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Expand Your Photography With Cable Remotes and Shutter Releases

Take clearer and more vivid images and capture settings that wouldn't otherwise be possible with your DSLR or other camera. All it takes is a shutter release. This device can also help you expand your photography skills because it requires you to set up your shot in advance, think critically about your scene, and capture images without the aid of your viewfinder.

Why should you use a shutter release?

Your camera shutter is operated by a button, and touching that button with your finger usually causes the camera to shake, even if only slightly. If you want to capture a crisp image at a specific moment in time without touching the camera, your remote-controlled shutter release lets you work your magic at the touch of a remote button. Just imagine you're at the rim of the Grand Canyon with the person you love, and you're looking for something a bit more magazine-worthy than a selfie. A remote control can be the perfect solution.

What types of shutter release cables are there?

There are several types of shutter release cables to choose from, and finding the right one just depends on your preferences.

  • Pneumatic shutter releases - They look somewhat like a medical syringe, but instead of a needle, pneumatic shutter releases have a hollow, flexible tube that connects to the camera shutter mechanism. To take a shot, you just press on the plunger, and the air created by the plunger triggers the shutter mechanism. This is often ideal for people seeking a simple, budget-friendly shutter release that isn't likely to break down.
  • Mechanical shutter releases - When you push the plunger, you are pushing a flexible rod inside the tube that connects to the shutter mechanism. Like a pneumatic shutter release, this one is simple and affordable, with no electrical parts that are likely to break down. This type of shutter release can be especially useful for self-portraits, as many mechanical shutter release cables have a length of 40 inches or more.
  • Handheld shutter releases - You press the button on the remote control, and a signal is sent through a shutter release cable to the shutter mechanism. Because a handheld shutter release uses electronic signals, they often boast additional features like a trigger lock mechanism and autofocus for those who prefer total control over their shots.
What is an intervalometer?

An intervalometer is a type of shutter release used for creating time-lapse videos. Whereas a standard shutter release requires manual operation for each shot, an intervalometer lets you specify the time interval between shots and also set a timer for the start of the sequence. Maybe you want to capture the opening of flower petals at dawn by taking one shot per minute but then show the shots in a stunning high-res video at 30 frames per second.

Intervalometers come in wired and wireless versions. Here are some additional features to consider when choosing an intervalometer:

  • A locking shutter release that enables you to manually capture extra-long exposures
  • The ability to use long shutter speeds for artistically blurry photos
  • A self-timer for the first shot so you can schedule time lapses minutes or hours in advance
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