digital camera cable release options

Cheap camera shutter cableCheap shutter cable

Do you need digital camera cable release?  

Also called a shutter cord, should you go with a basic cheap cable release, a medium quality one, or a brand name for your Canon or Nikon camera? 

How do they work and which is the right shutter cord for you?  You've got questions. This article has the answers.

We'll start by figuring out in what photographic situations you will be using your cable release.

How will a Camera Cable Release Help You - Advantages

my favorite

Medium quality camera cable releaseMedium Quality
Camera Cable Release

1. Sharper Photos. A  cable release combined with a decent tripod gives you sharper photos in a variety of situations.

That's the simplest and most important benefit. With the cable release you get a simple camera accessory that insures you get a sharp photo without any blur or lack of sharpness from camera movement.

It's easy to forget that even with a tripod, the slightest touch of your finger on the shutter button can cause a loss of sharpness. Even fast shutters may not compensate for the tiny movement that occurs when you handhold your camera.

I'll guess that 95% of photographers won't use one. They just hold the camera as steady as possible and push the shutter button. 

But you and I, we're a little different. We want the sharpest of results and we play around with creative photography in different situations. We also like to try long exposures to make stunning photos by capturing motion blur with waterfalls, fireworks, street scenes, and the nighttime sky. 

Maybe a higher quality brand name shutter release, or even a sophisticated device that does time lapse photography? You're facing the same question I often do, deciding to save money on a budget accessory or "splurging" on top quality.

     2. Fireworks and nighttime photography. Although you can use the camera's self timer to allow the camera to settle after pushing the shutter button, it's really tough to get just the right timing if you have any kind of moving subject.

     3. High Dynamic Range Photography. True HDR photography requires several different exposures of the subject without any camera movement at all. You've got to use that tripod of yours and not allow ANY MOVEMENT from hitting the shutter button with your finger.

     4. Macro Photography. Camera movement is exaggerated when you're shooting in close under high magnification. It's hard enough to get the focusing just right with macro photography. You certainly don't want any lack of sharpness from camera movement to degrade your image.

disadvantages of using a cable release

     1. Carry. It's another accessory to carry along with you. Granted, they're not big and bulky like a super telephoto lens or a full-sized strobe light, but it's one more piece of equipment to carry. If you use a camera bag this is really not such a big deal for you.

Most cable releases are only about 12 inches long. Avoid getting a long one unless you really have a very specific reason to do so.

     2. Cost. They're fairly affordable, particularly if you follow my advice and go with a decent quality 3rd party manufactured release rather than a brand name one like Canon or Nikon.

     3. Tangled. Whenever you have a wire or cable involved, there is potential for snagging or getting tangled up. If you have other wires or accessories involved in your shoot, the potential is greater to experience a conflict.  For most of us, this really isn't a big disadvantage, but it's reason why some photographers prefer a wireless remote shutter trigger.

     4. Wear and Tear. When wires and terminals are involved, you can develop wear and tear from frequent use. Treat all your camera accessories with care and you won't have much of an issue here.

Why many photographers won't use a Cable Release

The large majority of photos are taken handheld in regular situations with enough existing light (or by using the built-in camera flash) to get an average photos.

That's good enough for many, but perhaps not you and me.

camera ISO setting

With today's higher ISO capable sensors and image stabilization (IS) technology you can shoot in low light situations better than ever.

High ISO means less light needed and you can get fast shutter speeds in low light situations.

Image stabilization technology means we can forgo the tripod and still get reasonably sharp photos at slower shutter speeds. Okay fellow photogs, take your tripod out to the curb on trash day. Not so fast!

Alternatives To The standard Camera Cable Release

Wireless Remote Camera Shutter Release

How about going wireless?

You can get the same vibration free results when you trigger your shutter with a wireless remote shutter trigger.

You never have to worry about connecting anything to one of your camera's terminals and you never have to worry about about getting tangled up or developing a short circuit. 

Wireless Remote Camera ControlWireless Remote
Camera Control

Some shutter controllers let you to switch between single or continuous release. Others have a self-timer delay on the controller itself, instead of adjusting on the camera.

