ioShutter Review

The Ultimate Timelapse Tool?

It was one of those “oh, wow!” moments. In 2011, at Focus On Imaging, I was chatting with James Madelin from Enlight (the makers of the Orbis and Frio). He shared with me his plans for an iPhone app that could control remote firing a DSLR. I thought it was a cool idea to have a cable release always with you, so was impressed at this simple, yet extremely helpful idea. Then, I got more impressed as he expanded on the project, sharing that it was in fact a complete intervelometer allowing full control over time and frequency of shots.

Behind the scenes as Sotheby’s prepares the Gunter Sachs Collection ahead of the sale on May 22nd and 23rd, 2012. The IO Shutter in action with a Canon 5D MkII, on a time lapse. It is being triggered by an iPad 3 in the Sotheby’s bag. Sotheby’s, New Bond Street, London. May 17, 2012. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

I now have this rather super ioShutter cable with me and it has become part of my regular camera kit. The interface is just genius and very intuitive to use. It also works on the iPad and newer iPod Touches. To control the camera, one has to download the ioShutter app from the iTunes App Store. There is a free version with limited ability or the full on pro version offering much more control. Naturally, I would fully recommend the Pro version of the app to allow full creativity.

I had an assignment at Sotheby’s to make a timelapse video of the Gunter Sachs show being set up. I had three cameras on the go, covering various angles and rooms. For an overhead, fisheye type shot, I had my GoPro HD Hero clamped around a lighting rail using a large Joby Gorillapod (tripod). I had one of my Canon 5D MkII cameras on a tripod being triggered by a Pocket Wizard MultiMax which I’d put into intervalometer mode. On my other 5D MkII I had my iPad attached, using the ioShutter cable. First problem was finding a way to attach the iPad and a Sotheby’s carrier bag proved an elegant and workable solution!

I made sure the volume on the iPad was turned way up (as the IO Shutter cable plugs into the headphone jack), set my duration between shots to five seconds and set it to shoot. First attempt in the field and no problems. The app and cable worked perfectly.

This assignment started around 9.30am and finished around 5.00pm and the system just worked. I carry my Pocket Wizards in my location lighting bag, so unless I’m planning to use them, the Pocket Wizards aren’t always with me. With the ioShutter, I have the cable now in my Think Tank Photo Airport International roller, so it’s always there. I also always have my iPhone and usually my iPad with me, which now means that if see an opportunity for a timelapse, I can just shoot it.

Screen shots of the ioShutter Pro App.

Compared to the Pocket Wizard MultiMax, it’s also a cheaper option, with the camera control cable on the MultiMax costing considerably more. It also has various other uses, as a timer or a sound triggered release too. Lastly, it’s available for Canon and Nikon DSLRs.

Thinking back to our first chat about the ioShutter, I was very excited by the idea but had doubts about it materialising as it was just too good! Well, it’s here, it’s real and it’s genius. Very highly recommended.

If you’re in the UK, you can get the IO Shutter cable from Snapper Stuff.

One response to “ioShutter Review

  1. Very interesting article. Is there anything an iphone or ipad can’t turn it’s hand to these days? And now I just read lightroom is available for ipad. Thanks for the link to Snapper Stuff – good resource.

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