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Gear & Apps

Sony Introduces New ‘Touchless’ Shutter Release App

By Anthony Thurston on April 23rd 2015

If you want to be serious about shooting long exposures, you are going to need to find a way of triggering your camera without bumping or moving your camera at all. Most people use some type of cable trigger or, if their camera supports it, their phone. But Sony has just introduced a new app for their cameras that wins the ‘Coolest Shutter Release’ award.

touchless-shutter

The new app, called ‘Touchless Shutter‘ allows camera users to trigger their shutter via the eye sensor on their Sony mirrorless camera. On some cameras, like the A7 II, you can even do a bulb mode shot in this app (basically the shutter would stay open as long as your hand is in front of the eye sensor).

While I am sure that it has its quirks, this could be an infinitely more convenient way for people shooting landscapes or the night sky to get their shots without having to lug around cables and other easy to lose accessory triggers. For backpackers, with whom mirrorless cameras are already a huge draw, this could be a selling point because it means less gear they have to carry.

If you want to give it a try on your Sony camera, you can find the new Touchless Shutter app over on the Sony Play Memories website.

What are your thoughts on this new app from Sony? Is it just a gimmick, or actually useful? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Saikat Debnath

    My DIY hack for sony touchless shutter
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yXU7oFUeBk

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  2. Thomas Major

    So I’m taking a 30 minute exposure and I’m going to hold my hand in front of the eye sensor for 30 minutes, don’t think so…

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    • Anthony Thurston

      Obviously, that is a rather rare occurrence for MOST photographers. In your case a cable release would obviously be the better solution.

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    • Greg Silver

      At least on the Sony a6000 (can’t confirm on other models) you do not have access to the Bulb mode with the Touchless Shutter App. You’ll only be able to take up to a 30 sec shot by just swiping once.

      Even with the remote Sony Play Memories app with a smartphone you won’t have access to the Bulb mode. There may be other ‘wired’ options available though – haven’t really looked.

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    • Pye

      Yeah, for anything more than 30 seconds (bulb mode) still need a cable release. But hey, that’s still a lot of situations where you dont =)

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    • Thomas Major

      There are certainly situations for it. It would keep camera shake down to only the shutter.

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  3. Greg Silver

    Works with the a6000 with a few issues:
    1) Does not autofocus. I’ve switched between Single-shot AF and Continuous AF with no luck. Works fine if you set to Manual Focus and use after focusing.
    2) Does not work with back button autofocus.

    This typically isn’t an issue as I would most likely use this feature in photography where I use a tripod, set up a shot and manually focus. Nice free addition to your camera.

    Other than that it works as advertised. Just a slow swipe and the camera takes the pic.

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  4. Dave Haynie

    Ok, sure, it’s a gimmick… but lots of gimmicks are useful ones in the right context. In the hardware development business, we’d call this feature “a simple matter of software”… it’s free. And that’s the kind of thing that’s increasingly adding to the wealth of features in modern cameras, particularly mirrorless. I think my new OM-D E-M5 mk II has 20+ special “gimmicks”, at least some of which could have implemented just dandy on my Canons. But weren’t.

    Not everyone’s going to use every feature. And they certainly have nailed the basics for any new camera when it ships. I absolutely want priorities given to fixing bugs, but once all known bugs are swatted, dropping an update with few extra capabilities is good for business. You want that kind of support, even if you never use any of the extras.

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  5. Jason Boa

    i agree this just screams – GIMMICK to me

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  6. Fragiskos Penidis

    Sorry guys, but I am not so excited about it. Does not anybody hear use Magic Lantern and “Audio remote shot”? I am setting up my camera, stepping away and whistling or clapping my hands and that’s all, shutter released! If you haven’t use it, give it a try, it is really fun…

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    • Dustin Baugh

      That’s really cool for people who have access to Magic Lantern. But beyond that this is a something being added diretly by the Manufacturer. Magic Lantern, although easy to install, is a third party option. Wouldn’t it be great if Canon would actually build these advanced features directly into the camera natively? Like Sony is doing here…

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    • Thomas Horton

      Some would like the functionality without using a third party hack.

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  7. Pye

    I love this feature! To be honest, cable releases are a bit “clunky/old school” there are still many times where they are needed, but most times I just want to trigger the shutter without touching the camera. Even with a 2 second delay you have to touch the camera, which when you are trying to get perfectly still shots from frame to frame is a problem. So I dig it!

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    • Dustin Baugh

      Agreed. I was hoping using phone remote control would be a solution to a calbe release but there is always the worry about the phone battery dying or the data connection dropping. It’s nice to have a remote trigger option that doesn’t require a second device or piece of hardware.

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  8. Paddy McDougall

    Gimmick to get some free advertising.

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  9. Richard Olender

    I always cover the eye piece to prevent unwanted light from coming in through the back?

    How is going to be affected?

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  10. adam sanford

    Neat idea, but what ever happened to a 2 (or 10) second delay on the shutter press? That’s always my go-to when I’m caught without my cable release.

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    • Thomas Horton

      The timer works great when the start of the exposure is not critical like on a landscape. But if you are trying to capture something fleeting to get a nice motion smear, using the timer delay is more complicated.

      Can you use the timer for a bulb exposure? I have to check to see if my camera can do that.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      Those are options, of course, but personally I don’t really like the delay. It might seem stupid, but for whatever reason the delay annoys me. To each his own though.

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    • Dustin Baugh

      In some cameras the option to select the timer release is the same one used to select a bracketing series so you can only do one or the other. Not sure if Sony is one of those but it would be a good bypass for that problem.

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  11. Thomas Horton

    I think this could be a handy (groan) thing to have. Much of my photography is off a tripod using a cable release.

    For me personally, if I am lugging around a tripod, carrying a cable release is the least of my worries :)

    But having a camera where this is built in, could be a nice addition.

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