Panasonic Still & Video Camera Traps (Panasonic GH4, GH5, G80 etc.)
In theory, Panasonic micro four thirds (mft) cameras like the GH4 and GH5 should be well suited for use in camera traps; they are small, take high quality stills, shoot 4k video and are compatible with a wide range of excellent micro four thirds lenses. Panasonic cameras are also compatible with our Wireless Flash Triggers so you can easily trigger Nikon flashes for still photography.
However, Panasonic cameras have a quirk which means using them in a camera trap set-up can be problematic…
Panasonic Wake-up Issue
In order, to conserve battery life it is usually necessary to allow the camera to auto-power down or “sleep” between detections. Panasonic cameras have an economy setting that enables the camera to enter sleep mode after a minute of inactivity. When the camera is sleeping, it can be woken by pressing the shutter button to take a photo. However, the problem with Panasonic cameras is that they cannot be woken via a wired shutter release cable. A camera trap sensor can only wake and trigger the camera via the remote socket.
So what is the solution? There are two options…
Using a Panasonic Camera Connecting Cable
First you can disable sleep mode on the Panasonic camera. This means the battery will drain quickly so you will need to modify the power supply if you require more than a few hours of standby time. Panasonic L1 Camera Connecting Cables are available and can be used with our camera trap sensors to take still photographs or set-up a Panasonic 4k Video Camera Trap. However, we do not sell them in the store because of the wake-up issue.
Panasonic Battery Grip Hack
Since Panasonic cameras can be woken with a half-press or full-press via the shutter button, there is an alternative: you can hack the shutter button on a Panasonic battery grip. Most people perform the hack on a cheaper third-party battery grip rather than the official Panasonic battery grip. To hack the battery grip, you just have to modify the connections to the battery grip’s shutter button. We recommend simply adding a socket that is compatible with our Canon E3-type connecting cable.
Using the modified battery grip, cameras such as the GH4 will work very well in a camera trap, even with sleep mode enabled. Note that only the battery grip is modified, no modifications to the camera itself are required.
If you would like us to modify a battery grip for you, the fee is £300 for a modified GH4-type battery grip, and £500 for a GH5-type battery grip.
Please get in touch if you would like further information.