GEAR REVIEW - YONGNUO TC-80/N1 TIMER REMOTE CONTROLl
Ever since the success of flashes like the YN-560, Yongnuo has established a sound reputation in the camera accessories market, for good quality, affordable products. You can find glowing reviews on many internet forums and Youtube videos. I've used the YN-560 II strobes in-studio for a couple of years now, for kicker and rim lighting models. Inexpensive. Robust construction. Straight forward ergonomics, that even a complete beginner can navigate with ease. What more could you want from a manual flash?
I'd been looking at getting a shutter release for the D800 for a while now. I found it somewhat annoying that the Nikon ML-L3 IR remote didn't work with it (although that seemed a bit sporadic on the D90). The Nikon MC-30a is the wrong side of £50 and I wasn't prepared to pay that amount of money for a shutter release, just because it was manufacturer branded. So once again I turned to Yongnuo for a cost effective solution.
Meet the TC-80. It comes in a multitude of flavours to fit just about every camera out there. I needed the /N1 for the D800. If you decide to order one, make sure you get the right model for your camera. It comes in a fairly sturdy box complete with instruction booklet. As with just about anything made in China, the instructions are written by someone who probably has a basic grasp of the English language and then uses a thesaurus to substitute everyday words for more complicated sounding ones. Often this results in complete gibberish or inappropriate application but, it brings a little amusement to the reader just the same.
What I wasn't so amused about was the lack of a CR2032 battery. Fortunately I had a couple in a draw that I'd bought a few years ago but, don't plan on being able to use this remote control straight out the box without having a battery to hand. This seems totally illogical to me. If you're selling a digital product, at least provide the damn power source. It's like selling a TV and forcing people to go buy a separate power lead.
Build quality isn't bad at all. The plastic isn't flimsy and brittle like the really cheap Chinese products. I wouldn't want to drop it on the floor too many times but, it would probably survive the usual knocks and punishment camera gear receives out in the field. The chord measures 88cm long and is a decent thickness, to help protect the wire inside. On the back of the body is a little indent, which allows you to place your remote control dust cap inside whilst using the timer. I had no use for this on the D800 as it remains attached to the camera body.
The interface is pretty straightforward. A mode button changes the selection between self-timer, intervalometer and long exposures and number of frames. There is also a start/stop button and a LCD light button, which enables you to use it in the dark - making it very handy for low light and night time photography. Keep this pressed and it also locks the remote so that no changes can be accidentally made. A "HOLD" icon will be displayed when this happens, so be aware. To remove it, just press the light button for a few seconds until it disappears and the controls cease being inactive.
At first, I found the jog-wheel a bit confusing. I thought the item was faulty initially, as I was rotating the wheel backwards and forwards without anything happening. I then realized that you have to depress the wheel inwards first to activate the digital display and make alterations. The digits will flash to indicate they are adjustable. Then simply click the wheel inwards again to lock in your settings. Around the release button is a "running lock" which prevents accidental exposures. One thing I will point out is that if you have your camera set to use the AF-ON / Back button focus only selected, then you will be unable to AF with the release cable. You will have to set Shutter/AF-ON in the D800 menu to enable this feature. Just remember to disable it again if like me you are an AF-ON shooter.
That's basically it. For the £15 it cost, Yongnuo has produced another affordable but efficient product that has some very handy features at a fraction of the cost of a Nikon shutter release cable. That's one thing that really grinds my gears about OEM brands. They charge way above the odds for their accessories just because they are branded. I'm glad that 3rd party manufacturers offer cheaper and often better alternatives.
Would I recommend this timer? Yes, I would. Just be sure to order a battery with it to avoid disappointment!! Other than that, a great addition to your kit bag.