(1 to 100 of 177 replies)
Brian Hursey 5:18am, 14 February 2013
"Image Note: Stands not included"

I was given the opportunity to be a tester of a new product from Cactus Imaging. Cactus definitely has a will to create the most useful and best product for photographers, putting their product through its paces, and getting additional must have features and fixes implemented before they go production. I am truly amassed by how they worked with us testers to come up with solutions that we suggested.

The new Cactus Laser Trigger LV5 is an laser trip trigger. It is compatible with basically any trigger/ or shutter release that takes an pc or 3.5mm connection for triggering. This can be attached to flashes or other radio triggers. In addition to this one over unique feature is the fact that cactus imaging decided to integrate an Cactus v5 transmitter directly in the laser trigger. This means that if you have an Cactus V5 flash trigger already no cable needed to trigger the flashes or the camera if you have an cable for the v5 to use as a remote shutter release. You can also connect the LV5 directly to your camera via a compatible cable for your camera.

This trigger opens up a whole new world of possibilities from wild life photography to High speed photography. It is left up to your imagination on what you can do with it.

Main Features:

- Duo Mode Triggering (DMT) Cactus LV5 can be
triggered by: (1) blocking the transmission between the
laser Emitter and Sensor; or (2) removing the object
between the laser Emitter and Sensor.
- Works wirelessly with Cactus V5 and
subsequent V5-compatible models. Cactus LV5 combines
laser and radio frequency (RF) technology in a single
device. With a built-in Cactus V5 transceiver module in
the Sensor, LV5 allows you to take instant camera trap
photos with an unlimited number of portable flashes,
- Long working distance, the laser Emitter and the Sensor is up to 150 meters.
-Works under sunlight. The LV5 not only works under
ambient light, its intelligent design also allows it
to work under sunlight.
-Supports single and continuous shots. Supports bulb
shot. The LV5 offers endless possibilities for your
creative works.
-Shutter Delay and Freeze: Shutter delay and post-shutter frese period adjustable in 15 divisions

Package Contents:

1x LV5 Emitter
1x LV5 Sensor
LV5 hood
4x AAA batteries. 2x needed per component
3.5mm to 3.5mm and 3.5mm to pc cables
User manual and Poster, along with Delay/Freeze information stickers.



I have always wanted to mess around with high speed photography however the problem was normally you had to MAKE a device or buy an expensive multi trigger device where normally you have to rig up your own laser pointer. The cool thing that cactus did is make their system with a emitter, and an sensor, both are adjustable, can mount on a cold shoe mount, or any standard 1/4-20 thread! This means instead of making some awkward setup with tape and clamps and what not. You can already use the light stands, and tripods you already have and have a full adjustable placement. Another very cool feature is along with 3.5mm port used to trigger your flashes, flash trigger, wireless shutter release or camera through shutter cable you are able to wireless trigger you cactus v5 flash triggers because it has a built in v5 transmitter in the sensor. When I first got the triggers I did not realize this and was attaching one of my v5 transceivers to the 3.5mm port. Then I realized it had it built in, I was very pleasantly surprised with that bonus.


Strawberry fun

High Speed Photography Testing:

Because it is winter time I was unable to test the wild life photography examples. However I was able to test what I really want the trigger for and that is high speed photography.

When it comes to high speed photography you really need to be dealing with the flash duration normally and not having the laser trigger actually trigger the camera. The way I set it up is that you have the Cactus LV5 transmitting the signal to an Cactus L5 transceiver connected to the flashes. You can also have the flash directly connected, or have a third party wireless trigger attached to the Cactus LV5 to trigger the flashes. At this point you put the camera in bulb mode or setting you shutter to stay open for 1-3 seconds. You trigger the event by something passing through the laser beam and the flash will freeze the subject.

Cactus from working with testers added features that improved the creative capabilities of the laser triggers. Theses features were the delay adjustment and the freeze time. The reasons for this was so that we could set up the laser above or in front of where we want the picture to be taken. This way we are able to time things like splashes and to prevent the laser from being seen in the picture. The freeze time is so the flash would not trigger again right after the initial trigger. That way it would not trigger multiple times for a single exposure.

To set the freeze or delay there is a switch on the sensor. You can set it to delay or freeze then you use the adjustment dial to change the time. They include a nice time table for adjustment.


Testing delay:

This is the picture showing what happens with no delay set.
no delay

This is an example of a 30 millisecond delay. You can tweak this so you can get your object in the right place.
with delay


The Cactus LV5 is a interesting product. It has opened up opportunities that I never would of been able to do in the past. I have always been very interested in high speed photography and now I am able to dabble in it. In addition to that it opens up an wide variety of photography projects from wild life photography to basically anything. I hope to in the spring to be able to capture things like bees and birds around my yard. Also I want to do things like mid air self portraits. Pricing is not yet announced however they are trying to keep the price point as low as possible.

Pricing and Availability:
You can get the triggers here:
Price is 89.95$US.

User Manual for complete reference:

Original Post on my site: brianhurseyphotography.com/blog/?p=285

*Note: I have no affiliation to Gadget Infinity or Cactus Imaging, also I am not a retailer. I was just sent a unit to test and give feed back on. This feed bask was provided to cactus to improve products later*
(1 to 100 of 177 replies)
Brian Hursey 6 years ago
Got an update on price it will be below 100$ this is very good news. Dont know the exact price yet. I will post that when I have it.
Ryan-Rodrigues 6 years ago
The Ability to delay the trigger looks like a nice feature, When i looked at the zero delay picture i can see the laser hit the ball, that could be a bit of a problem for some and for others the red laser bouncing off a shiny crystal ball could give another interesting twist.
shando. 6 years ago
can it trigger and sync with HSS?
Brian Hursey Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Brian Hursey (member) 6 years ago
Ryan that is one of the reasons we asked for them to create the delay option. However we found out that if you have the laser coming from the opposite side to the camera you normally don't see it on most objects. That was a reflective ball one reason you might be seeing it however I think that the way the laser was hitting the reflector I think was pointing some of the beam to the window. A way to prevent this would of been if I used the hood over the sensor.

Shando, if using it to just directly trigger the camera instead of the flashes I don't see why not because then you can put a ttl radio trigger on your camera to trigger your flash in hss. However if you want direct from the sensor triggering your flash its just an 3.5 mm plug there is no ttl connection or hot shoe. So direct hss would not work. However with high speed photography you are not relying on your cameras shutter speed to freeze action your relying on your flash duration. You set up the camera like to an 3 second shutter and trigger the camera than start the event which triggers the hot shoe flash from the sensor. If you keep your flash bellow like 1/4th power you have a very very fast flash duration freezing the subject like the strawberry.

