TriggerTrap Strobe Adapter – High Speed Photography With Your Phone

With TriggerTrap, ioShutter and TriggerHappy making camera triggering via iPhone very accessible, I always thought it was quite a shame that all that iPhone (or android) power of triggering cameras was not used in high speed photography.

There are a few pretty good other solutions out there (cameraAxe being my fav), but they are all separated biggish boxes.

TriggerTrap Strobe Adapter - High Speed Photography With Your Phone

So TriggerTrap (whom I love for being an open community) came up with a flash adapter. It works with the same cycle as any high speed shoot: open shutter in dark room, trigger flash, close shutter.  I have not had any hands on with the adapter, but it seems very similar to other hotshoe adapters with the difference that they have a cable that goes into the TT dongle, so they should be pretty compatible.

As a side benefit, they made the TT app 12 times faster to have the fast event-to-triggering loop for high-speed photography. Now you can use the sound triggering option that is usually used for balloon pops or water-drop photography with a strobe.

TriggerTrap Strobe Adapter - High Speed Photography With Your Phone

This is a huge step forward in terms of making high speed photography accessible. I would like to see the good folks from TriggerTrap add two features to take it to the next level:

  • Add a pc-sync port to the package
  • Make it possible to go through the entire open shutter -> trigger strobe -> close shutter sequence right from the smartphone, eliminating any need to touch the camera. Maybe even shut the lights off.

Lastly, a word of caution, while you are probably ok with any modern strobe going through this, don’t use any ancient models where triggering voltage can be quite high and possibly nuke your phone. Stick with the newish strobes to be on the safe side.

Here is the introduction video for the strobe adapter:

And the official announcement here.

[TriggerTrap flash adapter | ~$30 on the TriggerTrap Store]

  • VV

    You may not need a new circuit for this. I think, You could use the same circuit you did for “DIY Trigger Trap Mobile” and connect the flash hot shoe connections to the Shutter pins instead of connecting them to camera.

  • imme

    Oh this is too good. I think triggertrap dongle is same as DSLR remote android app. Please! Visit this website below for making a diy cable. I think both are same.—transistors.php

    feedback required.

    • Haje Jan Kamps

      They aren’t the same, for quite a few reasons – but have a look at for the full details!

      CEO, Triggertrap

  • TonyK50

    As I indicated on the Cult of Mac thread, this is not a fair test. With the flash mounted on the camera it is plain to see the ETTL pre-flash before the “real” flash fires.

    With the flash off the camera there is no pre-flash so yes, it will be faster.

    Before I could even consider this product I would need to see a fair test, where ETTL on the 5D3 is turned off for the camera mounted flash. Then compare the 2 tests side by side.

    Until then this looks to be smoke and mirrors type of marketing for those who did not catch/see the pre-flash on the first test.

    • MattKane

      Hi Tony,
      I replied on the Cult of Mac thread, but I’ll add this here too so others can see it.
      The bottleneck for the camera-mounted flash isn’t the flash itself or the ETTL, it’s the shutter lag of the camera. As you know, the flash won’t fire until the shutter is open. To put it in perspective, the absolute fastest shutter lag that we’ve measured on a DSLR is around 50 milliseconds, and a typical lag is more like 150ms. Adding to this, the old version of the app had a lag of around 60ms (which was down to the way audio buffering works on iOS). That’s far too slow for any kind of high-speed photography: a balloon burst takes less than 10ms. In contrast, the “lag” for a flash is in the microseconds (thousandths of a millisecond) or less, so for the purposes of high-speed photography it can be ignored. The improvements that we’ve announced are two-fold. First, lots of tuning of the low-level audio handling on iOS has reduced the app lag from 60ms to around 5ms. Secondly, switching to direct triggering of the flash eliminates the effects of shutter lag. This speeds it up by at least 50ms, and more like 150ms. That’s why we’re so excited by it! I’m sorry if we didn’t explain this well enough in the video.

      Matt, CTO Triggertrap

      • TonyK50

        Hello Matt,

        As I replied to you at DIYPhotography, I’ll also reply here.

        So there were 2 areas where the tests was not fair thus giving Triggertrap an unfair advantange?

