Triggertrap


 USING TRIGGERTRAP FOR STEREOSCOPIC PHOTOGRAPHY


Overview

 

This article is not intended to be a review of Triggertrap products; rather than this, it is to report my own experiences with the products. Reporting in this way, excludes many of the products features in favour of those scenarios likely to be the most interesting to 3D photographers, especially those owning an Android or iOS mobile phone or tablet.

First, I shall explain a little about the company and the products themselves. Triggertrap is a UK based company, located in Bristol. It was formed in 2011, with the purpose of engaging in a ‘Kickstart’ project. This project related to the remote control of digital cameras, by way of iOS and Android devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

The resulting frontline product today is named ‘Triggertrap mobile’, a compact, low cost trigger module with supporting accessories and software. Triggertrap mobile can simply be described as a dongle that enables connectivity, wired and potentially wireless, between a digital camera’s remote control socket and the earphone socket of an iOS or Android device. A listing of the camera connecting cables can be found at - http://shop.triggertrap.com - along with all other Triggertrap products.
















Photographs courtesy of Triggertrap


Your smartphone or tablet, with the free downloadable Triggertrap App installed, is able to engage in a wide range of camera shutter release and flash control ‘Modes’. Many of which are not available on the more traditional remote shutter releases and intervalometers. The following list is a summary of these Modes:



Unfortunately, not all of these Modes are yet available on the Android version of the Triggertrap App., the most significant being the Motion sensor.


Many of the listed Modes have a variable settings option, such as, camera shutter release and refresh delay values in Cable Release Modes; the number and EV stop values for HDR Modes etc. To learn more, you can download and install the Triggertrap App and reveal all, without commitment or cost! There are also many tutorials on YouTube; a very detailed 25 minute ‘Review and Walkthrough’ can be found there for example. There are also ‘Inspirational’ examples of various Triggertrap scenarios on their website – www.triggertrap.com


The Triggertrap App is quite unique; it is this that creates the photographic opportunities, stereoscopic or otherwise, that would be difficult and costly to engage with in any other way. Within the App, it is the ‘Sensor modes’ that are of particular interest, especially those of ‘Sound’ and ‘Motion’; it is these that I shall concentrate on during the course of this article.


Two Lens cameras and Twin Rig consideration


 Although the use of Triggertrap mobile is well documented on the manufacturers own website, with links to other online sources also, there is no information relating specifically to stereoscopic photography. In this respect, the only real issue is which make and model of camera Triggertrap is able to connect with.

If you own a Fuji W1 or W3 that has been modified to include a remote shutter release connection, the Triggertrap mobile kit required will be that used for certain Canon and models that have a 2.5mm remote socket; the reference for this kit is MD-3-E3 costing around £30. Unfortunately, the Panasonic 3D1 seems to have missed out on remote control connectivity.

For my own twinned Panasonic DMC GX7 cameras, the total cost of the two kits required is around £60.

Two kits will be required for any twin-rig, plus a 3.5mm earphone splitter cable to allow both cameras to share the same phone or tablet.
















Triggertrap connecting cables a splitter for two cameras.


Using Triggertrap with a twin-rig prompts the question ‘How well are the cameras synchronised?’ The answer is ‘Adequately’ for most scenarios. To my knowledge, nothing else compares with the twinning of two Canon cameras with StereoData Maker (SDM), which many of you will be familiar with. There is an element of luck in acquiring images such as the one seen below, captured while shooting some test images of a small garden fountain with my twinned Panasonic GX7 cameras and an iPad tablet.


































Triggertrap synchronisation capability.
















Twinned Panasonic GX7 beamsplitter rig and iPad.


My own attraction to Triggertrap products is less to do with camera synchronisation and more to do with the features of the Triggertrap App. The App makes full use of my Android and iOS devices inbuilt features; both my HTC smartphone and iPad tablet have inbuilt microphone and camera; each being fully utilised by the more interesting Triggertrap App Modes.


Triggertrap Flash Adapter


Before moving on, I should add that a Triggertrap flash adapter is also available. The flash adaptor is a special flash shoe that sits between a suitable Speedlight flash and a mounting bracket or tripod. The adapter, along with the Triggertrap mobile and App, will work with many Speedlight flash devices having an ‘M’ setting available. The cable provided with the adapter replaces the camera cable connecting with the Triggertrap mobile dongle, which in turn connects to the earphone socket of the device having the installed App.

















