A layman’s guide to remote triggers

A layman's guide to remote triggers

Remote triggers are one of the most valuable photo accessories you can keep in your camera bag. But they can also be one of the most intimidating if you’ve never come across one before. Below we’ve answered some of the most common questions about using remote triggers to get you started.

A layman's guide to remote triggers

What are they? 

A far cry from the humble ‘cable releases’ of old film cameras, remote controllers offer everything from simple, infrared shooting to advanced options. Crucially, you can keep your hands off the camera to avoid jogging it while you’re shooting.

How do they work?

The three main types of remote controller are cable, infrared and RF wireless. The first uses an electronic cable that connects to a socket on the camera, the next communicates via an infrared receiver built into the front or back of the camera body, and the final option works via radio frequency wireless, often with a range of up to 100m and without requiring unobstructed line of sight to the camera.

Who makes them?

Camera manufacturers all make their own remote controllers, but some of the popular independent makes include Hähnel, Hama and Secureline.

When should I use them?

They’re most commonly used when the camera is mounted on a tripod, especially when shutter speeds are slow. However, infrared remotes are also useful for self-portraits, and RF wireless controllers are great for undercover wildlife shooting.

A layman's guide to remote triggers

How do I attach them to my DSLR?

RF wireless controllers require a receiver to be plugged into the camera, and cable-connected remotes also plug in to a socket on the camera. There’s no physical link for infrared remotes.

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