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Pixel TW-283 Intervalometer Review / Tutorial

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kefkafloyd View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote kefkafloyd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Pixel TW-283 Intervalometer Review / Tutorial
    Posted: 15 March 2018 at 23:35
So I picked one of these Pixel TW-283 wireless timer intervalometer remotes up because I broke my shorty RC-1000S clone on a recent trip. I have an RC-1000L long remote cable, but I never use it because the cord's just too damn long. So I decided that now's as good a time as any to get a timer intervalometer remote. The reviews for these are your usual Amazon reviews, and the manual is poorly translated Chinese to English. I figure I would document how the timer functions actually work in a human readable format as well as foibles with Sony cameras (fortunately, not many).



In the box comes the remote, a receiver, and a shutter cable. I chose the S1 model, which uses the Minolta remote cord. There is a Multi-port capable option called S2 as well as options for other camera systems. The Multi-port option will work on A-mount cameras introduced after the a99 (2013 and later, basically) which includes the a77ii, a68, a58, and a99ii. The disadvantage of the Multi port on A-mount (and E-mount cameras before the Mark 3 full frames) is that it consumes your USB socket, so if you want to do tethering and remote shooting, you'd lose that functionality.

The remote and receiver are multi-system compatible by way of these shutter cords. So you could get an S1 and S2 cord and interchange them or just use one S2 cord if you have Multi capable cameras. The remote can be used wired (by plugging the TRS end into the remote) or wireless (plug the TRS end into the receiver). When the cable is plugged into the remote, it does disable the wireless functions (I tested it). So it won't simultaneously send out wired and wireless commands.

If you're planning on using this with a camera that has a Minolta iISO (auto-lock) shoe, you need a hotshoe adapter to mount the receiver on top of the camera. The receiver does have a tripod thread in its base, so you don't necessarily have to mount it on top of the camera, but the included cable is pretty short. It's only about a foot long. However, you could use a standard 1/8 inch TRS stereo audio extension cable to extend the length of the wire when used in wired mode.

The S1 cable doesn't have a very snug fit into the a99ii's remote port. At first I thought this was a flaw of the cable, but then I plugged in my RC-1000L and found that it too was fairly wobbly in the remote port. I can't tell if this is intentional or not. I don't recall my old knockoff shorty remote cable being this loose (in fact, it was often too tight). The fit is secure, but it just has a disconcerting wobble. YMMV on other camera bodies.

The remote has an LED in the corner that shows its operating status (Green for focus, Red for shutter). The LCD screen is a basic watch-style screen and has an orange backlight (which matches the a99ii's top LCD!). It's not too bright and won't ruin your night vision. Unlike some other remotes, it does have an off switch (press and hold the Power/Backlight button for 2 seconds).

As far as build quality goes... it doesn't FEEL bad, or at least any worse than other hollow plastic things with batteries feel. The battery doors have a secure snap. The thumbscrew feels tight enough but there's no safety posts since this isn't a native MIS foot. Button feel is... okay. Godox flashes feel much better than this. The four way can be a little fiddly and I found myself getting extra presses when I didn't need them. The shutter button itself has fairly positive half and full presses. The remote itself feels lightweight and the faux-texture on the front doesn't do much, if at all, to increase friction. The grip molding for your fingers is... eh. At least in my hands I find it adequate but not great. Making it more comfortable in my right hand would render it asymmetrical, and I suppose lefties use remotes too.

You are getting what you pay for in this, but I have no idea if something like the Vello ShutterBoss or the even more spendy remotes feels any more solid.

* * *

How to set the timers and drive modes

Some of the modes are pretty self-explanatory (Single shot, continuous, bulb, delay timer).

Single Shot sends a single shutter command no matter how long you hold the button.

Continuous will keep sending a shutter depress as long as you hold on to the shutter button.

Bulb works on the double-press method. Full-press the button once to start, Full or half-press the button again to stop. The remote displays a time counting up in seconds so you can see the length of the exposure.

Delay is the same as Single Shot, except you can set a custom delay time. e.g. set 10 seconds, it counts down, then sends a single shutter command.

The intervalometer has several settings that control the interval. The manual's as clear as mud and I've seen people wondering what N1 and N2 do and how to get long time lapses. Here's the settings and how to set them.

The remote does send a focus command before each trip of the shutter, so if you don't want refocusing, make sure to set the camera to Manual Focus or set AF W/Shutter to Off.

If you're using the remote wirelessly, the receiver will continue to shoot regardless if the transmitter remote is powered on or off. Once you press the play button, it's out of the remote's hands. The only way to get it to stop is to turn off the receiver or press the stop button on the remote.

To set up the intervalometer, you need to know how long you want to run and how many trips of the shutter you need. You'll have to set several settings, each of which is detailed below.

