A while ago, I got an email from PhotoJojo with their latest products and noticed ioShutter – a remote cable release for DSLR’s that activated using your iPhone. As an inherent tech-head and iPhone evangelist, I was instantly intrigued, but put off by the price tag of $70, which works out at £46 in ‘real’ money (I’m just kidding to any Americans reading this,) not including overseas shipping costs of $20, bumping the price up to £55 – and that’s not including import duty, VAT and any other spurious taxes that can justifiably be levied on this poor consumer.
Anyway, we got some in stock where I work at my day job and that meant two things:
- No shipping costs.
- A small, but significant amount of discount.
- Cha-ching. (Ok, I added a third thing. Well, kind of. It was an onomatopoeia.)
For the price (RRP of £59.95,) it’s a little disappointing when you open the box – the main part is just three cables. That’s it. For £59.95. No manual, or … anything else.
Admittedly, you get a nice bag to keep it all in:
Ok, so I understand the difference between price and value, and as the old adage goes: “It’s what you do with it that counts.” So putting price aside, does it give good value?
Let’s have a look at what it’s for:
- You can remotely trigger your camera – thus reducing camera shake and helping pictures to be sharp.
OK, but I can do that with an ordinary cable release, costing half the price at most.
- It offers, “Intelligent SLR camera control from your iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad”.
While I might take umbrage at the usage of the word ‘intelligent’ there, the free app, available in the App store, does offer a lot more control than a remote cable release. You can use Timer, Bulb for long exposures, or TimeLapse to take photos, as well as iOS device features like “ClapToSnap” sound activation and “ShakeToTake” movement activation via your device’s accelerometer. These options afford a world of versatility unavailable in traditional remote release solutions.
Setup is utterly easy – you pop open the side of your camera, look at the available shutter release ports, (it’s a small headphone-like port on the Canon 550D/Rebel T2i,) and connect the corresponding cable to it, hook up the main part of the cable and the 3.5 headphone jack to your iOS device. Done. Writing that took longer than it took to actually do.
The app itself is easy to navigate too. There’s a big button – press that to take photos. Additionally, there’s a slide out panel where you can adjust settings, like turning on sound activation or timer mode. It’s worth noting that you can have multiple modes operating at once, so you could have ClapToSnap (sound activation,) and ShakeTo Take on at the same time. It all does what it is supposed to do and there’s no onscreen clutter, so it feels quite minimal.
The free app comes with some limitations though: Bulb mode only offers 60, 90 or 120 second exposures. Timer offers 20 or 60 second countdowns and TimeLapse has options for ‘Every 5 seconds for 5 minutes’; ‘Every 5 seconds for 10 minutes”; or ‘Every 30 seconds for 10 minutes’
There is a pro version of the app, which allows for full configurability of all settings, including the ability to set a Timer for hours, minutes and seconds, as well as a schedule; shutter duration of minutes and hours or duration for TimeLapse as well as shake duration, sound sensitivity, etc. but this is an additional £6.99, which after shelling out up to approximately £60 for the cable, seems a little mean to charge for, but there I go getting all hung up on price again.
In truth, I can already see a wealth of possibilities for usage of ioShutter, including using sound activation to shoot wildlife, pin sharp long night exposures, studio photography, self portraits, astro photography … the list goes on and there is even a mention of ioShutter plugins on the App Store page, hinting at future extended functionality.
The bottom line is that this is really useful for Canon and Nikon owners who own an iPhone and want a raft of remote shutter release options. The only extra gear is a small cable that comes in it’s own carrying pouch so you WILL have room for it in your camera bag somewhere. As for value, I think it’ll probably be worth it, but that will depend on how often I use it and how long it lasts. Considering it’s just a couple of jack-ended cables and there are no moving parts, that should, in theory at least, be a good long time.
Ease of use: 5/5
Value: TBD. Provisionally – 3/5