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What's New

April 2014 - CamRanger is now capable of controlling StackShot!

January 2014 - Don't want to build a Water Drop Stand? Check this out.

June 2013 - Check out the StopShot Studio - a 12 channel computer controlled version of StopShot

April 2013, Capture insects in flight with our new portable Insect Rig.

January 2013 - Check out our new Water Valve Mounting Bracket for multiple colored collisions

December 2012 - Introducing the Shutter Support System. Completely portable high speed.

October 2012 - Check out our latest one of a kind product - the High Speed Shutter - finally you can capture insects in flight.

August 2012 - Take your StackShot into the field with our new Controller Carrier Also works great with StopShot.

February 2012 - See our new web page on creating Three Drop Collisions with StopShot.

January 2012 - Check out our latest sensor the RangeIR. Designed for birds and wildlife.

High Speed Shutter

Shutter System

Why a High Speed Shutter?

Most often high speed photography is done in a darkened room, the camera is in bulb mode with the camera shutter held open and a short duration of light from a high speed flash is used to expose the photograph. There are two significant reasons for shooting this way. The first is that a flash has a much shorter duration than your camera shutter is capable of. This allows you to freeze fast motion with less blur. The second reason is shutter lag. While flashes respond instantaneously to a trigger, cameras do not. If you try to trigger your camera to capture a high speed event it is very often the case that by the time the camera gets around to taking the image the event you were trying to photograph is over or out of frame. A good example of this is photographing insects in flight. The higher the magnification the smaller the field of view the more severe the issue.

Shutter with Shutter Support

If you have ever tried to capture a macro shot of an insect in flight you have probably fought against shutter lag. Shutter lag is the amount of time it takes between pushing the shutter button on your camera and when the camera actually captures the image. Modern DSLR cameras have a shutter lag between 35 and 300mS. This is way too long if you are trying to capture a close up shot of an insect in flight, by the time your camera gets around to taking the image your subject has moved out of frame. Enter the Cognisys High Speed Shutter. This shutter has less than a 6mS response time. It will allow you to capture even the fastest events without your subject moving out of frame. It also enables high speed photography in the light of day.

Shown on the left is an image of the High Speed Shutter Mounted to a 65mm MP E-65 macro lens extended to 2X. The shutter and controller are mounted on our Shutter Support System. This whole assembly can be mounted on a tripod or on our Insect Rig.

High Speed Shutter Features

  • Ultra Fast 5.8mS response time (time from trigger to full open).
  • 30mm open diameter
  • Runs on 12VDC so it can be battery powered for field use.
  • One Li-Ion Battery Kit will power the high speed shutter, StopShot and the necessary sensors.
  • Adjustable Open time - Open time is fully programmable via StopShot for longer exposures
  • Status LED indicates state of shutter - Charging, Ready and Error
  • Warranted for 40,000 cycles, it can be rebuilt after wear out. The shutter and motor are the only moving parts.
  • Housing constructed from anodized aluminum with stainless steel fasteners
  • Button to hold open shutter for focusing and setup.
  • Allows high speed photography in the light of day - See Joe McDonald's Rattlesnake Image below.
  • Attaches to 37mm filter threads. Adapters readily available for most lens thread sizes.
  • High speed shutter controller has flash sync port for easy connection.
  • Integrated Threads for 34mm Screw on UV filter to keep debris (and insects) out of shutter.

