Review: DSLRBot (camera to iOS trigger interface)

Disclaimer: Alberto contacted me two weeks ago to place some ads on the site. According to my advertisement policy, before accepting to put the ads on the site, I have to test the product so he sent me the IR cable for free (but I had to buy the app on the iTunes Store).

Anyone who ever tried to do remote recording with a 5DMrkii will tell you: it is complicated. The RC-1 and RC-5 remotes only work if your are in front of the camera (facing the IR sensor)  and since they are using IR, anything standing between you and your camera will block the signal. There are other ways, but nothing simple and cheap.

Say welcome to DSLRBot !

DSLRBot is an iOS application which sends a IR signal via a cable plugged into the headphone jack to the 5DMrkii. The setup time is minimal and only requires you to carry a small cable in your bag. Yes, it is that simple!

Tests

I have played with the application in various conditions (inside, outside, cloudy day & sunny day) and I only had issue once in very sunny situation where the light would hit the camera IR sensor. This is a common issue with IR technology and the solution was to place the IR LED closer to the sensor and voila!

Is it reliable? Except in the situation described above, I never had an issue to start/stop a clip.

Something I have not tested yet: how long can you extend the cable and still get a signal? 6 feet is not enough for some of my special needs.

Other features

While I was mostly interesting in the remote capabilities for video recording, the DSLRBot can do more:

  • HDR bracketing (soon)
  • time lapse (very flexible)
  • very long exposure (as in over 30 seconds)
  • take still images (of course…)

All GUI pages are well done and easy to use. I really like the shot list feature in the movie mode: after you press the stop button, an entry is created in the shot list. You can check/uncheck the shot with a simple tap if you think it is going to be a good take. Once you are done shooting, you can email the list and use it to filter the garbage clips without having to look at them. Just make sure your camera and iPhone are in sync to prevent catastrophic errors.

Another nice feature of the app is how it records GPS location when you take stills. Simple and effective.

Here is a demo of how the HDR menu will work. This is not the kind of shoot I do these days but I may want to revisit my HDR skills to test this once it is released.

Value

This is not the kind of application you use everyday (unless you do specialized shooting), yet if you happen to need one of its features, you will be happy to have this little trick up your sleeve. The investment is minimal in both cost and gear space (who doesnt already have an iPhone?) so you can pack the cable in your bag every time you go out. If you think this is something you could use, get it now so you wont regret it when the need rises.

About Tommy

Photography allows me to be what I want to be, to be where I want to be, and to do what I want to do ... I'm not professional photographer and I don't need a title, I love to take photographs and that is what I do, I love to learn and I always try to do it better ...
  • http://opspin.dk Thorbjørn Kühl

    That’s brilliant, I think it must be just about the cheapest way of getting to that elusive time lapse shooting on this ridiculously expensive camera from the ridiculously cheap Canon who wants you to buy a stupid remote just to do something the camera can already do

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