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10/09/12 Further information on the D600 and MC-DC2 & MC-36

MC-30 to MC-DC2 converter

MC-30 to MC-DC2 converter

I have done a bit more research on the D600 and the remote timer issues.  Both the D800 and D600 come with a built in set of timers called:

  • Time lapse photography
  • Interval timer

One of my main goals was to use the D600 in my night photography pursuits.  Over a year ago, I stopped taking just single long exposures on the blub setting, and started to shoot stacks.  An example of a stack, is to shoot over a period of 40 minutes, with a series of 45 second exposures.  For my night photography, I prefer to work with the illumination of the moon, so you really can’t leave the camera open for long periods of time or the sky will just wash out and or you will only pick up the brightest stars.  Stacking allows you to have much more control of your environment also.

In the past with Canon or Nikon, I would use the remotes that had the built in interval timer.  You need to use the timer for two settings, length of exposure and interval.  The interval is always 1 and the exposure varies depending on the amount of moonlight.   Using the Nikon MC-36 remote, this is easy to do.  Using the built in interval timer on the camera is not.  You can set the interval timer to do 1 interval and a certain number of frames, but the time relies on the cameras set shutter speed for the length of the exposure.  Thus the longest exposure will be 30 seconds and most times at night with stacks that is not long enough.  So the built in timer is not an option.  The time lapse timer has the same shutter speed limitation, requiring the camera to not be in blub mode.  However I have found a new solution from the folks over in China that should work.  A converter that allows the MC-36 to plug in to the port where you plug in the MC-DC2.

MC-30 to MC-DC2 converter

MC-30 to MC-DC2 converter

If this works as advertised a photographer should be able to use all of the functions of the MC-36 on the D600.  I have ordered one and will test it soon to make sure.  If it won’t work or all the functions don’t work, then for me all bets are off for the D600.  I will report back as soon as this converter arrives.

10/07/12 Updates to my 10/02/12 Post on the D600 and bracketing issues

10/07/1230—–Thanks to some comments from readers, I have added some more comments to my 10/02/12 post.

I was concerned about the remotes since I wanted to use my MC-36 on the D600.  It has the the inter-voltmeter and interval timer, both critical for night work since I stack exposures.  I realize that the D600 has these features built in, but I had tried them on the D800 and just did not find them to be very reliable.  The few times I tried the built in interval timer and inter-voltmeter the camera with locked up after a short time or just shut off after about 30 minutes (on a 1 hour exposure using 30 second stacks).  I also feel that the D800 is too much camera for night work in that I just don’t need that much resolution and had wanted to move over to the D600 (but use the MC-36 since it give more control).  It’s possible to use the Nikon MC-DC2 through the accessory port and several other wi-fi solutions to fire the camera.  I will reconsider the D600 with the MC-DC2 after I test it for a few evening stacks. 

Many other readers have assured me that in using the Scan Disk Extreme SD cards they are not seeing any slow downs.  I still would prefer to be able to use one of the many Scan Disk extreme compact flash cards.  I don’t like having to carry two separate types of media in the field.

I may even up reversing my concerns on bracketing once I shoot a D600 some more.  I have used the D800 and D800E enough now to realize that the vastly increase Dynamic Range of these camera can totally eliminate the need for traditional need for exposure bracketing.  I quickly realized that for most of my work, I can get great images by just shooting 3 brackets at around +-1.5ev.  Occasionally certain shooting situations may require 4 but that is an exception.  So now I think that Nikon may have given the D600 a better bracketing solution than the +-1.5 on D800 since you can take +-2ev exposure brackets.  I would hope that a firmware upgrade to the D800 might allow for an increase to at least +- 1.5 in the future.   Without a doubt, these new Nikon sensors are revolutionary designs.

10/02/12 Nikon creates bracketing differences between the D800 and D600

I have now taken out a D600 for a quick test spin.  I had hoped that Nikon would not disable too many of the “pro” features that they have with the D800.  Right from the start, I found that Nikon drastically changed the exposure bracketing between the D800 and D600.

Nikon-D600 view from the front

Nikon-D600 view from the front

With the D600, a photographer now only has the option of 3 brackets.  However you can use a larger exposure range between brackets, as much as +2ev.  It may be even a bit more, but I was in a hurry and when I noticed that you can only get 3 brackets per series, I was immediately turned away.  The main issue I have had since January 2009 when I first started shooting with a Canon 5D MKII was the fact that Canon only allowed for 3 brackets and to get 5 or more you had to have a “pro” body like the 1ds MKIII or 1d MKIiv, both of which I have briefly owned.  I figured out that the best solution for the 5D MKII was to just move the exposure manually, but you had to be very careful not to move the body of the camera since then you would get misaligned frames.

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