Best Shutter Release Add-ons in 2019

Best Shutter Release Add-ons in 2019 will recommends the best best shutter release triggers for lightning storms and other weather and human high speed events.

Lightning camera triggers are niche pieces of equipment. Any storm chaser photog will tell you they make the difference between the stunning shot and an empty image.

When it senses an imminent strike or other split-second event, it triggers the shutter release. Then, you’ll capture the perfect picture.

Lighting shots are based on infrared technology. However, most work for other kinds of events too. Those include raindrop strikes, breaking glass, and more, with out of the box or add-on attachments.

These triggers can be free-standing or connected to the camera via a cable with the pin structure required for that make and model. You can also mount them on the hot shoe flash.

Some also have smartphone apps for system control. They might also have a combination of two or three methods. The closer from trigger sensor is to the camera, the faster your message to the shutter can be transferred.

Finding a unit with flexible settings for other purposes expands your possible uses. Once you begin working with this tool, you’ll find other types of imaging possibilities, like astrophotography with shooting stars, wildlife on a path or in a nest, or timelapses.

Here is our list of the best shutter release triggers for lightning storms and other weather and human high speed events.

5 Best Shutter Release Add-ons for Lightning Storms

  • Best Overall: Pluto Trigger
  • Best for Learning Technique: MIOPS Smart Trigger
  • Best for Fast Speed: Ubertronix Strike Finder 2
  • Best Infrared Specialty: MK Controls Lightning Bug
  • Best Budget: Hahnel Capture Pro

Best Overall: Pluto Trigger

pluto trigger
  • Trigger Mechanism: Cable, Bluetooth, infrared, hot shoe
  • Distance Camera to Trigger: Infrared 23 ft., Bluetooth 66 ft.
  • Speed of Trigger: Adjustable
  • Timelapse: Adjustable
  • Battery Life: 20 hrs.
  • Programmable: Yes

The Pluto high speed camera trigger tops our list for its versatility and array of settings. A cable attaches the trigger to the camera, and those match specifically to your camera body’s connection structure (Canon for Canon, Nikon for Nikon, etc.). It also works remotely via an infrared connection and physical shutter release.

Battery life is extensive with this unit, rechargeable in an hour and a half with a run time of 20 hours when connected via Bluetooth and up to 40 hours with Bluetooth turned off. It operates in a range of temperature conditions, from minus 20 degrees to plus 70 Fahrenheit, though some users admit they’ve stretched that upper limit without ruining their trigger.

As with any trigger, the closer you connect it to the camera, the more instantaneous your lapse between event and shutter release will be. Some users feel tis is still not fast enough for their style of imagining. However, it is not clear if they invested enough learning curve time to understand how their equipment functions.

Others admit that it does take time to understand how best to set up camera settings like exposure time, ISO and aperture to coordinate for the high speed shot you want. Cable pin structure is specific to the make and model of your camera, an advantage if you have multiple cameras since all you may need is a different cable for each.

If you want to play with unique images triggered by light, sound, motion, distance or effect, this is the shutter release trigger that will help you experiment with new types of shooting.

Best for Learning Technique: MIOPS Smart Trigger

miops smart trigger
  • Trigger Mechanism: Cable, Bluetooth, infrared, hot shoe, smartphone
  • Distance Camera to Trigger: Depends on trigger mechanism
  • Speed of Trigger: Varies
  • Timelapse: Yes
  • Battery Life: Varies
  • Programmable: Yes

If you’re learning the ropes in high speed photography and want a system that helps you improve your skills, this MIOPS is a great option. Its detailed instructions outline camera settings you’ll need depending on what kind of image you’re taking. An optional addition lets you trigger for liquids too.

Programming options offer so many variations, you might be tempted to try them all in the first few days of owning it. From timelapses for night images of star movement to lightning strikes to infrared captures of birds visiting the feeder, you have so many things to play with, it’s hard to decide where you want to begin.

While versatility is a big selling point, the true benefit is the training MIOPS offers in its instructions, from its app (available for both Android and iOS), and on its website. Learning how to take each kind of image in terms of camera and trigger settings is the key to being successful.

