Wirelessly triggering a camera was once the reserve of professional photographers, but it's now something more of us want to do, ideally via our smartphone. However, while more compact and mirrorless cameras now have wireless capabilities, DSLRs have mostly been left out of the smartphone-shooting fun. The Bluetooth Smart Trigger from Satechi is a wireless remote that aims to address this by bringing smartphone control to many DSLRs.
The Satechi Bluetooth Smart Trigger sits on the hot-shoe of your DSLR, and connects to the camera using a small cable – with four options covering a range of Canon or Nikon cameras. A smart-device running the free Smart Trigger app can then be paired and used for wireless shooting. Because it uses Bluetooth 4.0, the trigger has an impressive range of 50 feet (15.2 m) and a battery life of up to 10 years.
In regular shot mode, the smartphone acts as a simple wireless shutter, with users tapping a large button on the screen to take a photo. With the camera set to bulb mode, the apps manual shot mode lets users take long exposures and lock the shutter open, handy if taking shots of fireworks, light paintings or star trails. Timed mode allows the smartphone to act as a intervalometer and take shots at intervals for use in time-lapses.
While we've previously seen smartphone DSLR-triggering from the likes of ioShutter and Triggertrap Mobile, the Bluetooth Smart Trigger stands out because because of its wireless capabilities. Though an update saw the Triggertrap gain wireless triggering, it requires two iOS devices to do so, limiting its appeal. Satechi also knows a thing or two about remote controls – its WTR-A brought budget wireless control to DSLRs and its Universal Remote dongle lets users control many devices from their iPhone.
That said, the obvious limitation of the Bluetooth Smart Trigger is that it lacks any kind of live view support – meaning you still have to be with the camera to see what you're shooting. Both the Nikon WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter (which works with several newer Nikon DX DSLRs), and the Canon EOS Remote app (which works with the Canon EOS 6D) let users view what they are shooting from their smartphone.
The Bluetooth Smart Trigger and Smart Trigger app are currently compatible with the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad Mini, iPad 3 and iPod touch 5G … though support for Android devices such as the Galaxy SIII and Galaxy Note 2 is promised to be following shortly.
The Satechi Bluetooth Smart Trigger is available now for an introductory price of US$45 … but it still hurts that this sort of function isn't built into your expensive DSLR, doesn't it?
Here's a quick video form Satechi showing off the Bluetooth Smart Trigger.