Rodney Campbell's Blog

Review: Phottix Aion Wireless Timer and Shutter Release…

by on Aug.10, 2013, under Life, Photography, Technology

I’ve used a number of wired and wireless shutter remotes with my various Nikon D-SLR’s – this is a review (and comparison) of my latest acquisition in this space – the Phottix Aion Wireless Timer and Shutter Release.

Phottix Aion Wireless Timer and Shutter Release

Firstly a list of some common functions found in most programmable timer shutter releases:

  • Self Timer – Just like the self timer on your camera. The timer remote switch allows you to set a variable delay (usually in 1 second increments up to 99 hours, 99 minutes and 99 seconds)
  • Interval Timer – Can be set to any time period up to 100 hours as well. If you set it to 10 minutes, for example, one exposure will be taken every 10 minutes until either the storage runs out or the Exposure Count limit has been reached
  • (Long) Exposure Length – Allows you to take timed exposures (usually from 1 second in 1 second increments up to 99 hours, 99 minutes and 99 seconds)
  • Exposure Count Setting – This setting allows you to set the number of exposures that will be taken (usually a set number from 1 up to 199 or more or infinite). For example, if you set it to 30 times, then 30 exposures will be taken

Secondly a list of some of the previous remotes that I’ve used or am still using with my Nikon D600 (and D7000 – they both use the same remote shutter plug):

  • The Nikon Wireless Remote Control ML-L3. Uses the built in IR receiver in many Nikon D-SLR’s to perform simple functions (basically trigger the shutter). It is distance limited and work by line of sight and if you want one I’d suggest buying one of the knock offs you can find on eBay for less than $5 delivered rather than the $30 original
  • The Aputure Wired Timer Remote. It allows you to set the self timer, exposure length, frequency, and exposure count and it also allows continuous shooting or bulb exposures. Time can be preset from 1 second up to 99 hours. The LCD panel can be backlit for night time shooting. Basically this is a low cost (less than $20 on eBay) copy of the more expensive Nikon MC-36 remote. If you want a very functional wired remote these are an excellent choice
  • The Yongnuo Wireless Timer Remote Control Shutter Release MC-36R. This has the exact same control unit as the Aputure/Nikon MC-36 above in a wireless form. It has a 2.4GHz RF wireless receiver which plugs into the camera (and the unit can sit in the camera hotshoe) – this means the camera can be triggered from long distances (usually somewhere from 50-100 metres away) and is not restricted to line of sight. Most forms of this model can also be supplied with a wired cable (for a specific camera series) allowing the control unit to be plugged directly into the camera to use it as a wired remote
  • The Nikon Wireless Mobile Adapter WU-1b. This dongle allows you to control your camera from your iPhone or Android device – it’s kinda good (you get to see remote live view – a few secs delayed) but it’s flaky and not particularly reliable
  • Triggertrap Mobile. This is a neat combination of a relatively inexpensive ($10 for Full or Free basic version) iPhone (IOS) or Android app and some relatively inexpensive hardware (dongle+cable $20) to connect your phone to your camera to trigger it in a variety of programmable ways

The Phottix Aion Wireless Timer and Shutter Release so far looks very good – and has a couple of advantages over the previous specific purpose programmable intervalometer/timer shutter remotes I’ve used/owned:

  1. It can do 0.1sec increment shot duration and intervals (the previous ones I’ve used can only do to 1 sec). However I tested this with my D7000 and the fastest reliable shutter length I could achieve was 1/3 (0.33) seconds – in fact for the timer settings from 0.2 to 0.9 sec you basically need to add 0.1 sec to the setting you use because this is the actual shutter time. Still 1/3 sec onwards at 0.1 sec increments is a lot better than whole second increments
  2. Uses standard AAA batteries (and I can use rechargables) in both the transmitter (control unit) and the receiver (camera end) – the other ones typically use the special (& expensive) CR2 battery
  3. The control unit can be powered off (there is a power switch) – all the other models I’ve used cannot (only the receiver unit could be) – the batteries lasted for ages anyway so that wasn’t a huge deal but often the buttons would get randomly pressed in your bag and you’d take it out to use it to find it’s running a program with some weird settings
  4. Has a long exposure HDR bracketing mode (which isn’t as useful as it sounds – since it’s fastest shutter speed is 1/10th (1/3rd) of a sec and whole stop increments from there so is only useful in pretty dark conditions)
  5. Came with all three connector cables for all types of Nikon D-SLR camera models (the round one (N1) for pro bodies, N2 for the older D80/D70s and the rectangular (N3) for the consumer bodies) so can be used with other Nikon cameras (mine or other peoples) – I’ve often been out shooting with friends who have forgotten to bring a remote shutter release which would allow them to shoot bulb mode long exposures (e.g. for light painting) and it would have been handy for me to have lent them something which would work with their camera type
  6. Has a 5 shot continuous mode as well as a 2 second delay mode (which I don’t think I’d use personally however…)


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