Canon Wireless Remote Control RC1: It’s limitations

It’s not often I write about photography equipment I return but will about my recent purchase of the Canon Wireless Remote Control RC1. I planned to use it with my Canon XSi/450D.

Canon RC1 Wireless Remote ControlUpon opening the package, there was no separate packet containing a battery, and no plastic that you can pull so a battery comes in contact with the contacts of the remote, like is the case for many electronic gizmos. So I tried in vain to open the battery compartment. The only outcome of my efforts was to seriously break about five fingernails.

I returned the remote the next day for a full refund.

Limitations of the RC1 wireless remote

Before giving a second remote a try, I decided to read user feedback to see if anyone experienced the same problem. But after learning the many drawbacks of this popular remote control that’s compatible with most Digital Rebel DSLRs, I decided not to order another.

Remote Shutter by Alan Levine

Remote Shutter by Alan Levine

To use the remote, you must first select the Timer/Remote control setting from the Drive mode menu. Unless you stand almost directly in from the camera and the RC1 is aimed at the right spot on the camera, the infrared signal doesn’t do a thing. The IR signal can also be blocked by certain lenses and lens hoods.

The remote doesn’t focus the camera; you have to do that manually. Plus, if the remote button isn’t pressed within ten seconds, the camera goes into sleep mode and you’ll have to manually press the shutter button down halfway again to lock focus; not very convenient if you want to get into a group photo.

The range of the RC1 remote is only 16 feet. Many report that it can’t be activated if you stand behind or to the side of the camera.

With these drawbacks, I simply prefer to set the self-timer when needed.

Other options

If you can live with the limitations, this inexpensive remote may work for you. If not, use the self-timer or invest in a wireless radio controlled shutter release such as ALZO Wireless Radio Shutter Release, which has a range of 300 feet. These types of remotes are more expensive but have a better range and some can even penetrate though walls. They may also support partial shutter/autofocus & autoexposure, Continuous Drive and BULB modes.

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