My Favorite Wireless Trigger for Light Painting

My Favorite Wireless Trigger for Light Painting

Being lazy is one of my favorite traits, so walking needs to be avoided at all costs. I'm kidding... well, not really. This wireless remote for my camera has saved me quite literally thousands of steps in my light painting processes. 
 I mostly use it for my automotive photography as the camera is always on the tripod and I am bracketing exposures, whether I am light painting with a flash or a continuous light. But why do I need one?


The Challenge

The way I work, I have my camera setup on the tripod and I put my light on a specific part of the subject say a fender. Then I move my light to the door or the wheel, take another exposure and so forth. Walking back and forth from the tripod camera to the light each time I want to take an exposure is ridiculous to say the least. Using the camera’s built-in intervalometer wasn't exactly the ideal solution either as I may not be ready with the light by the time the next frame fires, so what I needed was a true wireless solution that lets me take a photo at any time I want, wherever I am. Photographers are also notorious for being cheapskates and I am no exception with certain things too.


The Solution

Enter the RFN-4s kit. This thing is cheap, available from Prime shipping and works excellently. It's true plug-and-play; you open the package, give it a battery, plug it into the camera, and begin shooting. The receiver is powered by the camera when it's plugged in, which is handy, and the transmitter takes a standard AAA, so no funky battery you cant find at a store when you are in a pinch.
 
The trigger is small enough that I can carry it in my hand while I am also holding my light or light stand. I just simply push the button each time I want to take a shot while holding the light myself, which eliminates the need for an assistant and constant communication with the assistant as far as trying to describe where I want the light placed. On a side note, I shoot a lot of very expensive cars such as Ferraris, McLarens etc., and having an assistant around the car with a metal light stand makes me a little bit nervous to say the least. I am very much a do-it-yourself kind of guy in situations like this as I like being responsible for things of this importance. This remote allows me to accomplish this.


Miscellaneous Features

The shutter button allows a half press to focus just like the button on the camera does as well, which could be handy in certain situations. That particular feature is not relevant to me as I shoot in manual focus when I am shooting things by light painting and bracketing, as I do not wish to run the risk of a slight focus variation.

I also use this for triggering my camera with my car rig as well, as I am not moving the camera by pressing the button when it's hanging off the boom. It's very handy, even if I am standing right next to the camera.
 
For the price, I feel this particular remote is hard to beat. 
 

Link to the remote

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7 Comments

Jeff Morris's picture

I have a pair of cheap-o Yongnuo transceivers ($28/pair) that allow for simple remote triggering. For short range work (100' or less) they're quite reliable.

Leigh Miller's picture

This +1

I've had my 602'a for nearly 7 years now and they never fail. I've also tossed plenty of PW's...in the trash. Cost as much to fix as replace.

Robin Browne's picture

RF 603. They have been working great for at least three years.

William Howell's picture

I've had this remote trigger for a couple of years and it works and it is unbelievably cheap. According to The Angry Photographer this is why Nikon is the better of the two main camera brands. I've been told that Canon does not have this port.

Now this trigger doesn't work with back button focus, it has to be in "S" mode.

Hunter Kotlinski's picture

Great article! Very informative...

Grant Schwingle's picture

Does this trigger lock you out of review? When I use my pocket wizards to do this I cannot review any of the images I shot without first disconnecting the 10 pin.

Bill Larkin's picture

Not that I've seen.