Control Your Camera in a Number of Smart, Creative Ways
Are you feeling uninspired with your photography? Have you reached a plateau and are looking for creative ideas? Are you looking at ways to take more exciting and original stock photos?
Well, the MIOPS Trigger might be just what you need.
Ever since I was 13 (1980 : ) I have looked for new ways to take images that are out of the ordinary. Images that make people say Wow! and wonder how you got the shot. If you can do that, you may also have images that sell via wall art, stock or prints.
Disclaimer: I was sent the MIOPS trigger for review by the company themselves but only after I agreed. I always check out a product prior to receiving it as I only review stuff that I like and think my readers will like!
What does it do? Main features
- Lightning Trigger
- Sound Trigger
- Laser Trigger
- Time Lapse/Intervalometer
- Remote Cable Release
- HDR Photography
- Controllable via unit or free app
- iOS & Android Support
- Bluetooth 4.0
- TFT LCD Screen
So this is where it starts, photographing lightning. This is a tricky subject and in the past, we had to second guess when a lightning strike would happen and either:
Try to shoot it there and then or:
Leave the camera shutter open on “bulb” hoping that the lightning would strike before you had a seriously over-exposed image
The MIOPS Smart trigger does all the work for you. You simply set it to “Lightning Mode”, set the sensitivity (1-99) and let the unit do its thing. The sensitivity you set will depend on the light source but perhaps keep it between 90-99% to start with to make sure you at least get a shot.
You can then tweak to match the source of light coming from your subject.
As soon as the lightning starts, the MIOPS sensor picks it up and takes a photo using the camera settings you previously set (focus, shutter, aperture, ISO etc). You are better off setting the camera exposure and focus to manual with something like a two to five second exposure and focus set to infinity.
This will ensure you capture the light show in all its glory.
Be aware that when you set this mode, your camera may take a test shot automatically like mine does (although I am in a bright office).
You can also use this mode to trigger the camera with a laser (from a distance for example), a speedlight/flashgun or car lights. Get creative!
This is a very useful feature but be aware that ambient noise could set the MIOPS Smart trigger off. For example, maybe you are waiting for fireworks to go off to get that great shot with a 2-4 second exposure. You are all set to go and a few seconds before the fireworks start, you or someone else coughs, you drop something or a car toots its horn. You miss that crucial shot as the camera completes its exposure.
This is why you also have the chance (as with lightning) to set the audio sensitivity. Get to know the unit and test different sounds to see how it works.
There is also a setting for “delay” which means you can set a short time delay after the sound occurs before the camera fires. For example, you want to capture a pellet from an air gun or bullet going through a light bulb, plate, piece of fruit etc. Rather than the camera taking the shot as the gun fires, set a short delay so that the exposure happens as the pellet/bullet hits the target instead.
Note: You also want to use manual focus here so it doesn’t start “hunting” before taking the shot.
Note 2: Set the lock to “on” if you only want one shot otherwise it will keep firing with each new sound.
Note: Please use all common sense and safety precautions when using lasers. NEVER point them at people’s or animals’ faces or eyes, they can be quite harmful. Best to wear goggles when operating lasers.
This is for me the most exciting feature. On the front of the MIOPS Smart Trigger is the sensor that is also used for lightning. All you have to do is:
- Set the MIOPS to Laser Mode
- Set your camera settings (shutter speed, aperture, ISO, speedlights etc)
- Attach your laser somewhere and aim it directly into the MIOPS sensor
- Wait for something to break the laser beam
- Be sure to set focus to manual again to prevent “hunting”
Once the beam is broken, your camera will fire and you can also set the camera to take multiple images each time (up to 999). The MIOPS will work with your cameras built in frame rate and use that for the sequence, I.e. 7 frames per second, to ensure you get the shot.
This is superb if you want to capture wildlife such as a barn owl leaving it’s nest or window.
To do this type of shot, you would need to move the trigger away from the camera (off the hotshoe) in most cases. To do this, you would need the MIOPS Mobile Dongle (not included).
There are so many ways to use this to have your camera on autopilot. For example, you are hired to photograph winners crossing the finishing line in a race and you want two cameras operational.
