Shutter Holder Downer for the K-x

By PF Staff in Influential Photo Gear on Jan 25, 2013

Something that has made a big impact on my photography is an odd looking device I made myself. Let me explain why I made it. The Pentax K-x was the first DSLR that I bought. It's a great camera and I don't regret buying it. But unfortunately there was a limitation that prevented me from taking a certain kind of picture. I wanted to take star trail pictures that showed the apparent rotation of the stars. The best way to do this is to take many pictures one after the other and stack them together to show the trails. An intervalometer is used to make the camera take many pictures in a row. But unlike most newer cameras, the K-x lacks a built-in intervalometer. And if you were to buy an external one, there is nowhere to plug it in on the K-x. So I had to find some way to hold the shutter down.

 

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Once I got the adaptor that slipped into the hot shoe, making the rest of the device was easy. If you search, "tripod screw hotshoe adaptor" on ebay you can find it for a couple bucks. I found the rest of parts around my house. I used a small screw to attach a piece of rubber to a piece of steel. The other end of the piece of steel was inserted in the hot shoe adaptor. After that I simply had to bend it at the right angle so it would hold the shutter button down. 

To use it I first find the proper exposure (usually something like 30 seconds, f4, ISO 400-1600). Then I set the camera to continuous shooting mode. After inserting the device and making sure it aligns with the shutter button, the K-x will start taking pictures nonstop until the battery dies or the memory card fills up. Here are a couple startrail pictures I have shot with this device:

 

To learn more about how to take star trail pictures, check out this article here on PF: An Introduction to Star Trail Photography.

The camera can also be pointed at a faint celestial object and the resulting pictures can be stacked a different way: 

I love taking pictures of the night sky as you can probably tell. When I upgrade my K-x I'm sure I will use an intervalometer to take a lot more pictures. But since right now all I have is the K-x, I'll keep using this device to take star trail and deep space pictures. Thanks for reading my blog post.

- Kevin (krp)

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