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  #1  
Old January 10th, 2014, 06:57 AM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Default Remote controls, from wire release to electronic triggers

Hi Folks,

As time went by, I've used a number of methods to release the camera shutter in a controlled fashion (usually to avoid camera shake, or to use long exposure times). My early cameras used a mechanical shutter release, some with a countdown timer, others with a (long distance) pneumatic bulb release.

These days we can often trigger our electronic cameras with a variety of tools, ranging from built in timers to external trigger devices, some wired, others wireless, some even with (remote) live view.

I thought it might be useful to start a thread where we can share our experiences with particular solutions for various problems we might face, and add links to some commercial solutions (or even home made ones), or tutorials where such tools are an unavoidable asset.

I'll kick-off with a simple tool that doesn't cost you an arm and a leg, but can be useful for many different applications, and supports many (but not all) cameras. Feel free to add you experiences of solutions.

To be continued...

Cheers,
Bart
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  #2  
Old January 10th, 2014, 07:07 AM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Default Triggertrap Mobile

The Triggertrap-Mobile is a clever electronic camera trigger that can be operated from a smartphone or a tablet.

I have no experience with it myself yet, but it seems quite useful for those applications that require a bit more control than a simple hardwired timer release one can find on eBay and such. It is available for Android an iOS operated phones/tablets and supports many cameras through a dongle and camera specific release cable.

Not only can one use it as a simple shutter release, but also as a time controlled trigger for time-lapse photography, star-trails, and even simple sound or movement triggered events.

Here is a nice review of the Triggertrap Mobile.

Cheers,
Bart
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  #3  
Old January 10th, 2014, 07:07 AM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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Personally, I find that this kind of wired remote controls:


of oriental origin don't cost an arm and a leg, exist with different end plugs to fit most cameras and generally work as intended. The same without the intervalometer cost even less.

If you want your camera to trigger automatically on a set of events, I should point out that there are alternative firmwares for Canon cameras who can analyse what the camera "sees" and trigger on a set of conditions. It is a bit the advanced version of the "trigger on smile" built-in by some manufacturers on their cameras. Not that "trigger on smile" is apparently popular, Sony even had a basis where the camera would automatically move around and seek peoples and smiles and take pictures.
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Old January 10th, 2014, 07:11 AM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Default Intervalometers

Hi Jerome,

Thanks for mentioning this obvious piece of gear. An intervalometer is such a basic and simple addition for those who want a bit more than a simple release, it should be in most camera bags.

Cheers,
Bart
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  #5  
Old January 10th, 2014, 07:14 AM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart_van_der_Wolf View Post
An intervalometer is such a basic and simple addition
So basic and simple that it is built-in many cameras (e.g. Nikon).
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  #6  
Old January 10th, 2014, 07:22 AM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
So basic and simple that it is built-in many cameras (e.g. Nikon).
True, but not all cameras have enough range (more than e.g. 3 brackets) or control (more than 30 seconds, or odd intervals, or even variable), so an accessory may be helpful. The accessories may also add things one hasn't even considered, because they were not possible before, or too expensive. Distance (GPS) controlled bracketing may be useful for some, or very simple 'bramping' (bulb ramping) during interval series with gradually changing light conditions (e.g. during sunrise/set).

Other triggers, not yet mentioned may be used for triggering the shutter by lightning/flash, or sound, or motion, or light traps, or very accurate timing.

Cheers,
Bart
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Old January 10th, 2014, 07:35 AM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Default CamRanger

The CamRanger can be a useful device for wirelessly triggering cameras over a larger distance, where line of sight between camera and remote control might be interrupted and IR triggers cannot be used. It also allows to control things like HDR bracketing.

Cheers,
Bart
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  #8  
Old January 10th, 2014, 07:39 AM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Default Promote Control

The Promote Controller is very popular amongst HDR shooters.

It's a very basic but powerful piece of equipment for that specific usage.

