Remote Shutter Release / Trigger Options for Mid to High End Canon Digital SLR Cameras

First published on: Tuesday, 20 January 2009

This article was originally written for the 40D, but the remote trigger alternatives are equally applicable to the Canon EOS 7D, Canon 5D Mark II, 50D, 1Ds Mark III, 1D Mark III and their predecessors.

There are two main methods to trigger the shutter on your Canon 40D via remote.

You could use a wired / cable remote control, or go the wireless way.

Here’s a screen capture from Page 179 of the Canon EOS 40D PDF manual of the remote control products that can trigger the Canon 40D:
Canon EOS 40D remote trigger options

Wired / Cable Remote Release

Timer Remote Controller Canon TC-80N3

Canon TC80N3 Timer Remote Control.jpg

The $135 USD Canon TC-80N3 allows you to program the 40D shutter release in several ways:

  1. Straightforward self-timer.
  2. Interval timer — this intervalometer / time-lapse functionality works great if you want to create stop-motion movies from images shot in this manner.
  3. BULB or long exposures — for those who want to shoot, say, the night sky.
  4. Exposure count — you can set the unit to take a predetermined number of shots.

Most of the release methods mentioned can be combined in one or more ways, for instance, take 3 long exposure shots 5 hours from now.

You might want to consider an alternative. The Nikos C8 on eBay is a time release and frame count remote, and costs considerably less, at $49 USD.

Remote Switch Canon RS-80N3

Canon RS-80N3 Remote Switch

The Canon RS-80N3 costs $47 USD and has a simple function. Half-press to initiate AF (autofocus) and set exposure, then press all the way to take the shot. A mechanical lock enables you to lock the button in fully-depressed position for BULB / long exposures.

A search for Canon RS-80N3 on eBay reveals quite a number of low-cost alternatives (for as little as $6.50 USD shipped) you might want to check out.

Wireless Remote Release

A wireless remote control allows you to trigger your 40D from a greater distance compared to a wired remote since you don’t have to contend with cables.

Wireless InfraRed Controller Canon LC-5

Canon LC-5 Wireless IR Controller

The Canon LC-5 InfraRed (IR) remote control will set you back about $405 USD.

Like a typical TV / DVD remote, you’ll need line of sight between the transmitter and the receiver.

I think it’s a big price to pay, but you’d probably not have any other options if you’re in countries that restrict the use of RF (radio frequency) remote devices, such as the Phottix Cleon C8 which I’ll talk about next.

Wireless Radio Frequency (RF) Remote

Phottix Cleon C8 receiver and transmitter

One major benefit of RF remotes is that you don’t need line of sight between the transmitter and the receiver.

The device can even work through walls, and you can trigger the 40D while it’s in another room.

I own the Phottix Cleon C8 and have written a review on it — read it here.

Another device that seems to be receiving good reviews on Amazon is the $80 USD WR-A100 Wireless Remote Control by Satechi — you might want to compare this with the Cleon C8 before deciding on which unit to purchase.


If there are no restrictions on using RF devices in your area, I’d go with an RF remote for the convenience (think product shots, birthday parties and events) and flexibility (landscapes, long exposures).

You might also want to purchase the TC-80N3 for more complex time-lapse photography.

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