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Frequently Asked Questions

Q.  What kind of batteries does AutoMate use? A.  AutoMate uses 4 AA batteries. It also has a socket for powering it with an external power supply.
Q.  How long do the batteries last? A.  It depends on what you are doing. A fully charged set of 2300 mAh NiMH batteries will easily last through ten 100-image panoramas.
Q.  Can you adjust the position of the camera so that the axes of rotation go through the nodal point of the lens? A.  There is one inch of adjustment range front to back, which is sufficient for some lenses. If it isn't sufficient, you can add a rail that will provide sufficient adjustment range. However, it is not possible to make any adjustments that will allow the axis of tilting to go through the nodal point. However, the nodal point is only relevant to panoramas taken with wide angle lenses, and virtually never for gigapixel panoramas.
Q.  Can AutoMate rotate a full 360 degrees? A.  Yes, AutoMate can rotate 360 degrees continuously.
Q.  What is the total tilt range? A.  Thirty degrees, consisting of 15 degrees down and 15 degrees up. However, with the addition of an inexpensive swivel-tilt head such as the Manfrotto 234RC, the tilt range can be increased to about 160 degrees. When you shoot a panoramas that is more than 30 degrees in the vertical direction using the swivel-tilt head, you shoot the first 30 degrees using the automation feature to tilt from row to row, then shoot the next batch of rows after adjusting the swivel-tilt head by 30 degrees. It is a work-around, but an extremely easy and effective one.
Q.  Is it possible to shoot long exposures? A.  Yes. If you are shooting in Bulb mode on your camera, you can control the exposure time precisely under program control by specifying how long to hold the shutter open. If you are not using Bulb mode, and are in either Manual or any Auto-exposure mode, and anticipate that the exposure will take a long time, you simply set the time-to-wait after triggering the shutter and before moving the head to a sufficiently large value to assure that the head will not move until the exposure is completed. mode
Q.  Is it possible to bracket exposures during a panorama? A.  Yes. There are two ways to do this. You can set your camera for bracketing and then trigger the shutter only once, making certain that the time-after-exposure is sufficiently large to inhibit motion until all the exposures have completed. You can also put the camera in Bulb mode and then use the very powerful bracketing feature that is integrated into the panorama feature. This feature allows you to set the number of exposures, how much to bracket them by, and the sequence pattern. You can take very long exposures with this feature.
Q.  What is the shortest distance that you can command AutoMate to move? A.  AutoMate can move in increments as small as one quarter of a degrees when using 100% motor speed. It is possible to achieve one tenth of a degree with slower motor speeds.
Q.  How much does a shutter cable cost? A.  You get one cable for free with the AutoMate. Each additional cables costs $20 unless it is one that has to be custom made.
Q.  What are the cameras that AutoMate is compatible with? A.  AutoMate can control almost any camera that has an electronic shutter release. This includes all Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Minolta, Samsung, Contax, Sigma, Hasselblad, Olympus, and Sony DSLR and SLR cameras that have electronic shutter releases. If you aren't sure if your camera is supported, contact us and we will let you know.
Q.  Do I need a Bluetooth antenna? A.  You do not need a Bluetooth antenna unless you expect to operate AutoMate from farther away than 10 meters. With an antenna you can connect from as far away as 100 meters.
Q.  If I buy a Bluetooth antenna, what kind should I buy? A.  The Bluetooth antennas we sell are the correct ones for AutoMate. But if you buy one elsewhere, look for 2.4GHz Duck Antenna with an RP-SMA connector
Q.  Is there an IPhone version? A.  Unfortunately, Apple has made that am impossibility by not including a serial Bluetooth profile in the iPhone. Apparently, this was done to prevent using the iPhone as a modem.