Wednesday, January 11, 2012

SMDV RFN-4s Wireless Shutter Release for Nikon

The SMDV RFN-4s Wireless Shutter Release for Nikon that I ordered just arrived in the mail today. I've been using the Nikon MC-30 wired shutter release on my D700 until now. The MC-30 does the job but having the remote attached to my camera makes it cumbersome to take out and put back into my bag. I primarily store my camera gear in a Kata Bug-255UL backpack. Space is tight with all my gear so it was a real pain to keep the remote cable attached. I couldn't essentially so having to attach and detach all the time got to be a real drag especially when I knew there had to be a wireless solution out there that would be compact and perform well.

Well my prayers were answered and I stumbled upon the SMDV wireless shutter release on Amazon and decided to give it a try!

The RFN-4s is made by SMDV. A company that I've never heard of but they are a South Korean company so anything made by my peeps has to be good, right? :)

The unit comes in an attract case, worthy to be put on display on the shelves and glass display cases of any good camera store. What you get is one transmitter, one receiver, a small carrying case, a small wrist-like strap for the transmitter, a battery for the transmitter, and of course, instructions. The transmitter is small and fits in your hand easily and resembles a small clicker for presentations. The receiver has a small antenna and overall looks like a miniature walkie-talkie. The transmitter takes a single AAA battery that is included. The receiver is powered by the camera.

I read through the instructions quickly and setting the unit up was simply only a matter of installing the battery in the transmitter, attaching the receiver to the camera, and voilĂ , take a picture! The receiver screws into the front remote port of my D700 just like the MC-30 remote did. It fit in very securely, no problems with the threads. The little red LED on the receiver began blinking immediately, letting me know that its powered up. Per the instructions, it will auto-power off after 2 hours of inactivity. You can always just turn it off manually by depressing the button on the front of the transmitter for 1 second.

The transmitter operates over the standard WiFi/microwave oven/cordless telephone frequency range of 2.4Ghz. Because of this, it has 16 different selectable channels you can set the transmitter and receiver to in case you get interference from other devices that prevent the unit from working properly. The unit came already set to channel 16 and I left it at that.

From the photos below, you can see the transmitter attached to my camera and its fairly unobtrusive and perhaps even makes the D700 a fair bit more "professional" looking (LOL). 

The unit worked right out of the box without a hitch. Depressing the remote button half-way is just like your shutter release button on the camera. It will auto-focus and meter for you. The front of the receiver actually has another LED that lights up to let you know it is auto-focusing. Next, you just press the release button on the transmitter and your camera instantly takes a photo. A third LED on the receiver lets you know when the shutter is released.

If you put your camera in BULB mode, the transmitter will work as well. In this mode, just depress the remote button until a blue LED on the transmitter lights up. This means the shutter is now open. Press the remote button again and the shutter will close. You don't have to hold the remote button down to keep the shutter open. Nice little function if you ask me.

SMDV claims the transmitter will work up to 100m. That's as long as a football field to us Americans. That's pretty far. I wasn't about to test the ultimate limits of the transmitter myself but I figure I see how it does indoors in my house. Well I can tell you that from 3 floors away, the camera on the 3rd floor, me on the ground floor, the transmitter triggered the shutter flawlessly. Wow, that's more range than I'll ever need. 

So far this little unit is racking up a lot of positive points for me. Its well designed. Compact. Unobtrusive. And works. What's the last thing? It fits in my backpack without having to remove it!

Next test is the long-term test out in the field. I'll carry a spare battery and my old MC-30 as backup just in case. I'll report back after some time of using this to let you know the final verdict but so far this little guy gets 5 stars from me.

You can pick on up on Amazon. They make these for both Canon and Nikon. Just check the compatibility list before you purchase one to make sure it works with your camera. the RFN-4s is said to work with the Nikon D700, D300, D300s, D200, D100 (Battery Grip Required), D3, D3S, D3X, D2, D2Xs, D2X, D2H, D1H, and D1.