Monday, 1 March 2010

Remote control for Panasonic Lumix G series

One drawback with the Panasonic Lumix G series, is that the cameras do not have any infrared receiver. So there are no simple wireless remote controls available. But there are some third party remotes that can be bought fairly inexpensively.

One of them is the "JJC JR series Infrared Controller". This one can be bought online.

In the package, there is one cord, one controller unit (lower right in the picture), one receiver unit (in the middle of the picture), two CR-2032 batteries, instructions manual and a small screwdriver.

The build quality of the items appears to be fairly poor. They do not feel like high quality items, far from it.

The set can be used in two ways, either as a wired remote control, or as an infrared remote control.

Using it as a wired remote control is fairly straight forward: Connect one end the cord to the microphone/remote control input on the camera, and connect the other end to the controller unit. When this is done, you can press the controller unit release button halfway to focus, and fully to trigger the shutter. There is also a function to provide delayed trigger on the controller unit.

If you want the wireless remote functionality, you also need the infrared receiver unit. Connect the cord to this unit, rather than the controller unit, as in the picture below. You can now use the controller unit just as when connected directly with a wire, provided that you point in the direction of the receiver.

Panasonic GH1 camera body with the Lumix 20mm f/1.7 lens and the remote receiver from JJC. The Lumix 20mm pancake lens has an optional third party 46mm screw in hood mounted.

Problems

However, the wireless remote does not operate as flawless as described above. Trough some trial and error, I found that when connected to the receiver unit, the camera will not respond to the remote control operations, unless it was previously used in wired mode. So to operate the remote control in wireless mode, you need to do the following:
  1. Turn on the camera.
  2. Connect the controller unit to the camera with the supplied cord.
  3. Operate some function with the controller unit, for example autofocus.
  4. Disconnect the controller unit from the cord, and connect the infrared receiver.
After having done this, you can use the wireless remote control as it is intended to work. If you turn off the camera, you must repeat these steps again for the remote function to work.

I have bought a second remote control, the Pixel RW-221 Wireless Remote Control. It is superior to the JJC JR unit tested above. The Pixel RW-221 remote has better build quality, works more intuitively and reliably, and simply gives better value for money.

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