Nikon D7200 - Remote Controlled behaviour

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by santharam, Aug 15, 2018.

  1. Hello,


    Camera Settings:
    Aperture priority mode
    Auto focus mode
    Remote Control Mode (ML-L3) ->Quick-response remote
    View finder photography

    I am new to Photography. I tried to operate my Nikon D7200 with ML-L3 remote with the above settings. After a few shots I realized all of them, except the first few, were out of focus. I tried to recollect and reenact the sequence of steps followed in taking those pictures.

    Initial few shots were taken with camera automatically focusing/refocusing on subject(s) with every remote controller click. Then a remote click, but after focusing on the subject by manually half pressing shutter release button. The "subject in focus" indicator remained ON for next shots, the camera refused to refocus automatically on remote clicks and all these pictures were out of focus. The "subject in focus" indicator was turned OFF only after manually half pressing shutter release button again and camera could again refocus automatically after this. I expected the camera to refocus every time automatically when operating with remote. Is this the expected behavior of the camera or something wrong? If the behavior is proper, can it be used as focus lock for shooting static subjects? Hope I am clear in expressing my doubt.
  2. The D7200 won't autofocus with the MLL3 remote if continuous AF mode is chosen.

    Also, I think if you press the remote too quickly, it doesn't give the camera time to focus and trips the shutter straight away. Plus, you need to bear in mind that the remote uses infrared to communicate with the camera, and this can get unreliable over a distance of more than a few metres or in bright light.

    The camera sensor for the remote is on the front, so having the remote behind the camera reduces its reliability even further.

    Page 157 of the D7200 PDF manual explains how the camera should operate in remote mode.

    If the remote is consistently not operating the AF, it may be faulty, have a stuck button or need a new battery. Any fault is more likely to be with the MLL3 than the camera.

    PS. There's a forum dedicated just to Nikon users. You might have got a quicker response there.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2018
    santharam likes this.
  3. I have used a Polaroid clone of the MLL3 remote on my D7100 quite successfully. However, I mostly use it on manual focus mode for astro-photography or for long exposure night photography. My D7100 has IR sensors on both front and back, BTW. You might use manual focus, or set the focus automatically and then disable AF for the exposures. On my cameras I use back button focus, so the focus operation is disconnected from the shutter release. I find this works well because the camera does not try to refocus, with variable results, every time I trip the shutter. It has proven very compatible with both wired and wireless remotes.
    santharam likes this.
  4. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Nope - IR sensors both front and back on the D7200 - never had a problem, but have not tried it with AF C
  5. Thanks rodeo_joe|1, David and Sandy for the replies. A few more details from my side would have made the issue clearer. Let me rephrase it.

    I am trying to understand the functionality of remote operated camera by experimenting with various combinations of camera modes, focus modes, shutter release modes and shutter/back button focusing. Both the camera and the remote are new, working fine in all other scenarios/combinations. Thus remote being defective is ruled out. This particular issue arises only in viewfinder photography in AF-S mode with shutter release button or back button focus. It does not occur in AF-C mode or live view photography.

    I did all this experimentation in my study room with sufficient diffused window light. There was ample gap between each click and the remote was just a few inches away from the camera. D7200 has both front and back sensors.

    Remote control mode + AF-S mode + viewfinder photography + pressing shutter release button half or back focus button - is locking the focus.
    The sequence of steps:
    1. Aim camera at a subject (viewfinder photography with camera set to remote control mode(ML-L3) ->Quick-response remote)
    2. Half press shutter release button or press back focus button, if enabled, to focus on the subject
    3. "subject in focus" indicator turns ON
    4. Release finger from focus button. "Subject in focus" indicator still remains ON.
    5. Click remote button to take a shot.
    6. Aim at different subjects, click remote button to take a few shots
    7. Out of focus images as "subject in focus" indicator remains ON and camera refuses to refocus.

    The focus lock is released only when the shutter release /back button is pressed again. As per my limited knowledge this is against the default behavior of shutter release or back button focus. "subject in focus" indicator shall turn OFF as soon as finger is released from the focus button.

