The final piece of the puzzle is the Triggertrap app. It's free, and it provides a number of different ways of triggering your DSLR's shutter:
- Simple Cable Release: acts like a mechanical cable release would -- tap a button on the app screen, and it takes a photo.
- Press and Hold: this is a long-exposure mode. The button is tapped and held, and the shutter stays open as long as your finger is on the button. Take it off, and the shutter closes.
- Press and Lock: another long-exposure mode. Tap the button to start the exposure, tap it again to stop the exposure.
- Timelapse: select an interval between shots and tap the button to begin shooting, tap it again to stop shooting.
- TimeWarp: It's a timelapse photograph, but the interval between shots gets shorter towards the end, giving the timelapse series the illusion of speeding up.
- DistanceLapse: camera is triggered to take an image every time it moves a certain distance (useful if taking time-lapse images of a driving trip).
- Star Trail: takes a number of exposures of a particular duration with a time gap between them.
- Bramping: "bulb-ramping", taking a large number of exposures over a long period of time, starting the exposures at one duration and ending at another duration.
But wait, there's more! There are two sensors modes:
- Sound sensor: uses a sound to trigger the camera; for example, a clap or whistle will trigger.
- Vibration sensor: triggers the camera with a vibration or earthquake (!)
and two long-exposure HDR modes:
- LE HDR: takes multiple long exposures with an EV (exposure value) change each time.
- LE HDR Timelapse: timelapse of multiple LE HDR images.
And there's more!
- Wi-Fi Slave mode: Use another device on a Wi-Fi network to trigger the DSLR connected directly to the Triggertrap.
If all of those different modes confuse you, there is a troubleshooting guide, a "setting up Wi-Fi" guide, and even an introduction to the Triggertrap team in the app. The app is done in bright red and white colors in an iOS 7-friendly style, and also includes a button for buying a dongle and adapter cable from your iPhone!
I didn't have the time (or patience) to test all of the different Triggertrap modes, but I did connect it up to my Canon DSLR to try most of the simple modes. Initially I was having some issues, but then I followed the directions and turned the volume on the iPhone all the way up. That did the trick, and the Triggertrap followed my instructions perfectly the rest of the time.
I'm absolutely amazed that the Triggertrap team has created such a compatible and powerful tool for photographers that costs so little and does so much. The world of photography often seems to be filled with overpriced single-tasker devices that work with only one model of camera, while the Triggertrap leverages the power of the iPhone to provide a tool that can handle just about any DSLR on the market.
There's a pretty amazing Flickr group that highlights the work that has been done using the features of the Triggertrap, so I suggest taking a look at some of the photos to see just what you can do with this device.
Between the low-cost open source hardware (there's an Arduino version available as well) and the power of the free app, Triggertrap has created an affordable photography tool that should be in the equipment bag of every professional and dedicated amateur photographer.
- Insanely affordable
- Compatible with most contemporary DSLRs
- A wide variation of exposure triggering methods are available through the app
- App is stable, well-written, and iOS 7-friendly
- Ability to trigger the Triggertrap remotely via Wi-Fi makes up for the relatively short cable
Who is it for?
- Any DSLR and smartphone owner who wants the ability to experiment with a wide range of bulb exposure and timelapse modes