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Promote: A Remote For The Serious HDR Shooter

Published: 23/09/2009
By: larry

Marcus Newey pointed out an interesting new remote device called the Promote Controller, that will do HDR bracketing the way you want. Some of the features are:

  • Replaces and extends manufacturer-specific remote controls.
  • Allows for unparalleled flexibility with automatic >30 second exposures in “bulb mode” - even in HDR sequences.
  • Advanced easy-to-configure “Time-Lapse Mode” with optional sequence start delay.
  • Optional user-defined Mirror-Up timeout available in all modes.

This device looks like it will allow you to shoot a series of HDR brackets exactly like you want. It also, allows you to shoot time lapse sequences. Although, normal remotes like the Canon TC-80N3 do time lapse just fine. The real strength of this device is HDR brackets in a far more flexible way than any of the in-camera bracketing features.

Don't get me wrong, you don't have to have this device to shoot great HDR. Dan Achatz, who I consider one of the kings of HDR says he only ever shoots 3 bracket series, two stops apart which almost every camera can do with built-in features. So, while the Promote is a really cool piece of gear it's not essential. At $300 it's also a bit pricey, but it does way more than any other remote that I've seen.

9 comments on “Promote: A Remote For The Serious HDR Shooter”

  1. This looks like a great addition to my work flow. I've found that two stops is too much when doing interior work that includes dark stuff like black/brown furnature. My normal work flow now includes from -3 to +3 in one stops. However, I need to touch my Canon 40D twice to make that happen. With this device, I won't need to. I am also seeing if it will work with my Canon G10. What a sweet deal if it does! I'll let you know.

  2. @Larry,
    Its too early to tell. The people at Promote say:
    We have not tested it, but it's hard to say - Canon P&S cameras used a different command protocol until recently, however G10 is a new one and may work OK. Let us get ahold of one for testing, and we will let you know.
    Best regards,
    Artyom Kamshilin

  3. If you're comfortable hacking on your hardware, you can try out the CHDK replacement firmare (an open-source project) from This essentially replaces the interface on your camera and allows all kinds of nifty features including custom bracketing, time-lapse, etc. And best of all it's FREE!

    NOTE: I've never tried it myself so be careful, but it looks really cool.

  4. Hey everyone!

    This is a bit off subject but does anyone know the foot spread difference between the slik sdv 540 and the slik sdv 20 tripods? Both are $20 tripods and companies that have the 540 for sale don't seem to know. Thanks!

  5. Nope. The Promote isn’t compatible with the Canon G10.
    It is compatible with my Canon 40D. However…
    Most users of HDR set their cameras for Av mode. With this device and the Canon 40D, it must be set on Manual. In this mode, you need to determine the correct exposure time using whatever aperture you choose. Using this info, you set the Promote device for this timing and the number of exposures and f-stop spacing you want. For my Canon 40D, this device supports a USB shutter release frame speed of 500 ms. This setting takes images at a lot faster clip than the default setting (at good thing). I have yet to determine why I need the optional shutter cable.
    I'm still hopful the Promote will become part of my normal work flow.

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