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Thread: Why not be able to set long exposure times?

  1. #1
    pnodrog's Avatar
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    Why not be able to set long exposure times?

    I quote Colin from another thread

    "Most cameras can only automatically shoot a maximum of a 30 second exposure. To go longer, you need to use bulb mode - and using bulb mode typically requires a remote release (to avoid moving the camera when holding the shutter release open)"

    There seems to be no technical reason for camera manufactures not to allow or provide an option for the user to set a time longer then 30 seconds. I know it will usually mean you are taking an exposure beyond the metering capability of the camera but so what.

    There has been a number of times when I have wanted to take a 1 to 5 minute exposure and been using a camera with a built in clock and timers and no way to utilise them. Even my low tech domestic oven has a timer. Last time it happened I was in a cave and wanted to set a 90 sec exposure and light paint the cave using my torch. I would love an option in the menu to set a "bulb" time. I do not really care what they call the function and I am perfectly happy for it to not be linked to any exposure evaluation functions of the camera. Why make me use a remote timer/release when the technology is in my hands (well sitting on the tripod).
    Last edited by pnodrog; 10th August 2013 at 12:30 AM.

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    Re: Why not be able to set long exposure times?

    Quote Originally Posted by pnodrog View Post
    I quote Colin from another thread

    "Most cameras can only automatically shoot a maximum of a 30 second exposure. To go longer, you need to use bulb mode - and using bulb mode typically requires a remote release (to avoid moving the camera when holding the shutter release open)"

    There seems to be no technical reason for camera manufactures not to allow or provide an option for the user to set a time longer then 30 seconds. I know it will usually mean you are taking an exposure beyond the metering capability of the camera but so what.

    There has been a number of times when I have wanted to take a 1 to 5 minute exposure and been using a camera with a built in clock and no way to utilise it. Even my low tech domestic oven has a timer. Last time it happened I was in a cave and wanted to set a 90 sec exposure and light paint the cave using my torch. I would love an option in the menu to set a "bulb" time. I do not really care what they call the function and I am perfectly happy for it to not be linked to any exposure evaluation functions of the camera. Why make me use a remote timer/release when the technology is in my hands (well sitting on the tripod).
    I suspect that it's the metering issue; they'd then need to either suffer the backlash of customers getting poorly exposed images for longer exposure times (in automatic modes), or suffer the backlash of customers moaning that they couldn't use the extended time in an automatic mode ("why won't my camera meter a 3 minute scene wen it lets me do it in this other mode").

    Not many folks would regularly do exposures over 30 seconds - we have a way to work around it - and we have accessories that they like to sell us to help us get around it, so they're probably only going to go with the KISS approach that caters for 99.9% of their customers, and not us awkward 0.1%.

    On a side note, if you're only needing a few minutes, just shoot multiple consecutive 30 second exposures and stack them (you get less noise that way anyway).

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    Re: Why not be able to set long exposure times?

    I suspect you're not the only person who wishes this was a real option, L.Paul. As the creators of Magic Lantern have included this as a feature for their Canon firmware hack.

    Unfortunately, that's not quite helpful for you, as a Nikon shooter.

    I have used the feature many, many times, and it's quite nice.

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    pnodrog's Avatar
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    Re: Why not be able to set long exposure times?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post

    Not many folks would regularly do exposures over 30 seconds - we have a way to work around it - and we have accessories that they like to sell us to help us get around it, so they're probably only going to go with the KISS approach that caters for 99.9% of their customers, and not us awkward 0.1%.

    On a side note, if you're only needing a few minutes, just shoot multiple consecutive 30 second exposures and stack them (you get less noise that way anyway).
    Why keep a KISS approach approach for a camera that is specifically marketed to the awkward 0.1%.

    Thanks, I have noted your side note and may give it ago next time it crops up.

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    Re: Why not be able to set long exposure times?

    Quote Originally Posted by pnodrog View Post
    Why keep a KISS approach approach for a camera that is specifically marketed to the awkward 0.1%.
    No camera that I know of is marketed specifically to us awkward 0.1%

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    pnodrog's Avatar
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    Re: Why not be able to set long exposure times?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew76 View Post
    I suspect you're not the only person who wishes this was a real option, L.Paul. As the creators of Magic Lantern have included this as a feature for their Canon firmware hack.

    Unfortunately, that's not quite helpful for you, as a Nikon shooter.

    I have used the feature many, many times, and it's quite nice.
    Andrew you have confirmed my belief that it would merely be a firmware change.
    Lucky you for having the option.

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    Re: Why not be able to set long exposure times?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew76 View Post
    I suspect you're not the only person who wishes this was a real option, L.Paul. As the creators of Magic Lantern have included this as a feature for their Canon firmware hack.

