You Better Get That Camera Under Control, Mister*




Remote Possibilities

Hands Off

Wouldn't it be nice to get that cheap flash you bought back in the '90s to work remotely with your DSLR in the '09s?

Wouldn't it be great to add an intervalometer release to your contemporary DSLR? You know, for all those great timelapse shots?

Wouldn't it be great to trip your DSLR by non-directional radio signals instead of a highly directional IR tripper?

I have to tell you about this company in Hong Kong that makes things like this for your camera and a whole lot more. has created a bunch of tasty accessories that you should know about.

I heard of their wireless (radio) release back while making the D300 eBook. It's called the Phottix Cleon (named after an ancient Greek Athenian), and you can find it on eBay from several suppliers for as little as $34 US with shipping included. That's it at the right.

A two piece system, it makes my D300 studio shooting a breeze. The receiver has a long enough cord, plus switches and buttons to make it function as a wired remote on days when your assistant absentmindedly put the transmitter in my other pants. What?

With the transmitter, it will trigger shots an easy 80 feet away. Versions are available for Nikon, Canon, Sony, Pentax, Samsung, Olympus and Konica Minolta.

But that's old hat. There are new Phottix's afoot. (Photos coming)

The Phottix Cleon II is out. It's an electronic upgrade with much the same specs and similar previous form factor. New in the II is its interchangeable adapter cord. The most recent versionfits our D90 and is headed off to New Zealand for the D90 shoot.

Better than that, the all-new Phottix Plato wireless release is out with a more reliable 2.4 GHz transmitter, good for over 300 feet. That's 100 meters. Like the Cleon, the receiver can serve as a wired release.

Hottest of all, in my opinion is the wired intervalometer/self-timer/bulb release. Suddenly, every DSLR can have an intervalometer for capturing time-lapse images.

Branded as the Phottix Nikos (not to be confused with Nikon, Nikos is a Greek name as in Nikos Kazantzakis, who wrote Zorba The Greek), it lets you easily set up intervals up to 99:59:59 in one-second increments. Cost? Under $80 is our best guess.

You can prime it for a numbered string of shots from 2 to 99, or if you want, a string of shots as long as the battery lasts. 99 shots is nice for non-critical stuff like streak-traffic shots and long strings are nice for scenes you wish to pull the sweet spot from—such as cloudscapes.

You can outfit the Nikos with cords for all the DSLRs we've ever heard of. The cord for the D90 is in hand, so NZ skies—perk up! We are ready for your closeup.

Also new in our hands is the Phottix Tetra, a wireless flash trigger system that works in the nominal 30 foot range. You can put a hot shoe flash unit in the remote, and put the transmitter in the hot shoe of your camera and fire off flashes at a distance.

The distant unit can be a hot shoe type or a PC Sync socket plug type, allowing big studio units and smaller portable units to all play well with each other. The Tetra (Greek for little tropical fish, or 4, whichever has bragging rights) operates over any of four channels.

This brings long distance triggering to cameras that don't have Nikon's SB-900/800/600's talents. Or with the Nikon cameras, it adds wireless remote without involving the camera flash or Command modes.

Where do you get them? Start with an email to the Phottix sales department ( Laurence Poon is their president. Give him a shout out and tell him iNova sent you.

Their web site doesn't show these new units at this hour. Dunno why.

* "You better control your camera" is the motto on the Phottix packages.

(c) 2009 Peter iNova. All rights reserved. Do not reprint. Simply add a link to this page.