Taking on board our criticism in a recent review of the Nero Multi Trigger the guys have completely rebuilt the gadget and we're now looking at a much smarter and vastly improved device that's used to capture fast moving subjects using sound, laser or light sensors, as well as an improved timelapse feature and a new HDR mode.
Nero Trigger Features
Like the previous Nero Multi Trigger, the new Nero Trigger is compatible with most camera systems including Nikon (MC-30), Nikon (MC-DC1), Nikon (MC-DC2), Sony (A Series), Canon (RS-80N3) and Canon (2.5 mm), tested here using Pentax SLRs and Olympus with an adaptor.
The trigger comes with a flash cable and a camera cable of your choice. The box has been redesigned and the instruction leaflet is even easier to follow than the previous Multi Trigger. You now also have a choice of colours. As I write this I happen to be wearing an orange T-Shirt of a very similar shade to the unit I'm testing, which is quite a coincidence. You won't catch me wearing pink, but that colour, along with red, green, black and blue are your other choices.
The front panel has two clearly marked buttons for menu and start, along with a four way control pad. It's here were the mode is set and fine tuning adjustments are made. The small LCD screen shows the mode and various settings that can be adjusted.
Around the side is the on / off switch and a socket for an external cable when using the DIY mode.
The opposite side has connections for Flash and Camera cables. All clearly marked.
Lightning Trigger (1-99 sensitivity)
Sound Trigger (1-99 sensitivity, 0-999ms delay)
Time Lapse (Interval and exposure from 1secs to 59mins 59sec - unlimited number of frames)
Laser trigger (1-999 sensitivity, 0-999ms delay)
HDR mode (High Dynamic Range)
Powered by 2x AAA batteries
Nero Trigger Handling
When switching on you get an initial flash of the display panel and a few moment later it comes to life, with a graphical quality similar to an old Nintendo Game Boy Color screen, albeit smaller.
The screen lists the mode, with default at Lightning, and you can then scroll through to the Sound, Timelapse, Laser, HDR and DIY modes, using the left or right buttons. Press up or down (or the start button) and you're taken in to the mode settings, which you scroll up or down to select, and adjust values using left or right.
It's really easy to get the hang of, unlike the previous Nero Multi Trigger or recently reviewed Photo Trigger which both need the manual to hand. The screen switches off after 30 seconds if there's no activity as a battery saver. The batteries are still being used though, so it's better to switch off if you're not using for a longer period.
If you press and hold the button down it starts off making slow speed adjustment values and speeds up when held longer.
The shoe on the base lets you mount it on the camera's flash shoe for convenience It's small enough to fit in a pocket but the shoe mount does add bulk. A tripod mount would be useful, especially when using the laser trigger when you may want the trigger away from the camera at 90 degrees. Taking that a stage further a removable shoe with a tripod thread would make it even more versatile.
Unlike the Photo Trigger there no spaghetti of cables from the attached sensors. They are all built in, apart from the laser which you will need to buy to take advantage of that mode. A standard laser pen works. This makes it really neat to use, but less flexible if you want to put the sound or light sensor in a strategically placed position.
Nero Trigger Performance
There are no storms where I am at the moment so I had to substitute lightning with an alternative test of that feature. I chose a cigarette lighter. I initially hoped to get the spark as it ignites, but the camera's shutter lag let me down. Even though it's only a 100 milliseconds or so it's too late to capture that precise moment of ignition. Instead I got the lighter in almost full flame with just a remnant of a spark still in the air.
I then tried a match with the same expectation and found that the match also ignited too quickly so that initial spark was missed. The only control you have is a sensitivity adjustment, I had it on high and it picked up light from the dimmed room lights and kept triggering the camera. So I had to turn them off. I could also have reduced the sensitivity of the Trigger so the dimmed room lights were out of range, but that may have affected performance.
Next up is the sound mode. I tried both the flame and lighter experiments from above using the Sound sensor but got similar results. With a bursting balloon where you can use flash to illuminate it's a different matter, even though it's a similar high speed event. The flash has no lag and provides a much higher duration, so the balloon explosion could be captured on camera. I set the camera on B in a darkened environment and attached the flash to the Nero Trigger. The sound of the popping balloon triggered the flash and the exposure was made instantly.
Nero Trigger Balloon Burst - Triggered by sound Olympus OM-D camera set to B and f/14 lens at 70mm and ISO 400.
It's all so easy to use. And if you want to set a short delay there's an option to do so in milliseconds. I used this for the shots of the party popper and could control the length of the material expelled from the popper. There's also a lock so that just one photo can be taken when there are multiple noises being picked up.
Nero Trigger Popper Explosion - Triggered by sound Olympus OM-D camera set to B and f/14 lens at 58mm and ISO 400.
