Earlier this year we published a video looking at some of the different wireless remote control options for Sony cameras. Recently an interesting new contender from the Chinese manufacturer Sirui came into the picture and it just might change our recommendation.
In case you didn’t watch our previous video, yet – you should, our main issue with almost all of the remotes that we have previously reviewed for Sony cameras is that they use those annoying coin batteries.
Not only that, but those batteries tend to lose power at the most critical moment and none of the remotes we tested in the past had any battery indicator so they just stop working suddenly.
The Sirui 3T-R that we will be testing today promises to solve all these issues and bring a few other interesting innovations to the table as well.
The remote and the mini tabletop tripod of the Sirui 3T-R
Design and built
The closest competitor to the Sirui 3T-R is Sony’s tripod BT remote (GP-VPT2BT) but as we shall see Sirui was able to improve upon the original Sony design in almost every aspect.
On paper the Sirui 3T-R has all the following compared to the original Sony Shooting Grip:
- Metal vs. plastic
- Quick-release vs. 1/4″ 20 thread
- Separately removable remote vs. fixed into the tripod
- Micro USB BT dongle vs. support limited to newer cameras
- 1/4″ 20 side connector for accessories vs. none
- Internal battery (USB-C charging) vs. Coin battery (CR2032)
- LED battery indicator vs. no indicator
- On/off switch vs. Lock button
- Support both Sony and Canon cameras vs. Sony cameras only
The build of the 3T-R is great with lots of attention to small details like the well-made ballhead lock and grooved ballhead itself, the small magnets on the inside of the legs, and the small pocket which holds the USB dongle.
The metal tabletop tripod
The remote includes similar buttons to the other BT remotes that we have tested before although in a somewhat different configuration including stills and video buttons, zoom rocker, C1 programmable button (from the camera), and an on/off switch.
What is missing is an AF-ON button which is a shame as you will need to assign the C1 to focus if you want to use this feature (Note: Sirui claims that half a press on the stills button should AF but we could not get this function to work, at least not in stills mode). Another missing feature is a tally light which is one of the things we really love about the two other BT remotes that we have tested.
On the upside, as we mentioned is the internal battery with a USB-C connector for charging is located on the left side of the remote. There are also two lights. The left is a battery level indicator and a charge indicator and the right is a BT connection indicator.
Three in one – mini metal tripod, remote, and BT dongle for older cameras
At the moment we can’t really comment on the battery life of the removable remote which is certainly good news since we only fully charged it once, but this will depend on your use and you should certainly turn the remote off when you are not using it.
The handle with the ballhead has an official maximum capacity of 1kg. In practice, we found that it can easily hold more than that as the ballhead is plenty strong.
Mind you, the quick release plate is proprietary and not Arca compatible sadly and you will need to use the included Alan key to connect the plate to your camera as there is no D-ring on the plate, there are forward stoppers though which is good news.
Using the Sirui 3T-R
We are not big on vlogging but we did play around with our A1 and a Sony 20mm f/1.8 lens a little and the setup seems to work well.
Pairing was similar to other BT remotes, press the video button and C1 while the camera is in pairing mode. When working with non-BT cameras, Sirui provides a dongle that is tucked away in a rubber strap under the tripod legs. Once the dongle is connected to the camera, it goes into pairing mode. The pairing procedure with the dongle uses the same button combination.
The dongle connection seems to be more limited, since the half-press shutter button doesn’t engage focus, and the zoom rocker doesn’t work. But that might depend on the camera model (we tried it with our A6300).
Other than that, the remote seems to work fine although it is rather small so make sure you won’t lose it if it isn’t on the tripod.
As we hope that you have seen, Sirui did a great job with the 3T-R, providing a long list of advantages compared to both the original Sony BT remote and the Sony tripod BT remote and basically any other Sony remote that we have tested to date.
Maybe the biggest selling points that this remote has over most other models in our opinion are the internal battery with USB-C charging and battery status indicator as well as the support for non-BT cameras.
As a vlogging / mini tripod, the build of this unit is top-notch, but we would expect nothing less from Sirui with its long history of quality tripods which we tested in the past and still use often.
There are a couple of things which we think Sirui could change or improve in future remotes. First of all, we would really like to see a tally light on the remote just like the Sony BT remote has which we find to be super useful especially when you can’t see the back of the camera. A working AF-ON button would also be very welcome.
Besides that, an Arca compatible quick release for this mini tripod will be very nice and so will a plate with a D-ring.
Finally, we highly suggest that Sirui will make and sell a separate BT remote-only version for those who do not need the mini tripod but want the functionality of the remote with the built-in battery, again if possible with the changes that we suggested above.
The best wireless remote for Sony cameras?
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