Shopping for Remote Shutter Releases
Remote shutter releases are camera trigger systems that let you control your camera without direct contact. This functionality offers two major benefits. First, as you don’t touch your camera, you avoid the possibility of unintended vibration that can occur when pressing the shutter control. Second, you’re able to operate your camera from a distance.
Why Are Remote Shutter Releases so Important?
Mounting your camera on a tripod helps ensure stability. However, the physical act of pressing the shutter button can cause slight camera movement that may affect your pictures. This is important when using telephoto lenses for long shots, or macro lenses for close-up shooting. Subtle movements of the camera can be magnified and cause motion blur. Other situations where remote triggers help include taking shots in low light, long exposures, time lapse photography, and creative shots such as bracketing, which involves capturing multiple exposures of a single scene.
Shutter releases are also vital when it’s impractical or unsafe to be near the subject. An example is wildlife photography, when your presence may deter skittish fauna. In addition, remote release mechanisms allow the photographing of dangerous creatures from a safe distance.
What Types of Shutter Releases Are Available?
Originally known as cable releases because of their wire mechanisms, today’s remote shutter releases are available in tethered or untethered options. Tethered models are cables with trigger-release mechanisms at one end, and camera connectors at the other. These connectors are usually threaded cable releases, standard on many makes and models. However, shutter releases are often specific to a make or model. Certain brands such as Sony feature their own multi-terminal connectors. Most tethered shutter release cables are around 12 inches long, but you can find models up to 60 inches. Handy features include locks that allow for long exposures. Trigger release mechanisms range from simple mechanical switches to modern digital consoles that let you set a range of options, and provide LCD screens to let you monitor the entire shooting process. Untethered systems were originally infrared, and communicated with the infrared port in the camera. These have a range of around 16 feet, and require line-of-sight to work. More popular nowadays are models that work using Bluetooth, or 2.4GHz radio frequencies.
For flexibility, some models offer both wired and wireless functionality, such as the Canon remote shutter release. Vello’s wireless shutter release for Canon offers both tethered and untethered functionality, and ranges of up to 320 feet. It also offers 16 channels, allowing you to control multiple cameras from one device. You can also find various camera trigger system accessories, such as dongle kits, that feature holders and connection cables to hook you camera up to a smartphone.