I have an upcoming project where I want to shoot a moving (slowly) car with a slow shutter to get a blurred background/wheels etc but the car to be sharp. This is normally done by putting the DSLR on some kind of rig which holds the camera away from the car/truck while you drive/push the car around. Hence the name of a”rig shot” and the website of the same name giving some cool “how to” articles.
There are many ways to do this but there are fewer ways to do it safely for both you, your equipment and the vehicle’s sake. In my case, I plan to have the camera sitting on a boom extending out from the car. So I have picked up some suction cups, super clamps, round stock and now, a new remote trigger.
I want to review the trigger in particular since I was pleasantly surprised when I got it in the mail the other day and discovered how well it worked plus the over all build quality. The trigger is made nominally by Vivitar but that brand was bought by Sakar so it’s not the Vivitar that we know and love from years ago. With that said, the Wireless Remote Shutter Release For Nikon D300 and D700 SLR Digital Cameras works very well and is a decent build quality. Vivitar also produces a version for Canon Cameras.
The transmitter is a sealed unit with a 12V 23A battery good up to 3 years. The receiver has a replaceable 3V CR2 battery. The stated range is 100 feet unobstructed and that is pretty accurate in my testing. So far, the D300 has fired every time I hit the button out to about 80 feet so far. The interesting part is that it works at 315Mhz which excludes it from interference from wireless phones, wifi and other more common electronic toys. It is however, the band that TPMS (tire pressure monitoring systems) work on plus things like remote keyless entry, some garage doors, Automated meter reading and some alarm systems. But most of these devices are set to some security combination so that lessens the chances of misfires. So far I have not had any issues.
The receiver mounts to the hot shoe on the camera and my wish is that it had a pass-through for the flash sync cord but you can always use gaffers tape or a ball-bungie to tie it to the side of the camera. it’s just not as elegant as it could be. The connector to the camera itself is well made and the cable is long enough to have some flexibility on just where to put the unit. As I said, it does have a hot shoe mount which works well.
These images were taken with a Canon G11 using a piece of foam core under the camera and a white mattress that I had handy as the background 🙂 White is white and when you blow it out, nobody knows any differently. There was some post work to bring up the shadows since I was shooting with ambient light and the built in flash on the G11. Not exactly a prime set up for product shoots but it got the job done.
Back to the conversation about remote triggers. Now with this trigger, I do not have to run a wire to the camera and be in the car or buy a very expensive set of pocket wizards just to trigger the camera. I could fake it with my Cybersyncs but it’s a hack and I can not push half way to set focus. Nikon does have a remote corded trigger but it cost 132.00 USD and it has a cord which is the deal breaker for this application.
There are cheaper clones but again, they are corded. There are several IR triggers but I find the IR trigger to be ineffective in daylight with very limited range.
When using this trigger, I can have it set to fire one frame, multiple frames or a 2 second delayed firing of the shutter. I can also hold the button half way and the camera will set it’s focus just like using the button on the camera. (or you can have it set to manual focus and tape it down, much better when shooting a moving car on a rig). I can also use it for “bulb” mode where the shutter opens and stays open till I hit the trigger again. Not at all bad for something under 50 USD. I would say that the manual sucks.. it’s short and terse but really tiny print so it’s hard to read. I would rather Vivitar forget the coated paper stock and give me a folded 8×11 plain laser printed page of large text.
So in closing, if you need to fire your camera remotely and wirelessly, I would recommend that you take a look at the Vivitar wireless trigger. It’s cheap, it works and what more needs to be said than that?