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The best camera remotes for your DSLR or mirrorless camera for 2019

For its features and ease of use, the best camera remote is the Vello LW-500 Extendá. If you’re looking to instantly edit your images, shoot self-portraits, or you simply want to look cool firing your shutter from your tablet, then the Vello LW-500 is a solid option.

Keep in mind, the best DSLRs and mirrorless cameras come with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built-in and can be controlled via a mobile app, turning your phone into a powerful camera remote. But these apps often come with limitations, are proprietary to each brand, and don’t always have the functionality you need. If you’re looking to step up to a dedicated camera remote, here are the best models you can buy.

The best

Vello LW-500 Extendá

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The Extendá connects to your camera’s USB port, mounts on the hot shoe, and creates a Wi-Fi hotspot. Through the use of their in-house app, you’re then able to operate your camera remotely from either your Android or iOS device — turning your phone or tablet into a camera remote. Live View mode takes the scene from your camera’s sensor and displays it on your screen. The app gives you full creative control of your camera settings by allowing you to change shutter speed, aperture and ISO. You also have bulb mode and focus stacking for more complex shoots.

If you’re a photojournalist that needs quick access, you can immediately download images taken with the Extendá for upload and editing purposes. The transmitter has a fast transfer rate of 10 megabytes per second. At present, the Vello LW-500 Extendá is compatible with Nikon, Sony, and Canon cameras.

The rest

Hahnel Inspire

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This wireless remote allows you to see your images in live view through its vibrant 3.5-inch color LCD display. The powerful transmitter means you can trigger your shutter from up to 196 feet away. If you’re shooting a scene from several angles, the live view can be used with four DSLR’s simultaneously, with the use of additional receivers. This will save you valuable time and make you more efficient. For quick access to your images, the Hahnel Inspire is capable of saving 99 images to the transmitter. The remote is available in both Nikon and Canon versions.

Nikon WR-1

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The most expensive option on the list, the WR-1 is Nikon’s most premium camera remote. Nikon photographers can use the WR-1 to trigger multiple Nikon DSLR’s, allowing for more creative options. If, for example, you photograph wildlife and need to be away from your camera for safety reasons, you can fire the shutter with the remote from up to 394 feet away when in line of sight. The Nikon WR-1 has access to 15 channels, ensuring there’s no interference from other transmitters when you’re not the only photographer in the area.

Pluto Trigger

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Pluto has created a lovely minimalist design while still keeping plenty of functionality. Like the Vello LW-500, the Pluto Trigger can be operated with an app, powered through the use of Bluetooth 4.0 LE for connectivity. However, if you prefer the old-school approach, you can attach the remote to your camera with a connection cable. When connected to your camera you can expect 40 hours of use per single charge. Impressively, with a Bluetooth connection, you can still enjoy 20 hours of usage.

The Pluto Trigger boasts plenty of features, such as built-in sound, light and infrared sensors. Having these options are great for those wanting to photograph lightning strikes and popping balloons for example. It’s also available for a number of different cameras from Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, and Leica (make sure you select the right option during check out).

Sony RM-VPR1

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While technology has evolved in many great ways, some of you may like to keep things straightforward. This simple, yet very capable, camera remote from Sony is perfect for Sony shooters who want the reliability of a hardwired connection. The RM-VPR1 gives you complete control over functions such as shutter release, optical zoom, digital zoom, and bulb mode. It comes with a 31.5-inch connection cable and is built to be durable in all environments. While the Sony RM-VPR1 may not win any awards, it will give you all that you need to create great images without you needing to touch your camera to get the shot.

Why do I need a camera remote?

The original remote shutter releases, which were basic plunger cables that screwed onto a camera’s shutter button, were designed simply to take the photographer’s hand off of the camera. This reduces vibrations and can improve sharpness, especially when slow shutter speeds are used. Modern remotes have many more capabilities, from automated time-lapse shooting to being able to adjust the focus. A remote isn’t necessary for everyone or every type of photography, but they can help immensely in some situations, particularly if you have your camera mounted in a hard-to-reach spot, or if you simply want to take a selfie.

What is bulb mode?

Bulb mode is a function available on most cameras that gives you complete control of your shutter, and is much easier to use with a remote. Without a remote, bulb mode holds the shutter open as long as you keep the shutter button pressed. With a remote, you can simply press the button on the remote to open the shutter, then press it again to close it. This means you can have exposures from as long as five seconds to 60 minutes, depending on what you’re shooting. Very slow shutter speeds are great for shooting things like star trails or other night scenes.

What is interval shooting (time lapse)?

Interval shooting simply refers to taking pictures at set intervals, or periods of time. An intervalometer is the device or in-camera function that controls this behavior, and it’s also a feature of many camera remotes. An interval could be half a second, several seconds, or several minutes. The primary use of interval shooting is in the creation of time-lapse videos. If you shoot, say, 360 images with an interval of 10 seconds between each, you will be able to compress 1 hour of time into just 12 seconds on a 30-frames-per-second timeline.

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Dan Ginn
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Dan Ginn is an internationally published street photographer, feature writer and content creator. Through his writing, he has…
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