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Nikon D700 - Reccomendations on Remote Shutter Release with Timer

Brian Swagger , Oct 04, 2010; 01:50 p.m.

Hi gang,

I did a brief search and didn't find much, but i was wondering if anyone could recommend a good remote shutter release. It doesn't need to be wireless or anything. My only requirement is that it has a timer and backlight. I will primarily use it for star trail shots at night. I see Nikon has a good one, but people say it is bulky and it is after-all, pricey. I was looking to see if there was a third-party one that was just as good (or better) for a better price.

PS - This is off topic, but now that i think about it - If any of you have a D700 and do star trail shots, i would be interested to know how long you can expose for without the battery dying on you. I presume this will be about 45 degrees Fahrenheit. I mention that since batteries are impacted by temps.

Thank you in advance!



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Mark Sirota , Oct 04, 2010; 02:01 p.m.

I have an old Nikon MC-20 that meets your requirements; you might be able to find one used for a reasonable price; I see them show up from time to time for around $60. The newer MC-36 is much nicer, but also much more expensive. I'm sure there are less expensive third-party solutions as well.

Michael Chang , Oct 04, 2010; 02:22 p.m.

Hi Brian, is it your intention to make a star trail photo with a single long exposure?

An alternative is to average multiple short (30 sec.) exposures using its time-lapse feature which offers the following advantages:

  1. You can use a higher ISO setting since noise will be averaged (when layered) while signal is added. Higher ISO will also capture fainter stars.
  2. Better control over blooming; bright light sources or light pollution.
  3. With noise reduction turned off, you can obtain gap-less trails.

You also take a dark-frame shot, then perform a manual subtraction to the composite photo.

I can't speak to battery life but using a EH-5a AC Adapter might be a good idea.

It's free to try; you can always revert to a single long exposure should it not work to your satisfaction.

Steven Jackson , Oct 04, 2010; 02:46 p.m.

Brian, i have the D700 and i also do some long exposures. I use the Nikon ML-3 wireless remote for portraits and stills, but for long exposure i use my MC-30 remote. Its straight up cable to camera, with one button at the top and a lock for the shutter, its built well, simple to use and only costs $89 cdn. I talked to a Nikon rep and he said you shouldnt lock the shutter for longer than 30 min intervals. I have heard of some guys going alot longer, but then you risk burning out the sensor, the battery is the least of your worries. hope this helps!

Don Cooper , Oct 04, 2010; 03:31 p.m.

Try a search on amazon.com for "remote release for nikon d700". Lots of choices.

Brian Swagger , Oct 04, 2010; 03:37 p.m.

Thanks All!

Michael - Thanks for the alternative. I have heard about this but only vaguely. Where can i get more information on this method? Not sure about the dark frame and manual subtraction part either. What ISO would you recommend for a D700? I understand that noise is random and when you layer images - it goes away. Using an AC adapter is not possible as i will most likely be out in the middle of no where.

Steven - Thanks for the information. But if true, then shame on Nikon for allowing (and providing accessories) for users to perform an action that can cause irreversible damage to their cameras. For kicks, i will take a peek at the owner's manual to see if anything is listed about long exposures - just curious...

Oskar Ojala , Oct 04, 2010; 05:27 p.m.

My MC-30 has proved to be very reliable and long lived, so if you plan to do this in any serious level, it's a good idea to invest in the Nikon release, since it's reliable and you don't want to waste time in the middle of the night with a bad release.
My experience is that DSLRs are not perfect when it comes to long exposures and a friend of mine who does astrophotography informed me that it is the case and special astro cameras are much better in this regard. Obviously this doesn't prevent us from using DSLRs for long exposures, but it's something to keep in mind and try to avoid too long exposures.

C.P.M. van het Kaar , Oct 05, 2010; 04:39 a.m.

All sensors heat up at (very) long exposures, not only possibly causing "Burning Out" but also, because of "warming up" giving often "Red Area's / shades" ( or how do you say that) in your pics. , therfore making film a better medium for "Astro".

Rodeo Joe , Oct 07, 2010; 01:17 p.m.

The D700 already has comprehensive interval timer options built in - see p.203 of your manual.
Other than that I can recommend one of the cheap Chinese interval timer/remotes, or a wireless remote. They go under the name of Yuong Nang or somesuch. I ordered a straight cable remote and a wireless remote for my D700, which both work just as well as Nikon's overpriced versions. The total cost was about what I'd expect to pay for an old-fashioned Bowden type cable release, including postage and packing and batteries included. Received them within two weeks, no problem.

Rodeo Joe , Oct 07, 2010; 01:25 p.m.

"therfore making film a better medium for "Astro"."
Except that film has nowhere near the high ISO capability of a D700, and also suffers from reciprocity failure. A two minute exposure on a digital camera is roughly equivalent to half-an-hour on film.
Is there a major optical observatory still using film? I don't think so.

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