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Control Your SLR Camera Using a Nintendo DS

Steve Chapman was tired of bringing a full-sized laptop to every shoot. So, after some devkitPro programming and a little know-how, Steve managed to connect his DS to the Canon 5D through the Game Boy Advance slot on the bottom of the popular gaming device.

"In my day-to-day routine I often find myself having to do extensive photographic documentation of objects or locations, only there is often someone waiting to turn off the lights, or move objects, or any myriad of possible interruptions. This is one reason why using a camera tethered to a laptop can be a pain," said Chapman.

"The computer is a burden to travel with, takes five minutes to boot, the batteries run low...It occurred to me that if I could somehow tether a DSLR to an instant-on device...I would have less weight to carry around and could get more work done. After mentally spec’ing out what I would need, I realized the solution was right in front of me - because I bring it with me for Mario Kart wireless races on long night jobs."

The "DS-DSLR" can now operate similarly to how the Canon operated when hooked up to a laptop, the biggest differences being the size and the DS being an "instant-on" device (no boot time). Chapman can now control standard shooting as well as lengthy time exposures (several minutes compared to the laptop software’s 30 seconds). The DS-DSLR, with the DS microphone, can even do audio-triggered shots. A similar standalone device goes for upwards of $300, whereas a DS will only run you $120. That combined with the software that Chapman plans to sell (in both Canon and Nikon flavors) for $100, and you have yourself a $220 camera buddy that has the same features as a $1000 laptop and what I am guessing is some pretty expensive software.

We had a chance to ask Steve some questions, specifically on what the $100 dollars gets you, as well as plans for updates and tweaks. "The device will come with a camera dongle/Nintendo cartridge, and the software," said Steve. "The DS program will be updated occasionally to add new features, if anybody suggests one...Right now, I’m just trying to iron out the user interface. Future tweaks might involve specific functions for astrophotography and possibly a Wi-Fi connection for wireless functions, but that’s all conjectural at this point."

For all your photography enthusiasts out there, check out Steve’s blog, and stay tuned for more updates on the DS-DSLR mod as they come in.