Remote Shutter Release Options for the XSi / 450D

First published on: Tuesday, 16 November 2010

There are a number of reasons why owning a remote control to trip the shutter on the Canon XSi / 450D is a good thing, and I list down some wired and / or wireless remote solutions towards the end of this article.

Use it with the mirror lock-up function

We use the mirror lockup facility on the camera whenever we want the sharpest photo possible. Mounting the camera on the tripod is the first step for getting sharp pictures.

However, when shutter speeds are low, say less than 1/30 seconds, and you’re zoomed all the way in with a long telephoto fixed or zoom lens, say at 200mm, vibrations from the mirror slap that occurs every time you press the shutter button all the way will result in a slightly blurred photo. You get this result in spite of the camera already being mounted on a sturdy tripod.

What needs to be done here is to activate the custom function on the XSi / 450D to enable the shutter to open 2 seconds after the mirror flips up. When the shutter opens, the photo is taken.

Typically, one presses the shutter button to initiate the timer countdown. If you want your camera to be totally isolated from contact with your finger, getting the shutter released via remote is the best way.

You can’t, won’t or don’t want to stand near the camera

I can think of a couple of scenarios.

One, you want to take a group photo and want to include yourself in the picture. Without a remote, you would start the self-timer countdown on the camera and then run to the group to get yourself in the shot.

With the older Digital Rebel models, you’d have to run back to the camera and re-start the countdown sequence if you want to take more group shots. On the XSi / 450D, there’s a new, improved self-timer continuous drive mode which allows you to take continuous shots while in the self-timer mode. Still, a remote would come in handy when you want more control over the timing of the shots, or when you don’t particularly want to fiddle around with the self-timer function.

Another situation I can think of is when you do product or still life shots. Typically, you’d want to take multiple photos and have everything setup beforehand; the arrangement of the subject and props, lighting equipment and modifiers. You would have composed, pre-focused the camera and dialed in the necessary settings.

It would be convenient if you could just trigger the shutter without having to actually touch the shutter button. You do this so as to get the sharpest photo possible.

Perhaps you might not have the sturdiest of tripods and don’t want the camera’s orientation to be disturbed even in the slightest. You might also desire the convenience of being able to stand next to the subject to re-arrange the elements of the scene and take the next shot without having to walk back to the camera.


I’d never thought I would need a remote for this, but just the other day, I was trying point the camera at myself while supporting the camera with my right hand, and then suddenly realized there was no way I could trip the shutter with my left hand and still look naturally posed in the photo.

With the remote control, I could now release the shutter by pressing on the control’s button — problem solved.

Shooting BULB or long exposures

If you have a thing for photographing long exposures such as star trails, a remote shutter release is almost indispensable. The more advanced units have a locking mechanism (either mechanical or electronic) that allows the shutter to stay open for the desired period of time. This is far better than having to hold down the shutter button on the camera itself; you’re guaranteed of blurry photos if you do it this way.

What remote control models are available for the XSi / 450D and which should I buy?

There are basically three types of remote shutter releases — wired, wireless or hybrids which have both wired and wireless functionality.


Wired remotes are usually the cheapest. Wired means there’s a cable that runs from the remote to the XSi / 450D’s remote control terminal.

They work pretty well when you think that you’ll always be within a few feet of the camera while using the remote.

You have two sources for these remotes. Either get the original RS-60E3 from Canon for $22 USD (the cable measures 2ft long) or purchase one of numerous third-party remote switches.

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