Canon Digital Rebel Remote

Canon Remote Complete

Tonight, Ben Holt and I hacked up a remote for the Canon Digital Rebel XT. Instead of paying $20+ for a fragile remote on a short cable that has less features, I picked up about $10 in parts from Fry’s.

The basic plan came from Hacking Digital Cameras book. If you follow this link, there is a link to download a free chapter that happens to include the discussion of building the remote trigger.

Canon Remote Wiring

After drilling a few holes and soldering a few connections, Ben and I whomped together a tough as nails remote on about a 9ft cord. The wiring is rather simple, as seen in the photo. The toggle switch locks the shutter open and is used for time lapse photos independent of camera settings. The push button closest to the toggle triggers the shutter program as selected on the camera. The other push button triggers the autofocus feature, if enabled on the lens.

Update: I added a couple of photos taken with the remote and some more commentary. Split the story because it was getting long…

The only reason the plug is so huge is because Fry’s was out of stock on the 2.5mm plugs with solder lugs. So, I used a 3.5mm plug with a 3.5mm->2.5mm adaptor. Bulky, but easy enough to replace later. Or if I can ever find a right angle 2.5mm plug of some kind, I’ll use whatever adaptor is necessary on the other end to make it work.


The photo of the wasp and the two flower photos were all taken with the remote. It is mostly a joy to use; tap the AF whenever you move the camera. Smack the shutter whenever the potentially perfect shot is in the viewfinder.

Wet Lantana Blossom

The ability to flip the shutter whenever desired without touching the camera is quite enabling. I can easily change the shot by moving the camera around with the tripod, by adjusting the camera, by changing parameters, etc… and the shutter trigger is always at hand and never interferes with the shot. For really fast shutter speeds, the user experience is much cleaner.


About the only wrinkle is that the shutter button still triggers autofocus and won’t necessarily always activate the shutter. Obviously, not an issue with manual focus. It isn’t catastrophic, by any means. If I were to try and address the problem, I’d probably start by having the shutter button also close the AF circuit.

21 Responses to “Canon Digital Rebel Remote”

  1. Fraser Speirs says:

    Thanks for the link! I’m definitely building one of them over the Christmas holidays.

  2. MHC-in-the-box » Photography: build your own EOS 350D remote says:

    […] Well after a few days of taking it easy on the blog, I’m clicking away this morning and stumble upon Bill Bumgarner’s blog, bbum’s weblog-o-mat, and lo and behold his patest entry is all about building your own Canon Digital Rebel Remote. This remote is for the Canon Digital Rebel XT (EOS 350D) and can even activate the lens’s autofocus if it is enabled. The cost of the project is around $10US in parts. […]

  3. Rajio says:

    Is there any risk to the camera by doing this?

  4. bbum says:

    No risk from the wiring. It is all passive components — no power supply. The way the normal shutter control / button works is to dead short all three wires, so it is impossible to miswire this to short anything that isn’t designed to be connected anyway.

    The connector on my camera was a bit stiff and I really want to move to a smaller/lighter male jack so as to not stress the really tiny female jack in the camera.

  5. Sergey Chernyshev says:


    I have Canon EOS 300D (Digital Rebel) and tried 2.5mm connector on it but it looks like it has much thiner connector.
    Do you know where can I find a spec for connectors that are used in this model? I’ll appreciate any help.


  6. bbum says:

    2.5mm definitely works and is the size that basically every site I could find indicated was correct. It is labeled as 3/32″ in the US, which is about 1mm smaller, but I don’t know of any real difference between the jack provided in US versus other releases of the camera.

  7. Foto Digital México » Blog Archive » Control remoto para cámaras Canon says:

    […] Actualización 03/12/05 En bbum’s weblog-o-mat tienen otro tutorial para hacer un control remoto para cámaras Canon Rebel XT. Entradas relacionadas: […]

  8. james R says:

    Do you have any info on the pinouts to the canon hotshoe? If you do could you email them to me?
    Thanks, Nice hack btw!

  9. Scott says:

    do you know if it will work on the xti (400d?) thanks

  10. bbum says:

    Unless Canon changed the remote jack, it should work just fine.

  11. bbum’s weblog-o-mat » Blog Archive » Digicams with five second exposures? says:

    […] Of course, all of the Digital SLR style cameras can do this. Most even have a “bulb” mode where you can manually click the shutter open and closed at will. I usually just stick with a 5 second or 2 second exposure and use my little homebrew remote trigger. […]

  12. Charles Thomas says:

    FYI, to do this on the really cheap I just took an old cell phone headset I had lying around, kinda like this one, and cut the headset end off just after the button. Works like a charm. I only need it for triggering the shutter without shaking the camera so the short cord doesn’t bother me at all.

  13. bbum’s weblog-o-mat » Blog Archive » I Like Light. And Clear Stuff. And Texture. And Reflections. says:

    […] ISO 100, f/9, 30 second exposure (maximum aperture possible without underexposing or pulling out my homebrew remote. […]

  14. bbum’s weblog-o-mat » Blog Archive » Freaky Fly says:

    […] Remote trigger. […]

  15. Phil says:

    I bought a camera Canon Rebel XT 1 year ago, never works good, flash is very poor, I have problems with this camera from the begining, please if some of you have the same problem contact me with your comments, regards , and thank in advance for your help, Phil

  16. Jacky says:

    Why can’t see content pic?

  17. gj says:

    I build the Tigger, It works Great loved it 2 hours work some junk switches and one case from the sourse and bang I have a Remote switch Rs-60e3

  18. bbum’s weblog-o-mat » Blog Archive » Aperture: RAW 1.0 vs. 2.0 (Self Portrait in Red) says:

    […] to use it as the sole source of illumination for a self portrait. I put the camera on a tripod, used a remote switch to control the shutter, and aimed the LEDs at my head from a slightly down and off-to-the-left […]

  19. Dijital Foto says:

    Is it harmful to the camera?

  20. bbum says:

    @dijital foto — I can’t read your site and can’t tell if your a spammer or not, but the beautiful photographs indicate that your site is a legitimate photo site. Gorgeous work!

    Nope — won’t hurt the camera. It is the same circuit as used in the Canon remotes just a whole lot cheaper.

  21. Dijital Foto says:

    Don’t worry I am not spammer just looking for new things. Thanks and yes, it is a photography blog 🙂

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