Here's another example of this. Note this was done prior to the delay option so the laser was actually going through the water about an inch down. However you can not see the laser.
Water + strawberry
Ryan-Rodrigues 6 years ago
Brian Hursey:

Hey Brian, thanks for the explanation. I like it when actual users help mold a product before its final.

One question on this,I am guessing it triggers only when the beam is split so will that mean that one has a very little margin to align the object. Say for example a coin, or a pencil.

Or does it have like multiple probes like a grid so that it can capture a much larger area. or can you use multiple units like this to work in tandem with one camera . Just airing my thoughts.
Brian Hursey Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Brian Hursey (member) 6 years ago
No multiple probes. You could do some funky stuff with multiple mirrors or something LOL Get all "mission impossible" with it. This is the same as any other laser trigger. Your breaking an laser beam so it is about as thin as a I guess head phone cable... Most of the time with like milk splashes people with laser triggers set up like rigs to hold a dropper. I plan on messing with milk drops some time in the future.

I like it also how harvest one put the money and effort together to send out evaluation products, and then have a group evaluation and discussions to solve and add features. It was a large group effort on this project for 2+ months of testing. They are always open to suggestions, some times they are limited in like the manufacturing process like the molds and what not however they went above and beyond implementing the delay and freeze feature. The testers helped mold how it was going to be designed trough some very long and highly technical discussions. I was quite pleased with the final product. The philosophy between cactus products is to make it compatible with as many platforms as possible and still keep the price low as possible. They work hard at this.

In regards to tandem I guess you could try something like an 3.5 splitter and which ever sends the signal first triggers? However you would need 2 sensors and 2 emitters so the cost would double. And if it hit one beam then the other you would get 2 signals sent so if it was attached to just a flash the flash would fire twice creating a dual exposure. That was one of the reasons we asked for the freeze time so that we would not get multiple exposures with the beam being hit multiple times. One example is like with that strawberry picture. what would happen before they implemented the freeze time was if the strawberry popped back up or splash and interrupted the laser beam the flash would fire a second time creating a dual exposure. Hence why this feature was requested and added.
MrDAT 6 years ago
That's really neat! Now, how do we mount them on sharks?
AtlantaTerry Posted 6 years ago. Edited by AtlantaTerry (member) 6 years ago
go back to your original posting to make a correction: the hot shoe threads are not 1/4 foot, they are 1/4 inches (1/4"). Actually the correct terminolgy is 1/4-20.

"opposite" not "opisit"
Brian Hursey Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Brian Hursey (member) 6 years ago
Thanks Terry fixed :D


I guess we can use straps but you will need 2 sharks one with the emitter and one with the sensor and they will have to swim exactly in sync. :D

Class A 6 years ago
Hi peeps,

here's another LV5 review with some ideas for applications and examples.

Thanks, Brian, for creating this thread.
Leo @ IM 6 years ago
Thanks Brian, I love the shot showing how the delay function works. I hope to have my own review up shortly but for the moment there are a few shots on my photostream including setup info. Here is a sample :

Water balloon action shot with Cactus LV5 & Magneflash by Leo @ IM

PS how do you get the larger size images to appear in a thread?
Brian Hursey 6 years ago
When you go to share html you use the 500px version. I love the ballon picture where was the laser at on it and can you explain the process?
elv0000 6 years ago
Thanks Brian, this looks pretty cool.
Leo @ IM Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Leo @ IM (member) 6 years ago
Brian - the laser was aimed at the bottom of the pin which punctured the balloon. There are lots more details here :

My Cactus LV5 review & "how to" guide

Everyone feel free to ask questions on this thread, I'll pop back later on tonight to answer them.
Jonny Armstrong Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Jonny Armstrong (member) 6 years ago
Very intrigued by this project.
My questions:
Runs on 6V?
What is battery life?
Range of operating temperatures?
When's it available?
Brian Hursey Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Brian Hursey (member) 6 years ago
It takes AAA's sorry i put AAs before.
Battery diration table page 8 of the manual
Temp -4f to 122f
No date yet.

Manual brianhurseyphotography.com/files/130130-LV5-Manual-LowRes...
Jonny Armstrong 6 years ago
Thanks for the info, I'm dying to pick up a set.
Tim Kamppinen 6 years ago
Would this be fast enough to use for photographing a bullet in flight or hitting an object?
Leo @ IM 6 years ago
LV5s run on 3 volts - each end only needs two AAA (not AA) batteries to run. There is room for 4x AAA in each unit, this extends battery life.

I'm guessing these will be available very soon - Cactus return from the Chinese New Year break tomorrow.

Here is a battery life chart :
Cactus LV5 Battery consumption table by Leo @ IM
Leo @ IM Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Leo @ IM (member) 6 years ago
Tim - good question, I'm not 100% sure. Most bullets are very small and move very fast so the LV5 probably won't directly detect them in flight, however the shock wave would probably last long enough to deflect the laser beam and trigger a flash. You'd also need a very short duration flash to freeze the bullet, a speedlight turned down low would probably work. No-one has tried and LV5 for ballistics photography yet.

If your aim is to capture the impact of a bullet hitting an object that should be doable as the impact should generate enough debris (or move the target object far enough) to break the laser beam and trigger the flash.

Note triggering a camera's shutter will almost certainly miss the action due to shutter lag - you need to have the shutter open, fire the bullet and have the LV5 trigger flashes to have any hope of this working if your camera has a mechanical shutter.
mjkzz (a.k.a zwdeal) 6 years ago
Leo @ IM:

Shock wave is too slow to get bullet, sound travels much slower than light. By the time your sensor gets the shockwave, the bullet is gone already (I think bullets travels faster than sound).

You can use this device at the openning of a gun and detect the bullets.
josh.r 6 years ago
I've been following this thread and it looks very cool. No word on the price yet though right?
Leo @ IM 6 years ago
@zwdeal - yes, the bullet travels faster than sound but that doesn't matter unless you are trying to capture the bullet as it leaves the muzzle. Like I said I've not tried it but the descriptions I found made it sound like the timing wasn't hard to get right. Until someone tries who knows?

@Josh.r - Cactus say target price is under $100 USD... fingers crossed
josh.r 6 years ago
If it's under $100 that is fantastic.
JayFarm 6 years ago
For bullet photos you can use sound triggers, but you put them closer to the gun then use a digital delay to dial in the timing.

Last time I was involved in a bullet capture we "cheated" and used a chronograph to accurately measure bullet speed which fed into a microcontroller to trigger the flash. Nailed it virtually every time.

Orthogonality 6 years ago
Leo @ IM:
the timing wasn't hard to get right.

