The RC-6 is a wireless transmitter (infrared rather than radio waves). To work, it needs a receiver. Unlike wireless controllers, the receiver for the RC-6 is already built into a range of EOS models (see right). One reason the RC-6 is relatively inexpensive is that you are only buying half the system. You have already paid for the other half – if you have a compatible camera.
It is not possible to buy a separate receiver for the RC-6. If you do not have the right camera you will have to look at alternative methods for remote firing.
As you can see above, the sensor for the RC-6 is on the front of the camera (EOS 550D shown, but the sensor is in a similar position on other compatible cameras).
The RC-6 has a small hole in the bottom left corner for attaching a lanyard (not supplied).
Using the RC-6
The RC-6 is a very simple device, controlled by just a button and a switch. Make sure the drive mode is set to remote control. Aim the small black arrow in the silver circle at the camera and press the button to fire the shutter. A switch on the back gives the option of immediate firing (‘•’), or firing with a 2-second delay.
Line of sight
Infrared devices normally need to see each other – often known as ‘line-of-sight’. Based on this, it would seem that you can only use the RC-6 from in front of the camera, and you will find this quoted in some reviews. But it’s not strictly true. If you hold the RC-6 a few inches above the shutter release, aiming down, the shutter will fire when you press the remote button – useful as an alternative to a remote switch. It will even operate from behind the camera if the infrared beam is reflected back from a nearby surface.
When aimed from the front of the camera the range is given as 5 metres, though this will vary with the surroundings.
Infrared devices can be affected by fluorescent lighting, but we have not experienced any problems.
sensor on camera
You can use the RC-6 to start and stop
movie recording on the EOS 60D. As with all uses of the RC-6, make sure that the drive mode is set to one of the remote shooting options (there are two options available in the EOS 60D – it doesn’t matter which you choose).
Set the switch on the RC-6 to ‘2’. When you press the RC-6 button the recording will start immediately. Pressing the button again will stop the recording. If the switch is set to ‘•’, pressing the RC-6 button will take a still photo.
This is a great little feature which we hope will be included in new EOS models.
If you shoot in bulb mode, pressing the camera shutter button opens the shutter. It stays open for as long as you hold the button down – not very convenient for exposure times of more than a few seconds.
A remote switch is better. You can press and lock the remote button so that you can move away from the camera while the exposure is in progress.
But best of all is the RC-6. Press the button on the remote control unit to open the shutter, press it again to close the shutter. If you have the remote control set to 2-second delay, there will be a 2-second delay before the shutter first opens. During the exposure a timer displays the time elapsed on the LCD screen. If you have a camera compatible with the RC-6, using this technique is much easier than attaching a cable to the remote socket.
Above Elapsed time display during bulb exposure (shown on the top LCD of some models).
An obvious use for the RC-6 is for shooting self-portraits. Set One-shot mode. When you press to RC-6 button the camera will autofocus and then fire. However, if you do not want to include the RC-6 in the image, set the RC-6 switch to 2-second delay. Now when you fire the RC-6 at the camera you will have a couple of seconds to move the device out of the field-of-view before the picture is taken.
If you do not have one of the cameras compatible with the RC-6, what choices do you have?
Earlier remote controls
Also compatible with the above cameras are earlier versions – RC-1 and RC-5. The RC-1 offers the immediate and 2-second delay modes of the RC-6. The RC-5 only has the immediate firing mode.
We regularly receive complaints about the RC-6 from photographers who say it is faulty. Generally it is not. Here are two things to check:
Remote Control RC-6
If you want a small, versatile, inexpensive remote shooting accessory, look no further than the Canon Remote Control RC-6. Despite its diminutive size (32 x 63.5 x 6.5mm), this device can be used for a number of different tasks.
Camera compatibility: EOS 5D Mk II, 5D Mk III, 6D, 7D, 60D, 300D, 350D, 400D, 450D, 500D, 550D, 600D, 650D, M, 10, 100, 30, 30V, 33, 33V, 50, 50E, IX
Read the rest of this article in the July-September 2011 back issue of EOS magazine. Available as print and digital edition.
Genuine Canon accessory for wireless line-of-sight remote control. Comes supplied in a small pouch. Takes CR2032 cell battery (supplied).
For a full range of Canon-compatible remotes, including timer programming, radio wireless and flash triggers, visit the shop.
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