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Thread: Problem with bulb mode

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    Ausphotography Addict Lplates's Avatar
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    Problem with bulb mode

    Firstly, I'm using a Nikon D7100. I went out to shoot some local fireworks last night and for some reason the bulb mode was playing up. Previously I've set it on bulb mode, clicked the remote when I hear the woosh of the firework then click the remote after the burst of colour to stop the exposure and repeat that process during the display. Last night it would take the first shot but when I clicked the second time it would just take a fast shot without my clicking the shutter closed. I switched to time mode and similar happened although on a couple of occasions it allowed me to do two or three longer exposures before just taking a really quick exposure. Switching the camera off then on again allowed the one or two longer exposures then back to ignoring the remote with a really quick exposure. Very frustrating. Any ideas as to why? I probably haven't used bulb mode since the last time I shot fireworks 12-18 months ago and don't think I've changed any settings on the camera in the interim.
    Glenda


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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Not sure with the D7100, but there is an option for noise reduction that when activated, takes this second frame and then in-camera, combines to two images to reduce noise from long exposures.

    Also, you do not need to use bulb mode for fireworks, the best shots are taken at a maximum of 2-3 second and often about 1 second renders great results.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    I had in camera noise reduction turned off so that wouldn't have affected it. I've used this method before successfully so went with it again. I don't use bulb mode often but am curious to know why it's suddenly playing up.

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    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    Could it perhaps be your remote that is causing the problem ?

    I've had a few dodgy ones over the years.
    Last edited by Cage; 27-03-2016 at 10:09am.
    Cheers
    Kev

    D600 : D7200 and too much stuff to list

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    Sounds curious to me.
    Kev has made a point that would be the first thing that I would check as well. I have a cheap wired shutter release that does silly things that you are describing.

    Another thought --- Are you using mirror up? It almost sounds as though the sequence of taking is out of phase, especially when you say that turning the camera off resets things.
    Andrew
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    Thanks Kev and Andrew. I'm using the same wireless remote as always and no mirror up just quick response remote - which how I normally shoot fireworks.

    Okay - could be the remote. I have a Phottix wireless which is still working perfectly up to 30sec. Just tried my husband's Nikon wireless remote in bulb mode and worked perfectly. Strange that all of a sudden the Phottix is not working accurately in bulb - luckily I don't use bulb often.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Have you checked the batteries in the remote? Low battery strength can sometimes cause weirdness?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    Low battery strength can sometimes cause weirdness?
    I've seen weirdness like this on a wireless mouse caused by a low battery. So I'd be checking the battery on the remote.
    John Blackburn

    "Life is like a camera! Focus on what is important, capture the good times, develop from the negatives, and if things don't work out take another shot."


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    Thanks Rick and John. Actually did think of that and changed the battery with exactly the same result - unless the spare battery had deteriorated.

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    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    I went the Eneloop rechargeable route years ago as they seem to retain their charge forever.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Do you know anyone else with a remote you can try? Cause if you do, if that one works ok, then the remote is the cause, if that one plays up to, it would either be a camera setting or a fault in-camera. Trying to isolate the cause will mean some testing seeing all other avenues above have now been considered and discounted.
    \

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lplates View Post
    Firstly, I'm using a Nikon D7100. I went out to shoot some local fireworks last night and for some reason the bulb mode was playing up. Previously I've set it on bulb mode, clicked the remote when I hear the woosh of the firework then click the remote after the burst of colour to stop the exposure and repeat that process during the display.
    If that is so, then there could be an original (undetected) problem - OR - previously you used Time mode (not Bulb) - because if you are certain you previously set the camera to "Bulb" Exposure Mode, then I don't think that it should have worked as you have described.

    What you have described above is the functionality of "Time" Exposure Mode.

    There is a difference and for clarity:

    "Time", on some cameras designated by "T", requires one depress/action of the shutter release to open the shutter and a second depress/action of the shutter release to close the shutter.

    "Bulb", on some cameras designated by "B", requires one depress/action of the shutter release to open the shutter and then the shutter release must remain depressed/active for the duration of the exposure time.