I haven't tried it, but here are some thoughts:
- the gaseous muzzleblast (I would not count on the actual shockwave, it is transparent) gets in front of the bullet, briefly, at the muzzle, so the laser will have something large to trigger from.
- assume a rifle bullet moves about 3000 ft/s (roughly three times faster than a handgun projectile).
- assume a rifle bullet is about 1" long (there is substantial variance, but this is good enough as an estimate for a heavy small-calibre bullet)

So the bullet is in the laser for about .03ms - will the Cactus trigger on that? The muzzle blast lasts about 1ms - will the Cactus trigger on that?

Once triggered, the bullet will travel about 36 inches in a millisecond. What are the various lag times of the trigger and flash system? That allows you to predict where to put the flash / camera.

These numbers may be why you see more pellet images than bullet images - pellets travel around 300-500 ft/s, much easier to capture.
mjkzz (a.k.a zwdeal) 6 years ago
Leo @ IM:

Sure, you can use sound, but what I am trying to say is, there is uncertainty and you need to play a bit to get it right -- when the first shock wave reaches your sensor 1 foot away, you bullets has traveled more than a foot, but bullet speeds varies (sound speed is relatively constant) so you have to guess where bullets might be when you get the signal.

Wth laser across muzzle, you get precise moment, if you put to lasers across the muzzle with known distance, you can calculate speed of bullet because of the precision of measurement.

Precise measurement of an event in high speed capture can make it much easier to experiment. Just two cents.
Brian Hursey Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Brian Hursey (member) 6 years ago
What about putting the laser right above the mussle. And put the gun in one of those remote fire rigs like in myth busters use and fier on recoil of the barrel going up? Or on trigger pull?
stevegreen1953 6 years ago
Completely stopping projectiles with speedlights is difficult at best. Even after being slowed by impact with the target most projectiles will have some motion blur.

This marble was moving a little over 300 fps before impact.

IMG_9702a by stevegreen1953

The projectile in this image is a .22 pellet moving about 500 fps before impact.

IMG_9816b by stevegreen1953
Orthogonality 6 years ago
when the first shock wave reaches your sensor 1 foot away, you bullets has traveled more than a foot

Not necessarily, as some of the muzzle blast exits the bore before the bullet (there is always leakage past the bullet). Also, I think a sound sensor near the trigger is the way to go - the "click" will be picked up 1-5ms before the bullet leaves the barrel (depending on barrel length and mechanical factors about when the trigger makes the sound and how far the hammer / firing pin moves, ignition time, etc.
Topeeka PRO 6 years ago
Gee...just when I thought I had enough toys......!!!!
Leo @ IM Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Leo @ IM (member) 6 years ago
@stevegreen - nice photos! What power was the speedlight set to? Flash duration varies a lot with power. Speedlights control power by cutting the flash burst off so lower power = shorter duration. The table below shows figures for a several different speedlights.

Most studio heads control how much power is put into the capacitor and empty it fully each time the flash is fires so higher power = shorter duration. However its worth checking your head, quite a few do work differently.

The Magneflash I used for the bulk of my images has a flash duration of 1/4000 regardless of power - quite different to most other heads. From the table it seems most speedlights would need to be on 1/8 power to get a similar duration.

Speedlight flash duration table by Leo @ IM

From dpanswers.com/content/nikon_flash_use02.php

I don't actually know if ballistics photography is possible with an LV5 but I suspect using the muzzleblast and/or impact will work. Even the shockwave wlll probably deflect the laser beam slightly... being a tight beam small deflections are probably all thats needed.

The delay timer should allow fine tuning of timing. The maths indicates that its probably possible but we won't know unless someone actually tries it. I don't have a firearms license (they are relatively rare here in Oz) but would love for someone who does to try it out!
stevegreen1953 Posted 6 years ago. Edited by stevegreen1953 (member) 6 years ago
For the two photos above I was using three Canon 430exII’s (one each camera left/right and one for the background) at minimum power (1/64.) The flashes were just outside the frame and inside clear plastic sandwich bags to keep them dry.

Through trial and error I discovered not to mix different flashes, even from the same vendor (in my case Canon.) When I used my 580exII with the 430’s I got two distinct images about 1/4 - 1/2” apart when shooting projectiles @ 300 fps (which is about as slow as my cannon will fire marbles.) When I say 300 fps (and it was generally a bit faster 325 – 340 fps) I mean that is how fast the marbles exited the cannon. I have no way to know how fast they were moving after impacting the target and the photo was taken. For slow moving objects (such as a dropped brick or a hammer swing) mixing flashes hasn’t been a problem.

IMG_9719b by stevegreen1953

IMG_9692a by stevegreen1953
Leo @ IM 6 years ago
Thanks for the fast answer Steve. I'm a bit surprised the water is still a little blurry in some shots such as the shot with the can, I didn't need such dramatically short times to freeze water in my balloon shots.

Maybe the water is moving a lot faster in your shots. Were you able to set the camera up so there was no ambient light in the final images? I wonder if muzzle the flash is bright enough to contribute to the exposure...

Thanks for the tips on not mixing flashes, I wouldn't have thought of that but looking at the flash duration table does suggest that performance varies a bit between models.
stevegreen1953 Posted 6 years ago. Edited by stevegreen1953 (member) 6 years ago
Sorry if I was unclear concerning the mixing of different flashes. The issue isn’t caused by duration, but rather latency. When triggered with a common pulse (in this case, one input from the sensor/timer with four identical outputs, all connected to the flashes by wire) the 430’s and 580’s fire at different times causing two distinct images. At lower velocities the difference isn’t noticeable, but as the velocity increases the difference becomes quite obvious.

As for the difference in blurring between your photo and mine, the water in my photo is moving much faster due to energy imparted by the projectile and subsequent forcing of the water through holes in the can. After the photo I had water on the ceiling and for over 10’ in every direction, hence the reason for shooting photos in the barn and placing the flashes in plastic bags.

I always shoot test photos before an event to be sure that ambient light is low enough to not contribute to the final image.

Edited to add: The cannon I use is air powered so there is no muzzle flash.

Edited a second time to further add: The power of the cannon is set with an onboard pressure regulator which has a lower limit (if I remember correctly) of 45 psi. Hence the reason I can’t go below about 325 fps for a projectile as light as a marble.
Leo @ IM 6 years ago
Thanks Steve, what I was saying is that there is quite a big difference in flash duration so I'm not surprised there is a difference in other specs as well. I wonder if using dramatically different powers even on the same type of flash would cause a big enough difference in timing to be visible in very fast action shots. I suspect that peak power for a 1/1,600 flash burst may not occur at the exact same time as a 1/25,000 burst.

