Triggertrap Mobile – LE HDR Trigger – Product Review

Triggertrap Mobile is a Camera triggering device that works with your iPhone® or Android® phone, your DSLR and a Phone ap that is now free for the download as the controller. (It can also work with your internal camera) 

It does quite a few things…actually it does A LOT! 

Here’s a list

  • Cable release
  • Bang (Trigger release on sound)
  • Time-lapse Exposures
  • TimeWarp®  (Time lapse with acceleration)
  • Distance lapse (Lapse photography trigger by GPS movement)
  • Seismic (Trigger by vibration)
  • Peekaboo (Trigger by facial recognition)
  • Star Trails (Extreme long exposures and Multi-LE for stacking)
  • LE HDR (Long Exposure  HDR) I’ll explain this more in a moment)
  • LE HDR Time-lapse (Time-lapse  Photography with HDR exposures)
  • Tesla (trigger on Metal/Magnetism detection)
  • Motion (Trigger on Motion)
  • Bramping (Time-lapse that is ramped up/down in timing)
  • Wi-Fi Slave (Multiple Triggering over wi-fi)

 Phew…that’s a TON…and get this…all for just around $30 – $35 depending on the cables you need. I mean…that’s just plain Inexpensive (I don’t want to call it cheap because it’s not cheaply made or designed) 

The Triggertrap consists of three parts: The app on your phone, a “Dongle” which is the interface and then an adapter cable to plug the dongle into your camera and is based on the camera you own. Over 300 cameras are supported. 

Triggertrap Dongle and Camera adapter

It would take me too many pages to go through each operation this device is capable of so I will talk mostly about what its of most interest to readers of The HDR Image, Of course HDR triggering for multiple exposures and even beyond what your camera on it’s own may be capable of. 

So as I said earlier, it does LE HDR or Long Exposure HDR triggering and that’s the little caveat here. The shortest exposure time the device is capable of triggering is about 1/5th of a second but it can take exposures of as long as…Ehhhmmm  85 hours (if my calculations are right) You can take from 3 to 19 exposures but the number depends on the Middle exposure value and also the Exposure stops (2ev.1ev,1/2ev,1/3ev) 

So while it has some limitations on the short end, it is not limited by your camera’s usual longest exposure of 30seconds (The Triggertrap uses your camera ‘bulb’ mode for this so long exposures are essentially infinite)

Triggertrap in Use 

Set-up was rather easy, I plugged the adapter cable into the remote jack of my Canon 5D and then the 2.5 plug into the headphone jack of my iPhone 4® (Phones must be running iOS5 or later and while it will work with 3s phones they recommend 4s or later phones although it worked fine with my iPhone 4. It can work with iPads® but with some limitations 

I selected a language and then set-up the app for my camera. The app can control both shutter and focus but I chose to set it up for use as shutter only and manual focus since the app responds better and I most times shoot HDRs with my Auto-focus turned off (even if I may initially focus with AF, I turn it off to keep the focus exact through all exposures) 

With the set-up complete (there a few other adjustments you can make to fine tune it but I didn’t find the need) I set off to a nearby farm field in wine country to give it a go. 

It was about ½ hour to sunset and here was where a little bit of a challenge came in using the Triggertrap. Even using ISO 50 and f/16, my middle exposure at this time of day worked out to 1/8th of a second. While this was doable, it limited me to just 3 exposures at 1ev spacing because of the 1/5th minimum exposure time. I wanted of course to do much more than that. I really wanted about a 1 second middle exposure time and for me that was easily accomplished by putting a 3 Stop Neutral Density filter on my lens which I always have with me. 

With that slight curve ball out of the way out of the way I moved onto testing. Now the Triggertrap arranges it’s exposures around a ‘middle’ exposure which is actually a little different than how I work, I’ll measure both ends of an exposure range and just work from one to the other end. But an easy way to determine a middle exposure is simply to set your camera metering to Evaluative and then in Manual mode meter the entire scene you are shooting and this will give you a middle exposure to work off of. 

With my 3 stop ND filter in place, ISO50 and f/16 I got a scene meter reading of 1 second which is just about perfect for the Trigger trap. After I got my reading I set my camera back to BULB mode, the only mode the trigger trap will operate in for HDR. (It will trigger in other modes as a shutter release) 

Triggertrap HDR Screen

I set my middle exposure in the Triggertrap app screen to 1 second and then moved the slider below that to 9 exposures (The maximum for these settings), the EV spacing wheel below that I set to 1ev spacing. 

With my Focus set and my scene composed I pressed the Start Button on the phone app and 9 shots fired off from exposure times of .2 seconds to 16.1 seconds. Done and Done. 

Triggertrap Exposure Firing

As the sun set, my middle exposure  now moved to 4 Seconds and that made the last exposure 64 seconds long, not a problem for the Triggertrap

And here are a set of exposures I got using Triggertrap and then the final HDR.

 

 

One thing of note with file EXIF, since it uses bulb mode you will only see the middle exposure times on exposures less than the middle exposure, so if for some reason you rely heavily on EXIF, the shutter speeds will not be there. This will come into play on HDR Merge programs. You will have to put the exposure EV interval in manually to get your merges correct. 

