I bought a RC-1 Wireless Remote Controller in 1990 with an EOS 10S and used it for decades. It still works fine but I want a remote in every camera bag so I purchased a RC-6. The RC-6 is functionally the same as the RC-1. The main difference is form factor: the RC-6 is twice as large and more grippy, making it easier to hold than the tiny and slippery RC-1.
EOS 70D, EF-s 15-85 3.5-5.6 IS USM & RC-6 | I shoot self portraits to use as video thumbnails. I'm holding the RC-6 in my left hand.
Why Use the RC-6?
I need to start/stop video recording when I'm performing in front of the camera. Yes, I could use the self-timer: set, press and sprint into position but that's a PITA after multiple takes and it can't stop the video. A remote controller allows repeated exposures or video start/stops without touching the camera. I used the RC-1 and RC-6 to record most of the videos on my YouTube channel: sit in chair with guitar, get comfortable, press remote button and rock! It also eliminates camera shake in time exposure photos or slow shutter speeds (e.g., night scene photos).
Canon RC-6 Wireless Remote Controller
Gardeners | EOS SL1, EF-s 10-18 4.5-5.6 IS STM, Manfrotto monopod & RC-6
Like TV remotes, the RC-6 uses infrared light. Thus, line of sight to the camera's IR sensor is needed, well sort of. Officially, it can only trip the shutter from 15 or 16 feet in front of the camera. However, if you point the RC-6 towards the IR sensor (upper part of camera grip), it can fire the shutter from a few feet above, below or to the right side of the camera so it makes good substitute for a cable release. The range and angle of acceptance of the IR beam increase with reflective surfaces, e.g., light colored walls and ceilings, allowing triggering from well behind the camera!
Using the RC-6
For triggering stills and video with most EOS cameras, put the camera in self-timer/remote mode (drive mode channel), point RC-6 towards camera grip and press the big round button on the RC-6. That's it. There's a switch on the back to toggle between immediate release and 2-second delay. In video mode on most video enabled EOS, immediate release takes a photo whereas 2-second delay starts/stops video recording.
Some newer EOS, e.g., 80D, split still and video remote functions and, thus, the above instructions only work for stills. Remote video triggering on the 80D is enabled in the video menu.
Prelude No. 8 "Omen" (Frary) | I used the RC-6 to trigger two Canon 70D cameras. The RC-6 saved me from jumping back and forth to press record.
For bulb exposures, fire the RC-1 once to open the shutter and again to close it. If the RC-6 is set to 2-second delay, there will be a 2-second delay before the shutter first opens.
The RC-6 can be used with mirror lockup (MLU): enable MLU in camera menu, enable self-timer/remote mode, set 2-second delay on the RC-6 and, finally, press the big button on the RC-6. The mirror will swing up and the shutter opens two seconds later. Since all my cameras have LiveView, I don't use MLU anymore: less menu surfing and no image blackout.
Berceuse (Albéniz) | Leeward Coast Guitars | In this two camera clip, 80D and 70D video recording was triggered from the conductor's chair on stage. Set cameras to "never sleep" to defeat the 30-second default time-out.
The RC-1 and RC-6 Wireless Remote Controllers work with most Rebels (film and digital), 10S, Elan series, EOS IX series, 60D, 70D, 80D, 6D, 7D series, M series and all 5D series cameras except for the original 5D. It triggers some point 'n shoot cameras, e.g., Elf series. Both the RC-1 and RC-6 can start/stop video recording when set to 2-second delay. A simpler variant, the RC-5, has only immediate release and therefore can't trigger video recording.
Clones of the RC-6 are ubiquitous and cost less than half the RC-6's price. I can't speak for all RC clones, but the three I owned didn't work well: one died after a few uses while the other two require button presses so hard they hurt my finger. On the other hand, my Canon RC-1 is over 25 years old and still works perfectly, so Canon did a good job. After two years, my RC-6 is holding up fine so it's A-OK.
Shepherd's Dell, Oregon | EOS 80D/EF-s 18-135 3.5-5.6 IS USM, RC-6 & tripod
The default time-out or auto power off for EOS cameras is 30 seconds. That means you must fire the RC-6 within 30 seconds or the camera stops responding. If I'm planning a shoot, I disable auto power off (or increase time-out) so I don't have to run back and forth tapping the shutter button to wake up the camera.
Carulli's Duetto in Sol Maggiore | Frary Guitar Duo | Triggered by the RC-6.
The RC-6 is a simple and inexpensive accessory but has proven to be an essential tool in my studio, making my one man production solo guitar and duet video shoots easier. It's also ideal to control vibration during long exposures and, of course, to trigger selfies and group photos.
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Trillium Lake OR | Canon 80D, RC-6 and Gitzo tripod