    Is it similar across all D7200s
    or my camera an exception? I will be thankful if anyone owning D7200 & ML-L3 ratify this by kindly enacting the sequence. Meanwhile I will post it in Nikon forum too as suggested by rodeo_joe|1.
  6. - Quite right Sandy. That's what happens when you rely on memory at my age without the camera right in front of you.

    Must admit I didn't notice the rear red window before; my thumb's usually covering it - which might be part of the OP's issue.

    Anyhow, I dug out my MLL3 remote and the D7200. Here's what I found:
    Using only the remote to trigger the camera, everything worked as expected. The camera did an AF before tripping the shutter.
    But, as soon as you touch the shutter button to trigger AF, all bets are off.
    The AF confirmation dot stays stubbornly on, and using the MLL3 sometimes trips the shutter, and sometimes doesn't. The lens doesn't AF with any amount of pressing the remote.

    I think what's happening is that touching the shutter button with the MLL3 selected acts like AF lock. After that, only the shutter or AF-ON buttons on the camera can force a re-focus. Consequently, the shutter will only fire using the remote if the subject is in the locked AF capture range.

    Incidentally, with my eye to the viewfinder and my thumb and face covering the rear IR window, I found the remote triggering to be very unreliable anyway. I had to poke the remote into the field-of-view to get reliable triggering. But still no AF after touching the shutter button.

    Well, I for one have learned something today. If you want to use the MLL3, then don't touch the camera buttons after setting it up!

    Plus my wariness of using IR to control anything is now heightened. Think I'll stick to a wired or radio remote in future - even more so.

    I also think that waving the camera around in your hand, with your eye to the finder while using an IR remote to trigger it, is slightly unusual behaviour!
    Small wonder this quirk of the camera hasn't been widely reported before.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018
  7. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    I have never used the remote with the camera in hand, always either tripod or carefully positioned on a solid surface. Chief benefit to me is to eliminate camera movement. I have used it less than expected - chiefly due to my favorite Eagle tree being blown down in a storm. I do use it for the odd moon shot, or to be able "to be the photographer", but still be in a photo with wife or family. At the price, a very handy little gadget. Originally bought to use with the D750, but that and the D7200 have more in common than not.
  8. "Originally bought to use with the D750, but that and the D7200 have more in common than not."

    - Then maybe this weird behaviour in MLL3 remote mode also affects the D750? The D7200 is the only DSLR I have that accepts an IR remote, so I can't check that myself.

    I can't believe this was intended by Nikon. There's almost no scenario where locking-up AF and using a remote would be an advantage... is there? If you want locked focus you simply flip lens or camera into MF mode and have done with it.
  9. I'm going to have to try this on my D7100 and see if it is the same, though my normal modes of usage would never create these conditions.o_O
  10. A thought just occurs. Maybe this is an undocumented trap focus feature.

    I'm away from the camera again now and can't test, but perhaps keeping the remote pressed as a subject enters the preset focus zone trips the shutter?

    Now that might actually be useful!
    And if so, why didn't Nikon document it?
  11. If the settings are on "release shutter on focus" then this would work. I think I remember reading something about it at one point, but I can't think where right now. Time for a Google search.
  12. I thought a focus trap used manual focus to set a focus zone, then the focus priority setting would trigger the shutter when an object moved into the zone, no?
  13. Thank you rodeo_joe|1 for sparing time to test with your D7200 & ML-L3.
    Knowing that it is not oddity of just my camera gives a bit of peace of mind. :)

    The findings are as I was hoping them to be, except one.
    In my case, ML-L3 could trip shutter always, even when the subject was not in the locked AF capture range. Shutter could be triggered on a subject hundreds of feet away after AF locking on a subject a few feet away. It did not appear odd to me, as 'subject in focus' dot was always ON and subject was in focus logically, though it was not practically.
    My AF-S priority selection is set to Focus.

    My gut feeling is it may not be an intended behavior, but a quirky offshoot of a gap in firmware.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2018
  14. "In my case, ML-L3 could trip shutter always, even when the subject was not in the locked AF capture range."

