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Old Oct 11, 2003, 4:24 PM   #1
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Default bulb setting on 5400

I'm about to purchase a digital camera, and for a variety of reasons have narrowed it down to either the V1 or the coolpix 5400. A huge selling point for the 5400 is the bulb setting because I enjoy taking astronomical photos - at least I did with a 35mm camera on a "barn door" mount. (My camera of choice for this sort of stuff was a Nikomat FTn.)

So how does the bulb function work on the 5400? It's hard to get a clear answer, so I have a couple of questions.

Without the remote control (MC-EU1) must you keep the shutter button pushed down manually? If this is the case, bulb is essentially useless for me. There is no way that I can prevent tiny movement over a 5-minute period, especially when the mount itself is moving to keep pace with the rotating night sky.

Several websites, including the Nikon home page, say that the above remote can control the shutter. How, exactly? Must you keep the button depressed on the remote? That's a little better. The best answer would be the electronic version of a cable release - just tighten the finger screw and stand back.

Finally, how does this remote attach to the camera itself? I couldn't find any sort of Aux or other input on the camera body. Where, exactly does this sucker plug in?

Thanks in advance from a digital newbie but long-time photographer.

Paul S.
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Old Oct 11, 2003, 8:52 PM   #2
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Default

I have not bought the remote cord, keep thinking about it but it is expensive. I think it would make astrophoto easier. So would an external monitor it is difficult to focus on dim dots using the little built in lcd.

The 5400 bulb setting has 2 modes, 1 requires you to hold the shutter button down, the other does not. Once the button is pressed the camera takes the long exposure then takes a darkframe. You have to dig through all the menues to find all the optiones.

For doing long exposures it is better to get the external power supply, the battey won't last through too many long exposures.
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Old Oct 13, 2003, 2:28 PM   #3
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Default Found the answer

It's amazing how hard it was to find the answer to the question of the remote control for the 5700/5400. Even the Nikon site didn't say how the remote attached to the camera (I had one rep insist that it was an IR remote.)

The remote attaches to the USB port. It's labeled as an I/O port, which clearly suggests that there is an "I" involved. That's how the remote works - you attach it to the USB port.

The only other methods to make the bulb setting work are:
- to manually keep the shutter button pressed
- to kludge together an attachment to the add-on battery pack that allows you to use a cable release on the secondary shutter release button on the battery pack
- get the Nikon remote control.
- Or, on the 5400, use the Timing option to select a bulb shutter length of 1, 5, or 10 minutes.

Anyway, I got the answer I wanted. And the one thing I've discovered from all of this is that there is no perfect digital camera for me, but I'll likely be very happy with whatever camera I purchase.
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Old Oct 14, 2003, 8:45 PM   #4
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Hum the remote is a USB device for the 5400, that would mean that it could also be controled by a PC or a PALM with the right program.

This is starting to sound quite interesting :P :P
If the same PC program that points the scope can also remotly take the pic maybe no more long cold nights :P :P

Don't think I'd every be comfortable leaving a camera outside by itself, someone here just recently lost a Meade LX-200 that way.
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Old Oct 31, 2003, 3:24 PM   #5
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Default Bulb time settings

There are 2 settings for the bulb time. In the Manual mode one can choose between "bulb" and "timed release". The first selection acts like this: the shutter remains opened while the button is pressed. For the second selection the time can be adjusted between 30 s to 10 min. The shutter remains opened until the specified time is reached or the button is pressed again. So, if the second setting is selected for the bulb time and duration is set to 10 min, the real time the shutter is opened can be any in this interval.
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