Clever Nero Trigger uses light, sound, or anything you can imagine to trip your camera’s shutter


posted Thursday, August 29, 2013 at 3:24 PM EST

Snap quiz: What do lightning striking, balloons bursting, and skittish animals have in common? If you guessed that you'd need quick reflexes to get a picture of them, you hit the nail squarely on the head. A new product called the Nero Trigger aims to help you get those tricky shots, by eliminating your reaction time from the equation. (And as an added bonus, it can also help you with your time-lapse and HDR photography.)

The Nero Trigger is a tethered camera trigger that works with cameras from a variety of manufacturers, including Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Sony, and Pentax. According to its maker, it should also work with other brands, too, but the necessary cables are only available directly from the company for these five brands. Once connected to your camera, the Nero Trigger can trip its shutter remotely on a number of different event types.

In Lightning mode, a sudden change in light level is taken as a signal to trip the shutter, with a 99-step sensitivity control available. As the name suggests, this is ideal for lightning photography, so long as you ensure that you're shooting from a safe place. It can also be used for fireworks, or anything else where there's a significant change in light level at the key moment where you want the shutter to open.

The Nero Trigger is fairly compact, and has a logical user interface with color screen.

Sound mode is similar to Lightning mode, but instead takes an aural trigger such as a bursting balloon or shattering glass. Here, you have not only a sensitivity adjustment (with 999 steps available), but also a time delay parameter of up to 999 milliseconds.

Laser mode, too, is similar to Lightning mode, but with a key difference. The Nero Trigger looks not for a sudden increase in light levels, but for a decrease. That lets you set up a laser beam aimed at the Nero Trigger, and have a photograph captured when something -- a naturally-shy animal, perhaps -- steps into the laser beam, and momentarily disturbs the signal. This time, you have both a time delay, and a threshold parameter that accounts for laser sources of different output power.

In Time-Lapse mode, the Nero Trigger will capture photos at a preset interval with your chosen shutter speed, and a user-specified limit on the number of frames captured. The minimum interval is one second, and the maximum is 59 minutes and 59 seconds. Preset exposure times have the same range. Alternatively, you can set the exposure time to zero, and the Nero Trigger will simply start the exposure and allow your camera to determine the necessary shutter speed. The frame capture limit can be set as high as 9999 frames, or the limit disabled altogether by setting it to zero. Quite handy for cameras -- especially entry-level models -- which lack an interval timer function!

A two-year warranty is included in the US$200 purchase price, as is free shipping anywhere in the world via DHL.

There's also an HDR mode, although there's a catch that will rather limit its utility. In HDR mode, the Nero Trigger will capture five or seven frames around a center shutter speed which you define. You have a choice of 1/3, 1/2, 1, or 2EV step sizes between frames. The camera must be set to Bulb mode, and your chosen shutter speed for the "normal" frame has to be within a range of 1/15 to 15 seconds, presumably due to the accuracy with which you can trigger exposures.

And finally, there's a DIY mode, which lets you connect your own trigger device to the Nero Trigger. This can have a voltage of up to 3V, and can trip the shutter based on either an increase or decrease in voltage. (Or in Change mode, on either event.) You have a choice of a 999 step granularity on voltage detection between 0V and 3V, and a 0 to 999 millisecond trigger delay.

All of this is configured on a small, color screen on the Nero Trigger unit. The device's interface is pretty straightforward, too, with Menu / Back and Start buttons, plus a four-way controller. And that's about the size of it: A simple way to extend your camera's capabilities, and to capture events based on pretty-much any trigger you can imagine.

The Nero Trigger is available immediately in a choice of six colors.

Available immediately, the Nero Trigger ships in six colors: red, black, orange, blue, green, or pink. Pricing is set at around US$200, with one free camera cable included. Additional camera cables can be purchased for $20 apiece, if you want to control multiple camera types. (Or you can supply your own cable, if your camera isn't one of those for which cables are offered.) Worldwide shipping using DHL is included in the purchase price.

More details on the Nero Trigger website!