Last Updated on December 18, 2020 by Jose Barrios

Having the need to touch your camera when taking a photo can have some unintended consequences, especially if you are planning on taking images in postproduction, like when doing focus stacking, window pulls or a flambient, that is why you need a remote trigger release and a sturdy tripod when taking photos.

Camera remote types

There are basically four types of camera remotes: wired, IR (infrared), Bluetooth, and wireless (RF).

Wired camera remotes

Wired camera controllers are my least favorite of the three. They depend on a physical cable that connects to the camera in order to activate the trigger release.

Wired remotes were the only option for older cameras. They could add extra functionality to them like time-lapse photos. You would program the remote, not the camera, to take the photos a set interval.

But now most if not all modern cameras have time lapse built-in making this feature useless.

One big advantage that wired remotes have is that most do not draw power from your camera.

IR (Infrared) remotes

Infrared remotes are the most inexpensive of all the wireless and have very long battery life. There are plenty of cheap knockoffs for sale everywhere if your camera has support for them.

They work like your TV remote by sending a beam of infra-red light to the camera’s receiver (not all cameras have this feature).

The downside is that for the remote to work you must have a direct line of sight to your camera and in my experience, not every angle works.

Infra-red remotes, consume little if any power from your camera, getting you the most out of your battery when on a photoshoot.

They are cheap and reliable, and if you lose one, they are easy to replace. 

Bluetooth remotes

You can break down Bluetooth remotes into two types: stand-alone physical remotes and apps that you install on your phone.

Stand-alone Bluetooth remotes

My favorite remotes are Bluetooth remotes. If your camera supports one it is your best option. While more expensive than an IR remote, the fact that you do not need a line of sight to trigger your camera is a gamechanger.

These remotes will usually have a very long battery life of up to a year and are cheap to replace if lost or damaged. The best part is that you can operate them with one hand.

Many Bluetooth remotes also have advanced functions for video recording and some can even control zoom functions on some lenses like the Canon.

Bluetooth Enabled Apps

The good thing about the app-driven remotes is that they are usually free from the camera manufacturer. They work by using your smartphone’s or tablet’s Bluetooth to connect to your camera.

They are usually available for Android and iOS phones and tablets and offer many extra features like live view and the ability to change your camera settings remotely.

The bad part of using your phone or tablet as a remote trigger is that now you have introduced a whole new variable into your workflow.

You now have to be on top of the battery life of your phone, software updates, and more, plus in my experience using your phone is not convenient, it slows you down and you have to actually look at the phone and use both hands. I prefer a remote with a button that I just click, and it takes the picture.

You can download and install the app for your camera from the links below.

Nikon Wireless Mobile Utility

Google Play
For Nikon
For Nikon

Canon CAMERA CONNECT

Google Play
For Canon
For Canon

Sony Imaging Edge Mobile

Google Play
For Sony
For Sony

Wireless RF (radio frequency) remotes

These types of remotes are quite inexpensive and like the Bluetooth remotes, do not need a direct line of sight to operate.

They work like a wireless flash trigger does and consist of two parts: a receiver connected to your camera and the remote trigger itself.

These remotes usually have very limited functionality when compared to a Bluetooth remote and most are only capable of triggering your shutter.

Older cameras that do not have Bluetooth or IR receivers can benefit from these remotes.

The drawback is that they are yet another external device that I must attach to my camera. This adds an extra cable and receiver connected to my camera adding more bulk, weight, and an additional point of failure.

WiFi-based remotes, don’t use them!

WiFi remotes deserve a special mention just because of how bad I think they are. They add a whole new level of complexity and a new point of failure by turning your camera into a WiFi router. Some camera apps will try to use WiFi in order to connect to your camera, having WiFi turned on in your camera is a sure way of draining your camera’s battery fast. Avoid using this feature.

Remotes for Nikon

1. Nikon ML-L3

Nikon ML-L3

This an IR remote and requires a direct line of sight to your camera for it to work. The great thing about this trigger is its simplicity, but do note that higher-end Nikon cameras like the D850 and the new Z series do not support it.

