The small and very handy IR-remote Canon RC-5 has a lot going for it and two things against it: It requires the camera to be “On” and this draws power and it must have a free line of view to the camera.
Enter the Radio Remote for Canon EOS 550D/Canon Digital Rebel T2i – and many other cameras! In this case JY-110 from Deal Extreme. As can be seen in the picture on the left it consists of two parts: transmitter and receiver. It has a working distance of at least 100 meters! (If there is no radio wave blocking obstacles in between!) But you do not really have a line of view between the camera and the transmitter. Especially this is true when you are close, 5-10 meters, then its radio waves goes through a lot of obstacles! The kit seems reasonably well-built – without having a super finish.
Is equipped with two buttons and two LEDs. The receiver connects to the DSLR via a 25 cm cable to a small 2.5 mm stereo headphone jack. It can be fitted in the flash hotshoe on the camera or just used “dangling” in the cable. You can pair transmitter/receiver with each other by selecting one of the available 16 channels on a small DIP-switch. This lessens the risk of interference from other radio transmitters.
The simplest way of using the receiver is in “Off” mode. It then works as a wired remote shutter release! Use it to lessen camera shake or just for convenience. The release button has two pressure levels – exactly as on the camera; the first sets the focus; the second releases the shutter. There is no delay – it is as pressing the release button on the camera!
Switching the receiver “On” is by the smaller button just to the right of the shutter release button. This lights up a red LED on the front indicating that the receiver is ready and listening for the transmitter. One more press on this button switches it off again – and extinguishes the LED. Note! This “Power on”-LED is so weak that it is both very easy to forget it “On” and not to see it. I do not know if this is a fault of my sample or if it is by design to save power. Because it uses a press-on, press-again-off button it can be switched on by accident if you keep it unprotected in your camera bag.
The receiver is using a 3Volt type “CR2” lithium battery. Mine ran out very quickly – I do not know if I forgot it “On” or not. I think I had it “Off” but it still ran down the battery!
Is equipped with one pressure button, one slide switch and one LED. The transmitter is always “On” so there is no “Power on”-switch. It also has an antenna that can be pulled out to increase the working distance. The large button is the release button and it also has two pressure levels – exactly as on the camera; the first sets the focus; the second releases the shutter. As you press this button a two-colour LED just in front of the button lights up in green to indicate focus and when you press harder it lights up in red to indicate shutter release. The same happens at the receiver a bright LED indicates green and red. The setting of the slide switch controls what happens next!
First setting (downwards) with the small “G”-like symbol gives a two second delay before the picture is taken! The red LED blinks during these two seconds.
Second setting (upwards) is a little more complex – or versatile – depending on how you look at it. You focus as normal, then a short press triggers the shutter at once! Or if you keep the button firmly pressed you can either use it for continuous shooting if you set up the camera for this – or if you set it up in manual mode where the “BULB” setting is available – you can have the shutter open as long as you press the button! Very handy! Even better is the fact that if you let go of the button after a few seconds the shutter will stay open untill you press lightly for “focus” – this will close the shutter again! Summarizing: one long press to open the shutter and on short “focus” press to close the shutter. (Note that you will have to “focus” to finish the “BULB” exposure! Just pressing the button as for a shutter release will not work!)
It really works over 100 meters – I have tested it – but it is impossible to see the LEDs at that far away distance – it is even difficult to believe that a picture has been taken! But it has!
The transmitter is using a 12 Volt type “23A” battery. This is said to last for 20 000 exposures – which I have not tested 😉 – but I strongly doubt it … but on the other hand I will have to wait very long to find out – even if it only lasts for 5000 exposures!
Using the radio remote will actually focus the camera at the first soft press but then it will not start the video recording when you press harder. It will “only” trigger the shutter – just as it does normally!
I am sorry to say that you can not control the video at all by the radio remote! (Or any other remote that connects to the remote contact!)
You can however use the infrared (see my blog post on that) to control the video recording!
I ordered this radio remote JY-110 from Deal Extreme for less than $20/15 Euro/150 SEK (incl batteries and delivery) and I think it is well worth it! When you order the remote, at the same time, buy a few extra CR2 batteries as well! Other radio remote brands in the photo shop at the high street costs several times as much for the same functionality. It is reasonably well-built, the cable is soft and flexible. The only quirk of the system is that it might consume receiver battery power even when switched “Off”! (I will test this and update the text here! Looking for a way to measure the very low current consumption…)