    I found that the shutter would lock if the subject was well outside the AF capture zone. However, with the subject within an acceptable depth-of-field the shutter would fire. I suspect your subject at a long distance would still be in acceptable focus after focusing at, say, 3 or 4 metres.

    The exact behaviour may well be aperture dependant.
    DavidTriplett likes this.
  15. I tested with 18-140mm lens and this is what I did.

    I took shots with different combinations of focal length, aperture and subject distance. Subjects were diagonally opposite, one in low room light (3-4 feet away) and another outside the room in bright sun light (150-200 ft).
    Different scenarios:
    18mm + f/5.6 + 3-4 feet
    140mm + f/5.6 + 150-200 feet

    18mm + f/5.6 + 3-4 feet
    140mm + f/20 + 150-200 feet

    18mm + f/20 + 3-4 feet
    140mm + f/5.6 + 150-200 feet
    Remote could trigger shutter in all the cases.
    I am not sure if this covered 'well outside AF capture zone' scenario.

    Another thing I forgot to mention - camera failed to exposure lock in remote mode with AF lock.

    Tested scenario:

    Aperture mode - Fixed aperture & ISO - with out AF lock
    Focused on the low light subject and clicked with remote
    Focused on the bright light subject and clicked with remote
    Shutter speed adjusted well to lighting conditions and both the shots turned out properly exposed

    Aperture mode - Fixed aperture & ISO - with AF lock
    Focused on the low light subject and clicked with remote
    AF locked by half pressing shutter release button
    Focused on the bright light subject and clicked with remote
    Low light shot turned out ok, but bright light shot was over exposed and out of focus.

    The shutter speed values without (1/200 sec) and with AF lock (1/20 sec) were drastically different.
    Camera failed to adjust to optimum exposure with AF lock ON.

    I suspect this issue may have a presence across all Nikon models.
  16. I don't really see it as an issue if you're aware of the way the camera behaves.

    As I said, the way that you're using the camera - handheld and triggering with IR remote - is atypical, if not highly unusual.

    The 'normal' way of using the IR remote would be with the camera fixed to a tripod, and using only the remote to focus/trigger the shutter.

    If you have the camera in your hand with a finger on the shutter button, then the remote is a pointless encumbrance.

    Incidentally, I couldn't get my D7200 to fire when pointed at a closer subject than initially focussed on with the shutter button. This may have been co-incidental with my face and thumb obscuring the rear sensor window.

    The behaviour of the camera does need further investigation, if only to see if it might serve some useful purpose. But as far as it being an 'issue'; not IMHO.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2018
  17. Given my limited functional knowledge I might not have rightly expressed what I wanted to convey.
    For example, giving the impression that I used remote with camera hand held. I couldn't make it out till your last response that the impression was such. Your earlier responses on this point were taken as a generic advisory on remote use.
    No, the camera wasn't hand held. Tripod was used always. Sorry about not mentioning it.

    Hope further investigation on this behavior reveals some useful purpose.
    Thanks to the responses and the inputs, rodeo_joe|1.
  18. Ah, OK.
    It sounded initially as if you were just playing with the camera and remote, and randomly pointing it around the room.

    Even (or especially) with the camera on a tripod, I really can't see why you'd use the shutter button on the camera after you've set up remote mode. It kind of defeats the object of using a remote.

    As far as I can tell, the ML-L3 is a crude little device that only has a single switch, and not a two-position AF + Fire switch. Therefore setting MLL3 mode on the camera also enables AF shutter priority. Perhaps overriding this sequence by pressing the body buttons sends the camera into an infinite loop of waiting for AF to be triggered by IR signal, and never receiving it because the shutter gets tripped first.

    Whatever. It seems to me that the best policy is to treat ML-L3 mode as strictly 'hands off'.
  19. Santharam, if you tell what subject you are photographing, and the outcome you are trying to achieve, perhaps we can give better advice on how to get what you want with the equipment you have available. Right now I feel like we're working a bit in the dark.

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