For the most part it got the EV spacing correct, but I think that on some of the shorter exposures it may not have been the full 1EV I had set and was about 2/3EV in reality. I think in certain circumstances that was because the exposures were bumping up against that 1/5 limit. In the final images this did not prove to hurt the final images at all 

The great thing was I could shoot off exposures and since my hands never touched the camera to move it even in the slightest on the tripod; I was able to merge the HDR perfectly without need for Alignment or Deghosting in Nik HDR Efex Pro 2 which made for a perfectly sharp image.

There is also a Mode for Time-Lapse HDRs so you can have it set to shoot a series at set intervals such as 5 exposures every minute and it could go till you filled your card. So if you are into Time-Lapse and HDR this is your device

 Long Exposures

I also do a lot of long exposures and though I could have used the “Cable Release Mode” where I push a button to start release to stop, I actually ended up using the Star Trails mode. This way I set it for one exposure and the time I wanted the shutter to be open (3 Minutes) and it did everything for me, no guessing or need for a stopwatch. 

I got this image using it for a long exposure.

 

Everything works as expected on the Triggertrap, sometimes you need to keep your finger on a control for a split second for it to grab but it also could have been that I have a very thick screen protector on my iPhone® 

One last thing to keep in mind is to have your phone fully charged before you set out for a shoot. It does end up using a lot of battery which would be normal for any ap running like this. In an hour shoot it took my phone from 100% to 50% so if you are using it out in no-man’s land like I shoot in a lot you may want to make sure you have a car charger with you so you are not left without service in an emergency. Again this is nothing unusual but just my little public service reminder for people that travel into the outback. 

So overall I think the Triggertrap is a great device, especially for the price. Do I wish it did exposures shorter? Yes, of course I do, but the makers don’t make any claims otherwise and they do say that it is a LE Long Exposure HDR trigger so it is exactly as claimed. 

Highly recommended

  For more info go to:https://triggertrap.com/

5 Comments

  1. Dale Smith January 9, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

    This sound amazing, but I need to read it when I’ve not had a couple Martinis. One thing though jumped out at me in the very beginning, and if you have mentioned this before I missed it. Namely, going to manual focus before shooting bracketed images for HDR. This makes great sense. Since making the transition to digital SLRs I have been having huge focusing issues. In most of my tripod work I have gone to using live view at 5x and 10x to nail focus. I am going to begin doing this for my HDR exposures now as well. As always, your instruction is terrifically helpful. All the best.

    • Peter January 10, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

      Yep Dale, I turn off my AF and I also turn off Image Stability too if my lens has it and I am ona tripod. Sometimes they get confused ona tripod

  2. Duane January 10, 2013 at 11:48 am #

    This looks very cool!!!

  3. Romy May 26, 2013 at 6:06 am #

    great write-up!
    been waiting to make this purchase for a few weeks as i saved a couple $$. just ordered my triggertrap a few moments ago, and wanted to see what people were saying about the long exposure and HDR features. needless to say, this thing rocks! i also love that HDR done on the farm, well done Peter!
    just wanted to point out another tip i found out recently about focus and motion blur associated with camera/tripod wobble.been using the AF the manual tric for my HDR and remote triggering tripod work for a good bit, but recently got another good one that help quite a bit too. on Nikon (sorry canon dudes) there is a function called ‘exposure delay mode’ in the exposure settings menu that by default is disabled. by enabling this feature the camera mirror does a momentary lock (to reduce vibration) before opening the shutter. the result is a hair laggy in terms of shutter speed (disclosure for all those who want ultimate speed performance) but for tripod work it isolates even the slightest vibration resulting in photos that have the highest potential for ultimate sharpness.
    anyways just wanted to share that and am stoked to play with my trigger trap!
    -Romy Santos
    Slightly Skewed Photography connect with me on FB if so.
    P.S. Peter are you on FB, Flickr, or Tumblr?

  4. Romy May 26, 2013 at 6:07 am #

    great write-up!
    been waiting to make this purchase for a few weeks as i saved a couple $$. just ordered my triggertrap a few moments ago, and wanted to see what people were saying about the long exposure and HDR features. needless to say, this thing rocks! i also love that HDR done on the farm, well done Peter!
    just wanted to point out another tip i found out recently about focus and motion blur associated with camera/tripod wobble.been using the AF the manual tric for my HDR and remote triggering tripod work for a good bit, but recently got another good one that help quite a bit too. on Nikon (sorry canon dudes) there is a function called ‘exposure delay mode’ in the exposure settings menu that by default is disabled. by enabling this feature the camera mirror does a momentary lock (to reduce vibration) before opening the shutter. the result is a hair laggy in terms of shutter speed (disclosure for all those who want ultimate speed performance) but for tripod work it isolates even the slightest vibration resulting in photos that have the highest potential for ultimate sharpness.
    anyways just wanted to share that and am stoked to play with my trigger trap!
    -Romy Santos
    Slightly Skewed Photography
    P.S. Peter are you on FB, Flickr, or Tumblr? connect with me on FB if so.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*