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Canon Remote Control RC-6
If you want a small, versatile, inexpensive remote shooting accessory for your EOS camera, look no further than the Canon Remote Control RC-6. Despite its diminutive size, this device can be used for a number of different tasks.
The RC-6 is a wireless transmitter which uses infrared to transmit the signal. To work, it needs a receiver. Unlike most wireless controllers, the receiver for the RC-6 is already built into a range of EOS models. 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.
Which cameras are compatible with the RC-6?
DSLR: EOS 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III, 5D Mark IV, 5DS, 5DS R, 6D, 6D Mark II, 7D, 7D Mark II, 60D, 60Da, 70D, 77D, 80D, 90D, 100D, 300D, 350D, 400D, 450D, 500D, 550D, 600D, 650D, 700D, 750D, 760D, 800D
Mirrorless: EOS M, M2, M3, M5, M6
Film SLR: EOS 10, 100, 30, 30V, 33, 33V, 50, 50E, IX
The RC-6 is a wireless transmitter which uses infrared to transmit the signal. To work, it needs a receiver. Conveniently, the receiver for the RC-6 is already built into a range of EOS models. 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 – check the list above to see whether your camera works with the RC-6.
The sensor for the RC-6 is on the front of your Canon EOS camera.
The EOS 550D is shown here, but it's in a similar position on most cameras.
How to use the Canon RC-6 remote
The RC-6 is a very simple device, controlled by just a button and a switch. But there's one key setting you need to make to your camera – make sure the drive mode on your camera is set to one of the remote control settings.
Once you've changed the drive mode, all you need to do is aim the small black arrow in the silver circle on the RC-6 at the camera's built-in sensor and press the button to fire the shutter. There's no need to pair the remote with your camera – it's simply point and shoot. However, where you point matters – see below.
Even though both remote control drive modes on the camera usually result in delayed firing, there's a switch on the back of the RC-6 which gives the option of immediate firing (‘•’), or firing with a 2-second delay.
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. (Think about your TV remote – have you ever experimented by bouncing it off the ceiling, or opposite wall? The RC-6 uses the same signal type – infrared – so the principle is the same.)
When aimed from the front of the camera the range is given as five metres, though this will vary with the surroundings.
Infrared devices can be affected by fluorescent lighting, but we have not experienced any problems.
You can use the RC-6 to start and stop movie recording on more recent EOS models. As with all uses of the RC-6, make sure that the drive mode is set to one of the remote shooting options.
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.
If you shoot in bulb mode to achieve longer exposure times, 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 a much better way of working. 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.
An obvious use for the RC-6 is for shooting self-portraits. Set your focusing mode to One-shot AF. 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.
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:
– Have you changed the drive mode?
The camera must be in the Self-timer/Remote Control mode for the RC-6 to~operate. Some cameras have more than one self-timer mode – you must use a mode with the symbol of a remote control unit. Pressing the shutter button in this mode gives you a 2 or 10-second self timer delay. Pressing the button on the RC-6 fires the shutter immediately (or with a 2-second delay).
– Has your camera gone to sleep?
The RC-6 will only operate when the camera is switched on. If your camera automatically switches off after 30 seconds without use – one of the settings on the ‘Auto power off’ menu – it does not give much time to move round to the front of the camera and fire. We recommend setting ‘Auto power off’ to ‘Off’ when using the RC-6 – the camera then stays on until you turn the camera off.
Once you're done, it’s a good idea to reset the ‘Auto power off’ to ‘1 minute’ or similar at other times to avoid draining the battery.
The menu setting for Auto power off is usually in the SETUP menu, shown with a wrench icon. This menu screen is from the EOS 100D, SETUP2 menu.
What if my camera isn't compatible?
If you do not have one of the cameras compatible with the RC-6, what choices do you have?
– Bluetooth remote BR-E1
In 2017, Canon introduced a new wireless remote, the BR-E1. This uses near-field Bluetooth to transmit the signal. Its functionality and simplicity is similar in many ways to the RC-6. It's compatible with most (but not all) EOS cameras which feature Bluetooth, and is definitely the way forward as it doesn't require line-of-sight to the camera.
Read more about the Canon Bluetooth Remote BR-E1
– Self portraits
For self-portraits you can use the self-timer mode, which is built into most models. When the self-timer is set (in the drive mode), pressing the shutter button starts the 2-second or 10-second timer (2-second delay not available on all models). This gives you time to move to the front of the camera. At the end of the period the shutter fires.
The advantage of the RC-6 is that you can fire the shutter when you are ready rather than waiting for the fixed delay to end.
– Bulb exposures
All EOS models have a remote socket, so you can use a wired remote switch to lock the shutter open during a long exposure.
Check out compatible wired remotes for your Canon EOS camera