Tech Tuesday: Is This the Ultimate Camera Remote?

By // January 19, 2016 // Posted in Tech Tuesday

Pulse, a remote camera trigger from Alpine Labs, launched on Kickstarter in November. Now, it’s by no means the first photo gadget to hit the online crowd funding site, but what caught our attention was how quickly users demonstrated their support. Within three hours, Pulse had reached its fundraising goal ($50,000), and by mid-December, it had raised more than a million dollars. That, alone, is enough to warrant interest—if more than 12,000 people put up their hard-earned cash for this product, then maybe it’s worth closer examination. Alpine Labs has already launched a few other products that assist with time-lapse photography, which makes us believe that the new Pulse will also come to market (there are no guarantees with Kickstarter projects though, as we know).

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The new Pulse remote is a tiny device that fits into a camera’s hotshoe and connects via the camera’s USB port. When paired with your smartphone via Bluetooth, the Pulse app (available for iOS and Android) provides control of ISO, shutter speed and aperture from up to about 100 feet away. The shutter can be triggered for still images, of course, you can preview thumbnails on the smartphone and you can start/stop video recording as well. And, Pulse can control up to three cameras at the same time, capturing various angles and perspectives as needed (of course, you’ll need a Pulse for each one).

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Given the company’s experience with time-lapse products, it’s no surprise that Pulse is optimized for time-lapse photography with interval and exposure ramping, adapting exposure to the scene’s lighting changes—great for day-to-night or night-to-day captures. You can also pause and preview the time-lapse footage.

The device measures 1.57 x 2.36 x 0.68 inches and weighs a mere 1.5 ounces. Charged via USB, Alpine Labs promises more than 24 hours of battery life. Pulse will alert you to low battery levels and buffering issues.

Although Wi-Fi and complementary remote apps are available on many camera models, not all cameras have built-in wireless capabilities nor do all apps provide control over settings and that’s when Pulse is most beneficial. Right now, Pulse is compatible with Canon DSLRs including the 1D C, 1DX, 5D and Rebel series, along with models in between (but not the Canon EOS M series, which do not support remote shooting functions). Nikon support ranges from the D1 through the D7200. Pulse also supports the Panasonic GH4. Unfortunately, according to Alpine Labs, Pulse is not compatible with Sony cameras since “when tethered via USB, Sony cameras will not allow images to save to the memory card of the camera.” But they’ve started a Twitter campaign asking Sony to “fix” this. For a complete list of supported cameras, go here.

Pulse is slated to ship this April and can be pre-ordered for $89 (regular sale price is $99).

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Theano Nikitas

Theano Nikitas

Theano Nikitas, a full-time freelance writer and photographer, has been writing about photography for 18 years. Although she loves digital, Theano still has a darkroom and a fridge filled with film thanks to her long-time passion for alternative processes and toy cameras.

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