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Nero Trigger Review
NERO TRIGGER REVIEW
I have been asked by the makers of the photo trigger gadget Nero Trigger to provide an impartial review of the latest incarnation of their product. The first part of this review will concentrate on the menus, sub sections and methods of triggering your camera. The second, fun part, will be putting the unit to the test.
Costing in the region of £130 the Nero Trigger comes in a range of colours to suit all tastes and is approximately the size of a small pack of cards. Weighing in at a meagre 90 grams, including the two AAA batteries that came packed in the box, the unit is very lightweight and portable, yet feels adequately robust for normal day to day usage. On the bottom is a hotshoe adapter for connecting the gadget to a camera, there are no electrical contacts on the adapter, these are instead located on the side of the unit. The unit was a little tight in my Nikon D800 hotshoe but a little sanding with a fine grade sandpaper did the trick.There are connections for a flash and camera on one side via 3.5mm and 2.5mm jack sockets and the on/off switch and a 'Ext' connection socket on the other side. At the top of the unit is a small light receiver for the laser. If you intend to do a lot of work with the unit off camera you will need to buy a 2.5mm audio jack extension cable, these are readily available from vendors such as Amazon.
The top face of the unit sports a small window for the menu (more on this later), two buttons; 'menu' and 'start' and a four way controller used to select the required parameters for your shot. When turning the unit on the window comes to life and although the window is only 3cm x 3cm it is clear, easily read and in colour. The screen times out after about 30s to conserve power.
The first screen to appear is the 'Lightning' mode, pressing right on the four way controller reveals all six of the triggering options: Lightning, Sound, Timelapse, Laser, HDR and DIY
Starting with the 'lightning trigger', as the name suggests this is a 'light trigger', capturing events such as lightning (obviously!), fireworks and other occasions where a sudden change in light is detected. The light trigger has 99 levels of sensitivity, use the left or right buttons on the four way controller to set the required sensitivity, the higher values make the trigger more sensitive, Once you have set the sensitivity level to the required setting, press start and the unit gives a 3s countdown before going into economy mode, although it is still 'live' and ready to trigger the camera in this state. False triggering indicates the sensitivity is set too high and conversely no triggers will indicate that the sensitivity is set to low. Your camera should be in manual mode with appropriate shutter speed and aperture selected, pre-focused and left in manual focus. Leaving auto focus on will cause the camera to try to focus once triggered most likely resulting in a lost shot. In that split second of changing light the camera is triggered, recording the scene. Sadly, lightning storms are few and far between in my neck of the woods, but I'm sure I can find something to test it with.
The second screen on the unit is 'sound trigger', no explanations here! The sound mode has three sub sections; Sensitivity, Delay and Lock, use the up/down on the four way controller to access these functions. The sensitivity mode has ten times more levels than the lightning mode from 1-999. Working in a similar vein the higher up the scale the more sensitive the unit becomes to ambient sounds. If you were to use a loud sound, such as an airgun to trigger your camera, it would be prudent to set the sensitivity low, if you were to use the unit to trigger quieter sounds set the sensitivity high but beware that any external noises do not interfere and trigger your shot prematurely. The part of the trigger that I am most excited about is the trigger delay times. The delay times are measured in milliseconds, 1ms to 999ms. If you have ever tried to capture a high speed event, you will be aware that milliseconds are the difference between a good shot, a great shot or a failed shot. Having the facility to so easily set this measurement is a huge bonus and a very welcome feature. Finally the lock section, this has two modes, 'on' (single shot) or 'off' (multiple shots). When 'on' the trigger will only fire the camera/flash once until it is reset for the next shot, one press on the start button is all this takes. Set to 'off' and the unit will continue triggering the camera all the while it detects noise. A good instance of this is if you were to set about capturing a light bulb being dropped on to a hard surface. In single mode or 'on' the trigger will detect the initial impact, fire the camera/flash after the set delay and that's it, when set to 'off' or multiple shots, the unit will trigger the camera/flash on the first impact and keep going until the noises caused by the breaking bulb have ceased.
