Wi-Fi-enabled cameras easily turn smartphones into DSLR controls — but an upcoming system from Joobot makes built-in wireless features look rather scrawny. The CamBuddy Pro is a sensor-packed camera control that can handle tasks from the basic time lapse to laser-triggered high-speed photography.
According to Joobot, CamBuddy Pro is the first all-in-one DSLR controller. That’s because the system packs in three different sensors — light, sound, and laser — as well as a radio transmitter. While communicating with a smartphone via both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, the user can use the app to remotely trigger the shot manually, or program the system to use one of those four sensors.
The light sensor allows a change in the ambient lighting to trigger the photograph — like a flash of lightning or an off-camera flash. The sound sensor works in a similar way, triggering a photo from an increase in the noise level, such as the clink of wine glasses.
The CamBuddy Pro, which sits in the hotshoe slot, also has a built-in laser. In the laser-triggered mode, the camera will fire when anything disrupts the laser beam — like dropping something into water in connection with high-speed photography, for example.
The system’s radio control allows one smartphone to control up to 128 cameras (provided you actually have 128 cameras along with 128 CamBuddy Pros mounted on top of them). Using the integrated sensors on multiple cameras allows photographers to pair the frames from several cameras together to create a video along the lines of the “Matrix bullet time,” according to Joopic.
Joopics says that the control is also fast, with the Bluetooth connection allowing those sensors to trigger a shot in as little time as 1 millisecond.
While the integrated sensors are intriguing, the system also allows for simpler controls to earn that “all-in-one” designation, including a time-lapse feature. Along with allowing the photographer to choose when to fire each frame for the time lapse, the app can also craft a preview of what those different settings could look like. Simply using the system as a remote control has a range of up to 100 feet.
Photographers will have to be patient for that four-sensor control, however. The CamBuddy Pro is expected to launch on Kickstarter on September 27 with shipping by Christmas. On the crowd-funding platform, the triggering system will sell for $99, which is $50 off the expected retail price.