Triggertrap Mobile – Review

Background

For several years now, I have been doing more and more photography work in High Dynamic Range (HDR), and I have been trying to find a way to make the required bracketing easier and more efficient.

The Canon XTi does allow for auto bracketing, but only over three exposures.

120912 Marsh Creek Spillway hdr 12

120912 Marsh Creek Spillway hdr 12

I have been able to figure out ways to make it easier to get nine stops, but after that, it is not as automatic.

Back in 2010, when I was doing my covered bridges, it was not uncommon for me to do exposure bracket of 13 to 15 stops, and I would do this by manually making the three clicks, per stop, on the camera dial, and then trigger the exposure with my Canon Remote Switch RS60 E3.

The biggest problem I ran into when doing this method, was the potential for both camera shake on the tripod or misalignment due to movement on the tripod head and the only real way to find out if this has occurred, is when you are back at the office, while evaluating the images on a big screen.

I have also detected blurred images due to the mirror in the camera going up and down during exposure. As far as I know,  there is no way to lock the mirror “up” on the XTi.

Then in early August, while reading my Google+ page, I noticed one of my contacts had just received their “Trigger Happy Remote” and was excited to use it. I continued to read the comments, and someone also mentioned TriggerTrap.

In doing further investigation, I ended up writing the blog entry, “Searching for the Remote” in which I compare several different remote triggering devices.

After a couples of days, I was contacted by Haje Jan Kamps at Triggertrap.com, and was asked if I would be interested in doing a product review in exchange for a free set up.

I was all too happy to say Yes!

Equipment Used

  • Canon XTi (circa 2007)
  • iPod Touch / iOS 5.1.1
  • Bogen Model #3020 tripod
  • Tripodclamps.com RAP-B-121-UN7U Cell Phone Clamp

Connecting

When one does go to the Triggertrap.com website to purchase the dongle and cable, they will find a wizard that will walk them through the choice of a cable for their particular camera. In my case, a CL-E3 for the Canon XTi and iPod Touch.

While waiting for the cables to be delivered, you can download either the free or paid version of the software directly to your device, and begin to explore the application, and possibilities.

The website also offers several tutorial videos to help explain the various settings and modes available within the application. Some of the App screens may look a little different, and that is many due to the tutorials being done on an earlier version, but the concepts are the same.

Once you have the cables, you connect the dongle directly to your camera, and then the additional cabling directly into the iDevice/Android, and your ready to start!

Features & Testing

Needless to say, there are a lot of things that one can do with this system, and it is only really up to the imagination of the photographer, what they can do with it.

Here is a list of the Modes that are currently available, and I do plan to at least test all of them at some point, but there are definitely some that I do not see myself using.

Trigger Modes

Cable Release Mode (Free)

Works without issue, just make sure you are in Bulb mode

The cable release mode is by far the easiest mode to work with right out-of-the-box, and works just as you would expect it to.

Your iDevice  can be used as a simple remote trigger, two different types of bulb triggers and program mode.

Long Exposure HDR Mode (Paid)

Abandoned Paper Mill hdr 05

Abandoned Paper Mill hdr 05

This was the Mode that I really wanted to Test the most.

All you really need to do is to find your middle exposure, enter “it” into the App, select the number of Stops, and the EV value between the frames, and push the button, and sit back and relax.

There is no need to make the mental calculations or be present during the triggering operation!

Not having to stand at the tripod, allowed me to walk away, and scout for the next shoot!

Issues

When I first started to test this Mode in my office, I found that I was not getting the correct number of exposures within my requested bracket.

Doing some reading within the Triggertrap website, the issue seems to be related to the minimal exposure length supported on your camera in the Bulb setting.

Once I was in a situation where my minimal exposure length was greater than 1 second, I did not run into the issue again.

I do need to figure out a shooting workflow to get around this, and once I have, I’ll post it.

Motion Mode (Paid)

  • Tested
  • Undetermined at this time

When I first read about the various Modes available, this was another that piqued my interest.

The basic concept is that you register a base image into the iDevice, and if anything changes, trigger the camera.

Well, this did not work for me.

I could not get a preview, so I was unable to use this mode.

I did visit the support section of TriggerTrap, and really did not find anything that described my issue, and plan to post a question when I try again.

I do wonder, again, if it is the age of my equipment, so I am not writing off the whole mode. Maybe because the XTi does not support “Live View” could be the issue?

Time-lapse Mode (Free)

  • Have Not Tested
  • Long Term testing

I have ideas, but I’m not sure about letting my camera and equipment stay setup for that long.

Seismic Mode (Free)

  • Have Not Tested

Distance Lapse Mode (Paid)

  • Have Not Tested
  • Not likely to use

Eased Time-lapse Mode (Paid)

  • Have Not Tested
  • Long Term testing

LE HDR Time-lapse Mode (Paid)

  • Have Not Tested
  • Long Term testing

Tesla (magnetic sensor) Mode (Paid)

  • Have Not Tested
  • Long Term testing

Star Trail Mode (Paid)

  • Have Not Tested
  • Long Term testing

Peek-a-boo Mode (Paid)

  • Have Not Tested
  • Long Term testing

Bang (Sound Sensor) Mode (Paid)

  • Works

I have not really tested this Application to its fullest extent, but from my basic setting up the controls, I was able to trigger the camera when I snapped my figures or clapped my hands.

Conclusion

If you are doing HDR or Long Exposure photography, this iOS software application is well worth the look at, and it’s flexibility both in terms of Cameras and Modes makes it all the more interesting!

In terms of my favorite mode so far, the “Long Exposure HDR” Mode”, which to a HDR photographer, is almost as easy as ‘point-n-click’!

Tips and Tricks

If you really would like to make your life easier when working with iDevice and Tripod, I would strongly suggest that you take a look at the TripodClamps.com offerings.

In my case, I purchased a RAP-B-121-UN7U The RAM Universal X-Grip Cell Phone Holder, which at first I thought it was a little expensive, but after using the clamp with a TriggerTrap for a while, I found it well worth the worth the financial investment.

- Andrew
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Greetings fellow human!