No camera outfit is complete if it doesn’t include a remote release. That sounds like an awfully broad statement, doesn’t it? But I’m here to tell you that it’s the truth, every photographer whose camera supports a remote release needs to have one. A remote release offers so much and can cost so little.
The most basic function of a remote release is to trip the shutter button without physically touching the camera body. This assumes that the camera is on a tripod or some sort of camera support. If the photographer fires the shutter by pressing the shutter button with a finger odds are that the camera will pick up vibrations from that contact.
Vibration caused by a finger pressing the shutter button sounds like a fussy complaint but it is in fact a real concern. In general, our digital cameras have imaging sensors that push the resolving power of our lenses to the max. Any vibration further impacts the final resolution of the image. For example let’s say we are taking a head and shoulders portrait, if the camera has picked up vibration at the moment of exposure we will of course capture the subject’s eyelashes in the print but we won’t see each individual lash.
When the photographer uses a remote release it is also possible to move around while the camera stays aimed and focused. In a portrait setting the photographer can interact directly with the subject without the camera coming between them. When shooting landscapes the photographer can keep an eye on the entire scene anticipating the best moment to take the shot.
A wireless remote release can be a useful upgrade if the camera supports it. With a wireless infrared (IR) remote the photographer can get into the shot too without being a slave to the camera’s self timer. IR remotes work well at distances of up to fifteen feet, for greater distances a radio release (RF) can offer control out to as far as 100 feet.
Wireless RF remote releases also make it possible to take pictures of people-shy animals and birds. A tripod-mounted camera positioned near a hummingbird feeder for example can be fired remotely when the hummingbirds come to feed.
Multi-function (MF) remote releases will do everything that a standard release does plus they bring the dimension of time to still photography. MF remote releases can be programmed for many options based on time and the number of images to be captured. The remote can be programmed to capture pictures with very precise instructions:
• “Take one picture every minute ending after 30 minutes” perhaps used to capture a flower opening
• “Start shooting in one hour and take three images every five minutes for 45 minutes.” A useful instruction if we are trying to capture a sunset with bracketed exposures.
In addition MF remote releases permit accurate timing to the second for long exposures; many offer timed exposures of up to 99 hours and 59 seconds!
Remote releases are a necessary tool for any photographer. When teamed with a tripod they help assure the best possible resolution for fine image details. Wireless remote releases allow the photographer to get into the shot. The range of a radio release permits the photographer to capture images of birds and animals. A multi-function remote release brings precision timing to exposures.
Remote releases range in price from $15.00 to $100.00 depending on configuration. Please consult your camera’s specifications for connection type before selecting a remote release.