Enables wireless remote shutter release. Trigger the shutter remotely when using slower shutter speeds to prevent camera movement.
Infrared Remote Control enables wireless remote shutter release of select Nikon cameras.
The range is approx. 16 ft in front of the camera.

The ML-L3 offers an immediate release mode and two-second delay mode (you set this in your camera, not on the remote.)

Compatability: D7200, D750, D5500, D3300, D5300, D610, D7100, D5200, D600, D7000, D3200, D90, D3000, D5100, D60, D5000, D50, D70, D70s, D40X, D40, D80

Wireless range: 16ft / 5m

Line of sight: Yes

2. Pebble Wireless Remote Shutter Control for Nikon

AODELAN Pebble Remote for Nikon

The pebble wireless remote uses 2.4GHz frequency, allowing for up to approx. 80m/262 ft remote operating distance.
Since this is a true RF remote, the line of sight is not required.

Compatibility: Df, Z7, Z6, D750, D780, D7500, D7200, D7100, D7000, D5600, D5500, D5300, D5200, D5100, D5000, D3300, D3200, D3100, D610, D600, D90, COOLPIX A, COOLPIX P1000, COOLPIX P7700, COOLPIX P7800 (NOTE: D3400 camera is not supported).

Wireless range: 262ft / 80m

Line of sight: No

3. Nikon 25395 MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord

Nikon MC-DC2 Remote

The Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Cord is a wired release cable, it is not wireless. The cord is 3.3′ (1 m) long.

Compatibility: Z6, Z7, D90, D3100, D3200, D3300, D5000, D5100, D5200, D5300, D5500, D5600, D7000, D7100, D7200, D7500, D600, D610, D750, Df, D90 and COOLPIX P7700, COOLPIX P7800, COOLPIX A, COOLPIX P1000

Cord length: 3.3ft / 1m

Remotes for Canon

1. Canon Wireless Remote Control BR-E1

BRE1 wireless

Wireless remote controller compatible with Bluetooth enabled Canon cameras for wireless focusing, still shooting and video recording, and zooming using the Power Zoom Adapter PZ-E1.

The operating distance is approximately 16 ft in any direction.

Compatibility: Rebel SL3 (ROS 250D), EOR RP, EOS R, 6D Mark II, 77D, 800D(EOS Rebel T7i), 200D(EOS Rebel SL2), M50, PowerShot SX70 HS, Canon EOS M6 Mark II, Canon 90D, PowerShot G7 X Mark III, PowerShot G5 X Mark II

Compatible with the PZ-E1 Power Zoom Adapter for remotely adjusting zoom position and movement of the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens

Wireless range: 16ft / 5m

Line of sight: No

2. Canon RC-6 Wireless Remote Control

Canon RC-6

A great budget IR remote if your camera is compatible.

Read before you buy this remote!

Not all Canon cameras have an IR receiver on them, and the RC-6 is an IR remote. Even if your camera does have an IR receiver built-in, most canon cameras will have it on the front, great for selfies but not for work as you will not be able to trigger the camera from behind.

Compatibility: Canon EOS M, M2, M3, and M5, Rebel SL1, T2i, T3i, T4i, T5i, T6i, T6s, T7i, 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III, 5D Mark IV, 5DS, 5DS R, 6D, 6D Mark II, 7D, 7D Mark II, 60D, 60Da, 70D, 77D, 80D, 100D, 400D, 700D, and 750D

Wireless range: 16ft / 5m

Line of sight: Yes

3. Canon RS-60E3 Remote Switch

Canon RS-60E3

The RS-60E3 Remote Switch is an inexpensive wired remote for your canon camera. It has a rather short 2.0′ (0.6m) cable and operates as a shutter release.

Compatibility: G10, G11, G12, G16, EOS Digital Rebel series, 60D, 70D, 80D, Elan II/IIE, Elan 7/7E, Rebel Ti/2000/G/GII/X/XS, IX/IX Lite, SX50 HS, and EOS Rebel T1i, T2, T2i, T3, T3i, T4i, T5, T5i

Cord length: 2ft / 0.6m

4. Pebble Wireless Remote Shutter Control for Canon

AODELAN Pebble Remote for Canon

The pebble wireless remote uses 2.4GHz frequency, allowing for up to approx. 80m/262 ft remote operating distance.
Since this is a true RF remote, the line of sight is not required.