You use one camera as you would normally but set a second camera up using the MIOPS Smart Trigger and a laser across the finishing line and voila! You have two shooters at half the cost ; )
I am a huge fan of time lapse photography and spend a lot of my time using specialist kit such as the Rhino Arc slider system and LRTimelapse software (amazing stuff).
Many modern DSLR’s and mirrorless cameras have a time lapse feature built into the camera but for those that don’t, this is very handy and simple to use.
Again, you set the camera settings to what you need and then set up the MIOPS Smart Trigger.
Go to the Time Lapse setting
Set the interval (i.e. one shot every 5 seconds…or anything between one second and one hour with one second increments)
Set the exposure (how long you want the exposure to be in seconds/minutes …only used in Bulb mode for night shooting). MIOPS will not override your camera settings in any other mode but can again you can set the exposure to anything from one second to one hour with one second increments
Set the “limit” or how many shots you want taken overall
There is a bit of basic math involved with shooting time lapses which I will cover in an upcoming tutorial. For now, look at great time lapse apps such as “Lapse It Pro” and “Time Lapse Calculator” to help you in setting up the shots.
Remote Cable Release
There are 4 cable release modes with the MIOPS Smart Trigger:
- Cable Release
- Press and Hold
- Press and Lock
- Timed Release
You will need the Smartphone app here and the functions above are pretty self-explanatory but I’ll help anyway : )
Once the app is open in your Smartphone and connected to the MIOPS Smart Trigger, you simply select which mode you want. The simple cable release allows you to just tap the screen every time you want to take a photo.
Cool use: Leave the camera on the ground near some wildlife (ducks/ducklings), nest or burrow and move back and out of sight. Take the shot as any animals or creatures sniff out and explore the “odourless” camera.
Press and Hold
As it says, the shutter will stay open (need to be in “bulb” mode) for as long as you keep your finger on the screen.
Cool use: Press and hold in the dark whilst firing strobes for multiple exposures.
Press and Lock
This is handy if you are doing a long, night shot and don’t want to keep your finger on the trigger so to speak. All you do is hit the screen once to open the shutter, and once more to close it…simples!
At first, I mistakenly thought this was a feature where I could set a time (countdown) for the camera to start shooting for group selfies as an example. Whilst this might be a good idea for a firmware update in the future so I can set the camera to shoot after a certain time, it actually means you can set the shutter length in seconds and minutes yourself.
Still a good feature though…
Shooting HDR is pretty simple these days. For a start, most modern cameras (and Smartphones come to that) have a HDR feature that allows you to take multiple pictures and then blend them into one, HDR image.
When using the MIOPS Smart Trigger, you have to set your camera to B (Bulb) mode and manual focus. You can adjust the:
- “Center” setting (exposure in seconds). E.g. 1 second exposure
- The EV (exposure value +/-) in steps
- Adjust the amount of frames to take from 3, 5 or 7
Then simply press play and the camera will take three shots with varying exposures. You still need to do the rest of the work in suitable software. Like I said, some cameras do all of this “in camera” these days so this may not be useful for everyone.
The MIOPS Mobile Dongle is an additional extra that you will need for using the Smart Trigger away from your camera. It connects your Smartphone directly to your camera freeing up the main Trigger unit to be placed away from the camera but within Bluetooth range.
Cool uses: This is perfect for capturing wildlife where you want to place the laser and main unit away from the camera near a burrow, rabbit hole, nest etc. Perfect for capturing hard to get shots without you even needing to be there!
Not many I can think of but one is that it isn’t great with direct attachments to studio strobes. However, it’s good if run through pocket wizards or other wireless radio triggers.
For the money, I would say this is well worth the investment. Have it in your bag when you feel inspired or creative! Great fun…
- More Info and Buy the Smart Trigger direct from MIOPS
- More Info and Buy the Mobile Dongle direct from MIOPS
- Smart Trigger at Amazon UK
- Mobile Dongle at Amazon UK
- Smart Trigger at Amazon USA
- Mobile Dongle at Amazon USA
- Green Laser Pen at Amazon USA
- Green Laser Pen at Amazon UK
Don’t forget to share this with any friends or family that may be interested and thanks again to MIOPS Smart Trigger for the review copy. I’m going to have a lot of fun with this over the summer!