It sounds like you've done a lot more motion freeze stuff than me, thanks again for sharing all the setup info. It will be very helpful for others wanting to try these types of shots.

Is the air cannon something powered by a garage type air compressor? Don't tell me I need more toys lol...
strobist PRO 6 years ago

FWIW, that chart does not ring true according to my personal experience w/Nikon speedlights. Not doubting it's accuracy, but my guess is that it is listing the much more lenient t.5 times rather than the t.1 times. Which is a shame, because t.5 times, while shorter are all but useless.

Real world, you can't squeeze all of an SB-800 1/1 pop into 1/250th. You can see this for yourself by shooting at full power in a dark room. You'll need to be at a closed-down aperture to do this. Anyway, shoot a 1/1 frame at 1/250th and another at 1/125 and check your histograms.

You'll see a difference. My best guess is t.1 time for a 1/1 SB-800 is ~1/220th.
Leo @ IM 6 years ago
Thanks David, I'm sure you are correct and those aren't t0.1 times.

Thats a common problem with specifications - even if the specs are accurate there is usually more than one way of measuring things.

If anyone in Melbourne has access to firearms I'd love to try some ballistics photography myself :)
Langleyt 6 years ago
Ooh wow, these look pretty epic.
Brian Hursey 6 years ago

I would say so. I think for strobist people they are more useful for High speed photography than wild life. I thought they might be good for start finish line pictures at like a track and field race. It would be cool if some one could test that.
Leo @ IM Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Leo @ IM (member) 6 years ago
The finish line shot should be pretty simple, you may have to put the LV5 a smidge before the finish line to allow for shutter lag but apart from that I can't see any issues.

Cactus LV5s are good for wildlife photography, and flash can be handy here too. This is my effort :

Cat jumping Cactus LV5 review photo by Leo @ IM
Brian Hursey 6 years ago
Also here is the delay freeze sticker they included for refrence. You can stick them on the triggers. I did not want to stick them on it before I did the product shots. I may put it on the hood.

mjkzz (a.k.a zwdeal) 6 years ago
Brian Hursey:

What are units for those numbers?
Brian Hursey 6 years ago
Milliseconds then seconds. The table from the manual is much more usefull.

Leo @ IM 6 years ago
I put my sticker next to the dial... there is a nice space there.
Class A 6 years ago
Regarding the LV5's detection speed: As I mention in my review, the LV5 needs three confirmation cycles before acknowledging that something obstructs the laser beam. At the fastest setting each cycle takes 1/1000 and three "on" half-cycles are needed for confirmation so that means that there is a minimum of 0.0025s (=2.5ms) blockage needed. So 1ms (or even .03ms) are not long enough for the LV5.
mjkzz (a.k.a zwdeal) 6 years ago
Class A:

Regarding the LV5's detection speed: As I mention in my review, the LV5 needs three confirmation cycles before acknowledging that something obstructs the laser beam. At the fastest setting each cycle takes 1/1000 and three "on" half-cycles are needed for confirmation so that means that there is a minimum of 0.0025s (=2.5ms) blockage needed. So 1ms (or even .03ms) are not long enough for the LV5.

hmmm, so it samples sensor three time in succession and if all three samples confirm obstruction, then and only then it will trigger a flash or camera, right?

2.5ms response time is a bit slow, not sure if it is even fast enough to catch a fast falling water drop passin through laser beam.
Leo @ IM 6 years ago
Pretty much all the beta testers did some sort of water splash shot, no-one seemed to have any problems with getting the LV5 to fire...
Brian Hursey 6 years ago
I was able to test this made a video of the test showing that it works. Uploading it now will post here when done.
Brian Hursey Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Brian Hursey (member) 6 years ago
It works with water drops fine. I was just able to test it. I did not look to see what delay I had set but it was a quick 5 min test forgive my focusing on my video of the test I was just doing it quickly to show. I don't have time tonight to set up a full image setup to get the splashes I want and what not. One thing I did notice was you have to sorta feather the laser off onto the sensor edge to almost weaken it to have it trigger cleanly with quick drops. Other wise the laser is to strong and shines through the water enough to keep a connection. You can see this in the video. However you can get water droplets fine it looks like. I need to get a medicine dropper and try single drops for my final images.

See the video of the water drop test here.

Class A Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Class A (member) 6 years ago
@zwdeal: I did my water drop shots by reflecting the laser of the water surface. Once disturbed, the surface didn't reflect into the sensor anymore and I got a trigger event.

Having said that, I had success with creating triggerings by letting objects fall through the beam. It is a matter of how big and fast they are. Note also, that the beam is ~5mm wide (if I remember correctly) and that partial obstructions are also registered.

Overall, you should not underestimate the detection response of the LV5.
mjkzz (a.k.a zwdeal) 6 years ago
Class A:

For water drop size of 5mm to be detected (2.5ms), the drop should be traveling less than 2m/s, so the height should be less than approximately 20cm . . . Ok, that is fair enough . . . Assuming free fall water drop.
Brian Hursey 6 years ago
Just got the price it will be 89.95$ us. :D. That's awesome.
Michael Stoop 6 years ago
Great price indeed, I'm expecting a buttload of waterdrop, aquarium fruit drops and the likes around here over the next few months.
For me, this is just the push I need to also get a set of Cactus V5's to go with it.
Brian Hursey 6 years ago
Both good products. :) I did not realize these synced with the v5 at first. Once I found out about that it had a v5 transmitter built-in I was like awesome no cables. You can of course hook up an transmitter from any radio trigger to it's 3.5mm port and trigger that way or a direct cable. However Its a nice little bonus.
Alfredk PRO 6 years ago
Really cool and the price is right!
Brian Hursey Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Brian Hursey (member) 6 years ago

How much is all of it with the sensors the laser and the cables? There are a few products like that that have been on the market for years. I think where cactus was going with this was to keep it cheep, and to make it versatile as an laser trigger. In testing we talked about adding other sensors and functions. However the price would of been much more expensive. One big thing I liked about the cactus was that it could be mounted on my existing light stands and tripods easily. I think the two products are in totally different ball parks. Just my opinion.

EDIT: The camera axe looks like a cool product its based off the popular open source software it looks like. Your right very versatile. However I no where have the money to buy something like that for just for fun photos. 89.95 is much more in my budget for the LV5.

I did not add comparison pricing of products in my review as others did but I will compare theses based on the goal of just triggering via laser.
Looking at the cameraxe store to do the same thing as the lv5 I would need the following according to the demo video. From www.dreamingrobots.com/store/
- Camera Axe
1X Cameraxe 5 185$
1X Light sensor 20$
1X Laser Sensor 20$
1x Camera cable or flash cable. pc cable is 15$ on the site and canons cable is 19$

Total 240$ with just the flash sync, or 259$ with the camera also.

