Remote Shutter Release – Digital Photography Tip of the Week

More and more digital cameras are coming with very long zoom lenses. While 3x or 4x optical zooms used to be common, we are now seeing 6x, 8x, 10x and even some 12x zooms, equivalent to a 28mm – 336mm lens in 35mm film. While these super zooms are great at magnifying your subjects, they also magnify any camera shake you may experience.

I have talked many times about using a tripod and camera release in my photography. A tripod is an invaluable tool to the photographer for steadying the camera, composing and taking multiple shots of the same composition at different settings. However, even on a tripod, the small vibrations you produce when pressing the shutter button are magnified when using super zooms. That is where the use of a remote shutter release comes in. They come in various forms, from the traditional wire cable releases and bulb releases that were both mechanical in nature, to today’s electronic shutter releases and even infrared releases. The use of a remote shutter release can minimize or eliminate camera shake due to shutter press altogether.

Remote releases typically either screw or snap onto a socket on the camera or have an eye for viewing the infrared beam on a wireless release. Most wireless releases are directional and only work when the remote is pointed at the camera from the front. If this is the type you have then you may have to put your remote in front of the camera off to the side of the lens in order for it to work. Many simply trigger the shutter when the button on the remote is press, but some are configurable to immediately trigger the shutter or two wait a short period of time before firing. This is to allow the vibrations from the mirror flipping out of the way of the sensor on an SLR to dissipate. Others are even more advanced with options for time delays and timers to set extended exposure lengths. If you camera does not have an available remote release, another option is to use the self timer. The self timer will give the camera 10 seconds or so to stop vibrating after you to press the shutter button.

With very long focal lengths, their magnified views, and magnified camera shake,  such as those in the 10x and 12x range, the use of a remote release can be the difference between a sharp photo and one that could have been sharp.

The digital photography tip of the week is written by the PCIN Assistant Editor, Chris Empey. Chris is a long time photographer and is currently the President of the Niagara Falls Camera Club. You can see more of his photography at his Photo of the Day website. If you have a tip to send Chris, or a question about digital photography he can address in the newsletter, send it to chris@pcin.net.

Comments 3

  • Perhaps in a Future article you would cover how
    anti shake sytems fit in. Do you use them with the remote release & tripods or are they not needed or even a hindrance?
    Regards D

  • Are either cable or remote releases generally compatible with most compact digital cameras? Also, do most compact tripods attach to compact digital cameras?

    We just purchased the Casio Exilim EX-Z750, but can’t seem to find any info on which accessories (releases & tripods) are compatible with it.

    Thanks.

  • Hello,

    Most compact digital cameras do have tripod sockets on their base, including the Casio Exilim EX-Z750. This particular camera does not look like it has a remote control though it does have a 2 and 10 second self timer and a time setting that will take 3 consecutive shots.

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