    ***

    So I think that when you're carrying out the investigations regarding using new batteries; various remote releases and other tests, you should ensure that you are testing the camera in "Time" Exposure Mode, not Bulb, if you want the functionality of two shutter releases - one to open the shutter and one to close it.

    WW
    Last edited by William W; 29-03-2016 at 5:36pm. Reason: corrected spelling error

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cage View Post
    I went the Eneloop rechargeable route years ago as they seem to retain their charge forever.
    I use the AA Eneloop and agree they are fantastic but this remote uses one of those button type batteries.
    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    Do you know anyone else with a remote you can try? Cause if you do, if that one works ok, then the remote is the cause, if that one plays up to, it would either be a camera setting or a fault in-camera. Trying to isolate the cause will mean some testing seeing all other avenues above have now been considered and discounted.
    \
    Yep, tried my husband's Nikon remote and it works perfectly, so it's obviously my generic remote which is the problem.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thanks William. I definitely used bulb mode before but the other night also tried time with exactly the same result. I agree, reading the manual, it seems that the on/off with the remote should only work with time mode but I put it in bulb and using my husband's Nikon wireless remote it allowed me to open and close the shutter on demand. Obviously there's a problem with my remote.

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    That doesn't make complete sense to me.

    If you are now using your husband's remote, (which you think is working properly) then surely that remote should not allow you to open and close the shutter by that method - UNLESS - the Nikon wireless remote (your husband's remote has a functionality that the first push keeps the "shutter depressed" as the camera sees it: in this case YOUR remote might be working correctly if you used T Mode.

    Maybe you could test that, please?

    WW
    Last edited by William W; 29-03-2016 at 7:51pm.

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Lplates, which model exactly is your husbands Nikon remote? From memory there are about 3 types that can be used with a D7100.


    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    That doesn't make complete sense to me.

    Me either but ------

    I will give two examples of where bulb mode might be activated by a one push to open the shutter and one push to close the shutter.

    As I said in an earlier post, I have a cheap no name corded shutter release that sometimes ( mostly ) "sticks" so that when in bulb mode one push of the button opens the shutter and the next push closes it. It obviously has faulty components that cause it to stick but it is kind of handy it works that way instead of having to hold the button down or to engage the slide lock.

    The other one is where I ran into the same situation a while ago. The person had a D7100 and a non OEM wireless shutter release and they could not figure out how to get bulb mode to work.
    I adopted the "here give it to me and I will show you in 2 seconds" attitude and then spent the next 1/2 hour working it out.
    I set the camera to bulb, not time, turned the remote on and depressed and held the shutter. I was rewarded by a satisfactorily loud typical Nikon shutter actuation sound upon depressing the button. Trouble was that the camera only took a brief exposure. I tried again and again but to no avail would the shutter remain open with the button depressed. It was then that I noticed that the remote did not have a slide lock on the actuation button as is the norm.
    By some miracle the camera owner actually had a copy of the instruction book for the remote with them and after several attempts to comprehend the absolutely terrible Chinglish that the book was written in it became clear that one had to activate bulb mode on the remote via the menu in the digital interface.
    Once that was done, the remote worked as the makers intended and that was so that one push opened the shutter and one push closed the shutter.
    I cannot remember the brand of remote, it was a few years ago and it may even be still on sale.

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    Firstly my husband's wireless remote is a Nikon ML-L3. I've just tried it again and it happily activates the shutter on and off in bulb mode and I don't continuously hold the button down - merely click it on then off after a few seconds, then on again etc. I then tried it in time mode and identical response. It happily took 5 exposures at varying lengths in both modes.

    My Phottix wireless remote has exactly the same problems I explained previously in both bulb and time modes, ie happily takes one longer exposure but when I stop that first exposure, then click to start the next one, it just takes a very short exposure, shutting off without me touching the remote button at all.
    Last edited by Lplates; 30-03-2016 at 9:35am.

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    Ta.

    I shall have to investigate the expected functionality of the ML-L3 specifically with the D7100, before commenting further.

