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M9 USB remote exposure revisited


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I've just spent a long time using Search to learn more about the M9 USB port. Much of the info is outdated.

 

I like to use my Mac Air with Image Capture's intervalometer feature. I am very happy that it works so well, however I am concerned by a couple things. How long can the USB cable be? (I'd rather keep the computer in the house to monitor what's taken remotely.)

 

If the USB cable cannot be, for example, 50' long then I have a separate, quite small intervalometer intended for a different camera which uses a pin connector. It also doubles as a cable release. I would leave it on the M9. I've never seen a Mini-USB to pin adapter and besides, I am concerned that if it existed it might not be compatible to the M9 and break the electronics. (Ken Rockwell claims the M9 Mini-USB is non-standard)

 

Input?

 

(In the meantime I'll use the 'other' camera for this work and retrieve the card occasionally)

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I'm pretty sure it's a standard mini USB connector, I've used non-Leica branded ones. The tricky bit is that it only responds to USB PTP control signals, people like Canon have a simple system where you can send a simple (but non-standard) electrical signal to trigger the shutter - as far as I know Leica don't support that.

 

Maximum safe length for a USB cable is about 5 metres (16'), but you can get cat5 extenders, like USB Extension - CAT5 USB Extender (Up to 50m) | Extension | USB Cables | USB & FireWire | LINDY UK which will let you run it over long distances, with very easily available cables.

 

Extenders are quite expensive, but a 50' cat5 cable is around £7/$10 (probably more in a highstreet shop).

 

- Steve

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Pico,

 

I recall some time ago, using various bits of software/hardware and settings to try and get the M9 to fire the shutter remotely (sofortbild etc and treating the camera as an HTTP object). Nothing worked consistently. Occasionally you could get the shutter to fire but more usually the application and M9 all locked up and had to be shut down. I too would love to hear if there has been any advance on this situation. I would also like to do some time elapse photography. The other problem is that you really also need to have an external power supply.

 

Wilson

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FYI - The Promote Control will fire the M9. It's not listed as a supported camera, but I have one that I use for timelapse work with my Canon cameras and it does work with the M9. My testing showed that 4-5 second intervals are needed between exposures. I had some discussion with one of their engineers and he was going to rent an M9 to further explore the functionality, but I never heard back from him regarding his findings.

 

Promote Control - extended HDR bracketing controller

 

Regards,

 

Josh Himes

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I've just spent a long time using Search to learn more about the M9 USB port. Much of the info is outdated.

 

 

Exactly what do you need to do? I can write a program that can trip the shutter and download the image relatively easily.

 

What *I* want to do is to fire the camera normally and have the image download to the computer automatically (tethered shooting). I wrote such program for the Olympus E cameras called E-Capture but alas such a thing is not possible (AFAIK) for the M9 :-(

 

But to remotely trip the shutter is relatively easy. If there is enough demand, I may make such a program.

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@Josh

 

I too have a Promote from my Nikon days! Although I never managed to get it to fire my M9!

I am glad that I am not the only M9 user asking Arty and his team at Promote to create the code for M9 use! He too told me he was going to rent an M9 to play with! He seemed enthusiastic! I think he's a little busy with other coding issues at the moment. Focus stacking being one! Canon only of course!

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Exactly what do you need to do? I can write a program that can trip the shutter and download the image relatively easily.

 

What *I* want to do is to fire the camera normally and have the image download to the computer automatically (tethered shooting). I wrote such program for the Olympus E cameras called E-Capture but alas such a thing is not possible (AFAIK) for the M9 :-(

 

But to remotely trip the shutter is relatively easy. If there is enough demand, I may make such a program.

 

Thank you, Richard, but on the Mac, the app Image Capture does that.

Edited by pico
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[...]The other problem is that you really also need to have an external power supply.

 

Ah, another feature to add to the M9. Indeed, tethered shooting sucks up battery.

 

Regarding cameras that take a pin input, there are some reasonable and capable, feature-rich intervalometers such as the JYC. I think I paid $30 for mine, but I use it only on the G1 M4/3 which is not a favorite camera. (The G1 has two different sized USB inputs in addition to the remote pin-input.)

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@Josh

 

I too have a Promote from my Nikon days! Although I never managed to get it to fire my M9!

I am glad that I am not the only M9 user asking Arty and his team at Promote to create the code for M9 use! He too told me he was going to rent an M9 to play with! He seemed enthusiastic! I think he's a little busy with other coding issues at the moment. Focus stacking being one! Canon only of course!

 

Yes, Arty was the programmer I was in contact with. He seemed very happy that it worked with the M9. You might update the firmware on your Promote and see if that does the trick. I see no reason why you wouldn't be able to duplicate my results.

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Thanks Josh for the heads-up on the new firmware! Obviously Arty has added the M9 shutter release code since the firmware I had in my Promote! Now if he can get the code for changing EV so I can finally do HDR on the M9, that would be great! What would be even better would be Leica enabling the changing of shutter speed via PTP in a firmware update!

I can but dream of the day!

