutter...
easier to build than you might thingk, only set you back a couple bucks IF you scrounge parts from say an old nightlight and an old recorder...
Fired many shots. Didn't kill anything.

amoringello

Link Posted 07/07/2012 - 19:14
aliengrove wrote:

They are selling a cord for Pentax, so I assume it must work on Pentaxes. What camera is the person you know using? It would be interesting to compare the shutter lag on that camera to the K5's. I would be ordering it for delivery in the USA.

I believe it was a Sony. Not sure which model.
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