Delay: This controls the initial countdown before shooting begins. This never repeats or happens again, it's only a initial countdown timer. This can be set to 0 seconds for immediate start when pressing the Play button. Maximum time is 99 hours, 59 minutes, 59 seconds.

Long: The shutter release period. During this time the remote keeps the shutter tripped (solid red LED). On A-mount cameras set to Single shot drive mode, this will only result in one frame. This way you can use auto-exposure or set a shutter speed (but don't exceed the timer's shutter time!) or use Bulb mode for long exposures.

Since the shutter is tripped during the entire duration of Long, you could use continuous advance or continuous bracketing for each exposure trip.

INTVL: The time inbetween each Long. Minimum time is 1 second. Maximum time is 99 hours, 59 minutes, 59 seconds. Two seconds before this time ends (or 1 second for a 1 second time), it will send a Focus signal.

N1: The number of shutter trips required for the Long/INTVL cycle. Range of 1-99.

Repeat: The time inbetween each N2 cycle. Has a minimum of one second. Two seconds before this time ends (or 1 second for a 1 second time), it will send a Focus signal. Maximum time is 99 hours, 59 minutes, 59 seconds.

N2: The number of times it will repeat the cycle of (long+INTVL) times N1 plus Repeat. Range of 1-99 or Set to -- for infinite repeats.

The formula ends up being ((Long+INTVL)*N1+Repeat)*N2=Total time.

Let's say you want to do a basic time lapse with automatic exposure for each frame. You want it to start one minute after you press play, you want one frame every minute, and you want 12 hours of coverage. You'd set the timer like this:

Delay: 60s, Long: 2s, INTVL: 57s, N1: 60, Repeat: 1, N2: 12.

There's more than one way to skin this cat. The key is to remember the total amount of time your period will take (Long + intvl) plus the time inbetween the repeat.

You can use this mode to do a timed Bulb exposure without having to babysit the remote in Bulb mode by setting the following for, say, a two minute exposure:

Delay: Anything, Long: 2:00, INTVL: 1, N1: 1, Repeat: 1, N2: 1.

If you need more than 99 total frames, you must use N2 to set the number of cycle repeats. This seems to be the thing that confuses people the most because they say "I need 600 frames, why can't I set 600?" You could set N1 to 1 and N2 to -- which will just let the camera keep firing for eternity. Otherwise, you'll have to calculate it based on the math posted above.

While I wish these remotes could have better UI (or Sony could include a damn intervalometer function with a real GUI) there's not much that can be done in the context of a skinny handheld remote.

I believe a company that makes a timer remote that has an easy UI like Godox did for flashes and the Pro transmitter would make a ton of money... if people are willing to pay for it, or accept a form factor different than the cigar/TV remote.

Edited by kefkafloyd - 18 March 2018 at 01:07
 



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Tricky01 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Tricky01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 March 2018 at 10:22
Brilliant write up, especially the instructions - thanks for taking the time. I'm in the market for a new remote so this is very timely. Also, that my current remote has many of these functions but I never managed to use them to their full potential suggests I may just buy this and print out your great guide to have with me!

Just found it on amazon for 32 euros and pulled the trigger (no pun intended!). here for anyone else interested - just make sure to select Sony at the top.

Big thanks again
A7iii, 15f2, 16-35f4, 35f1.8, 85f1.8, 135f1.8GM, 100-400GM, 1.4xTC // A mount: Sig90f2.8 and Sig180f3.5 Macros, Gitzo Traveller, Flashes+PixelKings website
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Howard_S View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Howard_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 March 2018 at 12:25
Thanks, just the job!

I think a lot of these intervalometers have the same basic controls and this should be good for my wired intervalometer.
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bonneville View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote bonneville Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 April 2020 at 13:29
I know this is over a couple of years ago, yet still no less helpful and relevant. I bought one of these when I first got my a7ii and it works perfectly, once I figured out how to use it (thank you kefkafloyd).

And this year I got my a7iii and did read , somewhere, that it doesnít work on the third generation 7 and 7R. Well it does so no need to buy anything else to use for delayed and long exposure shots.

VFM I think it is outstanding, although I donít need or use the second tier of controls with the intervalometer, just the single shot, single and multiple shot delayed and bulb.
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kefkafloyd View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote kefkafloyd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 April 2020 at 01:14
Excellent to hear that it worked out for you, bonneville! Ironically I haven't used this remote for a while either (I used it for timed exposures on national park trips in 2018). My long exposure photography has pretty much dried up.
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Phil Wood View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Phil Wood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 April 2020 at 23:42
I have one of these, or something incredibly similar, I don't use it a lot but it's there when I need it. For the price they are great value - my most notable use was a timelapse of our new drive being laid.

One point worth noting is that you can get connecting cables for other cameras (eg the A58) for a few quid on ebay.
 



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