Cameras and Sound


The Nikon D200 is an excellent choice for automated rocket photography. The Nikon cameras can be automatically controlled via the shutter release cable so the interface with the Launch Controller is a snap.

This model stopped being in production in 2007 but still provide great images. It very fast shutter speed (1/8,000th sec) freezes the lift off shots with ease. It is reliable and just as importantly, its price allows multiple cameras to be used from different locations.

It can also be used for time lapse photography. The GoPro or the Sony cameras are fine for daytime time lapses but the Nikon can do night time skyscapes with its very long shutter speeds.


Like all cameras used with Rocketry Photography's Set Up, it is essential to be able to remotely trigger the camera. Many DSLR cameras have the ability to do this with a wireless remote like that used with a television. The Nikon cameras have the shutter release port that allows the same simple interface circuit using solid state relays to trigger the camera to take pictures. There is the slightly more difficult nuance that the camera needs to focus prior to taking pictures but that is just one additional relay that must close its contact before the shutter contacts. This is equivalent to depressing the shutter button half way before depressing it all the way to take the picture.

The circuit that contains the relays for the Nikon is not mounted to the camera itself. Instead the cable attaches to the camera is simple a remote shutter cable with the switch cut off. Three wires are needed, the focus, the shutter, and a common wire. The common and focus wires must be closed prior to the shutter and common wires. So the shutter release cable is cut and a three pin connector is attached. This connector interfaces with a circuit board that in turn interfaces with the launch controller.