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I'd like to shoot fireworks with my Canon Rebel T4i (EOS 650D / Kiss X6i). Is there a bulb mode on this camera? What different remote-shutter attachments are available?

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    The manual mentions "BULB" 28 times. Have you tried to look at it? Sorry I vote down questions that can be easily answered simply by a Google search or looking in the manual. This site is for expert level questions and answers. Michael Clark did provide an expert level answer below, which is great, but this question I have voted down due to the reasons noted above. See the online manual: gdlp01.c-wss.com/gds/5/0300007695/01/… – dpollitt Jun 21 '13 at 2:05
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To use Bulb mode on your T4i, Select Manual <M> exposure mode and move the shutter speed past 30 seconds to bulb. (pp. 113-114 of the T4i Instruction Manual)

The simplest way to shoot fireworks with your Rebel T4i is with a wired remote. The Canon RS60 E3 sells at amazon.com for around $22USD. Generic versions are available for about 1/2 that. The advantages of the wired vs. wireless remotes are:

  • The wired remote will work from beside or behind the camera. The wireless remotes are infrared and need line of sight to the sensor in the front of the camera. Sometimes when indoors you can bounce the wireless remote's signal off a wall, but outdoors, such as when shooting fireworks, the remote must be in front of the camera to trigger the release.
  • The wired remote includes the ability to do a half-press as well as a full release of the shutter button, just as if you were using the shutter button on the camera body. The wireless remotes don't.
  • All of the wireless remotes except the RC-6 require a two-second delay before releasing the shutter. Even with the RC-6, a second press is required to close the shutter in Bulb mode. Getting the remote within line of sight of the remote sensor without entering the frame of the photo can be problematic with wider angle lenses.
  • It can be difficult to keep track of when the shutter is open and when it is not with the RC-6 when using it for Bulb mode in the dark since the same action opens and closes the shutter. With the wired remote it is simple: the shutter is open when the button is pressed all the way down and it is closed at all other times.

Radio operated remotes that connect to the camera's wired remote port also share the advantages listed above.

Get in close and defocus slightly with a telephoto lens to get dramatic effects with fireworks.
7D with EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II @ 70mm, ISO 100, 3 sec (Bulb)@ f/8.

enter image description here

Or use a wider lens from further back to get more traditional shots with focus set at infinity.
5DII with EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS @ 24mm, ISO 100, 1 sec (Bulb)@ f/10.

enter image description here

From the comments:

I have to disagree with your assessment of the wireless triggers. I have used an RC-1 for 7 years and I don't have to put my hand in front of the camera lens or anywhere near it. It also has the option to fire immediately or with a 2 second delay. The delay is really only useful when you are actually in the picture.

The RC-1 is no longer produced by Canon. It was supplanted by the RC-6. All of the RC-x remotes are infrared and the sensor on all Canon cameras that have one is on the front of the camera. If you are indoors it will often work by bouncing off walls if you are behind or beside the camera. Outdoors is an entirely different matter. The angle of operation is fairly narrow, and the brighter the ambient light, the closer you must be and the narrower the angle you must use.

The push to keep open is really not a big advantage either (I would say just a personal preference), and would be a pain for longer exposures (several minutes or more) since you have to hold it the whole time. Push to open and coming back 15 minutes later and push to close would be a distinct advantage when shooting something like star trails.

You can also lock the button down on the wired remote by sliding the button forward and it will hold itself until you slide it back down so the button can come up. The shutter will stay open by itself until the locked button is released, the camera's battery is depleted, or the sensor overheats.

You still don't have to put your hand in front of the lens, no more so than my hand would be from holding the camera. The receiver is on the grip and you simply need to hold the remote near that spot. I simply open the shutter by putting my hand near the side of the camera, well out of range of the lens, even in daylight. The wired remote really only has the advantage of being used from behind the camera, which I would say is rarely a restriction for the photographer.

The shutter half press is not possible with any of the wireless remotes. The wired remotes also have an advantage there. You also have the option of using mirror lockup with a wired cable release. Canon's pro cameras don't even have an infrared receiver so obviously the wired release works with those cameras and the infrared remotes do not.

I've got both, and I use the wired remote on at least a weekly basis most of the time. The last time I used the RC-6 was over a year ago. The ability to use the viewfinder without touching the tripod mounted camera by performing a half press to activate the AF and viewfinder info display while holding the release in my hand well away from the camera is much more comfortable to me than trying to reach around without touching anything and hold the remote in front of the receiver while looking through the viewfinder to take a picture without the possibility of a half-press first.

  • I have to disagree with your assessment of the wireless triggers. I have used an RC-1 for 7 years and I don't have to put my hand in front of the camera lens or anywhere near it. It also has the option to fire immediately or with a 2 second delay. The delay is really only useful when you are actually in the picture. – Robin Jun 21 '13 at 20:50
  • The RC-1 is no longer produced by Canon. It was supplanted by the RC-6. All of the RC-x remotes are infrared and the sensor on all Canon cameras that have one is on the front of the camera. If you are indoors it will often work by bouncing off walls if you are behind or beside the camera. Outdoors is an entirely different matter. The angle of operation is fairly narrow, and the brighter the ambient light, the closer you must be and the narrower the angle you must use. – Michael C Jun 21 '13 at 21:06
  • The push to keep open is really not a big advantage either (I would say just a personal preference), and would be a pain for longer exposures (several minutes or more) since you have to hold it the whole time. Push to open and coming back 15 minutes later and push to close would be a distinct advantage when shooting something like star trails. – Robin Jun 21 '13 at 21:06
  • You can also lock the button down on the wired remote by sliding the button forward and it will hold itself until you slide it back down so the button can come up. it will stay open by itself until the camera's battery is depleted or the sensor overheats. – Michael C Jun 21 '13 at 21:08
  • You still don't have to put your hand in front of the lens, no more so than my hand would be from holding the camera. The receiver is on the grip and you simply need to hold the remote near that spot. I simply open the shutter by putting my hand near the side of the camera, well out of range of the lens, even in daylight. The wired remote really only has the advantage of being used from behind the camera, which I would say is rarely a restriction for the photographer. – Robin Jun 21 '13 at 21:12
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Yes, you have to set the mode to M and dial the shutter speed past 30s (it will show 'bulb'). You will want some type of remote trigger for this mode. A canon RC-1,5 or 6 is a cheap and reliable IR based remote (I have used the RC-1 for about 7 years and only change the battery once, after about 5-6 years).

You enable the remote by switching to the timer for your shutter mode.

  • Nice. Does the remote need to have a line of sight to the front of the camera? (Where's the receiver?) – bdesham Jun 20 '13 at 19:44
  • Yes, it is located in the handgrip. For this type of shot, or any nighttime stuff, simply put your hand near the front and click. – Robin Jun 21 '13 at 20:45
  • How does one do continuous bursts using an infrared remote? How about use mirror lockup? Or a shutter half-press? How about with an EOS 1-series camera (i.e. 1D X Mark II), none of which have IR receivers? – Michael C Jan 15 at 1:29

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