View Full Version : ControlMyNikon ... bewdy

08-05-2011, 4:05pm
ControlMyNikon (http://www.controlmynikon.com/p/what-is-controlmynikon.html) is tethering software to control various Nikon cameras.

First of all, many older cameras are not supported.
Eg. a D70 isn't supported, neither is a D50 or D2 series, nor D100. But a D200, D80, D40, D40x and D60 are supported, so check whether yours is.

ControlMyNikon (CMN) is, in a word ... brilliant!

I remember trying out the trial version of Nikon Camera Control Pro(CCP) about a year back and while it worked well, it didn't seem as 'full featured' as it could have been.

In particular I don't remember CCP allowing the user to adjust focus 'manually' whilst in Live View mode(that is via the PC, in small increments).
As I remember CCP, you either got focus or not.
The handiest feature in CMN that it has this feature when using Lv mode where you can adjust the focus point in small step increments using what the author call the 'focus pad', and allows the user to adjust the focus point as required. The amount of adjustment is variable, say from an Attometer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orders_of_magnitude_%28length%29) to a Kilometer if you prefer, in a single 'step'.
A step is a single focus adjustment in one movement.

LiveView looks quite good on the PC screen, and I dare say a screen with a higher pixel density may look even nicer, but don't expect to see your 900x600 pixel images any clearer on a UXGA screen as you zoom in. You simply zoom in and see basically what you would otherwise see on the review screen on the camera.
The review screen on the camera remains inactive, so you save battery power on the camera.
Another handy feature I noticed(in Lv mode) was this sensor health meter, which basically indicates how 'hot' or 'bothered' the sensor is at any point in time(in real time), and gives you an estimated remaining time readout at the bottom edge of the LiveView screen on the PC.

So, why is this software handy?


A. the price is good! :th3: US$10, which works out to about AU$9.50. :D
You can't buy nothing for under $10 nowadays, so this price seems almost too good not advantage of.. even if I(or you) only use it a few times.

B. Focus stackers!! This is one of the easiest (maybe cheapest) methods to get your focus stacked images without too much toil, trouble or turmoil.
This software has scripting, but already has a handy Focus Stacking ability built in. So set up your subject, work out how much focus distance you need per step, work out how many steps you need and press the shoot button. It has automatic exposure delay as well as an added delay mode specifically for focus stacking too.
The software has built in integration with a focus stacking software called CombineZP (http://www.hadleyweb.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/) which is a free focus stacking program.

Another handy part of the LiveView mode is realtime DOF preview, which doesn't happen on the camera in Lv mode(unless you have a non CPU lens).
So, you get to see realtime DOF preview through a nice bright PC screen, not some dingy dark viewfinder.. and if you stop down far enough, you even get to see your camera's current dustbunnies in real time too!

Personally I have very little to zero need for tethering software, but for $10 for such a feature rich software, why not!
I'm sure I'll find a way to use it for the majority of my uses.

There are a few minor bugs here and there, but they don't seem to be major.

As of current, my only gripe is that there is no option to save images to both the PC hard drive AND the camera's card(s), but there is a mirror feature in the program to save captured images to two different locations.
And that my old D70 isn't supported or any D2 camera isn't.

File naming seems to be quite flexible, but I have yet to work out how to maintain the camera's file names, even tho I always add a prefix and or suffix to the name .. I simply want to keep a track of the camera's exposures in an easy to find manner.

anyhow .. I'm not usually rating stuff I write a review on, and even tho this isn't really a review, and more of a 'user experience' wher eth euser is of limited experience(with both tethering software and focus stacking!!), I'm rating this software 10/10(even tho it has some minor usually inconsequential bugs).
Crikey! ... for $10(which is as good as 'for free') you really can't go wrong.
There is a 14 day trial if you're interested but unsure.

Anyhow. That's it!
you'll probably start seeing some focus stacked images from me soon, as up to getting this software, there was no way in hell that I'd bother doing focus stacking without some sort of automating process, and this program looks to be just the ticket :th3:

I @ M
08-05-2011, 4:09pm
Thank you for that kind sir, might just go and spend the equivalent of a couple lattes or cappuccinos. :D

08-05-2011, 4:21pm
Thanks, Arthur..I am just starting to have a go at focus stacking...this might just be what I need! And for $10, the price is right:D

08-05-2011, 4:50pm
Note too.
It does still seem to use up a lot of batery power, even tho in Lv mode the battery killing review screen doesn't turn on.
Maybe the connection to the PC(in PTP mode) uses more battery power than simply having the camera on.
Today, I had it connected, but not in Lv mode, for only a few hours, with a freshly charged battery in the camera.

