A Self Portrait, Austin Photo Book, and a new Toy – the Aputure Gigtube Wireless Kit

Most photographers are no stranger to self portraits – after all, when you want to practice new techniques, sometimes the only available subject is yourself. I’m no exception – I recently I shot a self portrait for my upcoming Austin coffee table photo book “Austin, Texas: A Photographic Portrait” (coming out in March 2011).

This time around though, I had a bit of help from a new gadget that removed some of the frustrations commonly experienced with self portraits – namely framing and focus issues.

The good folks at Aputure Limited sent me their Gigtube Wireless Digital Viewfinder for evaluation and this new toy took a lot of the guesswork out of taking self portraits and let me focus more attention on other aspects of creating images, such as lighting and posing.

I’ve been using their RF Wireless Remote Kit for years with great success (I originally purchased it for its much lower price point than the Canon wireless trigger), so when they asked me both asked me to do an interview on their blog and to test out their latest product, I jumped at the chance.

The Gigtube Wireless Transmitter plugs into both the video out and remote trigger ports on your camera. From the Gigtube viewfinder you can view whatever would be on the LCD screen of the camera attached to the transmitter. Using the Gigtube Wireless system you can also trigger the camera shutter remotely by pressing a button on the wireless viewfinder.

Because you can see exactly what the camera is seeing, you can compose the photo through the lens – eliminating much of the guess work and randomness that comes with self portraits. The end result is probably the best headshot I’ve ever taken of myself… one that I’m proud to use in my new book.

This photo illustrates exactly what the Gigtube Wireless does, allowing the photographer to see exactly what the viewfinder on the back of the camera normally displays. This is very useful for self portraits and for photos triggered remotely from afar. No more running back and forth to see image previews on the back of the camera!

Even though the transmitter unit has a hotshoe mount for convenience, the Gigtube transmitter doesn’t have to be mounted on the camera to function properly.

The only thing the Gigtube wireless was not able to fix was my Canon 5D Mark II’s the inability to focus in live view when triggered remotely. To be fair, this was not a limitation of the Gigtube Wireless, but the camera itself.

This issue was overcome by getting an assistant to set the focus for me at the beginning of the shoot and then making sure to stand in the same spot for the photos. In summary, the Gigtube Wireless System is a cool tool that I’m looking forward to using in other specialty situations. It is a bit bulkier than my normal wireless triggering device, so I think I’ll only reserve it for use on special occasions, using my smaller Aputure RF Remote in my daily camera kit.

Do any of you use wireless viewfinder devices? What about remote triggers? Which ones do you like or dislike?


  • Tony Begley -


    I have one of these, but the image display on the remote screen does not show? It is communicating with the camera as it takes pictures OK.
    Any help would be much appreciated.

  • I haven’t used mine in a while actually. I never had problems with the image not displaying properly, unless it was out of range. Sorry I can’t help you much more.

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