Satechi Bluetooth Smart Trigger Review: Use Smartphone as DSLR Remote
The Satechi Bluetooth Smart Trigger turns an iPhone or Android phone into a remote shutter for Nikon, Canon or Panasonic DSLR cameras. A free app connects the phone over Bluetooth 4.0 and controls the camera via the Smart Trigger connected to the hotshoe, the metal connector on the top of a DSLR camera where one normally connects a flash. It also accepts accessories like the Satechi Bluetooth Smart Trigger. Users can do remote photography and get extremely low light photos because the included smart phone app will trigger the shutter to open as along as the photographer needs, and then close again when the person taps the button in the app. The app does timed release shots where the camera takes a series of photos set at a specific time interval between shots. The series can include a few, on up to hundreds or thousands, of shots depending on the camera’s card size or length the battery lasts.
The Satechi Bluetooth Smart Trigger won’t take up much room in a camera bag. The plastic matches the feel of a Nikon D5100 and should hold up to normal wear. A wire connects to the remote shutter release connection found on the side of a DLSR. Photographers will have to let the trigger dangle off the side of the camera if they want to use a hotshoe flash. This works fine. The cable doesn’t fall out.
With the camera across the room, or in another room: the Bluetooth 4.0 connects solidly at long distances. Outdoors, the Trigger keeps a strong connection over dozens of feet.
The free iPhone or Android app pairs easily with the Satechi Bluetooth Smart Trigger if the user follows the directions carefully. It won’t connect manually through the phone’s OS settings screen like most Bluetooth devices, though, the user must connect using the app instead. Pairing took just minutes after reading the instructions.
The app works in three modes:
- Regular – Great for remote photography or longer exposures to reduce camera shake
- Manual – Open the shutter for longer shots and tap again to close it. Great for night or extreme low light.
- Timed – Takes timed shots at programmed intervals for time-lapse photography.
There’s a slight lag between tapping the smartphone screen and the camera shutter release. Don’t use it for action shooting where timing is key.
To use the manual or timed mode, the DSLR must support Bulb Mode, where the shutter stays open. On our Nikon D5100 we set the camera to Manual or Shutter priority to engage the Bulb mode. Even in Timed or Manual mode the shutter release will take quick shots too.
The app works great on both iPhone and Android. We experienced zero issues once we figured out how to pair the phone and the Trigger.
The Satechi Bleutooth Smart Trigger costs bout $45 direct, a good deal for advanced DSLR photographers. It beats a basic remote, giving users more flexibility. It costs morre, so people with simple needs should find a basic remote for their camera, like the Nikon ML-L3, which Amazon sells for a few bucks. The Trigger is available for Nikon, Canon or Panasonic cameras at Satechi.net.