Wireless infrared remote triggers for the Canon XSi / 450D

First published on: Friday, 30 May 2008

Here’s a quick summary of the various options available for wireless infrared (IR) remote triggers available on the market for the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi / 450D digital SLR camera.

Page 164 of the Canon XSi / 450D instruction manual lists two options for wireless IR remote control shooting.

Note that wireless IR remotes need to be pointed directly at the remote control sensor located on the front of the Canon XSi / 450D hand grip. Line of sight between the remote and the sensor on the camera is needed, just like TV remote control units.

You’ll also need to put your XSi / 450D in self-timer mode first. This mode remains in effect until you select another Drive mode.

Canon Wireless IR Remote Control RC-1 for Digital Rebel

Canon Wireless Remote Control RC-1 for Canon XSi / 450D

The RC-1 has better functionality than the RC-5 in that you can choose to trip the shutter either immediately, or after a 2-second delay.

I’ve listed some user photos of the RC-1 that I found on Flickr — hopefully you can get a good idea of the size of this thing:

  1. My New RC-1 Remote for my Canon Rebel

  2. HighlandChic holds her RC1

  3. Shallow DOF on this RC1 photo

  4. Self-portrait with the RC-1

It costs about $21 USD.

I couldn’t find the official version of the RC-1 manual online, but EOSDoc.com has a version that should be helpful enough.

Get the Canon RC1 at Amazon.

Canon RC-5 Wireless IR Remote Controller

Canon RC-5 Wireless Remote Controller

The RC-5 only allows you to trigger the shutter after a 2-second delay, and does not have the immediate shutter trigger found on the RC-1 and the Phottix IR remote (mentioned at the end of this post).

There are quite a number of RC-5 photos on Flickr — here are my picks:

  1. The RC5 next to a 400D plus battery grip

  2. Self-portrait

  3. Just slightly longer than an AA battery

  4. RC-5 in the hand

  5. RC5 out of the box

You get to pay a bit less for this remote compared to the RC1, at $18 USD.

Get the Canon RC5 at Amazon.

You might also want to consider 3rd-party (Canon-compatible) options such as the Phottix IR remote which offer the same functionality at a slightly lower price.

Phottix IR remote

Review: Phottix IR remote for Canon XSi / 450D

Read my review of the Phottix IR remote for Canon.


Which is better, a plug-in (wired) remote or an infrared (IR) unit?

A wired remote allows you to shoot from behind the camera, and doesn’t require you to point the remote at the camera in a certain way.

It also replicates the function of the camera’s shutter button — you can press the button on the remote halfway to initiate AF (autofocus) and press the button all the way down to trip the shutter.

Plus, you need not put the camera into self-timer Drive mode, which means you can take, say, continuous shots.

An infrared remote is the better option if you want to take a lot of group shots in which you include yourself.

You will be able to stand quite a distance away and take the shot.

Shooting from anywhere other than the front of the camera isn’t as convenient because you have to make sure that the remote is aimed at the sensor in front of the camera.

Can the infrared remote work from behind the camera

No, it cannot.

You could stand behind the camera or to the side, and still take the shot provided you ensure that the sensor on the front of the camera can receive the signal in a “straight line” from the remote.

Can you press the button halfway for autofocus with the infrared remote?

No, you cannot.

The infrared remote is not, strictly-speaking, a shutter release, hence it cannot replicate the functionality of the shutter button entirely.

Can you remotely trigger a continuous burst of shots with an infrared remote?

No, you can’t.

This is because you’ll first have to put the XSi / 450D into self-timer Drive mode first, which means you don’t have the option to fire continuous shots since that is another Drive mode option.

Can you shoot BULB exposures with an infrared remote?

Yes, you can.

First, ensure that the XSi / 450D is put into BULB mode.

Next, activate the self-timer mode.

Then, press the button on the infrared remote to start the BULB exposure.

You’ll see the elapsed time on the rear LCD.

To stop the BULB exposure, simply press the button on the infrared remote a second time.

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