Product review: MIOPS wireless camera remote
A cost-effective solution to the problem of differing levels of timed exposures in crime scenes
By Jeremy Ashley
So, there I was. In the dark, squinting over a scene of fluorescing Luminol while fumbling with a shutter release cord and cellphone timer to ensure some resemblance of accuracy in a seven-minute exposure.
There must be a better way, I remember thinking.
When it comes to differing levels of timed exposures in crime scenes – whether it’s painting with light at a motor vehicle accident while along a rural roadside or the afore-mentioned scene involving chemiluminescence – crime scene photographers often test the limitations of gear in the most obscure ways and during the most adverse conditions.
In my search for a cost-effective solution to this problem I’ve stumbled through various camera manufacturer’s remotes and off-brand options that perform intermittently at best.
Enter MIOPS. From this oddly-named company come several different products aimed at the mass photography market that also have potential applications for forensic imagery.
Features of the MIOPS RemotePlus
The company sent me a MIOPS RemotePlus to test, which is essentially a wireless camera trigger complemented by an incredible range of programmable features.
From opening the box to mounting the device on top of your camera, MIOPS is relatively easy to figure out and very functional.
Menu systems through the app (tested on a Samsung S7) were simple to navigate and act as a tutor on how to execute shots, although for photo geeks there are many tutorials on the MIOPS main blog page.
What truly separates this product from others is that it’s triggered and controlled with a well-designed smart phone app using Bluetooth. This opens doors for innovation I never considered in photography and simplifies the process through software control and internal calculations to assist the photographer.
Aside from what you’d expect – a long timer, self-timer and perhaps a few fancy HDR settings for multiple long exposures – the MIOPS has a tremendous amount of potential for forensic photographers with its light and sound sensitive triggers.
Whether you are photographing a hammer smashing a glass jar (noise trigger) for a court demonstration or lightning flashes from a firearm (light trigger), this device begs to be explored in our world.
The device itself is small and lightweight, although I admit I haven’t had an opportunity to use it in adverse weather. (I tested this in a relatively controlled atmosphere – inside at a scene that was contained.)
Either way, I expect to use this piece of kit in inclement weather so one of the first things I did was laminate the paper instructions included. It is beneficial to have a waterproof and durable instruction sheet stashed away in a camera case for referral in the field.
Once connected through Bluetooth, the MIOPS RemotePlus offers control of the camera’s shutter release in a variety of ways, albeit limited to the range of the wireless connection, something to keep in mind when using it in the field.
There are limitations to Bluetooth connectivity depending on the situation you are in, however the benefits of the MIOPS system far outweigh the negative elements.
The only option that must be ordered exclusive to your camera model is the attachment cord for the device. The unit itself is small enough to either hang on the side of the body or mount in any flash shoe.
Drawbacks of the MIOPS RemotePlus
One drawback I noticed was that after triggering a long exposure using the app and leaving the application, when the app was re-visited, the information about the photograph (such as the countdown timer, etc.) was not available. This means you must trust the device completed the exposure as initially directed.
What is lacking is a case or hard cover to protect the device when it is bouncing around your camera kit or attached to your camera. To address this, I used an old, hard lens case.
Good customer service, great price
As for support, the company responds quickly to emails asking for advice, information or troubleshooting.
All the cool gadgetry aside, where MIOPS sets itself apart is in the diverse applications through the app, which is something to consider when searching for the next bit of kit to complement your gear. At about $125 per pop, it’s not out of reach for most agencies.
About the author
Jeremy Ashley currently holds the rank of sergeant and is unit commander of the Forensic Investigations Unit at the Belleville Police Service in Belleville, Ontario. He is currently a member of the International Association of Identification (IAI), Canadian Identification Society (CIS) and the Ontario Forensic Investigators Association (OFIA). Jeremy speaks regularly on topics including photography and the application of forensic science to law enforcement.