From the classic cable release to the high tech, Callum McInerney-Riley tests six of the best cable-release systems
Reviewed in AP 8 December 2012, the ioShutter device provides a remote-release cable for Canon or Nikon cameras that is controlled by an app for Apple iPhones. Sadly, no Android version is currently available.
The simple interface of the ioShutter app replicates the look of a classic release switch, but there are some sophisticated features, such as timer and bulb modes that allow precise shutter durations to be set. The Lapse mode provides an intervalometer for setting time-lapse intervals, while the more novel Sound and Shake options use the iPhone microphone or accelerometers to trigger the camera’s shutter when there is a noise or the iPhone is moved.
If you have an iPhone, the ioShutter cable is a very useful device to keep in your camera bag, especially given the additional programmable functionality that the app provides.
Hama Timer Remote Release DCC System Base
The Hama Timer Remote Release is very similar to the Phottix controller in terms of look and feel. However, the Hama remote has a detachable cable that uses a screw-locking jack. This means different cables can be bought so it can be used on different cameras without the need to buy a whole new remote.
It doesn’t feature the slide-to-lock shutter button offered by the Phottix, but instead bulb controls can be started or stopped with the main button and gauged by using the second counter on the LCD. The remote has a designated button to illuminate the LCD. The functions offered by the remote include self-timer, intervalometer, bulb and single shot.
TriggerTrap is an exciting gadget that uses a smartphone to trigger a digital camera. A TriggerTrap dongle can be bought directly from the TriggerTrap website or it can be bought as a kit that includes a cable to attach the dongle to the camera’s cable-release port.
Once connected, using the free downloadable iOS/Android app, a wide range of different triggering options are available. The standard one-touch triggering and bulb are featured, but interestingly it has an intervalometer with a variety of settings for time lapses. These include Bulb Ramping for day-to-night-time lapses, Distance Lapse that works via GPS and releases the shutter when a predetermined distance has been travelled, and HDR time lapse for images with a higher dynamic range. The app is easy to use and offers a lot more than most conventional cable releases.
Phottix specialises in making various photographic accessories, from flash triggers to this, the Phottix TR-90 Digital Timer & Remote Shutter Release. This is a multi-functional remote with a built-in intervalometer. It also includes a self-timer function, long-exposure timer, bulb function, interval timer and a timer delay of 0sec to 99hrs 59mins 59secs in 1sec intervals.
The main shutter button can be pressed for simple single shots or held for bulb control. Also, the button can be locked by sliding it upwards and then unlocked by sliding it down again. The cable from the remote extends to 1 metre in length and is not detachable from the remote. A handy LCD illuminator is a very useful addition to the remote, as is the on/off controllable beep that sounds every second that has elapsed when shooting.
PocketWizard PlusX Auto-Sensing Transceiver
PocketWizard’s PlusX radio trigger is a device for the remote firing of portable and studio flash heads, which is fully compatible with the company’s more expensive and highly regarded Plus III transceivers, and on test here is its remote shutter-release feature.
With the unit attached to a camera via an accessory cable, the camera shutter is released by a second PlusX. The controls are simple and well laid out, and apart from the on/off switch there is a large test/firing button and a rotary dial for the ten radio channels. The numbers are backlit, which is very useful in a studio setting. As a camera trigger, it worked faultlessly every time with just a cursory glance at the instructions to understand the process. Power is provided by 2 AA batteries.
Hähnel HRC 280
This no-frills remote is the simplest model on test. It doesn’t have an intervalometer, an LCD screen or a smartphone app. It is a straightforward cable release that is designed for taking single/continuous shots or long exposures in bulb mode. Like the Phottix remote, it features a push-down, slide-up lock system to allow the user to take long exposures or continuous shots without holding the button down.
A detachable cable connects via a jack in the top of the remote. This allows other cables to be used with the remote. A big advantage of the Hähnel remote is the fact that is very small and lightweight. If single-shot, continuous and bulb functionality are all that’s needed, this is an ideal travel remote and generally a great addition to anyone’s kit.