Third screen on is the 'timelapse' function. This function triggers your camera to your desired time interval between each shot. It works as follows: Set your interval time, this is the amount of time you would like the Nero Trigger to leave between exposures on the camera. Exposure on the unit equates to the exposure time you have set on your camera and limit is the number of shots you want the Nero Trigger to fire. For instance, if you were attempting to take some star trail shots that you were intending to stack in software later, you could set the unit up as follows: Interval = 5s, Exposure = 40s and you want to take 100 shots (setting the limit to zero will keep firing your camera until your card is filled). Simply put you would get 100 shots of 30s each, and 5 s between each shot. Timelapse function is perfect for Star Trails and for making timelapse movies, it's a 'set it and forget it' mode, just ensure your batteries are charged and you have enough room on your card for all the shots you want.
Fourth screen along is the 'laser trigger'. A laser is required to use this feature, I don't mean the Star Wars type, although that would be cool, but one of the presentation pointer varieties that are available from Amazon and others. The only drawback with these lasers is that you have to tape down the on button on the laser pointer, it tends to use the batteries up so I recommend the rechargeable sort. The huge benefit of the laser is the distances you can go to trigger the unit and the point of light is visible, making it a breeze to align. I have used infrared triggers before and whilst these have their plus points, batteries last ages for instance, the laser method is far easier to use. The laser trigger fires the camera when the beam is broken, the delay is set in the same fashion to the sound trigger and threshold is adjusted according to the strength of the beam hitting the Nero Trigger receiver; a small diode on the top of the unit. The laser trigger is great for wildlife, water drops and you could even set it up for taking candids and many other concepts limited only by the room you have and the strength of the laser. When the laser beam is broken (You can tell the unit is operational when you see the 'LM' designation on the display meaning the laser is on target), Nero Trigger fires the camera, you can set how many shots you want the camera to take each time the beam is broken, from a single shot to 999.
The penultimate screen is the 'HDR' facility. This option allows the user to set the Nero trigger to fire off a burst of bracketed shots of up to 7 frames with an exposure bias of 1/3, 1/2 and 1 stop. The 'center' option is the optimum reading from either your camera or light meter at your elected camera settings.
The unit will only allow your fastest exposure to go to 1/30s so it does have some limitations, this isn't a major obstacle, just something to be aware of. It is an added advantage to those who have purchased a 'consumer rated' SLR such as the Nikon 5200 that only allows for three frames of exposure bracketing in camera. The example of the image on the right shows the optimum shutter setting on the camera was 1/2 second, an exposure value of 1/2 stop was chosen and seven images are being captured. To use this option you need your camera to be mounted on a tripod or other support so that the camera does not move, set to 'bulb' mode and manually focused on your intended subject.
The final screen on the Nero Trigger is intriguingly titled 'DIY'. This mode has its own dedicated port on the side of the unit and is for those users who have an understanding of electronics, indeed there is a warning in the manual as to exercising caution when using this mode and if you do not know what you are doing leave it alone. There are three options to this mode and I am not an expert on anything electrical so I will be heeding the advice of the makers and leaving this part alone.However for those in the know the three options are rising, falling and change. They work on a rising or falling voltage system of between 0v and 3v as far as I can tell. The good news is that there is more than enough on the Nero Trigger to keep me occupied for a good while to come and I can't wait to begin using it.
My initial impressions and limited tests with the Nero Trigger are very positive. It's extremely easy to use, lightweight and ultra-portable, easily fitting into most camera bags or even a pocket. However, the proof of the unit will be in the results it can provide, so watch this space, I hope to be able to provide some examples of what can be achieved with it very soon.
Update 10/03/2013: The sound sensor review can be found here: Sound Sensor Review
Laser Trigger review here: Laser Trigger
Timelapse Function here: Timelapse
Keywords: Graham Moss, HDR, High Speed Photography, Laser, NeroTrigger, captivephotons.co.uk, photography, timelapse
Hi Clayton, thank you for your comments. I'm hoping to complete part two tonight. In the meantime, this was taken using the Nerotrigger:
Desde Argentina, gracias por el review, acabo de realizar la compra y estoy ansioso por recibir Nero Trigger y poner en practica lo que has explicado
Thanks for the visit and comment. I'll be hoping to put the Nero Trigger through its paces tomorrow and post the shots later. I hope you enjoy yours and it would be great to see your results. I'm envious that you'll be getting a storm, they are few and far between here.
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