I had some trouble with the trigger when using it on a Pentax K20 - the unit registered the noise on the first pop, but didn't trigger the camera, second shot was always fine. It did this every time the unit was turned on. I didn't have the same problem with the Olympus OM-D and Nero had not come across the issue before either, so it must be a camera based issue. One of the problems using Pentax - it seems many companies automatically test on the market majority Nikon and Canon but often don't research the lesser brands.
Next up Timelapse. The Nero Multi-Trigger's long exposure mode has been merged with Timelapse so you can now set one frame and an exposure between 1sec and 59min 59secs. The landscape below was an 81 second exposure using the Lee Filters Big Stopperfilter to allow a moving cloud style photo.
One thing that was irritating with long exposures is when for one reason or another you decide to cancel a long exposure. If you try to take another the timer continues from the point you cancelled. So you have to wait until the countdown ends. The only way around this is to switch the unit off and turn it back on again and then navigate back to the Timelapse mode. Not ideal.
The timelapse feature is best utilised for recording a series of shots of changing events, such as start trails, opening flowers, burning candles, rotting food etc.
The Nero Trigger can be set to record a number of photos with an exposure duration and the time between exposures. Unlike the Hahnel Giga-T Pro there's no combined delay option, so you cant set it to begin with a specific time delay, for example to start a recording at dawn while you're still tucked up in bed.
Here's a shot taken through a window of snow forming on an ornament - each frame turned into a short video using Sony Vegas.
The laser activation needs a laser beam, so I used a Kaiser Laser Pen. Unlike the Photo Trigger it was simple to set up. I decided to do water drips from a kitchen tap (in daylight!) I was sure I'd get stuck but everything went with ease. I placed an upturned pint glass on each side of the sink and on one glass rested the Nero Trigger and on the other I placed the laser pen (with the button taped down). I aligned the pen so it pointed at the drip (using a knife to intercept the drip and locate the laser point). I then positioned the Nero Trigger so its plastic sensor cover was illuminated by the laser. The Trigger was set to Laser mode with no delay. It is surprisingly quick to do and every single drip triggered the camera. You can check the result and adjusted the delay. The shutter lag was cancelled out in the distance the drip had to travel to reach the water (a small dish resting on an upturned bowl in the sink) so the delay was adjusted to control the height of the bouncing drip.
Nero Trigger a water droplet splash viewed from side - Triggered by laser | 1/125 sec | ISO 200
The shots were illuminated by flash which I moved around while pictures were being taken. I then adjusted the camera position and realised an interesting position for flash was behind the drip so the catchlights in the water were picked up as ring shaped ripples from the drip.
Nero Trigger Splash from Top - Triggered by laser | 1/125 sec | ISO 200
The HDR mode lets you take three, five or seven frames in exposure bracket of 1/3rd, 1/2, 1 or 2 stop steps. The camera shutter is controlled by the trigger. So it needs to be set to B and the speed is set on the trigger. You can set any speed between 15 seconds and 1/15sec as the starting point. Then a photo is taken at this speed, followed by the under exposed and then over exposed shots. You combine them in your chosen HDR program.
I set the unit to do a five frame HDR bracket so the expected details on exif would be 1/4sec, 1/15sec, 1/8sec, 1/2sec and 1sec, but a sequence of 0.3sec, 1/20sec, 1/6sec, 1/3sec and 0.9sec was recorded. It appears that the exif data generated by the DSLR in bulb mode may be the issue and varies from brand to brand.
This was a HDR set taken of an old camera and the individual shots (displayed to the right) were merged in Photomatix.
Value For Money
$199 USD is about £135 at the time of review, which makes The Nero Trigger similar priced to the Photo Trigger and a lot more than the £80 Hahnel Giga T Pro II. While the Photo Trigger has the advantage of cabled sensors, so you can position them in more precise places, and it has a laser included, it's far more complicated to use and that was off-putting. The Hahnel lacks the sensor aspect, but does have a better timelapse features. You could also consider the easy to control TriggerSmart, with mini stands and laser, but it's a much higher price at around £230 and a more bulky studio unit.
Nero Trigger Verdict
There's no denying the previously reviewed Multi Trigger was a disappointment, but the company listened to the feedback and have done a grand job creating this new version which really does offer ease of handling along with a versatile feature set. A few hiccups like the initial triggering issue when using a Pentax and the inability to cancel a long exposure can be forgiven for the benefits achieved in all other aspects. A great piece of kit and unlike its older (and now deceased) brother, well worth buying for some fun high speed photography.
The new Nero Trigger is a great piece of kit that's well worth buying for some fun high speed photography.
Nero Tigger Pros
Simple to use
Easy to see in low light
Versatile feature set
No messy cables
Nero Tigger Cons
Doesn't trigger correctly with Pentax
Interval timer cannot be reset without switching off
Need to buy Laser pen to use laser feature