I'd like to use an Arduino electronic board with a Nikon D7000 to automate the capturing process (i.e. rotate an object by stepper motor, make a capture, new rotation and so on). I decided to trigger the camera via IR channel putting an IR LED on my Arduino board (I already found IrDA protocol for Nikon). But how can I make sure that the photo was taken? The internal camera flash will be popped up to trigger remote SB-900 and SB-600, so I won't have access to a hot shoe (however if I did, I don't have such a connector).

My only solution for the moment is to put a photo diode on the electronic board to measure the light from the flashes. But it also doesn't appear to be so simple

Did I miss a more convenient way to the accomplish this? I know that the SB-900 has two connectors but I don't have the part to connect to it. May be cheap radio transmitters will help me? Do they have electrical sync output?

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    \$\begingroup\$ This question is most probably off-topic here. Maybe try at electronics.stackexchange.com? And by the way, why not use tethering? You get live feedback... - and a good challenge in electronics :-). \$\endgroup\$
    – TFuto
    May 7, 2014 at 17:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TFuto, This question is about the abilities of the photographic equipment. So I don't think that electronic engineers will be able to help me with that. \$\endgroup\$ May 7, 2014 at 17:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TFuto, what you mean saying 'tethering'? Connecting a camera to a computer? \$\endgroup\$ May 7, 2014 at 17:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ This question appears to be off-topic because it is about hardware design and automation. \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson
    May 7, 2014 at 17:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ Connecting to the Arduino board through USB... You can find Linux tools working through USB to control the camera and read the status. Use the source code to do the same on the Arduino. \$\endgroup\$
    – TFuto
    May 7, 2014 at 18:49

1 Answer 1


Easiest is to use the camera hot shoe even though you don't have much space. You can probably find a non working flash for nothing. Separate the flash from the hot shoe and use the hot shoe portion as an ultra low profile adapter for your electrical signal. Circuit should go to ground during flash.

Also most DSLRs have an led light that shows the activity when the image is being written to the card. You may not want to start taking your camera apart but you have a trigger with that light circuit. Any sort of photo detector could be used externally if you want to stay out of the camera. Choose a gel filter the same color as the led and extraneous room light or flashes will not give you a false count if you set the gain on your detector properly.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Great Idea with the hot shoe. My local photog shop has dozens of broken flashes in a bin for free. I might play with something similar now. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dakine83
    May 7, 2014 at 23:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's worth pointing out that you should exercise caution when opening flashes up - the capacitors in them can hold quite a charge for quite some time. \$\endgroup\$ May 8, 2014 at 8:17

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