Triggertrap TT–FA2 Flash Adapter


In use, the flash adapter will trigger the Speedlight independently of the camera by way of the Triggertrap App. The camera will be set to Bulb mode and triggered manually; this is covered under my next heading – Triggertrap Scenarios.


Triggertrap Scenarios


In providing examples of my own experiences with Triggertrap, I have chosen to use a limited selection of the App’s Sensor Mode. I own cables that will connect the Triggertrap mobile dongle to my Fuji W3 and Panasonic GX7 cameras and so I have included examples for both.

In the first instance, I used a single Panasonic GX7 mounted with the Panasonic 3D lens. My Panasonic 3D lens has been modified slightly to provide for close-up photography down to around 150mm. My iPad, was used with the Triggertrap App set to Motion Sensor. The Motion sensor mode allows images, such as the one below, to be captured automatically and unattended. An alternative Timed release mode, also available in the App, can be used to good effect if the Bees are busy.


















Panasonic GX7 with modified 3D lens and Triggertrap Motion sensing by iPad.


Below is a similar subject, but this time I used my close-up beamsplitter rig. This twin rig produces a much better results, using the standard Panasonic kit lens rather than the 3D lens. In this scenario, the App’s Cable release mode and my HTC ONE smartphone were used to capture the shot.


































Twinned Panasonic GX7s with Close-up beamsplitter and Android smartphone.


If you own a Cyclpital3D close-up adapter and a Fuji W1 or W3 with a remote shutter release socket added, then that combination will also be an ideal set-up for such scenarios.


My final scenario involves the Triggertrap Flash adapter. I used the beamsplitter rig once more to capture splashes for a collage I had in mind. My iPad microphone was used to sense the sound of coins being tossed into a dish of water. The studio was darkened and the cameras set to 3 seconds exposure at f16; sufficient to capture the flash exposure only.















Coins captured with Panasonic GX7s with Close-up beamsplitter and iPad.


More Scenarios


One of my interests is time-lapse photography. In general, a tradition intervalometer will work fine for most time-lapse scenarios requiring a fixed camera position. If camera motion is required however, then a motorised slider or a panning head with intermittent motion will add interest to the time-lapse sequence; cloudscapes and landscapes for example.

Most motorised camera motion devices, don’t include a camera trigger output, relying on the mounted camera having its own time-lapse function, or the use of a traditional remote trigger. The Triggertrap App’s Time-lapse mode allow me to synchronise, very accurately, my Fuji W3 and my camera motion devices.


The Fuji W3, with or without attachments, but always with a remote socket and usually with an external battery pack (essential for time-lapse scenarios), is controlled by my HTC ONE phone. If the accessories attachment is fitted, I have the choice using wide-angle lenses and mounting the phone to the flash shoe with a Triggertrap phone trap; synchronising the slider and camera is quite straightforward using the Time-lapse app with its informative display; this shows interval countdown and totalised image count.















Fuji W3 and Slider combination with Triggertrap mobile and HTC One phone.


I have also used a panoramic head to produce time-lapse scenes with the Fuji W3. Once again, the Triggertrap App was used, but now with the option of ramping the time interval; this can save considerable time in post-production.















Fuji W3 and Panoramic head with Triggertrap mobile and HTC One phone.


Finally, a quick word about High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography. Using the Triggertrap App for HDR simplifies the operation by allowing 3 variable EV settings to be used in succession within one shutter release. To do this, the cameras involved will need to have a ‘Bulb’ setting available. My Panasonic GX7 cameras do have this, as do many SLR cameras but unfortunately the Fuji doesn’t – so be it!


Summary


The Triggertrap mobile, Flash adapter and supporting App offer a surprising and enjoyable extension to everyday photography. For those who already own an iPad or iPhone and suitable cameras, it’s a must. For those with Android devices, it is still a very attractive proposition.


Those having a remote enabled Fuji W1 or W3 will benefit greatly from the Triggertrap offerings; as will those wishing to explore the potential of their twin rigs.


At the current time, the development of the app seems to favour the iOS, rather than Android operating system; perhaps this should be kept in mind when considering the purchase of a tablet or smartphone!


The use of Triggertrap mobile with StereoData Maker driven cameras has not been explored by myself, and there is more that could to be said about Triggertrap ‘Modes’ not covered by this article.


For the best in technical support, I recommend that those intending to purchase the product, do so directly from Triggertrap. This is a young and vibrant company who will provide personal support at all levels.


All in all, I am very pleased with the product and continue to explore its capabilities with both my regular scenarios and new ones. As Triggertrap tell us ‘Let The Magic Begin’.