Definition: Remote shutter release

Definition: Remote shutter release | Glossary entry

Remote shutter release

Most DSLRs allow the addition of a plug in remote shutter release. The remote is plugged into one of the cameras electrical ports.

Remote shutter button units vary according to the model with a wide range of different functions available on the market. You may find time-lapse (intervalometer), half push functions, specialised sensors and timer controls. Specialised sensors are also available that can activate the camera shutter in response to environmental stimulus. For example in high speed photography shutters can be released by a sensor. The sensor may be set off by a sound, something hitting an electrical contact or by a beam of light being broken.

Shutter release buttons and wired-remote button units can also be by-passed by a remote release unit of some kind. Broadly these are either an infra-red (IR) signal or a radio signal.

Many modern DSLRs and some other cameras can be released by the use of a single button on a small hand-held IR unit. Depending on the camera make and model these IR units work in different ways. They are usually a simple signal sent to the IR sensor on the front of the camera. When the camera receives the signal it focuses and takes the picture.

Remote radio links can do the same thing as IR remote units. A hand held radio button is pressed and a signal is sent to a built-in radio receiver in the camera or an external unit plugged into it. The signal fires the camera shutter. Radio units can be much more flexible. They have the ability to provide a whole range of functions at the camera. However, the functions they provide depend on the unit used and the ability of the camera.

Buyers of remote-by-wire, radio or infra-red are advised to check the different models and prices available and take care to ensure the unit is compatable to your camera make and model. Also make sure you buy a unit that provides the functions you need. There are considerable variations in the specification of various units.

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By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photographers.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.