With so many new methods to create images, photography has gone beyond simply just taking a photo. This new device from MIOPS brings the photographer closer to the images they envision by making the process simpler.
The MIOPS Flex is a new variant of smart triggers from the brand. Their first camera trigger, the Smart+ which we reviewed a while back, offers a lot features that help automate multiple exposure processes such as time-lapse, star trails, HDR, and many more. It also has various sensors for sound, lighting, and motion that offers a wide range of possibilities.
The MIOPS Flex offers a lot of the same features as the older versions of the smart trigger, however, this one also comes with unique features that can be very helpful especially for photographers who need to shoot from unusual angles or with unusual setups, as well as for those who shoot a lot of HDR and exposure bracketing, as well as time-lapse.
Build and Design
The Flex is a single device that can be mounted on the camera’s hot-shoe or other cold-shoe slots. It connects using an array of different ports depending on the actual use and the camera that will be used with it. The Flex has a very minimalist design. This all-black has a single back-lit button for simply turning it on and off and it is accompanied by two LED indicators on the side that signify connection status. Aside from powering on, all operations are controlled via the MIOPS mobile app. On the right side is a micro-SD card slot that will be used to store the output of the involved processes, as well as copies of the images taken with the device. While the design is sleek and minimalistic, the all-plastic construction does bring about some questions about durability, especially when used in extreme conditions.
One of the most basic functions of this smart trigger is full control for long exposure shooting. Much like other variants, the MIOPS Flex offers a smartphone-controlled way to trigger shutter lock and release. The long exposure timer can hold long exposure for up to 99 hours with an added option of timer delay. For landscape photographers doing long exposure with ND filters, the app also has an ND filter calculator that is integrated into the timer remote function which will automatically input your resulting exposure time and allow you to shoot straight out of the settings recommended by the ND filter calculator.
The MIOPS Flex offers all of the time-lapse functions seen in the MIOPS Smart+ and Remote plus. A standard interval shooting mode can be done for manual time-lapse shooting functions with adjustable parameters such as exposure time, interval time, and a total number of exposures. It also has some more advanced time-lapse functions such as the “holy grail” time-lapse mode that allows the trigger to help you adapt to changes in ambient light which is perfect for transitions from day to night and vice versa. Other time-lapse functions work hand-in-hand with built-in sensors such as the “Storm-lapse” mode which triggers exposures using the light sensor that detects flashes of lightning and triggers the camera to take a shot. The Road-lapse function works with the laser sensor which triggers the camera to shoot when an object passes in front of the sensor which would be perfect for capturing moving vehicles from the side of the road. The HDR time-lapse function captures bracketed exposures instead of single exposures to produce more vibrant and detailed clips.
However, the most notable time-lapse feature of the MIOPS Flex is the fact that it can generate previews of your time-lapse clips with the use of dedicated storage and the mobile app. The app can assemble the time-lapse clips on-the-fly without having to upload and process them with a computer. While the previews are not as flexible in terms of speed and frame rate, they offer a huge value in assuring that the clips can be put together and show a glimpse of the outcome.
HDR and Focus Stacking
Just like other versions of MIOPS camera triggers, the Flex has an automated multiple exposure process for HDR and focus stacking. Various HDR modes have customizable bracketing modes ranging from 3 to 9 different exposures with intervals of 1/3 to 3 stops each. However, similar to the time-lapse feature, the Flex can create real-time previews or simulations of the resulting combined and blended HDR images that should help the photographer gauge the success of the final output or even use them as samples.
The MIOPS Flex also has an automated focus stacking mode that allows the device to navigate around the frame to focus on different parts to be able to cover the necessary ranges to create a highly detailed result.
The MIOPS Flex makes use of both Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity present on both the camera and smartphone being used. This allows the device to send video information and use the smartphone (or tablet) as a secondary screen. This can be quite helpful for situations wherein the camera angle is not optimal for viewing the camera’s screen such as at very high or very long angles. While there is around a second of delay which makes it less desirable for high-speed shooting, this function can definitely be of help in providing a more efficient and more comfortable shooting experience.
The MIOPS Flex does have more immersive functions compared to other camera triggers which justifies why setting the device up requires a few more tedious steps. If the device is to be used for standard trigger functions such as shutter release and interval shooting, along with the use of the smart sensors, it would only require the usual cable compatible with the camera. However, for more advanced functions that make use of the PC remote function and tap into the storage, the setup process can be more complicated and individualized per camera model. MIOPS provided a specific guide that can be found here. These steps include deactivating smartphone control functions, changing USB mode, turning off USB-C charging, and so on. All of these settings have to be set each time you are using the Flex with the advanced functions which might take a bit more time than usual if you commonly switch between such functions.
Once fully set up, the Flex becomes a device that allows your smartphone to control almost every aspect of the shooting process from a controlled distance. Shooting more complicated workflows for time-lapse, landscapes, special effects, and many others become simpler with the automation that the device offers. The user can also have better monitoring of the process and of the output through the remote live-view function as well as the real-time previews of time-lapse and HDR. Overall, after successful tinkering with camera settings, the MIOPS Flex can be a great tool to simplify the workflow of various kinds of photographers.
What I Liked:
- Features for long exposure, time-lapse, special effects, etc
- Instant time-lapse and HDR preview
- Remote shooting
What I Didn’t Like
- Complicated setup process
- All-plastic material
- Micro-USB charging