Auto Focus Your Canon DSLR In Video Mode

One of the world’s first true electronic HDSLR remote controls, the Clamp-On Electronic Remote Control for Canon HDSLRs, lets you react quickly to changing contexts and creative inspiration. It connects to your Canon HDSLR via USB and interfaces with the camera and lens firmware directly to control focus operations, live view, record start/stop, shutter release, and more.

Expansion of Product Lines
This new and unique remote control from Manfrotto is part of the company’s new ‘SYMPLA’ line of products designed to make filming in digital video faster, smarter, and simpler.  It is compatible with the following cameras, Canon’s EOS 5D Mark II, EOS 1D Mark IV, EOS 7D, EOS 60D, Rebel T3i, Rebel T2i, and Rebel T1i.

The Guide
As with any new product, I find it is important to read the instructions fully before proceeding.  The fold out sheet was only five columns wide, with the first page being pictures describing the functions of all of the buttons.  Even if you are fluent with digital video capture, you will need to understand what this brief flyer is telling you about operating this remote successfully.  It's a quick read that allows you to speedily get to the fun of using the remote.

In using other products that plug into the camera's mini USB port, I have established that the tiny cables and connecter plugs can be fragile.  The instruction sheet gives a hint of warning on this subject, so take it to heart to avoid any camera or product repair costs.

With the camera menu selections set to ‘Live View’ and/ or ‘Video,’ turn the camera off.  Load a pair of ‘AAA’ batteries (not included) in to the remote.  With the power set to 'Off' on both the camera and remote, plug the remote's USB connector into the camera.  Power on both units and you are ready to go.  The remote has a clamping provision to hold it in a convenient place for use during video operation.  The best mounting place may be on the reward-extending handle of a tripod head panning control or on a video rig, which allows the remote to remain in a horizontal position.

While the clamp will accommodate mounting to a tripod leg, it puts the remote in a more awkward position.

With good eyes and the camera LCD set to maximum magnification, it is difficult to focus on a subject using manual focus from the back of the camera while video recording, especially if there is any glare or reflections on the LCD.  This remote makes quick work out of focusing.  I found it achieved focus fast and accurately (even in my low light test at ISO 3200) just by pushing the ‘AF’ button.  For special effects, the electronic focus control knob allows a video shot to begin out of focus and drive into focus or vice versa.  The control knob has three basic speeds and a variable speed control for just the right touch.

Other buttons on the remote will turn live view on/off, select camera LCD magnifications, start/stop video recording, and the shutter release for a single capture in live view.  The controls are well marked and easy to use.  With a little practice, a videographer could easily manage operations of the remote without even looking at it.  I found the Manfrotto MVR911ECCN SYMPLA remote control for Canon a great product to make up for the loss of auto focus in the Canon’s video mode.

$379.99 at

August 2012CanonManfrottoSymplaVideo remote control