The Canon TC-80N3 is an advanced remote release that features a built-in timer that performs the following functions in addition to being a simple remote shutter release:
1) Self Timer – programmable in 1 sec intervals up to 99 hrs 59 mins and 59 secs
2) Long Exposure Timer – programmable in 1 sec intervals up to 99 hrs 59 mins and 59 secs
3) Interval Timer – programmable in 1 sec intervals up to 99 hrs 59 mins and 59 secs
4) Exposure Counter – up to 99 frames
This Canon unit is however rather expensive, retailing for around £120 in the UK.
For quite some time now, I have been wanting to experiment with taking photographs of star trails and found a tutorial that explained the best way to achieve this was to take a number of relatively short exposures (~4 mins) with an interval of 1 second between exposures (to prevent gaps in the star trails when the images are merged).
Using the TC-80N3 this process can be automated, therefore removing the need to be standing next to the camera for the entire duration.
Due to the prohibitive cost of the original, I headed to eBay and located a clone of the TC-80N3 for a fraction of the cost of the Canon unit.
The unit is identical in appearance to the Canon TC-80N3, with the exception that it is branded as “Pickit” and lacks the locking metal collar on the plug that attaches to the cameras remote release socket. The plug is however a snug fit, and so far, I have had no problems with the switch coming loose.
The remote cable is approximately 80cm long.
The unit was supplied with a user manual that explains (in pidgin english) how to combine the various modes offered by the remote release, and a CR2032 lithium watch battery was supplied as well.
Construction is very good and the unit feels solid, the only potentially weak point is a rather flimsy battery tray, so care needs to be taken when inserting/replacing the battery.
I have tested most of the available functions to date, and can confirm that the unit works as advertised with my EOS 40D.
As I do not own the original Canon TC-80N3, I am unable to compare the build quality, but given the price of this unit (approx £20), I would thoroughly recommend it if you are looking for a timer remote shutter release unit without spending big money.