Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

Promote Control: Doesn't Fit My Workflow

In my last post, I discussed my discovery of the Promote Control for taking bracketed HDR exposures . It was with great enthusiasm that I awaited the arrival of the device. However, despite its apparent utility and the glowing reviews it received in the links I provided in my original post, I have found that the device simply doesn't fit into my photographic process very well.

That is not to say that it doesn't work or do what it says it will.....just that it doesn't work the way I do. It might mesh quite well with the way you photograph and so I don't mean to dissuade anyone from giving it a try. But, let me describe why it doesn't fit my workflow and perhaps that will provide some incite as to whether it will fit yours.

I tend to shoot using Live View with the camera in Aperture priority mode. However, in order to use the Promote Control, the camera must be set to Manual mode. There is a setting on the device that allows it to set the camera to Manual mode if the operator forgets to, though the manual states that this won't work on all cameras and it didn't seem to work properly on mine. However, if I accidentally left the camera in Aperture Priority mode, the Promote Control would shoot off a ton of images before stopping. So, accidentally leaving the camera in Aperture mode can get the Promote Control to do some pretty unusual stuff.

In addition, the manufacturers website FAQ states that the device can be used in Live View mode. Nonetheless, using the device in Live View, even with the camera set to Manual mode, gave me very inconsistent results, with not all the bracketed exposures being taken. By doing nothing else to the camera but turning off Live View, all the exposures were taken properly. I am not the only person to find this as an issue, as one of the reviews linked to in my initial post also notes this as a problem.

Finally, even when the camera is properly set to Manual mode the metered shutter speed needs to be entered into the Promote Control manually, or at least it wouldn't pick it up from my 5D MKII

For me, though the device could potentially solve a significant problem, it just requires too much 'futzing around' with. If it was tough for me to get it to work properly in my home, I suspect it would generate a good deal of frustration out in the field and I might potentially miss photo opportunities simply trying to get things set up properly. I thought about just getting used to always using the device as a trigger, as it can also be used as a single shot cable release. However, the need to connect it to the camera with two cables (to get the fastest response time) and its bulk (small, but still much larger than a regular cable release) just makes it inconvenient to use routinely.

I suspect that using the device would take away some of the joy of photographing and thus it is simply not something that I want to use. I have returned it and will go with my usual routine of simply resetting the auto-bracketing in camera....a pain that requires touching the camera before the full set of exposures are taken, but one that still requires far less 'futzing' than the Promote Control.

So there you have it.....a very different opinion from the ones that I was able to find on the internet. Just to reiterate.....the issue for me was the way the device failed to fit into my workflow. Your workflow might well be different.

I would be interested to find out if any readers have had experience with this device and if their experience was similar to or different from mine.