Cheers,
Bart
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  #9  
Old January 10th, 2014, 07:45 AM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Default StackShot focus rail

The StackShot focus rail is a real time saver for very close-up macro focus stacking purposes. A very high precision and repeatable accuracy can be achieved.

Cognisys Inc. also offers various high precision timer and light/sound trap triggers, under the StopShot name. Not cheap but good quality.

Cheers,
Bart
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  #10  
Old January 10th, 2014, 07:51 AM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Default Lightning trigger

A lightning trigger can be useful for capturing beautiful but potentially dangerous phenomena/landscapes.

Cheers,
Bart
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  #11  
Old January 10th, 2014, 11:15 AM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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That is quite an impressive list you collected. To that I'll add that some cheap wireless flash controllers also include a radio trigger function (for example the ones from Yongnuo). This was the intended message about built-in intervalometers in cameras and alternative firmware for Canon: it sometimes pays to check whether the function one needs is not already available in the device one has, or can be added via some sort of hack. Pleasant surprises are not uncommon.
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  #12  
Old January 10th, 2014, 11:57 AM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
That is quite an impressive list you collected.
Hi Jerome,

It's just a start

Quote:
To that I'll add that some cheap wireless flash controllers also include a radio trigger function (for example the ones from Yongnuo). This was the intended message about built-in intervalometers in cameras and alternative firmware for Canon: it sometimes pays to check whether the function one needs is not already available in the device one has, or can be added via some sort of hack. Pleasant surprises are not uncommon.
I agree, and Yongnuo is a new brand name that pops up a lot in local stores as well. Besides the numerous cheap clones one can find on eBay and the like, and some of them are actually pretty decent, I've had some good personal experience with the products made by Phottix. Some where quite innovative before clones turned up, and are somewhat better stylized than some of the alternatives, and I also imagine that there is a 'slightly' higher chance that their RF based products also comply with European regulations with regards to RF interference suppression.

I can also trigger my camera remotely with a PocketWizard which is well known for triggering flash/strobe units with e.g. the Canon ETTL functionality fully intact, but with Radio Frequencies instead of IR light, which makes that system usable in broad daylight at large distances and without line of sight.

Cheers,
Bart
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  #13  
Old January 10th, 2014, 12:49 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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I'm fascinated by the brilliance of the accomplished photographers of insects and the patience to get all the needed, focus-stacked images, (and even exposure-bracketed), images! But how does one get the insect to be so patient?

I put one large green insect in the refrigerator to slow it down, but my wife was horrified and it ended up in the trash!

Do people do the John James Audubon trick and kill their prey first and then stage them for the brilliant artwork? When I try to get my rail set up, the insect is long gone before I've set up the tripod!

Asher
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  #14  
Old January 10th, 2014, 04:30 PM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
I'm fascinated by the brilliance of the accomplished photographers of insects and the patience to get all the needed, focus-stacked images, (and even exposure-bracketed), images! But how does one get the insect to be so patient?
Hi Asher,

Not only does one need to have the right kind of equipment, without which it is impossible to have success, but one also needs lots of practice and experience to learn about the behavior of the target.

Insects are usually slower in the morning because they need the sun to warm them up a bit, and some go motionless in a slight breeze or when there is certain movement in the area. They may also respond to motion toward them as air pressure builds by incoming predators and signals get picked up by the hairs on their body, they may either freeze or flee.

Quote:
I put one large green insect in the refrigerator to slow it down, but my wife was horrified and it ended up in the trash!
Synchronizing the actions of the team members can help ...

Quote:
Do people do the John James Audubon trick and kill their prey first and then stage them for the brilliant artwork? When I try to get my rail set up, the insect is long gone before I've set up the tripod!
It also depends on the required output size, but smaller output can deal with a lot of narrow aperture diffraction blur. More DOF per shot means a higher success rate.

And besides a lot of planning which allows to work fast, of course one only sees the successful attempts, not the failures ...

Cheers,
Bart
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