This is great for wildlife and bird photographers who've set their camera up at a distance to avoid scaring off their subject.

I recently bought an intervalometer cable release to add to my collection of digital camera cable releases.

What will an Intervalometer Do For You?

An intervalometer is a specialized shutter cord that will let you take a sequence of individual photos at specific time intervals. Then afterwards, you can combine them into a video to show the change in something over a set amount of time. The possibilities for you to get creative with time lapse photography are endless.

My First Ever Time Lapse Video

One of the more interesting cords you can use to release the shutter is one that is also an intervalometer. It operates the shutter at set intervals over a period of time. This gives you the option to do time lapse photography.

Shutter Release CordPolaroid Camera Shutter Release Cord and Intervalometer

There are several ways to do time lapse photography, but an dedicated intervalometer makes it easy and you can also use it just like any other traditional camera release to trigger the shutter without vibration.

Intervalometers can be used in a variety of other ways too. The following video show you how versatile of a camera cable release an intervalometer is.

You're may be looking for a simpler, more affordable option. I've used several different shutter release cords for digital cameras over the last 10 years. 

I've found out with this particular type of camera accessory, you really do get what you pay for.

best selling digital camera cable release choices

Do you want an easy way to make sure you get sharp photos every time you use your tripod without spending a lot?

Just like Google, amazon is essentially a search engine. Yes, it is a web site that sells more product than any other. 

But, it's also a great tool for you to search about any product you're interested in. No matter where you decide to buy, Amazon is the place to read the detailed reviews from the people who have already purchased. Read the reviews on the best selling digital camera cable releases here.

top sellers on Amazon

I like backups and I have 3 of these shutter releases.

I've never used one of these but a top seller on Amazon.

Very affordable accessory for hands free shooting.

It cost you nothing to visit the Amazon site. It costs you no extra money if you go on and decide to purchase something after using one of the links above.

Amazon does give me a little financial "thank you" to me for helping you find what you wanted and that helps me keep this free website going.

 cable release for Canon

Primarily a Canon shooter, I've had lots of experience with cable releases for Canon cameras. I've likely used at least 4 different version, having both good and bad experiences.

You don't want to miss that one great photo from a shutter release that failed you. This video shows a comparison between 3 different cable releases.

Cable release for Canon DSLRCanon Cable Release

Using my own personal experiences with using different shutter cords I buy medium quality cords NOT made by Canon. The Canon cable releases are simply too expensive. You can save money by going with a good quality 3rd party manufacturer.

Avoid going with the cheapest digital camera cable release. They often don't function very well and don't last very long either. 

cable release for nikon

Here's a comparison of 4 cable release options for Nikon cameras. This 5 minute video was done by Ben Fewtrell of You'll love his accent.

If you're a Nikon camera shooter this is worth watching. Ben wisely points out that once the Nikon name is stamped on the side, the price is automatically higher.

Like Ben, I've had the same positive experience with using JYC shutter releases. I've tried cheapo ones-they sucked, and I've purchased overpriced brand name ones too.

Cable Release For NikonNikon Cable Release

definition of digital camera cable release

What is a digital camera cable release used for? Here are two definitions.

  1. An accessory made up of a flexible wire that is pressed at one end to trip a shutter mechanism on a camera on the other end. 
  2. A device designed to release the camera shutter without shaking it.  It's made of wire running in a flexible tube: pressure at one end of wire pushes other end which is connected to shutter button, and releases the camera's shutter.

A decent camera shutter release should help you keep your tripod nice and steady. There are other factors too that you will want to be aware of. You can check out 5 simple ways to keep your tripod stable here: Tips for keeping your tripod steady.

Shoot more photos. Shoot better photos.

Article published by Bruce Lovelace


Bruce is the publisher of this website. He is the author of the book "Improve Your Photography Instantly."  Read more on Bruce on his Bio Page. He's been known as The Traveling Photographer ever since 1994. Read more about this website.

View some of Bruce's photos on Instagram.   Visit the Facebook Page. Watch him on YouTube.  Bruce runs photo workshops for kids and adults, and provides one-on-one photography coaching.

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