        Why not reshoot the video, make the on-camera flash test equal to what Triggertrap Flash gets? In other words set the camera to the exact settings used for the Triggertrap Flash settings and then we can compare apples to apples. Then the only difference would be the flash being on the camera or the flash being off the camera. It would also be nice if the on-camera test used 2 flashes as per the video indicated using 2 flashes allowed for a faster flash cycle.

        I came up with a good analogy to better share my feelings. Say we were trying to determine which cooked better, gas or electric. We would change only the method of cooking when doing the tests. But what if we also changed the cookware when we moved from electric to gas. Now we have changed the test methodology and have voided our results. This is what I believe has happened with the testing here.

        For me, the test is invalid until Triggertrap levels the field and tests the on-camera flash like it tested the off-camera flash.

        • Mark Berry

          Tony, think you’re missing the point, but as it happens do agree that the video is pretty unhelpful.

          The video isn’t really demonstrating anything to do with TriggerTrap. Instead, it’s showing how triggering a flash is always going to be faster than triggering a camera; put simply, the camera has a shutter lag, the flash doesn’t. As a demonstrating of that fact, the video is perfectly valid, though you’d get the same result (flash beats camera), using ant trigger.

          But, what we really need to decide how good TriggerTrap is is either a comparison with the old version of the app, or with a dedicated high speed trigger.

          • TonyK50

            Hi Mark, my point is they did not have a valid test method for comparing though it may not have been effectively communicated that way.

    • Haje Jan Kamps

      Hi there Tony!

      I’m very glad that you’re enthusiastic!

      Couple of minor issues with what you’re describing here:

      The flash *is* in fact in manual mode. There’s no ETTL flash. The reason why you can see the flash before you can hear the sound of the bouncing ball, is that light is around a million times faster than sound.

      Stay awesome,

      Haje Jan Kamps
      CEO, Triggertrap

      • TonyK50


        Not going to buy that. I distinctly saw a pre-flash which indicates ETTL. Maybe the pre-flash I saw was for the camera to set the exposure because it was not in BULB mode. If so that is a very BIG consideration which by itself invalidates the test video.

        But for a moment lets say I’m confused about the pre-flash (I don’t believe I am), there is still an unfair comparison because we are testing a camera that is not set to BULB for the first test to a camera set to BULB for the second test. We also change the flash configuration from 1 flash at 100% power to 2 flashes at 50% power each. We moved the flash from on-camera to off-camera.

        A valid test would have changed only a SINGLE parameter in the test. We have at least 2 and I believe 3 changes in parameters which invalidates the test at least as far as I am concerned and until Triggertrap updates the video to record new tests with the only change being a single parameter I am going to be advising friends and associates to hold off on Triggertrap.

        This is how I feel the test should be done.

        Set the 5D3 up with the shutter on BULB. Set the 2 flash units at 45 degree angles to the lens at 50% power each. Connect a standard high speed trigger to the rig and record that speed. Now repeat the test but change ONLY the trigger from the standard high speed trigger to the Triggertrap and record that speed.

        Now we have a true comparison on which to base analysis.

        Kind regards,

        • Mark Berry

          Tony, your suggested test does NOT demonstrate what they were trying to show. The whole point, which you ARE missing, is that triggering the flash with the shutter open in the dark WILL give faster results than using the trigger to open the shutter when the event occurs. There’s no reaon to tell people to hold off TriggerTrap because of this video; ALL triggers will give the same result.

          Yes there are details they could change to make it absolutely valid, but all that would do is prove a fact that everyone with any knowledge of triggers knows anyway; the principal remains; the flash has no lag, the camera does.

          What you are suggesting is a test to show how TriggerTrap performs in comparison to another trigger. That’s what I want too, but doing it your way keeps the camera’s shutter lag in the loop. That lag might be the same in both tests, but the point is that because its there, and because we don’t know how long it is, we can’t tell how much delay is down to the trigger, and how much is down to the camera.

          What we need is your test, but firing the flashes from the triggers, because they have negligeable lag, NOT a camera. That way, we’d see how well TriggerTrap performs compared to other triggers, AND just how quick it can be.

  • DGVeLab

    A nice accessory for smartphones but I think, from experience in electronics, it can not be that fast.

    If you want to experience high-speed photo you can build it yourself with this project

  • Rick

    Rube Goldberg would be proud. Using a smartphone and an app to do something that can easily be done without either using a stand-alone sound trigger that can be had for even less than the trigger shown here.