Something else to watch for.

Thank you for that kind sir, might just go and spend the equivalent of a couple lattes or cappuccinos. :D

I never looked at it that way! ... (but only because my flat whites are all for free now :p)

nup!.... I saw it as 1/3 of the price of a packet of nails (you know ... the ones that we addictively drive into our respective coffins).

EDIT: and FWIW, the video tutorials on the CMN site are great too! :th3:.
Instead of watching each one via the net, I strongly suggest you download them to your PC for watching as you feel your way around the program.

I just tried to use his(Russ's.. the program's author) script for capturing exposure bracketed images for doing HDR, and while the D300(and others) are more than capable in doing this natively, they are limited to only 9 shots in a burst, whereas with this program(using the script) is capable of as many exposure brackets as your heart desires(with a simple change in the script).
The scrip Russ created uses 10 shots, which is a trivial matter to change to anything you want.

is this important? No.. not in many cases, but for owners of cameras with limited exposure bracketing ability(D90 I think.. D80, D60, and the D3000-5000 series) this can be a bit of a bonus.

(actually the 10 shot series didn't quite work, but only because I found out first hand that the battery drains a lot quicker than without tethering! .. I only got 6 of the 10 images and it stopped ... which of course I immediately assumed was a bug, but it wasn't.)

I @ M
11-05-2011, 7:05am
Had a quick play with it yesterday, I can see it being a good thing in some situations.
After I managed to figure out where the images were going to when they left the camera it was simply a matter of pointing View NX to the folder -- My Documents / ControlMyNikon v2.9 / Images and they appear in real time straight after the shutter is pushed ready to be viewed at 100% on the pc screen. Very handy for checking detail and colours at a much higher resolution than the on board lcd can give.
I was using the D200 and it seems there is now way to achieve focus through the program when using the AF ON button.

11-05-2011, 9:34pm
I was using the D200 and it seems there is now way to achieve focus through the program when using the AF ON button.

OK. Didn't know that.. maybe it's a bug, or just a feature for use with Lv(hence implying the camera is Lv capable).
I have the D300 setup with AF-On only and it focuses in Lv mode(have really tried it any other way tho).

Images are sent to whatever folder you choose in the file management section, and also can be mirrored(backed up) to another location as you shoot.
(Not possible to use the camera's card as a mirror repository.)

I also set up VNX as the default viewer, but his built in viewing software also works well. I prefer the Nikon rendering of the images tho.

I emailed the creator(Russ) about a few file management questions, one being if it was possible to keep an image on the camera's card(No, and probably never), and the other question was about file naming.
I like to keep the camera's file name in all my images with prefixes and or suffixes(for tracking purposes), but at the moment it's not possible to do this.
it's possible to maintain a sequential naming format, but not keep the camera generated name in the file name .. (eg. CMN_DSC_xxxx_20110101), where I want to keep a track of the DSC_xxxx name that the camera generates.

He replied to my query and said that he'd try to add that camera name token in v3 of the program(currently at v2.9).

I had a 'quick' play with the focus stacking feature, and it works quite well too.
I set it to capture 60 frames with both a delay between frames and also to use the exposure delay feature as well. I walked away and the software had the camera snapping away for about 5 mins or so, whilst I went off and made myself some lunch! :beer_mug:
Easy way to do focus stacking :th3:

Only problem tho is that when you make camera related changes via the software, you need to remember that it makes the changes in the camera.. such as exposure delay.
Was wondering what the heck had happened to the camera a few hours later when I picked it up and tried to take a quick snapshot and it behaved weirdly! .. I forgot that I had it set to exposure delay mode! :lol2:

I recommend downloading his video tutorials too.
I watched the video on controlling the exposure via the sensor/trigger feature, and the ability to connect(via the PC) any number of robotic/automation/sensors/triggers/etc is quite cool, and looks to be very easy to set up too.

11-05-2011, 10:20pm
Pity it isn't available for Mac!