Yes you would have the main unit that would later more cheaply do other stuff however that is a massive investment I would never think of doing and my wife would kill me.

-Cactus LV5
To do the same laser triggering on the LV5 it will be.
1x LV5 89.95$
1x flash cable included both 3.5mm and pc
1x camera cable not included if you want to trigger the shutter. 9.95$ www.gadgetinfinity.com/cactus-v5-shutter-cable-for-canon-...

Total 89.95$ with just the flash sync, or 99.90$ with the camera also.

-Trigger Trap V1 with light laser and sound sensors builtin is 199$ Cables are additional.

-MagicLanturn Firmware is another one. Will trigger biased on sound and light and its free: :) It is my sorta go between. However those not using canon you do not have that option. However wont do Laser


There were a few other products I looked at.. You could of course build your own and be in the sub 100$ ballpark. However I want something to just grab and go. I was a programer for years, and I work on computers all day long now. So when I get home I don't have time to program or custom build anything. While I was single in college sure I would. However now nope.

Note tax and shipping were not added.
Leo @ IM Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Leo @ IM (member) 6 years ago
The camera axe does look cool... but looking thorough their flickr stream the vast majority of shooters use them for water splash shots and most of the others use them for other motion based images. The LV5 can easily capture these images, is cheaper and has radio triggers built in.

I saw very few shots the LV5 can't take - under 5%. If you really want to take unattended lighting shots the LV5 can't do that though those are easy to take manually, nothing else jumped out at me in the 1st 5 pages of images.

I was one of the ones suggesting that the LV5 should have sound and ambient light sensors built in and Cactus did listen, but the hardware was finalised by the time us beta testers got involved. I suspect one day there may be an expanded model (LV6?) but this will probably take a couple of years to develop fully. I'm sure Cactus will take user feedback into account as they have done for previous products.

I didn't expect that Cactus would be able to include the freeze and delay in the LV5 but they did. This was the beta testers #1 suggestion.

There was a lot of discussion about the user interface and I think the final solution is pretty good given the starting point. I'm sure if delay & freeze were part of the original design they would have had dial/s separate to the radio channel dial but the current system works well. The channel is set before powering up the LV5. Once the LV5 is turned on the dial is used to set freeze and delay depending on the position of the freeze / delay switch. I wish I'd thought of that!
Brian Hursey Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Brian Hursey (member) 6 years ago

I copied directly out of the manual .... thats the reason it says that because thats exactly what was in the manual for features. If its that important than I can remove it but it was not me that marked it exclusive.

As for the camea axe like I said they are in two totally different ball parks. The cactus was originally just a dumb laser trigger that was designed for wild life photography. Through testing the beta testers strongly suggested that a delay needed to be added. After that we also indicated a freeze was needed to prevent multiple trigger events in a single exposure when they were not wanted. So surprisingly cactus went out of their way and worked with us for 3 months to get the two features integrated, given the limitation that the physical aspects of the product could not change at all. Out of that through many many exhaustive brainstorming threads we were able to refine a method of delaying at that table is what we came up with. The target market was every day strobist photographers. It was not designed for the type of absolutely exact photography your talking about. The delay feature seems pretty consistent in the drop tests I tried. I plan on doing some water drop tests. Sure the trigger wont initiate the drop. I will most likely use one of my daughter medicine droppers but im sure it will do fine.

You can see a quick and dirty water drop test. That was meant to just show that it picks up water drops fine.


I am not knocking the cameraxe at all. It looks like a great product and if I had that large list of projects I thought was worth using it for I would probably get something like it or the triggertrap v1. It looks like your a big tinkerer considering the sensors you built and what not. Thats great perfectly fine. But for some one like me that once was that way but life has caught up with me and I no longer code for fun or build stuff for fun. I want something mainly to play with and this product is something I can quickly setup and play with to get fun pictures.

As for lightning. I don't believe so considering the sensor is designed to just sense the different frequencies of the laser. I tried actually using a standard laser pointer against the sensor it did not work.

My Magic Lantern I use on my canon does sense lighting though. :) www.dpreview.com/articles/7002555087/lightning-photograph...

EDIT: The camera ax can be an alarm clock? :D thats awesome.
mjkzz (a.k.a zwdeal) Posted 6 years ago. Edited by mjkzz (a.k.a zwdeal) (member) 6 years ago
FWIW, here is my setup for water drop . . . click image to see detailed description/notes/information like how to make splash better by adding stuff to the water :-)

My Water Drop Setup by mjkzz (a.k.a zwdeal)

My controller (costs me $50 DIY'ed)


One of my shots
Brian Hursey 6 years ago
Wow dude nice job.. I really like your yalls rigs. Wolfiesden I like your egg drop rig also think I forgot to say that. So I was reading you said widening your zoom helps. Than having it zoomed in? I saw that on your setup picture. You mean say with my 28-75mm f2.8 lens I need to be more at the wider range for sharpness? Just wondering because my next planned photos will be water drops. A bit more complicated then just dropping fruit in an wine glass. :)
mjkzz (a.k.a zwdeal) 6 years ago
Not trying to be off topic, what I am trying to say is, the controller I built has the option not using laser, but for precision control, you can use laser similar to LV5 and detection time is in microseconds -- intended for bullets or pellets.
Brian Hursey Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Brian Hursey (member) 6 years ago

So if I am reading you right. You could you put it inline for more refined delay? Say you take a 3.5mm to 3.5mm connection that would normally go into the flash. Then feed it into your controller, then have an 3.5mm to pc or 3.5mm to 3.5mm. for flashes, or an 3.5mm to trigger the shutter? Would the signal be modified at all?
Leo @ IM Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Leo @ IM (member) 6 years ago
Wolfiesden - Brian posted a chart earlier in this thread. The Cactus LV5 has 16 user controllable delay and freeze times.

The Cactus does not have the ability to detect lighting or control solenoids as provided. However these abilities aren't needed for most shots. If you really wanted to add them you could build a box that plugs into a V5 or LV5, 3.5mm ports are an easy interface to work with. Similarly although the Cameraaxe doesn't appear to have radio triggers built in a DIYer could connect a set relatively easily.

Repeatability comes from the Cactus being able to detect an event and send a trigger signal at a precise interval after that. There is a lot you can do with that.

Have a look at the balloon shots in my stream, you'll see they are all burst to a similar degree. The biggest difference in the look of the images was when I changed the flash to a speedlight on full power. This has quite a long flash duration vs the Magneflash which has a very short duration on full power.

