Combined charger and trigger cable for Sony mirrorless cameras like A6400

I often capture time lapse image sequences and do astrophotography. In both applications, a trigger cable and a proper means of powering the camera are essential. Keep in mind, that a fully charged battery usually lasts for no more than 3 hours.
At the moment, the only way to power a Sony mirrorless camera for a whole night or several hours is a dummy battery attached to a power supply (be it a mains power supply or a 7.2V battery driven sollution). With the release of the new models recently, like the A7III or A6400, the camera may also be powered through USB charger during image acquisition. (It may still be possible, that the battery drains, but far far less.)

This is really good news, as a USB power bank will provide the juice to run a whole night or even longer! But there arises one new problem: The external trigger remotes use the same USB port as it is used for charging.
This is possible, as Sony has created the so called Multiport some time back for use with their video cameras. The Multiport is an extended Micro-USB port with a second row of contacts. These contacts provide access to some control as well as audio and video output.

I did some research and came across Multiport connectors with solder pads for all 15 pins. See the pinout in the images at the end of the post.

Sony Multiport Adapter

With such connectors I was able to tailor a dual cable adapter, to charge and trigger the camera at the same time! I took a USB cable with male type A connector and a headphone extender cable with male 3.5mm plug. I chose both cables around 1m in length. This should be long enough in most use cases, but not too long to reduce charging performance.

Combined charger and trigger cable for Sony mirrorless cameras


The 3.5mm plug fits some of my trigger devices. All the others have 2.5mm plugs, for which I have adapter calbes in use. Most computer timer remotes with interchangeable camera plug sold, have a 2.5mm female audio jack. See attached image for the typical pinout.

Soldering the two cables to the tiny solder pads requires a steady hand and experience in soldering. The USB as well as the audio cables have quite thin wires (AWG26 to AWG28, which equals to 0.12 mm² to 0.08 mm²), except the USB power wires (AWG22 or AWG24 in quick charge cables, which equals to 0.32 mm² and 0.20 mm²). The wires are rather stiff. Therefore, aligning the wires to the solder pads may be tricky. It gets especially tricky, if the wires are exposed from the outer isolation for less than a centimeter.
Advice: Always check the finished cable for shorts and proper contact with a multimeter!

Soldered Multiport adapter with USB (bottom) and headphone (top) cables

To reduce wear, which may lead to wires breaking off the solder pads, I designed a connector housing / case. The housing holds the adapter as well as the cables in place. Furthermore, this is the only proper way to handle the connector upon pluggin to / unpluggin from the camera.
The connector case is 3D printed. I share the STL file on Thingiverse here:
https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4279366

Multiport adapter case – 3D model in 2 parts

Disclaimer:
This is a guide put together as reference for me. If you follow this description, you will do so on your own risk. I may not be held responsible for any damage or injury caused!

Sunset in Graz, Austria

Graz is a town, having still a city center with a lot of its original medieval flair. One of the best places to watch a sunset is on top of Schlossberg. There you may find Uhrturm (the clock tower). This landmark may be seen from most parts of the town. This is how it looks like:

HDR sunset at Horseshoe Bend

The Horseshoe Bend is an incredible place to see a sunset. When you arrive at the right time, a front row “seat” may still be available. Though nowadays literally crowds are streaming to the canyon rim to see the Horseshoe Bend. But be aware of the steep drop right next to you! The 300m straight down are nothing for the faint at heart. And you sure wont want to drop anything as it would just be lost forever.

Now if you are careful and ensure that spectators wont ruin your shots, you may set up the camera quite close to the edge. I took my turn and created a HDR sequence (5 photos per frame) of the sun descending behind the horizon:

Nighttime slider hyperlapse at Liptovsky Mara, Slovakia

In mid may I was invited to a wedding in Slovakia. All the day I was busy shooting the happy couple as well as the guests. When night fell upon the lake right beside the location, I set up my slider with 4 meters of rails and let it run for almost 2 hours. This time I added a rotating device for panning across the scenery. Unfortunately the unit stopped after 1 hour for no good. So the resulting video has a somewhat strange change of movement in the middle.

A Sardegna day to night to day timelapse (aka The Holy Grail of Timelapses)

Actually, I shot the footage of this timelapse more than 3 years ago. Though I kindof “lost” the images on my backup storage and forgot about it. A couple of days ago, I stumbled upon the files…

I sent a few days at a farm in northern Sardegna, Italy during a late August full moon. The terrace of the main building offered this splendid veiw of the countryside and pigs enclosure (you may see a few pigs running around at the end of the video). The full moon cast a shadow all night long, while the stars pass around Polaris.

The timelapse was shot between 19:44 and 08:53, covering 13 hours with 777 single exposures.
Post processing in Lightroom and LRTimelapse

Comet 46/P Wirtanen with M45 (Pleiades)

This weekend is the perfect viewing opportunity for Comet 46/P Wirtanen:
First, the comet is closest to eart by less than 0.08 astronomical units (distance from earth to the sun), which is approximately 30 times the distance to moon!
Second, the comet passes very close to the open cluster M45 – the Pleiades.
And third, it is still an early moon phase. This means that from midnight on, the night will be really dark!

I was eagerly waiting for this view. Though current weather conditions in central Europe did not promise anything suitable for observations until 2-3 days ago. Saturday night showed increasing patches of open skies…
Finally, Saturday in the late afternoon, the sky cleared up. So all was a go for observing!

At -11°C conditions were cold but good for astro photography. Recent precipitation left some humidity in the air, reducing air transparency a bit. What caused some trouble was, a frost cover building up on all the equipment (photos will follow)…

Here are the results of a loooong night up in the mountains: