Since "Bulb" isn't "Bulb" anymore, then what is?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by thequintessentialman, Jul 3, 2022.

  1. Haven't played around with the Bulb setting in a few years, back when I was younger and shooting film a friend and I used to play around with it painting things with a flash light or putting halos around stuff. You know, fun things you do when you're young and on stand by at work (fireman) with nothing else to do. Used to get some decent fireworks photos too. Since going digital I haven't really played around with it and apparently that setting does not mean what it used to mean. On my old Nikon "bulb" was basically putting the clutch back in the ford. Squeeze bulb, shutter opens; release bulb, shutter closes. Last night attempting to shoot fireworks I found out that regardless of how long I keep the release pressed, the exposure is going to end when it wants to. The drill is to set camera (D800) on bulb, focus to infinity, and play around with the ISO until I get the results I want. Virtually all my shots came out at 1/3 sec even though I know I held the release for over 3, even 5 seconds on some of of the shots as well as kept playing around with the ISO. I am using an electronic remote release so maybe something is going on there. Any ideas? Fiddling around with it bench testing today, hope to get this figured out before next fireworks season.
  2. You're in Manual right?

    And the aperture?
    thequintessentialman likes this.
  3. With noise reduction, the camera may also need a thinking break before it can proceed.
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  4. So bench testing this thing and apparently bulb is now a three step process after setting the camera up. I can hear the mirror retract but then I have to hit the remote again to start recording the picture, then hit the remote a third time to stop recording. I don't know if this is a bug or a feature. Could be a consequence of using a 3dr party electronic remote release.

    Yes, the D800 is set to manual (M) and I scrolled through until it displays Bulb. The ISO is lowered to 100 although I've been playing around with different speeds.
  5. Step 1. Lift Mirror.

    Step 2. Open Shutter.

    Step 3. Close Shutter and drop mirror.

    You can also select Exposure Delay to allow more 'settle' time.
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  6. It sounds as though you D800 thinks it is in "Time" exposure mode rather than "Bulb" mode. The problem is, according to the D800 manual, the D800 does not have a Time exposure mode. The most obvious causes are:

    1) The camera is malfunctioning.
    2) The third-party electronic release is malfunctioning.
    3) You are misinterpreting when the exposure actually ends and pressing and releasing the remote a second time actually takes another, brief, Bulb exposure since you simply press and release the button on the remote. To see when the shutter actually opens and closes, remove the lens, look in the camera mount and take a Bulb exposure. You should see the shutter open when you press the button on the remote and close when you release it.

    As for your original problem of all exposures seem to be at 1/3, how did you determine the exposure time was 1/3 sec? Was it from the EXIF data? If so, I suspect the EXIF data is in error. For normal exposures, the time in the EXIF data is the time for which the camera is set; there is no separate timer to time how long the shutter is actually opened. I suspect that for Bulb, the firmware simply inserts 1/3 sec, although I cannot find a reference to this in any manuals. You might listen carefully for the sound of the shutter opening and closing and time this on a watch or wall clock, then compare it to the EXIF data.
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  7. Trouble is, the first noise is the mirror lifting..... NOT the shutter opening.
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  8. Yes, that is one of the signs that lead me to this conclusion. I can hear the mirror lifting. On the second lite press I can hear the shutter opening. After a pause I hit the release a third time the process ends and then the picture displays on the screen. (FWIW, the camera ignores the remote in live view mode.) I tried several frames without the remote and it does not seem to record a picture.
  9. The good news is it's beginning to look more and more like operator error. I removed the lens (as suggested) and took several shots with and without the remote release. It does behave a bit differently between the two though. With the release, the second momentary press opens the shutter, the third press releases the shutter and mirror. Just with the camera and no remote release, once the mirror is lifted the shutter behaves like a traditional bulb and stays open as long as the button is pressed. When the button is released it releases the shutter and mirror. Now wondering if I would have any different results with the Nikon OEM release. The indicator lights on this remote are a little confusing and I have to rely on hearing the mirror and shutter action. That would not have been an option last night during the fireworks.
  10. I guess you could put it on 30sec continuous and lock off the remote.

    PS. Ensure Long Exposure Noise Reduction is OFF.... or you'll get a 30sec gap between imaging exposures.
    thequintessentialman likes this.
  11. Hmm... I haven't shot fireworks for quite a few years,. I am tempted to try it this year if there's an opportunity.

    There are multiple ways to do it, and I found capturing multiple bursts in one image work well. Using a remote release, I set speed to bulb and leave the shutter open after a burst of firework, then cover the lens with a hat, then uncover the lens again when there is another desirable burst, etc. I remember there was a shot with 3 sets of bursts on the same image - by rotating the ballhead a little after each burst. Release the shutter after 2 or 3.
  12. I don't know how all models work, but on my D3200 and other low end models there is no T setting, only B. When you use the infrared remote, the B becomes T, with the first press opening the shutter and the second closing it. On the D3200 back button focus is disabled with the remote, so for fireworks you needto switch to manual.
  13. So what about the mirror?
  14. The d3200 and its ilk have no mirror options, and there is no visible evidence that there is a delay between mirror up and shutter open either with remote or self timer.. In all modes they work together.
    mike_halliwell likes this.
  15. One quick question. What remote are you using? Make and model, please.
  16. Definitely the release. The D800 shutter will stay open for as long as you can keep a button pressed.

    One such wireless (RF) release I once owned had a special "bulb" setting that worked more like "T" - press to open shutter, press again to close shutter.

    I'm betting that the manual for your remote came with almost unintelligible "Chinglish" instructions, but it might be worth reading them again.

    There are also cheap 10 pin socket wired releases that have a mechanical slider to keep the 'Go' button pressed until you move the slider back.
    bgelfand likes this.

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