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Review: Bring Your DSLR To Life With The iPhone-Powered Triggertrap Mobile

Review: Bring Your DSLR To Life With The iPhone-Powered Triggertrap Mobile

October 26, 2013
Company: Triggertrap Product: Triggertrap Mobile Price: $31.52 Compatibility: iOS 6.1 and later Website: Date: Oct. 26, 2013 Most reports mentioning the terms “iPhone” and “DSLR” pit the two products against one another. This is understandable; after all, Apple’s smartphone sees continual, year-over-year improvements in the camera department, and critics are continually questioning (and increasingly concluding in the positive, mind you) whether the iPhone really can serve as a fit DSLR replacement. One new product, however, aims to do the opposite, and instead marries the iPhone with a range of DSLR cameras in order to help users create stunning, smartphone-powered photographs. The power of Apple’s smartphone combined with the camera technology of a DSLR, then, results in a great piece of kit that both amateurs and professionals will appreciate: the product that can help you achieve this is called Triggertrap, and in the below review, we take a closer look at the accessory.

The Product

Triggertrap relies on a piece of hardware and a companion iPhone app, and the hardware itself comes in two parts: the first is a universal piece, and it connects to your iPhone handset, while the second is specific to individual DSLR cameras and connects to the camera’s remote port (supported manufacturers include Canon, Contax, FujiFilm, Hasselblad, Leica, Minolta, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax, Samsung, Sigma, and Sony). These two parts join, allowing users to hook their smartphone up to their DSLR with ease. In order to use the product, however, you’ll need to have downloaded Triggertrap’s free iPhone app. Once installed, and your DSLR’s autofocus is disabled (both on the lens and the camera), you’ll be good to go. In its most basic rendering, then, Triggertrap works as a remote for one’s DSLR: pressing a big red button in the Triggertrap app will trigger the camera’s shutter, shooting an image using the DSLR’s configured mode. Because autofocus interferes with the product and application, manual focus is the way to go with Triggertrap. Depending on your shooting mode, ISO, aperture, and shutter speed may also need to be manually adjusted in order to capture a well-composed image using Triggertrap’s “Simple Cable Release” mechanism. As such, amateur photographers - a collective to which I myself indeed belong - could find themselves in unfamiliar territory when using Triggertrap for the first time. However, given the amount of free information available online, this shouldn’t be a problem. On similar terms, Triggertrap also offers a “Press and Hold” shooting mode (allowing users to touch an icon in the app, and not have their DSLR’s shutter close again until their finger leaves the iPhone’s screen), and a “Press and Lock” mode (which Triggertrap itself describes as “Touch to Start. Touch to Stop”). Both modes allow users to take control of their DSLR’s shutter using an iPhone, and as a means of easily bypassing flash in darker conditions, Triggertrap’s shutter controls indeed work well. Finally, a “Timed Release” allows iPhone users to more precisely choose their shutter speed by inputting a time interval. But that’s not all. Triggertrap also makes it easy to shoot time lapse images on a DSLR, and in a dedicated shooting mode in the application, users can choose the timed interval between shots and may then leave their iPhone-powered DSLR to auto-shoot for as long as they like. Though my own skills aren't advanced (and, given that I’m based in rainy old Manchester, England, finding the conditions required for effective time lapse pieces often proves difficult), I did manage to capture part of a sunrise - albeit through my kitchen window. (Don’t judge me; it’s practically winter here!)

If you can’t see the above video, please click this link.

There’s also an accelerated time lapse shooting mode, a “DistanceLapse” mode (which uses the iPhone’s GPS to shoot every, say, 25 meters, rather than every three seconds), and “extreme exposure control” for night sky time lapse pieces. In addition, besides using the iPhone’s timer and GPS features, Triggertrap takes advantage of the handset's microphone and accelerometer to offer “Sound Sensor” and “Vibration Sensor” modes of shooting, too. The former allows users to trigger a shot using a loud noise - such as a shout or clap - and the latter will have your DSLR shoot when vibrations or sudden movements occur. In both cases, the response threshold can be adjusted within the application. There are two different high dynamic range (HDR) shooting modes - one for long exposure HDR sets, and the other for HDR time lapse pieces - and users can also configure a slave iDevice using the app. This allows a connected iPhone or iPod touch running the Triggertrap app to be used as a remote control for one’s DSLR, making for truly wireless camera control (provided you’re within a Wi-Fi network). It’s been enjoyable testing Triggertrap and its application works well; I hooked the service up to my Sony Alpha 200 and have been compiling my work using both iPhoto and Final Cut Pro. The app offers users a dedicated “Settings” section to configure, and users can also troubleshoot problems in-app, too. Triggertrap’s website and customer service team proved to be remarkably dedicated, and those unfamiliar with the more advanced techniques of DSLR photography therefore shouldn’t be put off the product: help is made readily available. All in all, Triggertrap is a great product available at an affordable price, and it’s something that I’d expect both amateur and pro photographers to appreciate and enjoy. For an idea of what can be achieved using Triggertrap, check out The Triggertrap Pool at Flickr.

What's Hot

  • Easy to use
  • Huge selection of shooting modes
  • Supports many different DSLRs
  • Lots of help made available online

What's Not

  • Live viewfinder mode would be good

Our Advice

Overall, we'd recommend Triggertrap to anyone looking to enhance their photography skills using an iPhone. The product and its companion application are easy to use, and can help iPhone owners achieve great results.


Aesthetic Appeal: ★★★☆☆ Wow Factor: ★★★★★ Build Quality: ★★★★★ Value: ★★★★☆ Buy Now: $31.52 from Triggertrap [gallery]

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