The Vello ShutterBoss Version II is a remote/timer that is available for a number of DSLRs. This review addresses the remote as a whole; however, it is specifically tailored to its use with Canon DSLRs because that is the model I tested here.
The first thing you will notice about the Vello ShutterBoss when you compare it to the Canon Timer Remote TC-80N3 is the price. The Canon TC-80N3 runs $130, while the Vello model is under $50. It has virtually the same functionality as the Canon model for a fraction of the price.
Performance-wise, the Vello works fine. I have used both the Canon and the Vello models for time-lapse photography with easy results from both.
Most recently, I shot a few time-lapse sequences in Times Square with my 5D Mark II and the Vello ShutterBoss performed flawlessly. It connects via the Canon 3-pin connector, which is the same connector found on several Canon prosumer and pro DSLR models. The complete list (at the time of this post) is below.
Canon DSLR Compatibility with Vello ShutterBoss 3-Pin Model
- 10D, 20D, 30D, 40D, 50D
- 5D, 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III
- 7D, 7D Mark II
- 1D, 1D Mark II, 1D Mark II N, 1D Mark III, 1D Mark IV, 1Ds, 1Ds Mark II, 1Ds Mark III, 1D X and 1D C
It has a useful backlight that aids viewing and adjusting the settings at night. It runs on 2 AAA batteries, which can last for about 60 days of continuous shooting with intervals of five minutes and exposures of 4 minutes, 56 seconds. When left on standby, it can last for up to 2 years. I believe that because I bought a Canon RC-1 remote (replaced by the RC-6) in 2005 and have yet to change the battery in it. At this point, I’m just waiting to see how long it lasts.
Unless you just want a Canon timer remote for your time-lapse shooting, I can’t come up with any reasons to justify the additional cost over the Vello ShutterBoss II remote. Again, Vello makes the ShutterBoss line of remotes for several DSLR models (including Nikon and Sony), which you can find here at B&H Photo.
I highly recommend this remote. At the very least, you should check it out closely before paying a premium price for a first-party remote.
[Update: To answer some questions that popped up in the comments, I’ve included a photo below of the manual that shows the specs of the timer and interval shot options. Hopefully, this will help clear up any confusion.]