I recently decided to try out a footswitch pedal for my remote camera triggering. I have always used various pushbutton triggers to set off remotes, but recently saw a need for a footswitch.
Searching around I found several pedal options. A friend of mine has been using a RadioShack Foot Switch Part # 44-610. It seemed like a good option although it is no longer made. NOS and used ones can be found on eBay. I also looked into having a custom one made. Michael Bass Designs can make any kind of Camera/Flash/Remote cord you can dream of. I was intrigued by some of his pedal options, but didn’t feel they fit my particular needs for this project. I then came across the Boss FS-5U. It’s a non-latching footswitch designed for keyboards, guitars, etc.. I’m a guitar geek so it was a fitting choice.
There are several things I like about the Boss FS-5U. Boss designs pedals for musicians who can be very hard on their gear making it a good choice for a photographer. The pedal trigger does not take up the entire pedal like it does on a RadioShack pedal. I like that feature because I can actually rest my foot on the pedal near the trigger without setting it off. This design also allows the pedal to be taped down if need be. The cord is removable which is nice when you are jamming into a camera bag/case. The pedal is also slotted on the side so you can link more of them together if you needed a multiple camera triggering system.
So here is the setup I came up with.
Boss FS-5U - $30, 1/4” Male to 3.5mm Mini Cable 8’ - $10, Female Mini to Female Mini adapter - $4, Camera Trigger Cord - $ Prices vary depending on your camera.
You will notice from the photos that I added a Pocket Wizard (PW) MultiMax to the remote camera. By mounting it to the Hot Shoe I can also trigger another camera from my footswitch via the PW. A possible setup for Baseball: I have the remote camera (A) with a PW on the Hot Shoe in front of me setup for the nearest base triggered by the hardwired footswitch. When camera (A) is triggered it will also set off another camera (B) via the Hot Shoe mounted PW on Camera (A). Remote camera (B) can be pointed at the exact same location from a different angle for another perspective or you can have camera (B) pointed at a completely different location (home plate) but still trigger it by the footswitch. Of course by doing it this way one camera will be firing at nothing while the other will be catching the action. I’m actually OK with this. It is a simple way to trigger multiple cameras without confusing yourself with multiple trigger buttons or footswitches and increasing the odds of you pressing the wrong button when the moment comes. When I first began using remotes I tended to worry abut them working properly and when was the right time to use them that I found myself missing some of the action that I should have been capturing with the camera’s in front of me and that was with just one remote camera. Now add more cameras to the mix and things can get complicated fast. If you are a new to using single or multiple remotes I advise you to simplify things as much as possible.
I tested my new footswitch at a Sunday day game between the Minnesota Twins and Seattle Mariners at Target Field. There was not a lot of action or close plays, but I did manage to capture an important moment from the game from two perspectives. In the sixth inning with the score tied at 0-0 and bases loaded The Twins DH Jason Kubel hit a double clearing the bases and giving the Twins a 3-0 lead. They went on to win 4-0. The tight image was shot with a 400mm F/2.8 Lens The wider image was shot with the footswitch using a 70-200mm on the remote camera. You can decide which angle works best.
Remember when you are experimenting with remote cameras be very patient. You can get lucky and nail a great picture the first time you set it up and then not get anything at all for many times after that. The point is to keep trying new things and put yourself in a position to get lucky again.(Clockwise) Boss FS-5U, Over Xposed Camera Mini Plate w/ RRS Mini QR Ball Head, PW to Canon Cord, 1/4” to 3.5mm Mini Cable 8’ w/ Female Mini to Female Mini adapter.