The Cameraaxe seems to me like a Linux box - very powerful but the initial learning curve would be steep. The LV5 is more like Apple - what it does it does very well, but there are functions the current model doesn't support. Later versions will no doubt offer more but will take time to make user friendly.

One is an off the shelf product and is plug and play simple. The other can do very interesting things provided the user has the money, time and understanding to program it. They are aimed at quite different markets IMHO.

Edit : Brian I interpreted duo mode triggering to mean Laser + radio which as far as I know is unique...
Leo @ IM 6 years ago
zwdeal - nice rig. You just put one drop of water in the top?
Jonny Armstrong 6 years ago
Does the Cactus have to be plug and play? Couldn't you have the Cactus laser thingy rigged as input to a microcontroller. Does the Cactus setup toggle between hi/lo voltage signals like a PIR sensor would?
mjkzz (a.k.a zwdeal) 6 years ago
Leo @ IM:

yes, then when you press camera shutter which is connected to controller, it will trigger all actions in sequence:

camera shutter -> controller --> water valve to drop first droplet --> water drop size control (how long valve stays open) --> water drop detection (this is optional) --> delay (set by dial) --> second drop (?) delay (set by dial) --> third drop (? depends) --> delay --> fire strobe --> action complete.
Leo @ IM Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Leo @ IM (member) 6 years ago
Jonny the LV5s don't output a voltage, that is normally supplied by the camera or flash. The LV5s simply go from open to closed circuit i.e. behave as a simple switch which should make them easy to integrate into other systems. The timing and length of the signal can be controlled with delay and freeze.

V5s behave the same way and mirror the output of the LV5 so you could take advantage of the LV5 -> V5 wireless communication to trigger a remote microcontroller. I imagine this could be quite handy...
RasmusTQ 6 years ago
Myself being the target audience for the cactus triggers as opposed to anything that requires a bigger monetary, technical or time investment I can't stop myself from wondering if these might be a poor (and technically retarded) mans alternative to a rig like this:

setup 9894 by fotoopa

to take pictures of insects in flight (like this)?

P6107397a by Pasha_28
Brian Hursey 6 years ago
Well the mount and lens setup is not included. Technically you could do it. My plan is to put the laser across an feeder or flower to capture theses type of shots. Looks like they have 2 laser sensors? Not sure if the laser transmitter would be off camera rig?
Brian Hursey Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Brian Hursey (member) 6 years ago

I will add the lighting request feature. To the list for maybe the next version. We also asked for sound sensors, motion sensors and what not. So late in production they could not be added, and it would of brought the cost of the product up at that time. It looks like the way the sensor is programed it will not pickup anything but their laser I believe this was mainly targeted toward reliability only to be triggered by that laser. However Im sure there might be another way to code it in the firmware to be more of a dumb slave for lightening. Who knows until you ask right. :) They want to keep the price as low as possible while making it useful and reliable for photographers. That is the goal of cactus and hence the lack of all the bells and whistles I believe. They have however been put on the wish lists.

We also asked about using an LCD for settings and adjustment. They indicated again the cost would have to go up if that was added. Also that far in the process they could not change any of the main hardware components because the molds and manufacturing setup has complete. It was basically we needed to make the changes on the existing hardware platform which it seems they were able to do well considering what we had to work with. Leo and alot of members in the testing came up with an ingenious way of implementing it. Which I was pleasantly surprised it worked so well and was so easy. When I got the non beta production units.

Class A was a big participator on getting the delay feature implemented. You can read his much more technically detailed review here. Mine is basically the user basic review. His is the dpreview equivalent :D www.pentaxforums.com/reviews/lv5-beta/introduction.html

Regarding the exclusive thing Leo pointed out his understanding of it. I knew other triggers triggered against something passing through the beam but not if you already had something in the beams path and removed it. So I did believe it was an exclusive feature. Its just a technicality but i believe the way the phased duo? See Leo's response

"From Leo
Edit : Brian I interpreted duo mode triggering to mean Laser + radio which as far as I know is unique... "

In regards to the laser shutting off we asked for that feature however i forgot the reason it would not work. Other testers can possibly elaborate if there was a reason. I remember there was a thread on it. The solution we came up with was to have the laser above the object by using the delay.

We just started triggering by having the laser part on the far side of the object. At the time before the delay i was able to pull this shot off in 10 min after opening the box. To get it because of the beta units did not have the delay I actually put the laser through the glass so it would trigger when the strawberry got to a certain depth.. Now you can use the delay which actually I plan on doing tonight in the photography class I teach as an class fun project. I thought why not. :)

Water + strawberry
Brian Hursey 6 years ago

"I think they would be a fun item to play with for a lot of people, myself included. I can see great potential in them even with their design limits. Getting a set myself is not out of the question. "

They are good for a quick setup type of situation. However you need multiple light stands + a tripod also any light stands for lights. Although I have been mainly just using small flash stands and putting it on boxes or stuff like that instead of putting them on light stands.

fotoopa is legendary on flickr. i can spend hours on his photostream, and never cease to be amazed. not my kind of work, but, i can surely appreciate it!
Brian Hursey Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Brian Hursey (member) 6 years ago

Yah use whats around you mostly. I wish my local photo shop was open. It was my gaffers tape resource I only have half a roll left of the small size. :/ I can of course get it online. Class A's review was very detailed wasn't it? Very technical and detail oriented guy.
Jonny Armstrong 6 years ago
For my applications, I want to customize the freeze time (inter-picture delay), so that if something breaks the beam over and over (or gets stuck on it), it won't burn out a speedlite on external power. The 4s max. freeze might not be enough to protect a flash set to 1/2 power or more.
Brian Hursey 6 years ago
What about 1/2 power flash duration. Thats kind of long. What are you trying to do?
mjkzz (a.k.a zwdeal) 6 years ago

I have not tried horizontal tank yet, good to know. I was mainly concerned with the size of splash, so I put the tank (funnel) as high as possible . . . the splash I got were mostly 2-4 inches (10 cm) in diameter, biggest one is about 5 inches.
mjkzz (a.k.a zwdeal) Posted 6 years ago. Edited by mjkzz (a.k.a zwdeal) (member) 6 years ago
Brian Hursey:

Regarding flash duration, I did a mod on YN560, I can control its duration for 50us or 1/20000. This is NOT measured by external equipment, but controlled by an Arduino -- the YN560 is quenched EXACTLY (well maybe one or two microseconds more when accessing port directly) after 50us it is triggered.

