JJC/Gadget Infinity JR-Series Infrared Remote DSLR Controller

Concept: 4 out of 5
Execution: 2 out of 5
Yeah, but: Works better than the low price might suggest

The Long Version:One of my main areas of interest as a photographer is long exposures, mainly at night but also during the daytime to capture the essence of movement.
A tripod is mandatory, but I have long known that some sort of remote shutter release is also recommended.
Using the camera's timer is a free solution, but isn't always the best solution.
So I have kept an eye out for a wireless shutter release that won't abuse my wallet.
Sony's RM-L1AM Alpha Remote Commander is a simple button in a box on a cable that has an MSRP of $69.99!
I could build one for $10, but it would take time and look a little unprofessional despite my fabrication abilities.

Recently I noticed a wireless IR remote for Sony Alpha DSLRs at Gadget Infinity, my favorite source for strange far-east camera products.
I bought my Cactus remote flash triggers from GI, and trust them more than I do the similar eBay stores. 3 orders and never a problem so far--fast and reasonably priced shipping, and the products are always what I ordered and work as advertised.
One important note--this isn't name-brand stuff (and is priced accordingly) so you get what you pay for but might need some tools and skills to make it "perfect".
(More on this later).

As shown in the top photo (click to enlarge all pics) the JR set includes a receiver module with a standard iso hotshoe mount made of plastic, a transmitter, the specific cable required by different camera brands, and in my case a little plastic hotshoe adapter because Sony/Minolta uses an odd proprietary mount.
Also in the box were two CR-2032 button batteries to power each device, of the Star-Bully brand. As with most similar items from across the ocean these are described in the instruction manual as being "for testing purposes only" meaning they are crap and will die within days of being installed (using the tiny Philips screwdriver supplied).
The instructions are typical bad translations, but have many pictures and are relatively understandable.

Here is the JR system mounted on my Alpha300:

I wrap the excess cable around my lens because I like things to be neat.
The Sony-type hotshoe adapter didn't accept the shoe mount of the receiver, but a few quick passes with a small Dremel file (folded sandpaper would work) cleaned-up the excess molding flash that caused the problem.
This is a Sony-specific detail, and since most serious Alpha owners probably have an
FS-1100 hotshoe adapter already it's of minimal concern.
When also using off-camera flash the hotshoe might be occupied by a radio transmitter, so finding a new place to mount the IR receiver will become a problem--I have yet to solve this for myself.

Note that between the first and second photo we have seen both ends of the receiver, and there is a red-tinted IR window on each side. You can trigger the shutter from behind or in front of the camera.
Very nice!

Not so nice is that when set-up this way, my Alpha's controls were completely locked. Changing iso or shutter speed or aperture or white balance, etc, was impossible without pulling the little 2.5mm plug out of the receiver!
Not cool, but at least I didn't have to remove the other end of the cable from the camera as this is a less-convenient connection to deal with.
Also, the advertised half-press AF (auto-focus) feature didn't work, nor did AF activate with a full shutter press. Totally blurred photos.
After switching the camera to "Continuous AF" mode this became a non-issue except for slightly increased battery drain, but I was surprised that something so important to proper function didn't work.
This may be a Sony-specific compatibility issue, but then again it might not.
You've been warned, and supplied with the fixes, so don't complain to me.
My main reason for wanting a wireless remote is to do group shots of my band, and since I can set those up from behind the camera all settings and focus will be finalized long before I step in front of the camera to pose.
Depending on your needs it may or may not be a deal-breaker.
I'm okay with it, especially at the incredible price.

An interesting feature is an optional 2-second delay, which is perfect for self-portraits as it allows you time to hide the remote before your shutter trips.
(Timer does not work with Panasonic & Leica cameras, according to the instructions).

Having said all that...
If a simple wired remote is all that you need, it takes mere seconds to unplug the cable from the receiver and plug it into the transmitter.

And this restores the camera functions that were previously locked during IR wireless mode!
My Alpha300 works normally in wired mode--all buttons and menus do what they are supposed to do again.
Even half-press AF using the transmitter's button works just fine.
All for much less than the price of Sony's wired version.

Since I'm mainly going to use this remote system at night to reduce camera-shake during the start of long exposures, I already feel like I got my money's worth.
(Actually my brother's money--it was a birthday gift).

As long as you understand the odd limitations of this remote system and keep my recommended work-arounds in mind you shouldn't have any problems getting it to perform in your favor.

Here is the first page of GI's listings for wireless camera remotes so you can search for your specific model.

Please note that the instructions for 'Bulb' mode seem complicated and I haven't had time to try it yet, but then I never use bulb anyway.
I will update this entry should anything important come up in future testing.


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