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Best Intervalometer & Remote Timers | How To Choose One

A quality intervalometer and remote timer is an important tool in any astrophotographers’ camera bag. Not only does it give you more precise control over your camera, but it also allows you to be more creative when making your images.

An intervalometer and remote timer connects directly to your DSLR or Mirrorless camera, allowing you to control your camera shutter through a range of different functions. 

So, why is an intervalometer and remote timer an essential bit of gear for your astrophotography? 

Advanced techniques like long exposure and time-lapse photography require the use of these tools, as many cameras don’t have the built-in functionality needed to execute this type of photography.

In this article, we review the best intervalometer and remote timers available today. There’s something for everyone – and for every budget – and all of them state their case for being the best in class.

Because of its ultra-responsive shutter releases, robust and lightweight build, and its range of functionality, the LRTimelapse PRO Timer 2.5 is the best intervalometer you can get for your money. Thankfully, however, the others are not far behind.

Let’s look at your options in more detail.

dslr time lapse controller
An intervalometer is a must-have accessory for astrophotography, helps avoid camera shake, and can be programmed to capture your time-lapse sequence.

List Of The Best Intervalometer and Remote Timers For Astrophotography


1. LRTimelapse PRO Timer 2.5

The best intervalometer for astrophotography

LRTimelapse PRO
  • Fast ATSAMD21 Cortex M0 processor
  • Interval steps: 0.1 sec
  • Can take an unlimited number of shots
  • BULB times up to 24 hours
  • OLED display
  • Up to 24 hours of battery life

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What makes this intervalometer stand out of the pack is how responsive it is. Similar devices can often delay shutter releases while they try to help your camera find focus. The LRTimelapse, however, has almost no delays when finding focus, making sure it’s accurate and consistent when taking multiple exposures. 

Depending on what you’re trying to achieve, you can program the device to have shutter intervals from 0.3 seconds to 12 hours (longer intervals are best used for time-lapses, for example). Allowing you to be as precise as possible, you can program the intervalometer in increments of 0.1 seconds. 

The device is simple to use straight out of the box, and it works by simply attaching it to your camera’s hot shoe. You can use it in differing temperatures ranging from -4°F to 104°F. It’s important to note, however, that the device isn’t weather-sealed, and should be used with caution if shooting in harsh weather conditions such as rain or snow.

One of the drawbacks is that the LRTimelapse Pro doesn’t come with a standard camera release cable. Being the most expensive on the list, we would expect this to be included, especially as it’s an important part of an astrophotopher’s creative process.

Another advantage is the versatility of the device. Rather than being dedicated to one manufacturer, it’s compatible with a range of brands

Pros

  • Quick shutter releases
  • Simple to use
  • Versatile
  • Can be used in a range of temperatures

Cons

  • A little pricey
  • Shutter release cable has to be bought separately 

2. PHOLSY Wireless Timer Remote

Comes with built-in times exposure setting for HDR photography

PHOLSY Wireless Timer
  • Wireless remote
  • Interval timer
  • Auto bracketing for HDR
  • 2.4HGz 60m transmission distance
  • Continuous shooting mode

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The PHOLSY is the ideal piece of kit for both the beginner and advanced astrophotographer. 

It has a range of functions that allow you to be more dynamic and creative with your night photography.

For example, the BKLN feature allows you to shoot multiple photos while automatically changing exposure times. This feature is perfect for those who enjoy combining multiple images to create HDR photographs in post-production

Another cool feature of the PHOLSY is that you can power it wirelessly. So, if you need to be a greater distance from your camera, you can still use the remote to trigger your shutter from distances of up to 60 meters. 

For the most part, the trigger works consistently, however, there were times it wouldn’t operate when standing within the required distance. This shouldn’t be too much of an issue, as it doesn’t happen often. But it’s worth noting, especially for those who can’t afford any disruption to their workflow.

This is a multi-functioning device, acting as an intervalometer as well as a shutter release. Time intervals can be adjusted in increments of 0.1 seconds and it includes multiple time settings including Self-timer, Interval timer, and Long-Exposure timer. 

Pros

  • Shutter can be triggered wirelessly
  • HDR feature for better exposures
  • Trigger your camera from up to 60m
  • Timer intervals can be adjusted in increments of 0.1 seconds

Cons

  • Trigger doesn’t always respond when operating wirelessly

3. ENEGON Wireless Remote Shutter

Reliable and lightweight remote shutter that won’t let you down

ENEGON Wireless Remote Shutter
  • Continuous shooting mode
  • Wireless trigger up to 100m
  • Delayed shooting
  • BULB mode
  • Trigger multiple cameras simultaneously

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The ENEGON remote shutter is perfect for those on a tight budget. While it may be void of some of the other features in the remotes listed in this piece, it still packs enough functions and it will certainly serve you well.

Wireless triggering can be performed up 100 meters away from your camera. That’s 40 meters extra than the previously mentioned PHOLSY. 

If you don’t want to start taking photos right away, you can program the ENEGON to delay taking the first shot. This is perfect for those who are shooting the stars in their garden, but are unable to wait by their camera to begin taking their photographs.

Giving you complete control over your shutter speeds, the ENEGON has BULB mode. You can use BULB mode to control shutter speeds longer than 30 seconds, which is what you need if you enjoy creating beautiful star trails in your photographs.

If you’re looking to create an epic time-lapse video, using a range of angles, the transmitter can be used to control multiple cameras. You will have to invest in extra receivers, however, but they can be picked up for only a small cost.

It’s also ideal for photographers that travel a lot. Weighing 3.5 ounces, you won’t even know it’s in your bag!

