Little Bramper - bulb-ramping intervalometer for Canon dSLRs

 

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Bulb-ramping works on Canon cameras because of the way they have implemented their Bulb mode.   Nikon cameras have bulb modes that apparently make bulb-ramping impractical.   


Canon cameras with PC sockets (mid- and high-end dSLR bodies): 


I use it successfully on my 5D Mark 2, 40D.

Known to also work on 1D Mark 4, 7D, 60D(see note), 50D, 30D.

Known to work on Digital Rebels (adapters required, see below): 300D, 350D, 500D


Little Bramper will fire any Canon camera with the proprietary N3 remote socket (5D Mark 2, 40D, 7D etc.)


Suitability test: With your camera in Bulb mode, if you can manually (i.e. using finger) achieve exposures of 1/10s then Little Bramper will probably work well.  Hint: to estimate exposure times in bulb mode, find a comparably exposed image using Manual mode (same f-stop, ISO).


I expect it to work on all current xxD, xD bodies.  However, I cannot guarantee compatibility until I’ve tried each camera model myself.  Please understand that there’s a risk of incompatibility.  Note: the new 60D lacks a PC socket and uses a 2.5mm miniphone connector - not the proprietary Canon N3.


Canon cameras without PC sockets (Digital Rebels): 


Canon’s Digital Rebels (300D/350D etc.) do not have a PC socket and therefore require a `hotshoe to PC adapter’.  Also a 2.5mm male sub-miniphone to 3.5mm miniphone cable or adapter is required for the camera remote socket.  You will need to supply these connectors yourself. Other than that, I can confirm that it works on the 300D and 350D.  It does not work well on the 550D which appears to have a very slow bulb response.  Other Rebels models untested.

Welcome

These pages are about Little Bramper - a bulb-ramping intervalometer developed for time-lapse enthusiasts using Canon digital SLR cameras.  If you’re wondering about the name,  Bramp = Bulb ramping.  The project’s history is documented in detail on the www.timescapes.org forum.


A photographic intervalometer is a gadget that fires a (stills) camera periodically.  To make a time-lapse you compile this image sequence into a movie (using software like Quicktime Pro, After Effects, etc.). 


Little Bramper is an intervalometer with some unusual and advanced capabilities.  Most significantly, by using the camera’s Bulb mode it allows you to vary the exposure smoothly during the time-lapse session. This is Little Bramper’s raison d’etre.  Little Bramper also allows you to use arbitrary intervals; no longer are you limited to whole seconds. With this flexibility comes a degree of additional complexity, so I still recommend conventional intervalometers (cheap ebay ones) for basic time-lapse scenarios.  Please note: Little Bramper produces the best results with exposure times of about 1/10s or longer - you may need to use a neutral density filter for some brightly lit shots (e.g. sunsets).


If you’re new to time-lapsing, consider visiting these websites:


www.timescape.org - probably the largest online forum dedicated to time-lapse.

www.wikipedia.org - the wikipedia article for time-lapse.

Timothy Allen’s tutorial - a well written tutorial from the BBC.


You can explore this site using the navigational links at the top of the page.




Camera connections:


  1. Remote socket - for firing camera.  Optocoupled triggering ensures electrical isolation of your camera.

  2. PC (Prontor-Compur) socket - for shutter monitoring.


Hardware:


  1. Brain: Microchip 18F2620 microcontroller running at 20MHz (5MIPS).

  2. 16-key membrane keypad complete with rigid backplane. 

  3. 20x4 character LCD.  Attractive black text on white background.  White backlight.

  4. Buttons for device reset and shutter simulation (for testing/experimentation).

  5. Small but bright onboard LED flashlight for finding lost lens caps in the dark.

  6. Terminator plug allows you to use Little Bramper like a regular intervalometer.

  7. To keep the price sensible, Little Bramper does not come with an enclosure.


Firmware features:


  1. Screen modes: Basic (for beginners) and Advanced.

  2. Bulb exposure control with 1ms (0.001s) precision.

  3. Bulb exposure ramping (in stops per shot, or stops per minute).

  4. Interval time control with 1ms (0.001s) precision.

  5. Interval time ramping (per 100 shots).

  6. Frame counter.  Count up to infinity, or count down from user-defined value.


Advanced Firmware features:


  1. Bulb-stepping (0.0001 stop precision).  For use with advanced techniques that extend your exposure range; ISO-stepping, ND filters.

  2. Automatic ramping of Interval to user-defined target value/time period.

  3. Collision detection and future parameter extrapolation.  Useful feedback.

  4. Three user-defined presets (A, B and C) for quick recall of your most used settings.

  5. Settings for previous shot are continuously saved (D) for emergency restart.

  6. Eternal log of resets, total time and shots taken.

  7. On-screen checklist, so you get the shot right the first time.


Power:


  1. Little Bramper is an unregulated 5Volt system. Maximum range = 4.5 to 5.5Volts.

  2. Use 4 AA size NiMH (Nickel metal-hydride) batteries.  DO NOT use alkaline.

  3. LCD backlight off: 16 mA (approx. >100 hrs run-time).

  4. LCD backlight on: 70 mA (approx. >20 hrs run-time).


littlebramper@gmail.com

SPECIFICATIONS

CAMERA compatibility

Movie is h.264 mp4