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Friday, June 1, 2007

Hi-Tech Studio: Go Wireless

Break free from the shutter button and get to know your subject

Hi-Tech StudioGetting out from behind the camera can be liberating. Talk to most large-format photographers, and they will tell you how important it is to be able to separate themselves from the obstruction of the camera. Interaction with a person when you're squinting through a small viewfinder or looking down at the ground glass is nigh impossible. On the other hand, we're all used to being behind an SLR body. Because we're looking to maximize the limited space in the frame, looking through the viewfinder all the time and making minute compositional adjustments is simply the way we do things.

Ergonomically, the camera is set up for this kind of shooting, of course. The shutter button is positioned such that it's easiest to depress without shaking the whole apparatus. Even when your camera is mounted firmly on a tripod, pressing the shutter when you're standing next to the camera instead of behind it can shake the setup enough to introduce camera shake into the image, and that simply isn't acceptable.

In the old days, we could attach a cable release to the shutter button. The button had threads, and the cable release, which cost less than $10, kept camera shake to nearly nothing. The rise of digital cameras also brought the demise of threaded shutter buttons.

Hi-Tech Studio Where the low-tech way of doing things disappears, the new high-tech world fills in a viable replacement. Wireless triggers aren't new, but they're becoming more and more popular for a broad range of professionals. Once thought of as being exclusively for nature photographers trying to record animal behavior or sports shooters who need to trigger cameras placed in arena rafters, wireless triggers are now finding their way into mainstream applications like portrait work.


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