If you are not physically behind the camera when you are shooting – or you are afraid that you might shake the camera when pressing the shutter button – then using a remote (and specifically a wireless remote) is the way to go. In this roundup, we will try and share our experience with different Sony-compatible remotes and give you our recommendations.
Sony-Compatible Camera Remotes
However, if you are like us, you are probably going to want to lose the cable, so you can walk around more freely and gain a few other functions that the wired remote doesn’t include. So in this comparison, we are going to focus on the best wireless options that are on the market right now.
Sony IR remote (Sony RMTDSLR2 model)
This little remote is pretty great for when you are very close to your camera and have a direct line of sight. It is small, light, and inexpensive. It also features a number of very useful buttons, including stills and video recording, a 2-sec delay for stills, and some options to access the menu and play images.
We especially like the zoom in & out function which we use a lot for video – not with power zoom lenses, but actually with primes, using Sony’s fantastic and much underrated Clear Image Zoom.
There are some 3’rd party versions of this remote, which we haven’t tried since the original is relatively inexpensive, but feel free to test them and report back.
The Sony RMTDSLR2
Sony Wireless Remote Commander (Sony RMT-P1BT model)
This unit is Sony’s latest camera remote with Bluetooth capabilities, and is only compatible with the most recent camera models with the latest firmware (older A6300/A6500 A7 II, etc. are NOT compatible with this remote, so be mindful of that – see compatibility list on Sony’s website).
The remote has some very powerful features compared to the older IR remote from Sony, including AF and control of manual focus (when in MF mode), as well as a programmable C1 bottom, customized by the user from the camera, which can be extremely useful (we currently have ours set to “magnify” for critical focus).
It also has a video/stills shooting option (via a switch), a focus/zoom option (just like the IR remote; again with a switch on the side), and also a new feature – a lock switch for preventing the keys from getting pressed by accident, which happened a lot in our bag.
The last fantastic option of this remote and one which almost nobody mentions is a tally light. Yes, you can finally know when your camera is actually shooting video even if you can’t look at the back screen of your camera – this alone is reason to buy this remote in our opinion.
The Sony RMT-P1BT
JJC BT wireless remote (JJC RMT-P1BT model)
JJC makes a lot of 3’rd party remotes – some are different than the original ones, and some are exactly the same. In this case this remote is almost identical to the original Sony, it has the same buttons with the same layout and works in exactly the same way, but it is a bit smaller, lighter and actually has a more convenient and larger strap hole at the button (we actually use it for our finger).
The JJC RMT-P1BT
LanParte LRC-01 RF Remote
The last remote that we are going to look at is one that we have tested here on LensVid back in 2018.
The remote is made by the Chinese manufacturer LanParte, and is a little big for our taste. It requires a tiny screwdriver to replace the two AAA batteries (not really our favorite feature) and it communicates via RF (not BT) using a 3cm dongle that you can connect to more or less any Sony camera (including older models).
One other advantage this remote has is being able to connect to more than one camera and start/stop video recording on both at the same time, but you will need to buy extra dongles for that.
The options on this remote are fairly limited – stills shooting (without delay), start and stop video recording, and zoom (there is no tally light like the BT remotes, no AF or MF, and no programmable button). You do have an option to turn the camera off, but not on though.
The LanParte LRC-01
Working with the remotes
The Sony IR (and its 3’rd party knockoffs) works in a relatively short (typically under 5m) line of sight. This also depends on the camera but some Sony models have a single IR receiver, which means that they will only work reliably from one side, and from other angles, they might or might not work at times.
These limitations make them hard to recommend to anything, but occasional use. For professional use, where repeatability is key, they might not be reliable enough.
All of the remotes we tested require some setup. With the IR one you need to turn on the “Remote Ctrl” function in the camera menu, and with the BT one, you will need to turn “Bloothooth Rmt Ctrl” on and then pair the remote in the “Bluetooth settings”.
Working with the Sony RMTDSLR2 remote
To pair both the Sony Wireless Remote Commander and the JJC, you will need to get into pairing mode on the camera and long press (about 7-second) the shutter button on the remote, together with the plus button on the Sony remote or the T button on the JJC unit, until the camera confirms the pairing.
We have been successful in pairing both remotes to our A7R IV at the same time, and you can work with both (although this might confuse the camera for a second or two initially). At the time of making this video, we have not tried pairing any of the BT remotes with more than one camera at the same time, but we will update the article when we do.
Aside from the LanParte remote, all the other remotes that we tested use the CR2032 button battery. We recommend that you buy several of these and keep at least one extra with your remote at all times, as you can never know at what critical point it might stop working since none of the remotes have battery indicators.
We really think that at this point these things should come with a built-in rechargeable battery, which can charge through USB-C (especially the more expensive Sony Wireless Remote Commander).
There are some big differences in pricing between the remotes:
- Sony IR Wireless Remote (RMTDSLR2 model) – $30.
- LanParte RF Wireless Remote Control for Sony – $49.
- Sony BT Wireless Remote Commander (RMT-P1BT model) – $78.
- JJC BT Wireless Remote (JJC RMT-P1BT model) – $29.
- Sony Wireless BT Shooting Grip and Tripod (GP-VPT2BT model) – $138.
If you are the occasional user with one of Sony’s new cameras and only going to work with the remote from time to time, the JJC version of the BT remote has basically the same functionality as the more expensive Sony version and is smaller and lighter.
However, we found the build quality of the JJC model lacking and the shutter button was way too sensitive on our unit. We also had to find a fix for the battery connection and added a silicone washer behind the battery door to provide better contact.
The Sony RMT-P1BT side
For professionals like us, who use this type of remote for work on a daily basis, the extra cost of the Sony is worth the better build quality – you do get what you pay for in this case.
For older Sony cameras, the Sony IR remote is still a decent option (unlike the expensive BT version, for the price, we see no point in even trying the 3’rd party options).
Please keep in mind that for all of these remotes, make sure you have plenty of coin batteries ready and replace the battery the minute you feel the remote starting to fail. Just make sure you keep a line of sight to the camera with the IR versions (Some camera models have the IR sensor in different places).
If you really need a non-line-of-sight option for older cameras, the LanParte LRC-01 is a possibility, but it is larger, has fewer control options, and requires an adaptor, which can get lost (and replacing batteries is an annoying process that involves a tiny screwdriver).
One remote we didn’t cover (and haven’t tried out) is the Sony Wireless Bluetooth Shooting Grip (GP-VPT2BT). It is also based on BT, and only works with the latest Sony cameras and firmware. However, it has far fewer options, and costs significantly more. Its only advantage is that it has a grip, and so if you are doing lots of vlogging, it might have some advantage. Although, it isn’t a gimbal, and does not really stabilize the camera.
We recently came up with an idea for an even better remote for Sony cameras and shared it with Sony — although we are not sure what will come out of this. If you are a third-party manufacturer and you are considering developing an advanced Sony remote, we will be happy to share our experience, insights, and ideas on this subject – feel free to contact us here at LensVid.
A little render we made for a future Sony Remote
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