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I wouldn't mind getting a Promote only if its use is expanded

to work with Leica/Nikon/Canon and not limited by the Leica

firmware hack to only work with a Leica M9.

 

Will changing/updating the Promote firmware by/from

someone other than Promote negatively affect how the

Promote works with a Nikon/Canon?

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Outdated post - as I wrote earlier, most such references were out of date until Image Capture for the Mac worked with the M9.

 

I'm sorry if I'm wasting your time

 

...however, I don't think anything has changed with the protocol over USB since the launch 09/09/09, so I really don't understand what is "outdated"

 

In fact, since you say that you want to "learn more about the M9 USB port" I think there is plenty to learn if you care to follow the link. The guy who wrote m9tether (uid em9) is actually explaining a few technical things about tethering the M9. This is useful even if m9tether doesn't work on a mac

 

Why don't you have a look here: Picture Transfer Protocol - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

If you want to get more technical, try this (yes, the M8 does PTP like the M9) http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/leica-m9-forum/105995-tethering-would-nice-2.html#post1293534

 

Regards

Per

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What would be even better would be Leica enabling the changing of shutter speed via PTP in a firmware update!

 

I'm guessing Leica feel this would conflict with the shutter speed dial. If you look at the functions you can operate you will find that they are all s/w functions in the camera, so they don't have any hardware parts that indicate the setting.

 

Regards

Per

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Thanks Josh for the heads-up on the new firmware! Obviously Arty has added the M9 shutter release code since the firmware I had in my Promote! Now if he can get the code for changing EV so I can finally do HDR on the M9, that would be great! What would be even better would be Leica enabling the changing of shutter speed via PTP in a firmware update!

I can but dream of the day!

 

I did some more testing with the Promote Control and the M9. If you enable exposure bracketing on the M9 (with shutter speed set to A), you can fire up to seven bracketed exposures with each release of the Promote. The M9 needs to be set to continuous drive to make this work.

 

You can also fire the bracketed sequences continuously with the Promote set to time lapse mode, but the interval has to be long enough to allow the files to write to the card. The write times will be shorter with uncompressed DNG or JPEG, so you would definitely need to go with one of those two choices for an HDR time lapse sequence. I suspect you would be limited to JPEG only if your intervals need to be less than twelve seconds and you are bracketing for HDR, as you will eventually fill the buffer if you are using uncompressed DNG (each one takes about 4 seconds to write on average with my cards). For standard (non-HDR) time lapse, if you keep your exposures under one second, you can shoot at 5 second intervals with the Promote in time lapse mode.

 

As a previous poster noted, the M9 battery will be the limiting factor for an extended time lapse sequence.

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I wouldn't mind getting a Promote only if its use is expanded

to work with Leica/Nikon/Canon and not limited by the Leica

firmware hack to only work with a Leica M9.

 

Will changing/updating the Promote firmware by/from

someone other than Promote negatively affect how the

Promote works with a Nikon/Canon?

 

In reference to updating the firmware on the Promote Control, it isn't a hack, but rather the latest firmware version from Promote, which can be downloaded from their website.

 

The Promote definitely works fine with my Canon cameras. Since the M9 isn't an officially supported camera, I would guess that it is merely a coincidence that it works at all (likely due to the PTP protocol standards rather than any intentional programming).

 

I have only tested operation with the M9 using the latest Promote firmware. I suspect that older Promote firmware versions may not work with the M9, as supertrogg was unable to make it work on his previous attempt.

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Thanks for the clarification! Could you keep us posted with

the strong and weak points as you familarize yourself with

the Promote when used with your M9.

Thanks again!!!

In reference to updating the firmware on the Promote Control, it isn't a hack, but rather the latest firmware version from Promote, which can be downloaded from their website.

 

The Promote definitely works fine with my Canon cameras. Since the M9 isn't an officially supported camera, I would guess that it is merely a coincidence that it works at all (likely due to the PTP protocol standards rather than any intentional programming).

 

I have only tested operation with the M9 using the latest Promote firmware. I suspect that older Promote firmware versions may not work with the M9, as supertrogg was unable to make it work on his previous attempt.

Edited by billib
spelllling
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I'm guessing Leica feel this would conflict with the shutter speed dial. If you look at the functions you can operate you will find that they are all s/w functions in the camera, so they don't have any hardware parts that indicate the setting.

 

Regards

Per

 

Per,

The shutter speed dial appears to be either a rotary encoder or a switched resistor array. There appears to be no mechanical link to the shutter as seen in 'that' video showing an M9 being dismantled prior to being painted pink! That being the case, the shutter speed dial must therefore change the speed in software just as the other buttons do for ISO etc. Therefore setting the shutter speed should be as trivial via PTP as it is for ISO etc.!

 

@Josh

I spoke to Arty at Promote the other day, he was unaware that the latest update had enabled the M9's shutter to be fired! It shouldnt have! Oh dear! Sounds like you unearthed a bug in their firmware! He did say, though, that after CES this week he was going to rent that M9 to have a look at what we have been requesting!

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