The Max Stone (Amazon | B&H) is a little IR- based camera remote that was successfully funded on kickstarter in February, earlier this year. The Max Stone aims to connect your camera and your smartphone with their app and dongle, enabling you to wirelessly trigger your camera with your phone. The app also allows for multiple other features like a time-lapse mode, thief protection and weather information.
The setup couldn’t be any easier. You start by downloading the app here. Enable bluetooth on your phone, open the Max Stone app and connect the device. The phone immediately connects as soon as the Max Stone is detected and setting up was faster than I expected. I was sure I will have to fiddle with the MAx Stone to get the camera to receive the IR signal, but I just placed it over the grip and it just worked.
That means that the only actual setup I had to do was switching the camera to remote mode. You don’t have to setup anything at all on the camera itself as it is 100% controlled via the remote. On the iPhone side, set up was easy as well, after receiving the signal from the phone, the Max Stone sends out IR light that is detected by the camera’s sensor.
The Spec Functionality
These are the main functions of the Max Stone per spec. While they are not as advanced as some intervalomeners or intervalomenetrs apps (compared to ioshutter and triggertrap), they do sport some features that none of the other players have:
- Remote camera shutter
- Time- lapse timer
- Remotely trigger you IPhone’s shutter (i.e. selfie mode)
- Barometic sensor (which makes sense if you are using it to take timelapses and want to know how the atmosphere behaves)
- 300+ days of battery life
- Thief protection (More about this later)
In combination with a Canon EOS 5D MK iii and a Canon EOS 6D, the Remote shutter and the time lapse worked flawlessly, and we snapped this little time-lapse below.
The app sports a selfie button (which none of the other apps supports) so we tried that as well. You can get cheaper remotes but if you already have the Max Stone, it is a nice thing to play with (and a good reason to keep the unit on the key chain, now that selfies are getting so popular)
Lastly, the fact that the device communicates via bi-directional bluetooth made way for a very interesting feature: theft protection or dont leave me behind protection. One of the settings on the app is a distance settings. If the app detects that the Max Stone went beyond that distance your phone will sound an alarm. This is nice, it would have been even better if the alarm was done on the max stone unit itself.
The Barometic sensor wasn’t that useful for me, but it didn’t bother me that it was included. (It basically tells you whether it’s going to be stormy or not)
The time lapse functionality was also something I enjoyed putting my hands on. I’ve honestly never done a time lapse before but I had fun playing around with the Max Stone’s time lapse feature. Here’s my result: (I know, this is by no means a great time lapse, it only serves the purpose of demonstrating the Max Stone’s function.)
While I truly love the unit, I wish it was able to operate with cameras that don’t have a build- in IR sensor and since the Pro-level Nikon DSLRS don’t have one (for whatever reason), it won’t work with them. Using the Max Stone with Canon cameras worked quite well however.
I also wished they had support for android. I am an iPhone user myself, but there are lots and lots of Android users that they are missing out on.
We did run into some issue running time-lapses with the first unit we got, but the folk behind it said it was a known issue of a certain batch and the replacement unit performed great.
In my opinion, the Max Stone is a neat little device that improves your camera’s connectivity with smartphones. Nothing more and nothing less.
It doesn’t come close to other, way more expensive devices’ capabilities and does not claim to. It surely is a convenient trigger for your camera, and if you need that extra distance it is a very neat device.
The feature that makes the Max Stone unique vs. any other standard IR remote is its thief protection and the greater range. Due to its comparable price with conventional IR remotes, you might want to consider this device instead. If you want broader capabilities like live view, access to the images on your camera and focus control and you don’t mind paying a premium for it, then the CamRanger might be a moe suitable choice.
For more information about the Max Stone, head over to their site.