    WW

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    What an interesting quirk . . . what I have gathered:


    According to my Nikon Guru:

    1. A Remote Control Option must be selected on the D71000 camera to allow the ML-L3 to function with the D7100

    2. There are three active selections available: Delayed; Instant; Mirror Up (and a third inactive which is "off")

    3a. Selecting ANY of the three active Remote Control Options will overrides the INDIVIDUAL selection of either "bulb" or "--" as a Shutter Speed option. ##

    3b. (Also selecting ANY of the three active Remote Control Options will render the Release Mode options disabled).

    4. If EITHER "bulb" - OR - "--" is selected as the Shutter Speed, the resultant (correct) functionalities will be as if "--" was selected and the resultant functionalities are:

    4 a) 'Delayed' - press remote release, shutter will open about two seconds later and stay open until the remote is pressed a second time

    4 b) 'Instant' - press remote release, shutter will open and stay open until the remote is pressed a second time

    4 c) 'Mirror Up' -- press remote release, mirror will go up; press remote release a second time shutter will open and stay open until the remote is pressed a third time

    *

    Also note that there is a user selection to adjust how long the camera remains in 'idle mode', waiting for a trigger from the remote controller. If the camera does not receive a trigger from the remote controller within that time period, I understand that the Camera's "Remote Control" option will defaults to "Off". I mention this now because, over a coffee this morning I related the outline of your original issue when shooting fireworks - and he mentioned that you could have exceeded the "idle time" - he could not comment about the expected functionality when using other than the ML-L3 as the remote.

    I have not used a D7100 and ML-L3, but my Nikon-mate has not given me wrong info before, and he mentioned that all this is not quite clear in the user manual and, yes, agrees that it could be easily explained by a note stating that once the ML-L3 is 'connected' then "Bulb Mode" is not an option and the remote will act as if "--" was selected.

    *

    I think that the ML-L3 predates the D7100. There is possibly an explanation/reason in that fact, if it is correct: what I mean is that the earlier cameras might only have had a "bulb" option and the ML-L3 Remote Release was designed to provide the easier functionality of always working as a "Time" Shutter Release with those cameras for long exposures - that's my guess I didn't present that theory to my good friend at Nikon.

    WW

    ##Footnote: "--" is the "Time" Shutter Speed Selection display on the D7100.

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lplates View Post
    Firstly my husband's wireless remote is a Nikon ML-L3. I've just tried it again and it happily activates the shutter on and off in bulb mode and I don't continuously hold the button down
    Right, the ML-3 and the camera are doing exactly what they are supposed to do. That kind of rules out a faulty ML-3 or camera body.

    What model is your Phottix remote?
    Is it a simple infra red trigger like the ML-3 or is it one of the fancier digital display models?
    If it is one of the digital interface models does it have a setting in it specifically for "bulb" exposures that may have been changed?
    Maybe an email to Phottix asking them about why it isn't working as it should?

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    What an interesting quirk . . . what I have gathered:
    Yep, what you wrote is pretty much word for word what is in the moaners annual and describes the correct function of the Nikon remote, what we are trying to do is see why the Phottix remote isn't operating as it should.

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    Question

    OK edited out my first question as it is now understood - "moaners annual" is a Spoonerism - "owner's manual".

    *

    I think that's a typo:

    Right, the ML-3 and the camera are doing exactly what they are supposed to do. That kind of rules out a faulty ML-3 or camera body.
    The OP mentioned using ML-L3: I understand that these are two different remotes.

    *

    what you wrote is pretty much word for word what is in the moaners annual and describes the correct function of the Nikon remote.
    Don't know if it is word for word or not. But doubt it, more like a concise summary I'd expect based on previous information from my friend. I got the information over coffee this morning, as mentioned.

    *

    what we are trying to do is see why the Phottix remote isn't operating as it should.
    When I responded, I thought that we were still discussing both remotes.

    I hope it was helpful to the OP, even if the topic had moved on beyond a better understanding of the ML-L3.

    WW
    Last edited by William W; 30-03-2016 at 1:02pm. Reason: withdrew a question having understood the Spoonerism

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