Compatibility: Canon EOS R, EOS RP, EOS Rebel SL3,EOS 250D, 90D, M6 Mark II, EOS 6D MARK II, Canon Rebel XT, XTi, XS, XSi, T1i, T2, T2i, T3, T3i, T4, T4i, T5, T5i, T6, T6i, T7i, SL1; Canon EOS 800D, 200D, 80D, 70D, 77D, 60D, 60Da, 760D, 750D, 700D, 650D, 600D, 550D, 500D, 450D, 100D, 1300D, 1200D, 1100D, 1000D, 2000D, M5, M6; PowerShot SX60 HS, G1X, G1X Mark II, G1X Mark III, G3 X, G5 X, G10, G11, G12, G15, G16, Canon 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III, 5D Mark IV, 6D, 7D, 7D Mark II, 50D, 40D, 30D, 20D, D60, D30, EOS D2000, 5DS, 5DS R, 5D, 1D X MarkII, 1D X, 1DS Mark III, 1DS Mark II, 1Ds, 1D Mark IV, 1D Mark III, 1D Mark II N, 1D Mark II, 1D, EOS-1V, EOS-3

Wireless range: 262ft / 80m

Line of sight: No

Remotes for Sony

1. Sony RM-VPR1 Remote Control with Multi-Terminal Cable

VPR1 Remote Control with Multi-Terminal Cable

This remote will operate just about any Sony camera or camcorder. It not only acts as a shutter release but it also can start and stop video recording on some camera models.

Compatibility: a9, a7R III, a7R II, a7R, a7S II, a7S, a7 III, a7 II, a7, a6500, a6400, a6300, a6000, a5100, a5000, a3500, a3000, ILCE-QX1, a99 II, a77 II, a68, a58, a99, a77, a65, a57, a55, a37, a35, a33, A900, A850, A700, A580, A560, A550, A500, A450, A350, A300, A200, A100 support shutter release function only

Cord length: 31.5″ / 0.8m

2. Sony RMT-P1BT Wireless Remote Commander

Sony RMT-P1BT

This remote Bluetooth remote offers great connectivity and functionality for the newer Alpha cameras. The remote commander incorporates +/- buttons for manual focus adjustments, recording, and digital zoom functions.

This sleek unit also incorporates an LED indicator that shows if the camera is recording along with two assignable buttons and a lock switch to prevent accidental triggering.

If you own a Sony camera that is compatible, this is a must.

Compatibility: Alpha a6100, Alpha a6400 (with Summer 2019 firmware update), Alpha a6600, Alpha a7 III (with Ver. 3.0 firmware update), Alpha a7R III (with Ver. 3.0 firmware update), Alpha a7R IV, Alpha a9 (with Summer 2019 firmware update), Alpha a9 II, Cyber-shot DSC-RX0 II (with Ver. 2.0 firmware update), Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII

Many cameras need a firmware update to pair with this remote. Check with the manufacturer before buying one.

Wireless range: 16.4ft / 5m

Line of sight: No

Conclusion

There are many options for remotes, both OEM and aftermarket. In my opinion, you should go with a Bluetooth model if available since they offer the largest assortment of functions combined with no line of sight requirement.

My second choice is RF remotes, these will mostly aftermarket models. What I do not like is the extra receiver that I have to attach to the camera.

My last choice is IR remotes, not the greatest because of the line of sight, and in Canon’s case, they can be quite bad because of the receiver being located at the front of the camera for most Canon cameras.

Phone apps and wired triggers are only good for me inside a studio setting, on the field they are nothing but problems in my opinion.

Hope this guide helps you choose the right one for you, and if you know or recommend a different model, please leave it in the comments.

Jose Barrios

Jose Barrios

Photographer

“What can I say? I love taking photos of houses.”

Based in Orlando Florida, Jose is a real estate photographer specializing in vacation homes, working for realtors and property managers to make their properties look great.

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