Remote shutter releases have long had a place in the camera bag of dedicated photographers. They're useful for setting off your camera without you having to touch it, or for setting your camera up near something that doesn't appreciate human activity – think wildlife, or the touchline at a busy sporting event.
Higher-end shutter remotes offer even handier tricks such as intervalometers, where you can set your camera to take pictures at a set rate over a period of time.
Triggertrap does away with the need for a camera remote and allows you to fire your camera’s shutter from your iOS device through its own £6.99 eponymous app. The idea is brilliantly simple: the $10 Triggertrap Mobile Dongle plugs into your iPhone's audio socket, and then a $10 camera connecting cable plugs into that.
Finally, the whole lot connects to the remote socket on your camera: Triggertrap supports a vast range of cameras including Canon and Nikon’s professional models.
With everything hooked up, you can load the Triggertrap and let it do its thing – simply tap 'Cable release' once the app's started, and the big white button allows you to set off your camera. That's more useful than you'd think: if you’re shooting long exposures from a tripod, for instance, being able to fire your camera remotely results in steadier shots.
Performance is excellent, with the lag between releasing Triggertrap's virtual button and the camera firing being unmeasurably low. The system works a little more predictably if you can have your camera set to manual focus, but the app's signal timings are adjustable, so you can build in enough delay to allow your lens to autofocus before the second signal is sent to fire the shutter.
Watch this! Triggertrap introduction video:
The fact that it works at all is impressive enough, but Triggertrap does plenty besides. The free version of the app offers remote shooting, time-lapse shooting and 'seismic' shooting, where your iPhone's accelerometer is deployed, firing the shutter every time vibrations reach a certain limit. The iPhone's sensitivity to vibration can be used to excellent effect here – in our tests it could detect a footstep nearby. You can, of course, adjust the sensitivity.
The paid version of the app, though, throws in everything. Triggertrap can fire if it hears a loud noise, or it can shoot accelerated timelapses, where it takes photos at a faster rate at the beginning and end of a sequence.
Watch this! Triggertrap demo video:
Using the iPhone's camera it also offers face and motion detection; the former worked less than reliably, but motion detection - arguably the more useful of the two – works very well. You can also use the app to set off a sequence of shots at different exposures to create HDR shots.
There are drawbacks. The cable that connects your iPhone to your camera stretches, but only to around 4ft. While that's fine if you're lingering nearby to shoot a timelapse, it makes remote photography of wildlife a bit trickier, as you still need to be physically near your camera.
There's also the price. Getting everything connected and working will set you back almost £25 – not an intimidating amount of money, but about a third more than you'll pay for a normal, brandless intervalometer.
But even with the price in mind, Triggertrap does so much more than simply create timelapses and remote triggering, with features like motion detection, that we can't help but recommend it.
- Works with: iPhone, iPod, iPad
- Price: £17 for dongle and cable, £6.99 for app
- Manufacturer: Triggertrap
This review originally featured in Tap! Magazine issue Sept/Oct.