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Suggestions for remote-triggered bird photography? (1 Viewer)

Villeguy

Member
United States
I would like to set up a camera that I can trigger remotely so I can take photos of birds that visit the feeders in our yard. I've seen ads for the Bird Buddy and similar devices, but I note that people complain about the difficult apps, lack of product support, tons of photos taken unnecessarily, etc.

So I would be interested to hear your suggestions on a simple, low-cost setup that would let me place a camera near a feeder and trigger it remotely when I see a bird I want to photograph. I assume this will not involve our iPhones and that I will need to buy a new (or used) digital camera.

We are retirees and this is just a lark (pun intended) that I've always fancied, so please keep budgets in mind when suggesting a setup.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
 
Most of the mainstream camera manufactures make remote control systems for their cameras. From wired or wireless shutter releases to full remote control phone apps. GoPro style action cameras can also be used remotely. Do you need the set-up to be waterproof? Is it going to be left installed or are you just going to set it up when you want to use it.
 
Most of the mainstream camera manufactures make remote control systems for their cameras. From wired or wireless shutter releases to full remote control phone apps. GoPro style action cameras can also be used remotely. Do you need the set-up to be waterproof? Is it going to be left installed or are you just going to set it up when you want to use it.
We would only set this up when we want to take pictures. Could you suggest a specific budget-friendly setup that would meet our needs? Thanks.
 
I can't give you a personal recommendation as I haven't tried such a setup. But here are a few options.

These are Canon's cameras that can be remote controlled by their app.

Here is Nikon's compatibility table for its various remote products.
 
I use a Canon 60D camera, fired remotely by a Aodelan Pebble remote trigger.
I also use a Camranger Mini attached to the camera. This is far better than using the Canon app. I see what the camera sees in real time, I can alter settings, take a photo and download the finished result onto my iPad straight away. It is the best bit of kit I have bought!
 
The simple version would be a wireless shutter release. Can be had for around $30 on A......., just make sure you get one that uses radio signals, not Infrared.
This is just an example: https://www.amazon.ca/JJC-Wireless-...refix=wireless+camera+trigger,aps,100&sr=8-11
This will permit remote focusing -same like pressing the shutter on the camera half way- and release. Depending on your set-up and conditioens this maybe all you need. Changing settings in the camera or remote life view will not be possible, for this something like this the already mentioned camera ranger will be required.
 
Am I correct in this: I could just place a camera (item #1) near the spot where birds come, and then take a photo using a (item #2) remote trigger or shutter release, or I could add (item #3) another piece to that setup which would let me see what the camera sees before I take the photo? If so I have two questions:

-How does the Camranger Mini let me see what the camera sees--does it send an image to my iPad?

-I am retired and budget is a concern, so what is a low-cost camera that will work with the Camranger and remote trigger?
 
Yes. The Camranger sets up its own Wi-Fi which you log onto with your iPad. It shows exactly what the camera is seeing and you can change any of the exposure controls. You can even tap on the screen to indicate where you want to focus, although I manually focus on the perch that I want the bird to sit on. To take a photo, simply tap the red button on the screen.
if you go to the Camranger web site, it gives you a list of all the cameras it works with. If you are on a budget (like me), you could consider a second hand DSLR such as a Canon 60D. You do not need a really long lens, as you can place the camera on a tripod quite close to the perch or feeder. I use a Canon 70-300 zoom lens, but don’t often zoom in more than about 180. This photo was taken with this system, although I have added flash to my setup as well. IMG_2586.jpeg
 
Some current cameras come with WIFI built (e.g. in the Nikon world D850, D750, D500, D5600, D7500, D7200 ....) and can connect to devices running suitable apps. Canon should also have some WIFI compatible dSLRs in their line-up. Not sure what 2nd hand or new prices for the Dxxxx models are, as objective everything longer than 50mm may work as the camera can be close to the feeder. Dxxx are likely even 2nd hand still quite pricy.
I ran the D850 with qDSLR Dashboard (free software) on a Windows laptop. There are versions of the software for some other platforms.
All exposure settings can be controlled and changed remotely, the photo can be taken remotely (and will be displayed on screen after transfer), AF can be controlled as well. Zooming or physical movements of the rig are not possible. Images are stored on the camera's card as well. If you shot RAW only jpg will be sent to the laptop.
If supported by the camera you can have live view on screen. However, the frame rate is a bit on the low side but workable. Cameras that do not offer liveview will not allow you to see what the camera is seeing and you will see only the image after you took it on the screen.

Warning: Using the camera's WIFI will drain the camera battery fairly quickly, so having a grip with a 2nd battery attached to the camera is a plus.
 
I have not tried it, but I believe most brands of camera including mine (panasonic) has a downloadable app allowing you to connect using wifi or Bluetooth.
 
Whereas most modern cameras have Wi-Fi, they are also very expensive. For about $200 dollars, a Camranger mini will do a better job than, for instance, the Canon app and it will work with practically all Canon DSLRs.
This means that you could buy a second hand DSLR such as a Canon 60D for $250 dollars and then add a zoom lens for $150. A complete system for $600.
 
This is my station. I built it 2 years ago. I use my camera’s wifi to connect to my home WiFi mesh. I works very reliable without any 3rd party devices. All standard Canon utilities. The lens zoom is controlled wirelessly, but pan and tilt are wired (long wires to a joystick). Long story short - I got quickly bored with this thing. I can take any bird picture but there’s NO excitment and satisfaction from the process.
 

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