If you have seen me anywhere lately, you would see me with my Sony NEX 5n. You can probably tell by some of the recent articles (here, here, here, here). As much as I like the camera and of all the features it has, there is no easy way to shoot a long series of images. The primary reason for wanting to take a lot of shots would be for doing time lapse photography. With a DSLR, you can plug a cheap timer into the side of the camera. However, with the Sony NEX cameras do not have any accessory ports for a timer, the only way to trigger the camera besides the shutter button is via an IR remote. The Gentled IR trigger utilizes this feature to allow you to setup long shot sequences.
The Gentled IR timer isn’t what I would consider intervalometer as it has no settings other than how often it triggers the shutter. This really makes the $48 price a little hard to swallow when you can get a very robust intervalometer for your DSLR for under $20. However, if you are bound and determined to use your Sony NEX for time lapse, it’s actually your cheapest option.
The Gentled IT timer consists of a small box with an on/off switch on the bottom, an LED on the top that blinks when the IR LED, also on top, flashes. On the front is a small screw for adjusting the timer duration.
When you receive the Gentled IR timer, you need to install the battery and install the four screws in the front of the case. After that, the only control you have is a tiny screw (you had better have a really small screwdriver handy) to adjust the timing. There is no exact way of setting the intervals as there is no display, the instructions tell you that its about 1 second per complete turn on the dial. The available timing is about 2 – 35 seconds. By changing some links on pins inside the case you can switch between the standard timing and 10 seconds to 4 minutes, and 1 to 30 minutes. On very long intervals you will need to check your camera settings to make sure it won’t turn off.
While the Gentled IR timer comes with a Velcro page to attach it to your camera but since I won’t be using it very often, I just use an adjustable strap to hold it onto the camera. You need to orient the unit so that the LEDs are viewable by the IR sensor (as seen in the photo).
With everything setup, just turn on the switch on the Gentled IR Timer and the camera will start taking pictures.
The Gentled IR timer is very simple to use as once you have your timing dialed in it just sits there doing it’s job. Whatever your camera settings are, that’s what will be used to take the image. The downside to all this is that the Sony NEX 5n isn’t the best camera to use for time lapse photography as the LCD screen will always be active which will drain the battery fairly quickly. Still, if you want to do time lapse with an NEX, there are just some sacrifices that need to be made. This isn’t the fault of the Gentled timer as much as it is a feature issue with the camera.
The Gentled IR Timer does its job well but it is quite pricey. The small size will travel easily with you although the NEX battery won’t last all night. Some users are making dummy batteries with cables to connect to external batteries. For me, if I want to do an overnight time lapse, I’ll pull out my DSLR.