The Hahnel Giga T Pro II is a Wireless Remote Control with an interval timer, self timer and long exposure counter that can operate at distances up to 100m. It should suit wildlife and studio photographers as well as those interested in doing time-lapse (opening flowers, etc.) and star trails. There are five options available for Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Olympus and Sony camera users. The Canon one, reviewed here with the RS-60E3 compatibility, also suits Pentax (CS-205) and any other cameras with a 2.5mm jack remote socket (Samsung's is called ED-SR9NX01).
Hahnel Giga T Pro II Wireless Timer Remote Features
The Giga T Pro II is in two parts - transmitter and receiver - each powered by its own battery (both supplied). The receiver has a flash shoe mount to slide onto any camera hot shoe and there's also a standard tripod mount on the base. The camera connecting cable plugs into this. The unit is powered by one CR2 lithium battery.
The Transmitter also has a socket for the camera cable so it can be used as a very short cable release or, when used without cable, will work up to 100m away thanks to the 2.4Ghz frequency. All the controls for the various trigger features are on the Transmitter, including shutter delay, long exposure timer and interval timer. This controller is powered by a CR2032 flat lithium battery.
100m Wireless range
Shutter Delay from 1 second to 99 hours.
Interval timer from 1 second to 99 hours.
Long exposure from 1 second to 99 hours.
1-99 shots (x2)
Second (repeat sequence) timer
30 channel options
Transmitter power off battery saver
Hahnel Giga T Pro II Wireless Timer Remote Handling
Unlike some of the cheaper remote controls sold on eBay, this one does look and feel substantial. But the LCD display has the same issues as one of the cheapies we've used in the past. It's clear in good light but difficult to see the menu settings in dim light. There's a set of three small lights that illuminate the display which is good for dark conditions, but doesn't really improve that middle ground of just dim. So sunrise / sunset photographers will need good eyesight. The main larger numeral display is fine it's the smaller mode descriptions that are hard to see. As long as you know what mode you're in, setting a duration is easy.
If you use the cable with a jack plug camera connection it's easy to plug the cable in wrongly - one connector has three stripes on the jack and the instructions say this should go in the transmitter socket.
The system can be set to work on one of 30 channels, so you could have a series of cameras set up, each with receivers with different channels and triggered independently from one transmitter.
Above: The battery is easy to get at in the receiver, unlike the transmitter which needs a screw driver to access. Right: The transmitter can also be used as a short cable release.
Hahnel Giga T Pro II Wireless Timer Remote Performance
First thing to test was the range. It's claimed to have a trigger range of 100m and I managed to squeeze just over 110m in the office car park. So it will be fine for applications such as wildlife with the camera close up and you tucked away in a hide or behind bushes from a distance. It could also be used for aerial photography using poles or light flying devices.
The feature set covers all eventualities of interval and delayed time photography.
Being able to combine modes means you can, for example, set up for fully timed star trail photography. With the camera on B you would get it to start at a specific time (just after dusk), with a shutter open time of 60 seconds and to take a series of say 120 shots (99 on the first interval and 21 on the second. If the camera was in a secure place you could leave it and go off and do something else. When you return two hours later you will have 120 shots captured one after the other.
Below is a 50 frame star trail - each exposure was 60sec at f/4 and ISO 200. It was taken using a Pentax 12-24mm zoom at 12mm on the Pentax K10D, with noise reduction turned off.
Another useful option is for time lapse. You can pointed the camera at a closed flower and set the timer to start as day breaks. And then take a sequence of shots through the day with intervals between each shot with the interval time dependent on the speed the flower opens.
For the poppy below I set the camera up at around 10:00pm with the timer programmed to start after a five hour delay (3:00am), and then take a photo every 10 minutes. Flash was used to provide even illumination throughout the sequence. In total I took 365 photos and removed a chunk of these when the poppy wasn't moving through the night. Below is the result of the remaining 271 photo sequence over a two day period.
There's a really handy auto off feature on the transmitter which is a great battery saving feature, but there's no override. If you're photographing wildlife (or other subjects where you may be waiting a while for the action to start) you need to switch the transmitter back on before shooting a sequence. This can be a problem if you don't know when this will be and need to react fast. You could miss the important moment. The only way around this is to keep switching it back on time and time again. An override needs to be considered for the next upgrade.
Value For Money
Lots of budget remote controls have appeared on eBay at a fraction of the cost of this item. At £80 it's a costly item, but it's more flexible than the others. Some offer similar range of modes, but are cable only, some are wireless but just offer a single shot camera trigger. This one combines all aspects and also has the second timer set so you can double up the number of photos you take from 99 to 198 (although we'd prefer the option to set three figure sequences from the first timer).
If you're a Nikon User you could buy their ML-3 but at over £200 it makes this one seem like incredibly good value, especially when you consider the Nikon only operates up to 8m! And Canon's LC-5 is even more expensive at £369.
Hahnel Giga T Pro II Wireless Timer Remote Verdict
This wireless set is well made and looks like a quality piece of kit. The features it offers opens up a whole new range of options for more complex exposure situations. When you start to think about it there are so many aspects that this remote will help with. From a basic three shot self timer sequence to save you having to keep going back and resetting the camera when taking several group shots, to highly advanced interval time sequences.
It's more expensive than some of the eBay cable options, but the wireless feature gives it a neater and more flexible advantage. If you've been considering shooting long exposure landscapes with a Big Stopper, or having a bash at star trail photography, then this is the tool to make the task easier. Wildlife photographers may find the auto off power saving feature a restriction.
Opens up a whole new range of shooting options for complex exposure situations.
Hahnel Giga T Pro II Wireless Timer Remote Pros
Versatile feature set
Looks well made
Not battery hungry
Good working range
Compact and stylish
Hahnel Giga T Pro II Wireless Timer Remote Cons
Hard to see menu in dim light, even with illuminated panel
Having to program the second set to get more than a 99 shot sequence
No override of the power off feature on the transmitter
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8 Dec 2010 12:16PM