This is the second in a series of quick reviews of remotes, the Vello FreeWave Plus, which has been kindly provided to us by B&H Photo – the world’s largest photo and video equipment reseller where we buy most of our equipment.
The Vello FreeWave Plus is a wireless remote that offers basic shutter release functions in a significant operating range with the ability to fire the shutter in Single, Delay, Continuous, 1 Second Continuous or Bulb modes. Confirmation LEDs on the receiver and transmitter illuminate to confirm pre-focus as well as shutter activation.
It is powered by 2 AAA batteries in the receiver and 2 AAA batteries (included) in the transmitter and operates on a 2.4 GHz frequency. You can buy different cords to use the same remote with numerous camera models rather than buying multiple remotes. You can choose from 16 channels to minimize interference from other devices or other photographers with the same or similar remotes.
The receiver connects like usual to the hot shoe and the transmitter is slightly smaller than the Nikon ML-3 transmitter but it does not have a wrist strap to prevent accidentally dropping it or to free up the hand. The FreeWave Plus operates like many remotes in that you press the shutter release button halfway and the camera will focus (if in autofocus mode) and the all the way down to trigger the shutter. I found that the remote works just like you would expect it to. The highlight here, compared to the similar Nikon ML-3, is that the FreeWave Plus has a much wider range of operation. I was able to fire the shutter from anywhere in my home, including from the basement with the camera upstairs on the second floor. While I did not measure the exact working range of the transmitter with an unobstructed line of sight, I suspect it is close to the reported range. Whatever the exact range is, it is definitely much further than that of the limited Nikon ML-3.
3) Build Quality
It is constructed of plastic with rounded edges and is smooth and comfortable to hold. The cable connection with the receiver is solid. The buttons feel solid and responsive to the touch.
4) Packaging and Manual
No case or protective cover is included and the manual provided is simple, but adequate with its instruction on use.
The FreeWave Plus is an excellent value compared to the Nikon ML-3 if you don’t need the Auto Trigger mode that the ML-3 offers. You can buy cheaper remotes online (plenty of cheap models on eBay) but I have had the experience that it only worked with one camera model and broke fairly quickly.
The Vello FreeWave Plus, like the Nikon ML-3, is a basic remote shutter release with the main differences being the fact that the Vello FreeWave Plus operates wirelessly on a 2.4GHz frequency while the Nikon ML-3 is an infrared remote and has an Auto Trigger feature. If you don’t need the Auto Trigger feature, then look at the FreeWave Plus with a much better price and more operational range. If you need more control, including the desire to take timed photos, consider a more advanced remote such as the Nikon MC-36 (corded) or the Vello Wireless ShutterBoss remote.