Setting a long exposure time in camera without a remote ?

Started Jan 12, 2014 | Discussions thread
jkjond Veteran Member • Posts: 8,828
or use continuous shooting and a remote with lock

Marianne Oelund wrote:

jkjond wrote:

Here's a workround. It's far from ideal, and isn't a true long exposure but a collection of separate ones - so if your subject requires a 5 minutes to give a correct exposure, then its worthless. But if you want to capture 5 minutes of movement and can balance the aperture value or use a lesser ND filter than the one intended, then it is worth considering.

1. Set the multiple exposure menu option anywhere between 2 and 10 shots.

2. Set the camera exposure to 25 seconds and appropriate aperture and iso to give a correct exposure (and test)

3. Set the focus to M, for some reason, the interval timer will override any other settings and try to refocus.

4. Set the built in interval timer to 26 seconds. I don't think a 30sec exposure coupled to a 31 second interval works as it falls foul of the camera's 30 second rule! Note that the interval includes the exposure time, its the interval between starts of exposures, not the interval between separate exposures.

You can use any interval value you wish. However, to make adequate allowance for the exposure time, you need to be aware that the camera's long exposure times are longer than the nominal value.

Setting 30 seconds actually gives you a 32-sec. exposure, so the interval will need to be 33 seconds. Other long settings are up to 1 sec more than the nominal, e.g., the 25-sec. setting gives you about 26 seconds, so you could use a 27-sec. interval.

If you fail to set an adequate interval, the camera will miss every other exposure and the result is a very long interim wait. Test your settings before using them in earnest.

Better still, if using a simple remote, then set up the multi exposure for however many exposures you like (up to 10 max) then set the shutter release dial to Continuous. Press and lock the remote release and the camera will take the number of shots set on the multi-exposure with its shortest interval available. Bypassing the nikon interval timer is something I'd recommend to anyone.

10 x 30 second not long enough? Well you can repeat the process and combine the resultant pair of multiple exposures in-camera to double the time again - then repeat this process until your batteries runs out if you want infinite* exposure time. The in-camera combining exposures is arguably easier than using photoshop but there will be alternative stacking software options.

This shutter lock approach is ideal if you are doing star trails. The differences are you don't set the multiple exposure menu, and you make sure you have fresh batteries as they don't last long for continuous shooting. It's the only time I've thought an additional battery grip would have been useful. Manual focus essential. Either combine with stacking software or photoshop with a stack of layers each with the mode set to 'lighten'.

*OK, not infinite, your shutter will eventually fail.

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Wedding and fine art photographer based in the Lake District, UK

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