Here are details about the mod:


Jonny Armstrong 6 years ago

I'm interested in this product to replace the PIR or dopplar sensors I use in camera traps, which have to be modified to produce a narrow detection beam. I don't want the beam-type sensor for high speed photography, but instead for more accurate object detection than you get with other sensor types. The other beam-type sensor that I know of costs ~$500. My PIR sensors cost $10, but I'd drop $100 for something with higher accuracy.
Brian Hursey 6 years ago
@Jonny its quite accurate... Not sure about your application. The freeze time is maxed at 4 seconds. What type of time are you looking for? Can you give an example of the photography you are doing? I I think your planning on doing wild life photography, If the object stood and went in and out of the beam multiple times it would fire those many times. The only think you could do would be the 4 second freeze.
Jonny Armstrong 6 years ago

I wanted this shot a few feet closer, but the PIR tripped too soon, hence why I want a beam type trigger.


However, had I had a beam on this, what if it snowed 1' and blocked the beam? It would make the camera fire every 4s until I filled the CF card, ~3000 shots. If the flash is diffused and on higher power, I'll cook it.

I'll still get the Cactus rig and try it out with my Einstein, or at lower power w/ speedlites, but it'd be great (for me) if they had a freeze time long enough to protect a flash on external power @ 1/2-full power. I 'm not sure what that would be, 15s? If the product is also intended to be used for wildlife and not just the water drop crowd, a longer delay would useful.

Thanks for all the info.
Brian Hursey Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Brian Hursey (member) 6 years ago
Brought it to my photography class I teach we decided to have some fun. I wanted to test a repeatability with the delay because there was some question on it. I was surprised how accurate. We set up where we tried the best to have the exact same release point every time hence the clamp.

Note: that's one of my people in my class Christopher Sands.

I tried to do some repeat tests and it seemed perfect the only reason for possible slight changes would be the actual release.

Here is an example of about the same exact drop. We were able to get this result over and over.

Cactus LV5 Delay Splash testing

Cactus LV5 Delay Splash testing

I then decided to try water drops and make sure they were repeatable and they were. We used an children's medicine dropper. Did not have it clamped but were holding it at the same place.

Cactus LV5 Delay Splash testing

Cactus LV5 Delay Splash testing

This is my favorite we were dropping from a higher height on this one so it would go a little faster and go deeper. However we did adjust the delay to do this on other shots. I found out it all depends on where you drop it.. It seems the laser trigger part is the only stable venerable in the whole setup. The release has allot to do with it.

Cactus LV5 Delay Splash testing

We only had an hour to setup do the shots and break down but I think it went well. If I had more time I would probably do different lighting but I think. It went well. It definitely gave me much more time to test the delay. I was able to adjust it to get the splash right where I wanted it to be.
Brian Hursey Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Brian Hursey (member) 6 years ago
@Jonny :

If say snow blocks the trigger. It will fire once when the signal is blocked. It wont fire again tell the signal is regained, and then blocked again.


wait.........{block object event}.......signal blocked................{signal regained} .................. After this if it has a new block event it will trigger again. However it wont keep firing while blocked.

They designed it for wild life photography. They actually did not think about high speed photography from the initial design and were surprised that most of the testers wanted to do that. A longer delay i can see would be useful I will add that to suggestions. Although it would need to wait tell the next version. The units are now in production. I can not release the release date yet.
Jonny Armstrong 6 years ago
Thanks again for the info. That's good to hear that signal has to be regained. Can't wait to try these puppies out!
Leo @ IM 6 years ago
@Jonny Armstrong - The LV5 should do what you want, the beam is very narrow (similar to those from a laser pointer). It sounds like the triggers should be under some sort of cover and positioned high to stop the front being covered by snow but this would apply to any trigger system.

I'm not sure about exact figures but I think a speedlight on 1/4 power would be ok firing every 4 seconds. You could run two if you needed more power or maybe increase the cameras ISO. I discovered (when trying to test batteries) that it took just over 40 full power flashes every 10 seconds to overheat a YN560 but that if you increase the time to 20 seconds all was OK.

We didn't have any wildlife photographers in the beta group so had to guess a bit as to how long a delay would be useful. Are speedlights commonly used by wildlife photographers in the way you are describing? I imagined capturing lots of images of the animal in the trap would be a high priority - 4 seconds sounds like a long time in that context.

@Wolfiesden : The very next line in the manual reads "EXCLUSIVE - works wirelessly with Cactus V5 & subsequent V5 compatible models. With a built-in Cactus V5 transceiver module in the Sensor, LV5 allows you to take instant camera photos with unlimited number of portable flashes, wirelessly!"

If you read this immediately after the Duo Mode Triggering comment then it does make sense. I agree the wording could be a little better but I always understood Duo to mean laser + radio. Its a very handy feature as often the ideal position for the camera is not immediately next to the LV5 sensor, and having radio triggers built in means a lot less gadgets, cables and batteries are needed.

This also explains why the laser cannot currently be switched off when the signal is sent - there is no radio connectivity in the emitter. 99% of the time the beam can be positioned so its not seen in the final photo provided the photographer considers this when setting up.

In addition even if it was possible turning the laser off would make the LV5 a very different product. In "multi" mode the signal is sent for as long as the beam is broken... if the beam was turned off then this function would not be possible. I imagine running a radio transceiver would also have an impact on battery life. Still who knows, Cactus may consider it for the next version...
Class A Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Class A (member) 6 years ago
One of my shots.

Awesome shot!
Class A Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Class A (member) 6 years ago
Brian Hursey:
In regards to the laser shutting off we asked for that feature however i forgot the reason it would not work.

Thanks, Brian, for your kind words!

The reason why the laser cannot be shut off for an exposure is because it does not contain a receiver, i.e., it cannot be remote controlled.

It does not even contain any software. It can just pulse with two different frequencies.
Leo @ IM 6 years ago
The LV5 is designed to allow the user to control how many shots are taken in conjunction with the camera's settings.

Using a freeze of 4 seconds as an example :
- In single mode the LV5 sends a 4 second long fire signal. If the camera is set to single shot mode then you'll get only one photo. However if the camera is set to burst mode you'll get a sequence of shots 4 seconds long. This could be handy if you wanted to capture an animals movements as it first entered the trap but not fill the memory card with thousands of shots of the same animal...

- In multi shot mode the LV5 sends a signal for as long as the beam is broken. This is intended to allow wildlife photographers to use burst or similar camera modes to capture the animal for the full time its in the trap.

- In both modes new events that happen during the freeze time are ignored. Only events that happen after the 4 second freeze generate a new fire event.

Freeze can be user set to a range of times from 20ms to 4 seconds.
Class A 6 years ago
...the DMT has no meaning toward radio as its not mentioned in proximity with any radio phrases or terminology. ...

I think I agree with you, just to clarify:
You can set the sensor to EITHER detection of laser beam blocking OR detection of laser beam. You make this choice when powering it on and after that the sensor will be in either of the two modes.

