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Old Dec 27, 2006, 5:21 PM   #1
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Just got a D80. After many years of thinking "digital is not good enough" I finally took the plunge, sold my two 8008's, my FM2, and my Mamiya 645 Super and diving in.

Great camera - after all the point and shoot digitals I've owned it's nice to have one that takes a picture when I want it to, not when it feels like allowing me to...

One issue I have with it, however...

With my filmcams I shot a fair number of star trail, northern lights, etc photos - exposure times anywhere from 15 minutes through several hours (to "all night" sometimes..) I was looking forward to using the D80 for this - just because the trial and error process to get the exposure right is much faster!

But.... there does not appear to be an interval/long exposure timer that works with the D80.... Didn't even occur to me when I was doing my shopping, because the camera DOES have a plug for an external trigger cord (the MC-DC1).

I accidentally bought the MC-36 interval timer, thinking it would attach, and it didn't - wrong connector...

So... seems like it would be simple enough to feed an interval/long exposure timer into the existing port on the D80 - not only will it obviously trigger from an external source (the MC-DC1), but it will also operate in bulb mode with this remote - keeping the shutter open as long as you've got the button pressed - so it's really just a matter of putting some control on that line.

Does anyone know of an after-market device that does this, or perhaps have access to a source of the connectors on the MC-36 and MC-DC1 and pinout diagrams? I'm an electronic tech, put together some similar custom cables to trigger my 8008's, and doubt this would be particularly difficult (I could just take my MC-DC1 apart and trace the wiring) but it would be nice to not have to figure it all out if someone's already done that! Getting the connectors can be a problem, though, and ideally I'd like to just make an adaptor that I can plug the MC-36 into and mate to the proper connector for the D80 on the other end - so I don't have to cut up it's cable..

Thanks,

Todd
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Old Dec 27, 2006, 9:15 PM   #2
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I'm not familiar with cable releases, but Nikon has an IR remote for this line of camera:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search


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Old Dec 27, 2006, 9:24 PM   #3
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Thanks, but the issue is not the ability to control it remotely (I have both the wireless infrared and the wired "cable release" already) but the ability to shoot groups of shots at various intervals as well as do exposures that exceed the camera's longest pre-programmed speed....
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Old Dec 27, 2006, 9:59 PM   #4
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I guess I'm understanding what you said. With the IR remote you can set the camera's exposures to minutes or hours, depending on battery life. It's what people use to do star trails with D70, D50 and D80. But yeah, you can't set specific times, but you can still set really long exposure times, you just have to clock it yourself. You use Manual mode and set the shutter speed to Bulb, and then you press the IR to start exposure, and then at some point you press it again to end exposure.

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Old Dec 27, 2006, 10:41 PM   #5
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Thanks, but I didn't do a very good job of explaining... You're right, in bulb mode you can hold the button down for whatever length you want, but typically what I'd do with my 8008/MF-21 combo was set it up during a meteor shower and shoot 15 minute exposures all night long - until I hit 36 or the batteries went dead... Same with nights that showed potential for Northern Lights... I'm too old to stay up all night holding the button down these days!
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Old Dec 28, 2006, 1:26 AM   #6
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Thanks for clarification. I recently bought my IR remote to do long exposures, but interval exposures never came my mind (this is my first year of owning any SLR). I looked around and it looks like you need to step-up to D200 to be able to use the MC-36. 'Hope you find a solution to this.


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Old Jan 6, 2007, 7:41 AM   #7
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I am an electronics hobbyist and I too would like to work out a solution to timed exposures with the D80. I'm thinking it shouldn't be too hard to reverse-engineer the IR remote's protocol with a scope and generate control signals with your own device, but I don't have one to experiment on (yet). The IR remote has the advantage of not requiring you to buy an expensive remote and hack it apart to get access to the custom connector..

Would there be any interest in schematics/code for a microcontroller-based long-exposure timer? Seems like a project I might take a crack at if I find any free time in my crazy life.
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Old Jan 6, 2007, 10:00 AM   #8
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I'm an electronics tech myself and you're right - this is a simple electronics job. Designing your own interface wouldn't be too difficult but I was hoping to just build an adaptor cable that mated the existing 10 pin MC-36 cable to the "whatever it is" plug on the end of the MC-DC1. Sure, I COULD just clip off the MC-36 cable, clip off the MC-DC1 cable and (after figuring out the correct wiring of course) just solder the MC-DC1 end on to the wire coming from the MC-36. That's a rather destructive solution, though, and I'd rather do something not so irreversible to both devices.

I've checked out Digi-Key and there are about 200 pages of connectors. Unfortunately I don't want to go through a process of ordering 100 of them and then returning the 99 that don't fit, and I still can't find anything that even resembles the MC-DC1 connector so I might just have to clip it off...

Perhaps someone knows of an "extension cord" for the MC-36 or MC-DC1? I could buy one of those and destroy it....

The IR system would work fine, but typically when I'm doing this I'm outdoors, often in inclement weather conditions (if I leave my cam out overnight I put a raincoat on it just in case..) and the device that would be doing the IR sending would also need to run on it's own batteries for 8 to 12 hours. Plus maintaining a solid, trust-able IR connection to the camera for a half hour at a time is questionable.

I'm guessing you could just "read" the IR codes from the D80's IR remote with the proper receiver on a PC and then use some kind of IR program (there are a few out there, I've heard of "girder" for example) to re-generate the code you need, just programming in the proper timing and intervals, so that's not a difficult option but would then require a laptop be involved (and, again, left out in the cold and rain for 8-12 hours at a time, running on batteries...)

Hard-wired is really the only way to go, in my opinion, for reliable, low current operation.




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Old Feb 26, 2007, 3:42 PM   #9
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Chek out this 3rd party device: http://www.pclix.com/

It has cords available for it to the D80 (IR or corded) and can do what you're looking for. I'm thinking about getting it myself as I just got my own D80 as well.

On the other hand it's kinda expensive and one thing I'd like to do is set up a IR beam that when broken triggers the shutter-- and to do that I'd likly need to tear apart a MC-DC1 anyways. If I get the pin outs figured out I'll be sure to post them here. Let me know how it goes!

-Ben
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Old Feb 26, 2007, 11:00 PM   #10
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Is there software that would let you control it from a pc, I know my digicam has something like that but I never played with it?
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