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Home > Reviews > Cameras > Canon RC-1 Wireless Remote Controller

Canon RC-1 Wireless Remote Controller Review
04/08/2006

There are times when you have your camera set on a table, cabinet, fireplace mantle or tripod, and you want to take a group shot with yourself in the picture. My Digital Rebel XT / EOS 350D has a 10 second timer that would allow me to get into the picture, but sometimes 10 seconds is just not enough. That, or maybe you need to take a second shot because someone sneezed, blinked or wasn't ready without having to go back to the camera. This was my excuse for buying the RC-1 Wireless Remote Controller. As you can see on the back of the box, this remote was made in Malaysia.

What's in the box
There appeared to be only two items in the box :
1 - Canon RC-1 Wireless Remote Controller
1 - Instruction pamphlet (in different languages)

Includes batteries (two CR1220 lithium button cell installed)

Specifications

  Effective Range:   16 ft. (5m)
  Wired or Wireless:   Wireless using infrared transmitter
  Timer:   2 Seconds
  Additional Features:   None
  Batteries:   (2) CR1220 lithium button cell batteries
  Size:   1" (25mm) wide x 2-3/8" (60mm) long x 3/4" (18mm) thick with holder. The transmitter itself is only 1/2" (12mm) thick.
  Weight:   0.72 oz. (20g), Transmitter: 0.57 oz. (15.5g), Holder: 0.15 oz. (4.5g)
     
Compatibility: EOS 10s, Elan/II/IIE & 7/E, Rebel K2, Ti & T2 (date model only), Digital Rebel 300D, Digital Rebel 350D and IX series cameras.

A close up view
Bottom Top
Infrared
Transmitter
Release
Button
Canon's RC-1 Wireless Remote Controller comes already clipped to the holder with batteries installed. The bottom view shows the holder with four slots to install on the camera shoulder strap. The infrared transmitter is that tiny clear bulb you'll see on one end and. At the other end, you will see the tiny red release button.

Accessing the release button is difficult at first, in fact, it still is, even for small hands like mine. The first time I released the controller, I dropped it. Over the course of a month, I must have dropped it a half a dozen times. Thankfully this unit appears to be durable.

Remote Controller
Controls Battery
Cover
The release button is located at the infrared transmitter end (we'll call this the top of the unit) on the left side. To the right and below of the button is a three position slide switch: lock, instant and 2 second timer (top). Below the release button (left of the switch) is the battery cover. You have to push down on the cover and slide to the left to remove it. This will expose the two CR1220 lithium button cell batteries. From researching the internet, the batteries may last for years but, that depends on usage.

Holder
Since I don't use the eyepiece cover, I decided to remove it from the shoulder strap, put it in a small plastic bag and store it in my camera case. The holder is looped to the shoulder strap which would make the remote easy to access. I could place the remote in my camera case, but I don't want to go searching for it whenever I need it. Lately, I've seem to be using it a lot.

Using the Canon RC-1 Wireless Remote Controller
Drive Mode
To use the RC-1 Wireless Remote Controller effectively, you should prepare the camera by changing certain settings. On my Digital Rebel XT, Menu, tab 4, "Auto power off" is default at 1 minute. Select a longer time, for example 4 minutes. Focus on the subject/s, then set the focus switch on the lens to M (manual). You can leave the camera on auto focus, but sometimes, for whatever reason, pictures end up being slightly out of focus. Next, press the drive mode selector button until the timer/remote appears on the display. Once the timer/remote is selected, you'll have four minutes to use the remote. This is unfortunate because once the four minutes expires without activity, you'll have to remember to lightly press the shutter button on the camera to re-activate the remote feature. It's similar when you have "Auto power off" set at 1 minute, you'll have to press the shutter button every minute.

Operating the RC-1 is pretty straight forward, but the button does not work like the camera's two stage shutter button. It's like pressing the shutter button completely. Slide the selector switch on the remote to instant or 2 seconds. When set to instant, the AF (auto-focus) assist beam will flash once briefly, and the picture is taken. When set to 2 seconds, the AF assist beam will stay on for about 2 seconds before taking the picture. The 2 second setting is ideal, especially when you are in the the picture, because it gives you sufficient time to hide the remote. When the lens is set on auto focus, and experience problems focusing, no picture will be taken.

For bulb exposures, set the camera's Mode Dial to M. Looking at the LCD, set the shutter speed to "buLb", which is after 30". The remote can be set to instant or 2 seconds. Press the remote button once to open the shutter (when set to 2 seconds, there will be a 2 second delay). Press one more time and the shutter will close.

In astrophotography, when using Mirror lockup (Custom Functions, C.Fn-7) with bulb (remote set at 2 seconds), pressing the button once will lockup the mirror and, after two seconds, take the picture. Pressing the remote button a second time will close the shutter. The problem here is the AF assist beam. Even though the Custom Functions, C.Fn-5, allows you to turn this feature off, when the Digital Rebel XT is set on timer/remote, the AF assist beam lights up anyway. To cover up the assist beam, use a 1/2" (12mm) cube of soft dark foam/sponge/neoprene and wedge it between the grip and camera housing. This will not totally eliminate the light, but will reduce the output significantly. (About the moon: see below)

For astrophotography, may I recommend using Canon's RS-60E3 Remote Switch (see review).

Remote
Sensor
The remote will not work from behind the camera. You have to be almost in front of the camera. In fact, the infrared transmitter and remote control sensor have to be in line of sight. The remote control sensor on the Digital Rebel XT is located in front on the upper part of the hand grip, below the shutter release button. As you can see, the remote has more range on the left side (when you're facing the camera). From behind the camera, the remote will work when you point it at the camera from the right side, but not the left. It's probably the lens that obstructs the transmitters line of sight with the remote control sensor on the camera grip.

Conclusion
Canon's RC-1 Wireless Remote Controller happens to be one of those accessories that is very convenient to have, but not an absolute necessity. I've taken many pictures using the 10 second timer on the camera, prior to the RC-1, with a lot of success. However, after using the RC-1, I've never went back to using the 10 second timer. Often times you won't get the right shot the first time, which means another trip to the camera and waiting patiently for another 10 seconds. With the remote, you can take several pictures in succession (and capturing candid moments) giving you the opportunity to select the best one.

If there were any major cons I have about the RC-1, it is the distance 16 ft. (5m) (with a fresh battery, it's closer to 18 ft. (5.5m)). I already knew that prior to buying it but, after using it for a while and, when working outdoors with larger groups, I wish the distance were greater, say 25 ft. or more.

:-)

Gary Kawamura

About the moon photograph
  Object:   Waxing Gibbous Moon
  Condition:   Light haze, cloudy, city lights
  Telescope:   None
  Camera:   Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XT
  Date Time:   2006-04-08T19:51:49-07:00
  Shutter Speed:   1/250 sec
  Exposure Program:   Manual
  F-Stop:   F/8.0
  ISO Speed Ratings:   400
  Focal Length:   260.0 mm
  Lens:   70.0-300.0 mm
  Notes:   Handheld, IS (image stabilizer), cropped, 100%, no filters or adjustments
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