Updates to firmware in the unit and software in the app are both performed on a regular basis behind the scenes, giving you options you can grow into as well.

Users say this trigger requires time to learn. The importance of using the correct camera settings can’t be stressed enough. Once you understand the basics, though, it is a tool you’ll keep handy for many kinds of shooting situations.

Best for Fast Speed: Ubertronix Strike Finder 2

ubertronix strike finder 2
  • Trigger Mechanism: Infrared, hot shoe, optional cables
  • Distance Camera to Trigger: N/A
  • Speed of Trigger: I millisecond
  • Timelapse: No
  • Battery Life: Varies
  • Programmable: No

If lightning strikes are the one and only thing you want to shoot, this Ubertronix is made for it. Speed of impending flash recognition is the key selling point. Attach this on your camera and let it do the work for you without intensive monitoring.

You could consider this one a stripped down shutter release trigger if it wasn’t so effective at its single purpose, lightning. Unlike other trigger units with a sensor that is multipurpose, this optical sensor has a design to be hyper light-sensitive. It is effective in daylight as well as low light settings.

Because this trigger release connects via the camera’s hot shoe, you can set it and walk away with minimal monitoring of the storm. Keeping the storm in the camera’s frame is the only worry you’ll have. It runs on a 9-volt battery and appears to have a long battery life.

Getting the right light sensitivity dialed in is the challenge users mention most. Once that is set, the system works well, even in rainy or otherwise non-optimal conditions. While it is not a time-lapse system, you can adjust the speed of response to lightning strikes, giving you opportunities to create stunning images of one strike or more.

Best Infrared Specialty: MK Controls Lightning Bug

mk controls lightning bug
  • Trigger Mechanism: Infrared, hot shoe
  • Distance Camera to Trigger: N/A
  • Speed of Trigger: Varies
  • Timelapse: No
  • Battery Life: Varies
  • Programmable: Yes

With a special infrared optical sensor, this MK system is designed for the science of lightning. Microseconds before our eyes can see the flash, an infrared light is transmitted in the strike’s path. The actual strike follows that to the ground or cloud, and the MK is ready to trigger the shutter to capture it.

The MK runs on a 9-volt battery and attaches on the camera hot shoe, though it can also be used freestanding via a cable. Sony cameras require a separate hot shoe adaptor. It is built to withstand a downpour no matter how you set it up (if your camera and lens are weather sealed).

This shutter release is designed to be completely programmable by the user. Twenty-six settings for light sensitivity allow you to adjust how bright a strike will create a trigger. You can also set the number of exposures from one to ten, so you can select the one that best expresses the image.

Because light sensitivity coupled with camera settings create the finished product, users note there is a learning curve with this product and practicing is important. Having a fresh battery to run it also appears to be important. Consumers rave about the flexibility of this trigger release and say it produces the best lightning images because you can customize it to such a fine level of detail.

Best Budget: Hahnel Capture Pro

hahnel capture pro
  • Trigger Mechanism: Cable, infrared, hot shoe
  • Distance Camera to Trigger: Up to 328 ft.
  • Speed of Trigger: Varies
  • Timelapse: Yes
  • Battery Life: Varies
  • Programmable: Yes

Spending a little less on a lightning trigger does mean you get fewer features, but with this Hafnel, you might not care about the difference. While this system does a good job on lightning strikes, it shines in its infrared capabilities. If capturing images of wildlife wandering into the frame or freeze action in mid-step interests you, you’ll want this unit.

Most reviews will focus on the infrared features, since these seem to be the selling point of the unit. Usual connections are via the hot shoe, with a standard 2.5mm cable or a camera-specific cable providing the rest. Cables do not come with the unit and you must purchase them separately.

This shutter release will work for light sensors, though it appears to work better in low light conditions. You will need to supply a laser for infrared beam-break settings, though an inexpensive one will do. Programming for appropriate delays between trigger and image capture is critical step in the learning curve.

Instructions are less than ideal, according to customers. Settings on your camera guide the image quality. You’ll need to do some experimenting until you learn what works best for your gear combination. For the price and flexible scenarios of use, this is a good shutter release trigger for outdoors work of many kinds.

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