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Pro Review: Argraph Remote Shutter Controller

200704we_01argraphA simple, economical solution for remote firing

By Stan Sholik

Ever wished you could be taking photos in two places at once? Well, a small inexpensive camera triggering system distributed by Argraph can make your wish come true. Known as the Twin1 Infrared Wired/Wireless Shutter Release System, it consists of a transmitter the size of a stack of guitar-picks and a receiver the size of a stack of quarters. If you’re fortunate enough to be using a camera with a built-in infrared receiver, such as the Canon Digital Rebel, Nikon D70s, or a Pentax or Samsung DSLR, all you’ll need is the Twin1 Infrared Wireless Remote Transmitter. Other cameras from Canon, Fujifilm and Nikon that feature an electronic release socket (remote terminal) will need the Twin1 Shutter Release Receiver unit in addition to the transmitter. The receiver plugs directly into the electronic release socket, leaving the hot shoe available for an electronic flash unit.

A central button on the Twin1 transmitter functions in the same manner as the Nikon D2X camera release. Light pressure will wake the camera from standby and activate autofocus. Firm pressure will release the shutter from either standby or active mode. A tiny red LED just above this central switch blinks to indicate operation. Other cameras may function slightly differently as indicated in the instruction sheet included with the transmitter.

Sliding the shutter mode selector switch on one side of the transmitter from its normal position to its alternate position activates a delay of about two seconds into the release. Argraph explains that this position is included for cameras that are slow to wake from standby, allowing them time to focus and determine exposure.

A one-meter cord is included with the transmitter. One end plugs into the transmitter and the other plugs into the Twin1 receiver or directly into the camera, depending on your camera model. In wired mode, light pressure on the transmitter release button will activate auto-focusing for all cameras and firm pressure releases the shutter. Wired mode also allows the use of “B” (Bulb) exposure once the camera shutter speed is set to bulb. Move the switch on the side opposite the shutter mode selector switch from its normal “B Off” position to “H.shutter” to activate autofocus, and to “B On” to start the exposure. You’ll need to time it manually, then move the switch back to its “B Off” position to complete the exposure.

Caption: The complete Argraph Twin1 Universal Transmitter and Receiver Set for the D2X includes a transmitter (bottom), receiver (top) and a one meter connecting wire, allowing the units to be connected wired as well as wireless.

The receiver unit mates with the camera’s electronic release socket and a rotating collar holds it firmly attached. Though there is an IR receiver cell on the front and the back of the receiver, it was fairly easy to position myself in places behind and to the side of my Nikon D2X where the rear sensor was in the “shadow” of the camera body and the camera would not fire. I would have preferred a somewhat larger receiver or a different way to position the IR receiver cell so that the unit could be triggered from 360 degrees around the camera.

To be fair, nearly every position around the front of the D2X, where you would normally be positioned, consistently produced reliable shutter releases. I even mounted the camera on a tripod in the balcony of a church and fired it from at least 50 feet away. It never missed once. Wedding photographers take note. You could be shooting close-ups at the altar at the same time you are recording the ceremony from the balcony or back of the church.

Out of doors the system worked reliably up to about 50 feet from the front of the camera when the receiver was in the shade or not facing directly into the sun. With the sun shining full on the front of the receiver, the range decreased to about 10-20 feet, fairly typical for IR systems in direct sunlight.
Studio as well as location portrait, pet and child photographers should find it useful as well. The Twin1 wireless system frees you from standing behind the camera and allows you to move about the studio while shooting. And being in two places at once was never so inexpensive. The Argraph Twin1 Universal Transmitter retails for $34.95 and the Twin1 Universal Transmitter and Receiver Sets have a suggested retail price of $89.95.

Caption: The Argraph Twin1 Receiver plugged into the remote terminal of the D2X.