In both modes, a trigger event will be broadcast via a radio signal to listening wireless receivers (as well as the cabled connection).
mjkzz (a.k.a zwdeal) 6 years ago

Right on, I do have to constantly fill the funnel and this is why I used a funnel instead of a tall bottle -- funnel is short and water pressure does not change much when it is full and when it is empty -- water pressure is equal to height x water density.

Though it is reachable, filling up the funnel every ten or so shots is no fun :-)
mjkzz (a.k.a zwdeal) 6 years ago
Class A:

mjkzz (a.k.a zwdeal) 6 years ago
Brian Hursey:

Brian, how hard (or easy) is it to align the beam with receiver? My experience with laser beam detector is that it is very difficult to align laser and photo sensor, particularly if the two are kept over fairly long distance (one foot or more). For example, in the wild life shot @Jonny Armstrong took, the two units (laser beam and detector) have to be at least 2 meter (6 ft) apart, aligning them up will be very hard (try it in your class room).

Once aligned, a slight vibration would probably cause them misaligned. In the wild, they must be securely affixed somehow, you can't just put them on a rock. So I can see this could be an issue.

Just a thought because it happened to me :-)
Brian Hursey Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Brian Hursey (member) 6 years ago
Its very easy you have basically an 3+ inch target area.... Think of shooting a laser into the end of one of those massive mag light flash lights. Also even if you hit the edged the reflection might still keep a connection. For water droplets I actually feather it slightly to increase the sensitivity where only part of the laser beam is hitting the sensor. It is very easy surprisingly. When I first got it I was able to easily align the laser beam up across the whole room which is about 30+ feet. The 1/4-20 thread and the adjustable mount helps. Although I have found my self with just having an umbrella bracket on it and tilting with that because its already on my stands.

Leo @ IM Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Leo @ IM (member) 6 years ago
Generally aligning the laser beam is easy enough. If the emitter and detector are only a few meters apart (say 10' or so) the spot is very bright, even in outdoors on a pretty bright day I was able to see it on my shaded hand.

Large distances indoors or in the evening are also easy - the laser is bright enough that a 20-30m (60-90') detection area isn't hard to set up. I first aim the emitter, then use a black card to find trace the laser beam. I put the detector on a stand or tripod which makes fine tuning the LV5s exact height and position quick and easy.

Outdoors in full sun at large distances (20-30m / 60-90') can be tricky - the beam does spread a little, so it gets a bit dimmer. I found I needed a black material to see the beam and that needed to be shaded - making an L shape with the lid of the box worked quite well. I also found I needed to use the included sun hood at that range to cut out some ambient. The trigger then worked well but setup does take longer than it would for shorter detection areas.

As Brian said you only need to hit the reflector, you don't usually need the beam dead centre for it to be detected. I agree that if you were to leave the units unattended for a long period outdoors you'd want to secure the stands with sandbags, ball bungees, gaffer tape or some other method.
mjkzz (a.k.a zwdeal) 6 years ago
Brian Hursey:

3 inches in diameter over, say 2 meters, the spread angle is about 2.2 degrees (2*atan(38.1/2000)=2.1827 degrees), over 5 meter, the spread angle is about 0.9 degrees . . .

Not counting loss of intensity of laser beam, aiming the beam on the sensor reception area over few meters, in my mind could be hard.

But since you have the equipment and think it's easy, I will take your words :-) Very cool product indeed.

Yeah, the 20 1/4 mounting thread should help greatly, along with heavy sand bags so the wind will not shake it :-)
mjkzz (a.k.a zwdeal) 6 years ago

Pardon my lack of word or laziness -- the spread angle I referred to is the cone angle the laser beam can hit the receiver without miss, did not mean the spread of beam.

Laser beam does not spread much over long distance.

Having a piece of paper to find the laser dot is a good idea and if you think it is easy to setup that way, cool.
Class A Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Class A (member) 6 years ago
@zwdeal: The main trick is to not try and hit the sensor with the laser, but to set up the laser and then move the sensor in the right place. In the former case small adjustments translate into huge changes, in the latter case small adjustments are just that, small adjustments.

The main trouble I had with "catching" the laser was the teethed tilting mechanism. Once I did the mod to make them stepless, even that wasn't a problem anymore.
Jonny Armstrong 6 years ago

I don't think there are that many wildlife photogs doing remote triggering, so not sure what's in demand as far as picture delays. Trail cams have long delays, but they're often used for a different purpose.

Like mentioned above, it will be interesting to see how challenging it is to keep these things lined up at long distances. A lot of camera trapping is done at wide focal lengths, so you'd need a pretty big span to keep the sensors out of the image, or you'd have to strategically hide them. I face an analogous problem with lighting--hit's a huge pain to light ultrawide scenes cause the flashes get in the picture so easily.

I'm excited to give this thing a shot. From what I can tell, the only analogous product designed for outdoor photography is ~$500, and the DIY option is ~$75. The only question is whether I'm going to have to spend $200 on spiked table top tripods and ballheads to get this thing line up reliably.

For my needs, which do not reflect a market worth targeting, being able to interace with a microcontroller is pretty important. The most effective setup for me would be to blend this with a PIR sensor, so that you can wake your camera and flashes up from sleep mode on a PIR detection, and then fire on laser detection. It would also be ideal if the laser could vaporize any rodents or birds that camp out at my sets.
Leo @ IM Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Leo @ IM (member) 6 years ago
Jonny - thanks for the reply

The lasers are not terribly difficult to keep out of shot as you can have them up to 30m / 90' or so apart. This allows you to have them out of shot to the left and right in many circumstances.

Alternatively you could have the emitter at the back of the area and the detector near the front. If these are aimed at a bit of an angle the emitter can be hidden behind a tree so its not visible to the camera. The detector would be positioned off to one side of the camera so would also be out of shot. If snow wasn't an issue you could also run them almost vertically...

The PIR idea is something quite different - you could probably use the PIR gear you have already to wake the camera and flash and then use the LV5 to capture the critical moment. I don't think you'd actually need to connect the 2 units together but it would be dead easy to do so if that was needed.

Gaffer tape, ball bungees, rocks and sandbags all sound more secure than spiked stands to me, you have to allow for an animal disturbing the setup at some stage. Lining it all up is easy as long as you have a few cm or 1-2 inches play in the final position of the detector. I found moving the detector much easier than trying to get the exact tilt angle correct.

Lol @ vapourising pests - the laser is class 1 so designed not to damage anything!
Jonny Armstrong 6 years ago

Great point about using the PIR with the Cactus--now I'm twice as excited to give these a shot. Hopefully I get them lined up with my current grip setup, which consists of gratuitous amounts of camo duct tape and large sticks.
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