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how to take photos over 30 seconds long on Canon 50D?

Premo O , Aug 13, 2010; 04:46 a.m.

Now this may be a stupid question but how can I set my 50D camera to take, say, a 1 minute exposure without using the BULB setting? I don't have a cable or wireless release and pressing the shutter button manually is not an option for long exposures. I don't believe that the maximum exposure on a prosumer camera is just 30 seconds.
Please help


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Paul Russell , Aug 13, 2010; 05:13 a.m.

Hi Premo.
Bad news mate. 30s is the maximum timed exposure on the 50D and most other DSLRs.
A few options present themselves:
Use EOS utility via tethered capture for longer exposures.
Use the expensive Canon timer remote.
Use a cheapo chinese made copy (works well on my 7D)
Use a regular remote with the shutter lock and the LCD topscreen counter.

Puppy Face , Aug 13, 2010; 05:23 a.m.

Well, that's what the bulb setting is for. Not sure why you don't want to use it. I've done star trails for several hours and bulb worked great. In long exposures in low light I've tripped the shutter with my finger (forgot the damn remote release) and they were sharp. The wee bit of shake is very short relative to the overall exposure. If you're too cheap to buy the Canon remote release, you could cockroach an el cheapo clone off fleabay.

You could buy an expensive remote release with a timer on it, e.g., TC-80N3. Or control it from a computer via USB and EOS Utility.

Dan M , Aug 13, 2010; 09:38 a.m.

Paul +1. You can get a 1m wired release on eBay for less than $10 including shipping, if I remember right. I have used these for several years. Very useful anyway, as for lots of shots, it is better to use a release to lessen vibration.

Mendel Leisk , Aug 13, 2010; 11:28 a.m.

I got the Canon official release (non-timer version) some years back, and it was much more expensive, I think over $60CAN at a local store: frustrating.

Stephen Leo , Aug 13, 2010; 11:56 a.m.

Check this out. I've bought stuff from these people. They deliver from Hong Kong no problem. Their products work and are cheap compared to Canon.
Even though it says the timer is for 7D the 50D is listed as compatible.

Daniel Flather , Aug 13, 2010; 12:22 p.m.

The Canon remote is $99 in Canada (total hose job). Use a rubber band with something to hold the shutter button down in bulb mode. I used to do that with my Canon ef-M —works well.

Henry L , Aug 13, 2010; 12:28 p.m.

+1 for Stephen comment. I've purchased a timer remote from them for my T1i, and it works superbly. I used it to do a time lapse of the Persied meteor shower last night for the duration of 3 hours. You can set a shutter speed from seconds to hours, and intervals as well.

Michael R. Freeman , Aug 13, 2010; 04:45 p.m.

I don't believe that the maximum exposure on a prosumer camera is just 30 seconds ...

As others have noted, that's exactly what BULB is for, and that is why that setting is available. I am not aware of any camera from any manufacturer that offers camera timed exposures longer than 30s. So you need to pony up and buy a remote. :-)

John Vandehei , Aug 13, 2010; 07:24 p.m.

If you don't want to pony up the cash for a remote, you might be able to make one yourself. I remember seeing a how to on the net somewhere a few years back explaining how to make a remote for most EOS cameras using $15.00 in parts from Radio Shack. If you want to give it a try, try a net search and see what comes up.

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