Shown here at actual size
The DigiSnap 2000 is a significant upgrade from the original DigiSnap 1000 in that it now controls the zoom lens and allows for the color LCD to be used on Nikon Coolpix and other digicams.
By hooking the DigiSnap up to your computer you can program it to take a series of shots with any time delay required. You can easily capture timelapse images of things or even use the camera as a surveillance device, capturing images automatically at preset intervals. It "wakes up" the camera, takes the shot and then puts the camera back to sleep again. Camera settings are saved between exposures.
The frame below shows the configuration menu of the
DigiSnap. This is accessed by using any PC terminal program you want.
I used the HyperTerminal program that comes standard with the Windows to "talk"
to the DigiSnap.
The serial communications are carried out at 19,200 baudrate so you can use a very long cable run between the DigiSnap and the camera. Tha manufacturer has tested it with a cable as long as 700 feet!
The Camera Configuration Menu lets you enable Nikon-specific features for the 880 or 990 models. This include; shutter half-press, bulb (single shot or time-lapse) and setting a specific bulb duration.
Other settings useable for most digicams are enabling or disabling the color LCD,
the camera's switches and specifying the zoom step size. You can view the entire
DigiSnap 2000 User Manual to get a better idea of how flexible it really is.
Here's the DigiSnap 2000 connected to a Nikon Coolpix 990 camera. This camera and the earlier Coolpix 950 has been extensively tested with the DigiSnap 1000 and the new 2000. The Coolpix cameras are well suited for remote control with the DigiSnap.
The DigiSnap uses a command protocol shared by many cameras and camera control programs available through the internet. If your camera can be controlled by CamerAid (Mac), PhotoPC (Unix, Windows), CAME (DOS), etc., then it should be compatible with the DigiSnap.
Want to know if the DigiSnap will work with your camera? The folks at Harbortronics have a test program that runs on PCs and was written in QuickBasic. It may or may not work on some newer computers. You can download it and try it for yourself.
DigiSnap 2000 Firmware Upgrade10/15/01: Harbortronics announces availability of a significant update in the DigiSnap 2000 firmware. If you own a DigiSnap 2000, 2100, 2200, or 2500, you are welcome to email Deborah at HarborTronics for a free update. The firmware may be updated by the user via connection to a PC compatible computer.
We have made some improvements, and added several new features.
NEW - DigiSnap 2200
Harbortronics is also proud to announce availability of the
DigiSnap 2200, which adds a
connector for external trigger, and includes the new FastSnap feature. This model is
intended for use with the Pocket Wizard(tm) RF synchronizer units for sports photography,
but may be also used for any application requiring external triggering.
Last year we reviewed the DigiSnap 1000 with the Nikon 950 and were disappointed that it didn't allow the use of the color LCD -- the new DigiSnap 2000 eliminates that problem. The DigiSnap 2000 can be used as a wired remote control for triggering the shutter and controlling the zoom lens - just like the MC-EU1. And better yet it can be programmed for a wide range of time-lapse functions, something the MC-EU1 can't do. Check on the Harbortronic's web site, there's a document that describes the DigiSnap 2000 compared to the Nikon MC-EU1.
I've been using a MC-EU1 for many months to control the 990 while on a tripod and it works fine but it really seems to eat those expensive lithium button batteries, I keep two or three spare in the drawer at all times. The DigiSnap 2000 is powered by standard AAA size batteries which are readily and inexpensively available everywhere.
When using it for time-lapse work, you program it beforehand while connected to a computer. It is not connected to the computer when in actual use so it is very easy to place the camera and the DigiSnap in outdoor locations without risking damage to an expensive laptop or the like.
If you need the ability to trigger the camera from a distance or wish to do timelapse photography, the DigiSnap performs beautifully. I can't say that I tested it with a 700 foot cable but it worked as advertised on a 12 foot serial cable for me. The Harbortronics folks are working on an even more advanced unit, the DigiSnap 2500 will have an infrared receiver and will work with common TV remote controls.
If you're even considering the Nikon MC-EU1 for the Coolpix 880 or 990 then I would
highly advise that you think about buying the DigiSnap 2000 instead, it offers more
control, the ability to easily extend the serial cable length and it's firmware
Skydiving with the DigiSnap 2000
Here's a real-world application of the DigiSnap 2000, controlling a Nikon 995 mounted
on a skydiver's helmut. Needless to say, these folks need their hands for other
things during a jump.
A closeup of the DigiSnap 2000 and Nikon 995 with a wideangle lens on the custom mount.
Another view of the whole rig, ready to fly! Thanks to
Marc for providing me with these great pics
of his setup.
Want to see more? Visit Marc's www.clustermaster.com web site, he's got lots of skydiving pics posted there.
Note: All photographs and page content
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