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PhotoWalkthrough

John Arnold

Free photography video tutorials using Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.

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Turn your phone into a camera remote - if you can afford it

May 7th, 2012

Episode 52 of 101 episodes

I've noticed a flurry of similar products appearing lately that turn an iPhone into a shutter release for your SLR. Here are links to a couple of them. The first, ioShutter, is being promoted by the excellent Photojojo which I encourage you to subscribe to. The second is a recent Kickstarter project by the name of Trigger Happy Camera Remote. But let's back up a moment. The equivalent Canon product is the TC-80N3 which allows you to not only remote trigger your camera but also program a number of shots to be taken on a timer and set the duration of bulb exposures - it's sometimes called an intervalometer. Useful stuff but the typical price here in the UK is 120 or $135 in the states. Honestly that's *way* over priced for what it is. So the prospect of turning a camera phone into an intervalometer is intriguing, first because the "brains" of the gadget can be provided by the phone which should make construction much simpler and cheaper but also because the phone should make the interface easier, prettier and allow it to do more. I first saw the Kickstarter project and I was impressed by what a good idea it is but when I saw the price they were asking my first thought was that the creators were smoking crack. They want $70 for the Trigger Happy Camera Remote when it launches (or $50 if you get in on the Kickstarter funding). ioShutter is even worse - they want $70 just for the cable and another $10 for the app. But hold on a minute - wasn't this idea meant to replace the complex bit of this gadget, making it simpler and cheaper? See the thing is, I've already bought an intervalometer and I didn't pay 120 for it. I didn't even pay 50 for it. I paid about 20 for it on Amazon. Just try searching for "TC-80N3" on Amazon and you'll see a load of extremely affordable alternatives to the Canon version. There are Nikon equivalents. Mine was made by a Chinese company called Yongnuo and yes it's a cheap knock-off but it's pretty solidly made. It works reliably and it's a *fraction* of the price. I've been delighted with it. Here's one for just $15 on the US Amazon store - it's identical to mine, clearly a rebadged Yongnuo. The ioShutter and Trigger Happy Camera Remote guys think Canon and Nikon are their competition but they're wrong. Their real competition are these cheap knock offs. So tell me, how much do you want to pay? $70 or $15? I don't care how much prettier the iPhone version is, that's a no-brainer. But that's not all! Triggertrap Mobile cable+dongleThere is another option -Triggertrap Mobile costs $10 for the app and then $20 for the cable+dongle, so $30 for the lot. Still more than the Yongnuo but when you see what you get it's *really* worth it. The Triggertrap app does all the intervalometer stuff plus you can trigger your camera for time-lapse, distance-lapse, motion detection, sound, magnetism, vibration and even facial recognition. For $30. Sign me up - I already placed my order. I love Kickstarter and entrepreneurs. I usually want to support them and I've backed quite a number of Kickstarter projects but I am getting mightily sick of the price gouging that goes on with photography gear. I've not used any of these products yet but on what I've seen so far the Triggertrap leads the pack by a country mile. Hurrah for sensible pricing.

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