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Wireless
  • Can trigger multiple cameras simultaneously 
  • Lightweight

Cons 

  • Build feels a little cheap

4. Neewer 6-in-1 Time Shutter

6 different connector plug types to support a range of camera models

Neewer 6-In-1 intervalometer
  • LCD display
  • Allows you to set time intervals
  • Compatible with a range of brands
  • 3.9ft. Cable for versatility

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This easy-to-use remote timer is popular amongst those in the astrophotography community. It has six different connector plugs, making it extremely versatile and likely that you won’t need to replace it should you decide to change cameras.

It comes with a backlit LCD display, so you’ll have no trouble reading your settings when using it in low-light situations. 

A slight downside to the Neewer 6-in1 is that there’s no on and off button. As it uses triple AAA batteries, so you will need to remove them in order to preserve power.

To help you save time and be more efficient, you can program time intervals automatically for your shutter release. This removes the need to do everything manually, and allows for more accurate shutter times when creating time-lapse photography.

Alternatively, if you want to use the remote as a simple shutter release, you can do so by pressing the button on the deceive, which is perfect for avoiding camera shake (blurry photos) when using slower shutter speeds.

Pros

  • 6 different connector plugs for a range of cameras
  • Backlit LCD display
  • Can program to release your shutter automatically
  • Also acts as a standard shutter release

Cons

  • Can’t be turned off unless you remove batteries
  • Lacks some of the more advance functions 

5. JJC Intervalometer Timer Remote

A no thrills device that does the basics to a high standard

JJC Intervalometer
  • Compact size
  • 0.9m wired remote controller
  • Powered by 2 AAA batteries 
  • Timer can be set from 1 second to 99 hrs

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While the JJC may not win any awards of innovation, it certainly will be able to get the job done.

Unlike other remote timers on this list, you can’t control the device wirelessly. Instead, it connects directly to your camera with 0.9 meter cord and plug. This won’t be a problem for those who are able to stand with their camera while shooting. And you will find more consistent responses because of the direct connection. 

Although basic, the JJC still allows you to have a considerable amount of control over how you interact with your camera. Continuous shooting (up to 399 shots), self-timer, and interval shooting (great for taking multiple long exposures) are present and work to a high standard.

Unlike the Neewer, you can turn the JJC intervalometer on and off with a button, helping you save battery life. There’s also a backlit LCD display for when shooting in low light conditions.

Pros

  • Does the basics well
  • Continuous shooting up to 399 shots
  • Backlit LCD display
  • On and off button

Cons

  • Instructions are not in English and need to be downloaded online

6. Canon TC-80N3 Timer Remote

A solid remote timer for those who want to avoid third-party devices

Canon TC-80N3
  • Backlit LCD display
  • 0.7 meter cord
  • Single thumb use

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Canon is the most household name you’ll read in this article. Like its cameras, the company is also known for making quality accessories – including remote timers.

Although a quality device, the problem here is the price. For what you pay, you can pick up an equally good remote timer for half the cost. That said, if you’re someone who enjoys keeping everything on brand, you won’t be disappointed with the Canon TC-80N3.

It’s extremely simple to use, and because of its thin, sleek design, you’ll have no issue dialing in your settings with the use of a single thumb.

Strangely, the TC-80N3 only allows for up 99 continuous shots – that’s 300 less than the JJC. 

But while it’s asking for more and offering less, because of the Canon name, you can be sure this will be built to last and not something you will need to replace all the time, which can sometimes be the case for third party accessories.

Pros

  • Well built Canon accessory
  • Does all the basics to a high a standard
  • Nice, sleek, lightweight design

Cons

  • Overpriced in relation to what it can do

Intervalometer Buying guide

What Does an Intervalometer do?

An intervalometer is a specific kind of timer that allows you to take multiple images with a set time-frame between the start of each shot. 

For example, if you want your shutter to open every two seconds, you can dial this time into your intervalometer and it will do just that. 

This is perfect for creating time-lapse videos because it allows you to take hundreds of shots over a desired amount of time, creating movement and diversity in your final project.

Some cameras already have an intervalometer built into them. So check to see if yours does before you decide to invest. However, a dedicated intervalometer can be more accurate and reliable than some of the ones built into today’s cameras.

Wired Vs Wireless Remote Timers

The right connection depends on your style of shooting. If you don’t need to stand several meters away from your camera, then you’ll do more than okay with a remote timer that connects to your system with a wire.

However, if you need to stand further back or walk away from your camera, a wireless remote is a fantastic option.

Be aware that you’re likely going to need to pay more for a wireless remote timer. So if you don’t need it, or have a tight budget, stick with your wired connection.

Cheap Vs Expensive

Remember, more expensive doesn’t always equate to better quality. As with the Canon TC-80N3, you’re mainly paying for the brand, rather than what it can do. 

That said, cheap third party devices can often be poorly made or lack many of the features of some of the more premium accessories. If you’re going for a cheaper option, it’s always better to read reviews or refer to our site to see if we have previously reviewed it.

Quick Recap Of The Best Intervalometers For 2020

Conclusion

For anyone serious about taking their night photography to the next level, any of the above intervalometers and remote timers will help achieve that.

You’ll have awesome results with the LRTimelapse PRO Timer 2.5. But for long exposures, beautiful star trails, creative HDR, none of the items listed above will let you down. And all of them will help you become a better night photographer!

About Editorial Staff

The Editorial Staff at NightSkyPix are a dedicated and passionate team of astrophotographers.

Always committed to teaching and helping you on your astro journey.