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Timer Remote for Sony a55 (intervalometer)

Tweet I bought a Sony a55 a while back and really couldn’t be happier. It’s a great camera and I’m taking some great shots with it. You can check out some of my shots here on flickr or 500px.com. But one thing bugged me – I can’t tether it to my laptop to do remote [...]

I bought a Sony a55 a while back and really couldn’t be happier. It’s a great camera and I’m taking some great shots with it. You can check out some of my shots here on flickr or 500px.com.

But one thing bugged me – I can’t tether it to my laptop to do remote shooting for timer release. So I went on the hunt for a intervalometer. The cheapest I could find here in NZ was over $140 – one issue with buying Sony is that accessories aren’t the cheapest. There are tons of Canon or Nikon accessories by 3rd parties that are cheap – but for Sony not so many (although this is changing)

Then someone introduced me to dealextreme.com a very dangerous website, with full PayPal support and FREE shipping any where in the world – it’s like the worlds best $2 shop (except not everything is $2).

When I went looking for a intervalometer I wanted one that was flexible and wasn’t a simple remote. I ended up settling on a JJC Timer Remote Shutter. This remote sets the following:

  • Delay – allows you to set a delay before the first shot is taken (up to 99 hours, 59 mins, 59 seconds)
  • Bulb – how long should it hold the shutter open for (up to 99 hours, 59 mins, 59 seconds)
  • Interval – time between shots (up to 99 hours, 59 mins, 59 seconds – down to 1 second)
  • Number – how many shots 1 – 399 (I later found out you can set it to limitless)
  • Sound – it can do a 3 second beep count down to shots

Considering it’s $39.99 (US$) price the build is fantastic, it’s really solid and everything feels just right. Buttons are very tactile and easy to use.

The body

As you can see there is a good sized LCD screen (the on off is on the right side by the screen). The main button (has hold written on it) clicks well and you push DOWN and UP to hold the shutter open when in bulb mode. This can be used with the unit off to save batteries.

Screen & Lights

The LCD is a 3 line (kinda) system with a little black indicator to say what setting you’re in, large numbers to easily read and the bottom line for sound and count (there is space on the right for small text like the countdown timer).  The Light (lock button pushed for less than 1 second turns on the light) doesn’t stay on as long as I’d like, but still it’s handy for checking settings when shooting at night.

Connector

The connector is compatible with Sony alpha cameras – technically speaking it’s compatible with the a300, a700 etc, but it works fine with my a55, so I’m guessing it’d work with the a33 and probably with the a77 when it arrives. It can also work with some Minolta cameras.

The only real con I have with the the unit is that it doesn’t count down right – now I’m not sure what’s causing this but if you set it for say a 10 second interval, it’ll fire the first one after 7 seconds, then every 10 seconds after that. The display counts down correctly, but it means the camera is firing on 3 rather than 0. No big drama really – just annoying. It also wont shoot sub-1 second.

note: it took me a little while to realise that the — mode in the N setting (that’s the number of shots it should take) meant unlimited. The counter for some reason stops at 399. If you simply go DOWN (rather than up) when setting you jump direct from 1 shot to — (unlimited). This is how I shoot most of the time now.

Some shots taken with this remote:

Lens - Focus StackGreat for shooting focus stacked images

Fire Ball test #2

Tunnel Test #1

A quick video I setup while waiting for a plane in the Brisbane airport:

Summary

This is a really great addition to my camera bag, and gets used so often I’m probably going to have to get another one. Other than the countdown issue and the light not staying on long enough – it’s really a great device. And yes they do make it for other cameras (Canon and Nikon) too.

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