Triggertrap Mobile for IOS Review...

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Triggertrap Mobile for IOS Review...

Postby Remorhaz on Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:25 am

Have an iPhone and a D-SLR? Wouldn't you love to be able to control your fancy camera in varied cool and creative programmable ways from your fancy IOS interface... well now you can...

Triggertrap Mobile is a neat combination of a relatively inexpensive ($10 for Full or Free basic version) iPhone (IOS) app and some relatively inexpensive hardware (dongle+cable $20) (ordered through Amazon) to connect your iDevice to your camera to trigger it in a variety of programmable ways.

Triggertrap Mobile currently supports 12 different trigger modes

- Timelapse
- Sound sensor
- Shock & Vibration sensor
- Metal & magnetism sensor
- Facial recognition
- Long Exposre HDR - bracketing with up to 19 exposures per set and configurable steps between each exposure
- LE HDR Timelapse mode
- Motion detection mode
- Star trail mode
- Distance-lapse mode - enables the user to set up a camera to take a photo at regular distance-intervals (e.g every 100 meters); when they are assembled into a movie, it appears as if the entire journey was conducted at exactly the same pace
- Eased timelapse - when doing a traditional time-lapse, a user would choose to take a photo, say, every 10 seconds. In Eased Timelapse, however, the Triggertrap Mobile App uses mathematical formulas to vary the interval between photographs dynamically. The result is that, in the assembled time-lapse video, it appears as if time speeds up at the beginning of the video, and slows back down at the end
- Cable Release mode - with Bulb mode (hold the button for long exposures), Timed Bulb mode (press the button to start an exposure, press it again to finish), Long Exposure mode (the user can select any exposure from one second to 60 minutes

As for camera support - more than 270 camera models from a dozen different manufacturers are supported.

There are a number of competing products available which operate in essentially the same way (e.g. ioShutter and Trigger Happy), however whilst their App store apps are about the same price the cost for their cables were much higher (in the $50-70 range). The other advantage to the Triggertrap solution is that the cable comes in two parts - the common main control dongle which connects to the iPhone ($10) and the simple adapter cable which is camera specific (also $10), so if you want to support multiple camera types or change cameras you only need to purchase a new version of the later cable and not replace the whole lot.

Triggertrap seemed to have all the features at the best price so I thought for the minimal outlay I'd give it a shot.

The following video probably shows the functionality of the product best:

So sounds too good to be true - it appears to have many similar features to the very expensive ($300+) Promote Control - what's the catch?

Firstly - the way it triggers the camera is using sound waves out the headphone socket of the IOS device and put simply when shooting bulb mode exposures timing variances like the shutter lag of the camera itself can affect the accuracy of your exposures.

If your camera doesn’t have a Bulb mode, you’re out of luck, because the Triggertrap needs to be able to control your SLR camera’s shutter speed. Also some SLR cameras have a minimum exposure in bulb mode (e.g. 1 second). That means that if you send a 2-second exposure, it’s correct. However, if you send a 0.5-second exposure, you’re out of luck; the camera will still take a 1-second exposure.

You don’t really have a maximum exposure length, but you do have a minimum exposure length:

The minimum exposure length Triggertrap can support depends on the shutter lag of your camera, and the fact that shutter lag is often variable. You can minimise the problem by specifying the average shutter lag by using the Lag-O-Meter (a built in test you can perform), but that doesn’t completely cover the problem.

For example the measured shutter lag on my D7000 varied around 120 to 160 milliseconds. Obviously, that doesn’t matter if you’re working with 1-second exposures (the difference between 1120 and 1160 millisecond exposures is 3.4%, which in photography terms doesn’t really make that much of a difference). When you are trying to do a 1/8th of a second exposure, however, things are different. A 1/8th of a second is a 125ms exposure, so a difference of 40ms is huge: The difference between 125 and 165 is nearly 25%, which is significant.

So Long story short: anything shorter (faster) than about 1/2 a second is unacceptably unreliable in bulb mode - in practical terms this will probably only come into play when using the HDR bracketing functions - whilst you can program up to 19 brackets with Triggertrap the fastest shutter speed you'll want to be using at one end of the brackets is around half a second (and even at 1EV increments it means the exposure at the other end will be over 68 hours long) - which is why Triggertrap calls these functions Long Exposure HDR and LE HDR Timelapse :)

Any other gotcha's so far...

To begin with nothing works until you go in and actually turn on the output Channels for Shutter and Focus (they are off by default - which seems like a poor default choice to me). Until then you're pressing buttons and so forth wondering why it's not working (because who reads the manual or useful help screens which pop up trying to assist you :))

With Nikon camera's (and possibly others) you cannot just select the Shutter channel and use it to trigger a camera set to Manual focus (and Triggertrap suggests you use Manual focus to get more reliable triggering (and accurate shutter timings - since focus delay is an additional variable)). Nikon D-SLR's won’t trigger unless they receive both a focus and a trigger signal so you have to enable both the Shutter and Focus output Channels (even with the camera set to manual focus).

There was a bad bug in the 1.0.2 version of the software (which basically made it not work on Nikon cameras) - this has been fixed in version 1.0.3 of the software.
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Re: Triggertrap Mobile for IOS Review...

Postby Mr Darcy on Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:09 pm

Yeah Rodney,
I saw this the other day & could see some great uses for it.
I was going to hold out for the Arduino version ($50) but it is out of stock at the moment.
Using the Arduino version I am not tied to the iPhone's battery life. I can also set up a remote controlled version using a couple of XBees
And I can add whatever sensors I want.

Still I may get the cables & play with the iPhone version while I am waiting.
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