  • Timber Rattlesnake Copyright 2013 Joe McDonald
    DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME! Timber Rattlesnake Strike
    Copyright 2013 Joe McDonald

    Specifications and Dimensions

    Shutter dimensions: 135(L) x 70mm(W) x 27mm(H)
    Optical Path Dimensions: 30mm diameter x 23mm long
       Click here for more information on vignetting
    Shutter Weight: 500g
    Controller Dimensions: 78mm(L) x 135mm(W) x 28mm(H)
    Controller Weight: 285g
    Length of cable between shutter and controller 0.45m (18in)
    Operating Voltage: 10 to 16VDC
    Current Consumption: 2ADC pk
    Time from Trigger to full open: 5.8mS
    Exposure Time: Configurable with StopShot

    Captured with the High Speed Shutter System

    Hopper in Flight
    Hopper in Flight
    Hopper in Flight

    The images above were captured with the High Speed Shutter system attached to a Canon 100mm f/4 Canon Macro Lens in front of a Canon 7D. The shutter and camera were controlled by StopShot while the external flashes were controlled by the shutter controller. The Laser Cross Beam was the sensor set used to capture the insects.

    The middle image happened completely by accident as I was checking the focus of the system this little moth happened to be in the frame - and in focus! Lights were used to attract the insects at night.

    Shutter Mounting and Filter Details

    Shutter with Filter

    Shutter Mounted to MP-E65

    The High Speed Shutter System is attached to the lens with the supplied lens adapter that has 37mm x 0.5mm threads on it. You can see the pieces required to mount it in the diagram above. The step down ring is not included and will need to be sized to the lens you are planning to attach the shutter to. We stock some of the more common sizes.

    To the left you can see how it looks all put together. The distance from the lens to the end of the shutter is 23mm. The clamp can be tightened to the point that no rotation is possible between the shutter and the adapter ring or it can be left just loose enough to allow rotation.

    Shutter with Filter

    This shutter has 34mm x 0.5mm filter threads for a clear UV filter. The filter keeps insects and other debris out of the shutter. If you use lights to attract insects having this filter is highly recommended.

    The shutter weighs about 500g so you may want to support the shutter with an external bracket if you plan on dragging the shutter around in the field. We have a tripod mountable Shutter Support System for this purpose. The 1/4-20 threaded holes are for this purpose. There are also 2 mounting holes in the back of the shutter as well. The dust caps shown in the picture are included.

    Controller Interface

    Shutter Controller Header
    The image on the left shows the shutter controller interface . Tap the button to hold open the shutter so you can focus your camera and align your sensors. Tap it again to close the shutter and the shutter is ready to fire. Press and hold to activate.

    Moving right there is a Bicolor LED to indicate when the shutter is ready to fire.

    Next is the power jack, The shutter runs from low voltage DC ((12 to 16VDC). This allows the shutter to be powered up by battery. A single Li-Ion battery will run both the shutter and StopShot.

    The next two connectors are for Trigger In and Flash sync. Connect the trigger input to StopShot and the flash Sync to your flash system.

    Using the High Speed Shutter to Capture Insects in Flight

    As shown below the High Speed Shutter is mounted on the end of the camera lens to be used. It is then necessary to coordinate the insects position, the camera shutter, the high speed shutter and the flash to capture a successful image. Fortunately StopShot (our high speed controller) is capable of keeping all of this in order. In keeping with our insect in flight example above the sequence of events that needs to happen is described below. For this example StopShot will need to be connected to a cross beam sensor to detect the object (it will be our trigger). Here is the high level process that needs to happen to capture an image:
    1. The camera shutter needs to be held open (and refreshed every so often to prevent digital noise).
    2. The external shutter will be opened when an object is detected by the cross beam sensor set.
    3. The flash needs to be fired after the high speed shutter has opened.
    4. Once the flash has been fired the high speed shutter will close
    5. After the high speed shutter closes the camera shutter will close and refresh to be ready for the next event.

    Visit here for a complete walk through of programming StopShot to use with the high speed shutter.

    Linden Gledhill - Multiple Exposure

    The image above was captured by Linden Gledhill using the Cognisys High Speed Shutter System. To capture this image Linden used the long exposure feature of the shutter and the strobe mode on his flash. This image was captured on a single frame using the flash to make multiple exposures of the insect at different moments in time. The shutter open time can be controlled by StopShot allowing for this type of work. Notice the different position of the wings in each frame.