Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Pentax (Electronic) Cable Switches



Above: All Cable Releases of Mine; From Left to Right: Pentax Cable Switch F, Pentax CS-105, Canon RS-60E3, Canon RS-80N3; Top: Traditional Universal Mechanical Flexible Cable Release.

Cable Switch
For Camera(s)
Period
Cable Switch F
SF Series, (P)Z Series, MZ Series (Except MZ-S)
1987 - 2002
CS-105
MZ-S
2001
CS-205 (Canon RS-60E3 Clone)
*ist, *ist D Series, K(number)D Series, K-number Series
2003 - Now
No Support
K-alphabet Series, i.e., K-m, K-x & K-r
2009 - Now

The CS-105 is actually the most professionally designed and built cable switch that Pentax has ever made. But unfortunately, it supports/supported only the MZ-S. It has the same design as the Canon upper Remote Switch RS models for their upper class AFSLRs/DSLRs only. The design has an automatic mechanical lock so that the cable switch cannot be detached accidentally. To detach, one must hold and press the silver portion of the connector which will release the lock as you can see from the above photo, for both the CS-105 and RS-80N3. It has one disadvantage IMO, though. That is, the insertion of the connector is directional, which is really no good for inserting the cable in the dark, but which is usually the situation in which the user usually requires to use the cable switch/release!

I didn't buy the CS-205, though, when I acquired my *ist D. I was indeed somehow "angry" with Pentax for changing the cable switch after only one model. As the CS-205 is just a Canon low-end "RS" clone but which was sold at doubled price and was more difficult to find than the Canon (as usual, for all Pentax items!), I opted to buy the Canon. Anyway, even the Canon is of no use to me anyway for more than one year now, as my current and last Pentax DSLRs, namely, the K-x and K-m, just does not support any cable switch/release for each of them (and so does the upcoming K-r)!

Update (9-28): Some people doubt about the usefulness of a wired cable switch and release. I would like to elaborate a bit more about its true value for some applications and the differences underlaid..

1. A cable release actually consists of two switches, one for the half-pressing and the other for shutter release. An IR release controls only one switching, i.e., the release of shutter. Some IR remote controllers of Pentax like those that I built-in with my Zoom 90 WR and purchased together with my Optio 330 have the zoom control, but then so what?

2. The control of the half-press is crucial if you want also to control AE and in most cases, the AF, just like what we are using the cameras daily. Just imagine that when you use a DSLR without half-press function, then.. I think I needless to say more! For some shooting applications like shooting concerts on monopod/tripod or to track racing cars and panning where direct pressing of shutter button is not desirable so as to avoid shakes right before the exposure, a cable release is particular useful - but still we need to do and control the AE and AF, right?

3. An IR controller needs to point directly to the IR receiver and sensor at the body (which is located in the front for Pentax DSLR bodies) as long as it is pressed for the "Bulb" control. With the K-x, the user can choose in the Custom Function that for a "two-press" operation, i.e., to press one to open the shutter and press another time to close it. No matter how, this is not as convenient, reliable, direct and responsive as what a simple wired cable release can do for the user. One of the good examples of application is shooting fireworks, where timing is really critical if you are really using the shutter to control the (multiple) exposures instead of using a black card in front of the camera with a long bulb mode. An old example of mine:-


(Canon EOS 5D: f/16, 5s, ISO 100, 24-105L @24mm, RAW post-processed with DPP, Cable Release Used; Photo taken in Feb. 2008 @ Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong - Click to Enlarge in New Tab/Window)

P.S. I might upload some more fireworks plus some concert or racing car photos later on, as most of my old shared photos were already deleted at my old Yahoo Geocities account which I cancelled but they are not re-uploaded.

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