    Unfortunately, that's not quite helpful for you, as a Nikon shooter.

    I have used the feature many, many times, and it's quite nice.
    I've looked through the list of features in those hacks and - frankly - I wish the manufacturers would just pull their theirs out of the sand and incorporate them in a user-selectable "expert mode". Why don't they? I really have no idea, other than perhaps, the associated costs of them then having to support it (less and less thanks to online forums) or perhaps increased warranty claims due to "finger trouble".

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    Re: Why not be able to set long exposure times?

    Quote Originally Posted by pnodrog View Post
    Andrew you have confirmed my belief that it would merely be a firmware change.
    Lucky you for having the option.
    Having just said what I said above, I don't know how well that would work for metering in low-light situations -- keeping in mind that the camera still has to meter correctly at the highest ISO setting. If it needed to be correct for more than 30 seconds - at the highest ISO setting, then that's a really really really really small amount of light that it needs to measure (even my expensive hand-held light meter will often give up in that situation).

    In my experience, camera manufacturers are a conservative bunch; I'm not sure I always understand why, but they probably feel it's for a good reason regardless.

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    Re: Why not be able to set long exposure times?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Having just said what I said above, I don't know how well that would work for metering in low-light situations -- keeping in mind that the camera still has to meter correctly at the highest ISO setting. If it needed to be correct for more than 30 seconds - at the highest ISO setting, then that's a really really really really small amount of light that it needs to measure (even my expensive hand-held light meter will often give up in that situation).

    In my experience, camera manufacturers are a conservative bunch; I'm not sure I always understand why, but they probably feel it's for a good reason regardless.
    Over the last few years the low level metering sensitivity has increased so we could assume at least a 60sec exposure could now be available. The 30 sec goes right back to film camera technology. To hell with tradition if that is all it is.

    I suppose the power drain on a low battery may also be in the back of the designers minds.
    Last edited by pnodrog; 10th August 2013 at 01:16 AM.

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    Re: Why not be able to set long exposure times?

    Quote Originally Posted by pnodrog View Post
    Over the last few years the low level metering sensitivity has increased so we could asume at least a 60sec exposure could now be available.
    Probably quite correct, but it's still somewhat of a moot point because none of them do it regardless

    You could always write to Canon about it -- but chances are it'll end up in the same place as my dozen suggestions, and no-doubt many thousands more. Like it or not, they pretty much march to the beat of their own drum (and make more money doing it that I ever will, so who am I to tell them how to run their companies).

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    Re: Why not be able to set long exposure times?

    Me write to Canon I don't even know who they are.

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    Re: Why not be able to set long exposure times?

    You may have better luck writing to Magic Lantern, and telling them to get onto building something that works with Nikon bodies!

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    Re: Why not be able to set long exposure times?

    Quote Originally Posted by pnodrog View Post
    Me write to Canon I don't even know who they are.
    Single biggest manufacturer of SLR cameras

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    Re: Why not be able to set long exposure times?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Single biggest manufacturer of SLR cameras
    Oh - quantity not quality!

    (I don't really mean it - if it stops raining I will go outside and do some work)

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    Re: Why not be able to set long exposure times?

    Quote Originally Posted by pnodrog View Post
    Oh - quantity not quality!
    Both

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    I don't know how well this works...

    However, the price is certainly low enough to try it for a Canon:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Timer-Remote...item58a30e355a

    Here is a similar item for a Nikon:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Timer-Remote...item43be790622

    And apparently; here is one said to be Nikon OEM - a bit more expensive but it bears the Nikon name:

    http://www.ebay.com/sch/Remotes-Shut...-/64345/i.html

    I also believe that Canon cameras can be controlled with an AP for an Android device such as a cell phone or a tablet and I "THINK" that this control will enable the desired long exposures. You do need a wired control between the android device and the camera. I know nothing about controlling Nikon cameras in this manner...

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    pnodrog's Avatar
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    Re: I don't know how well this works...

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    However, the price is certainly low enough to try it for a Canon:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Timer-Remote...item58a30e355a

    Here is a similar item for a Nikon:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Timer-Remote...item43be790622

    And apparently; here is one said to be Nikon OEM - a bit more expensive but it bears the Nikon name:

    http://www.ebay.com/sch/Remotes-Shut...-/64345/i.html

    I also believe that Canon cameras can be controlled with an AP for an Android device such as a cell phone or a tablet and I "THINK" that this control will enable the desired long exposures. You do need a wired control between the android device and the camera. I know nothing about controlling Nikon cameras in this manner...
    Richard I have been thinking about getting a wireless remote trigger/timer for awhile. There seem to be a number of options including android apps coupled blue tooth trigger devices but it just irks me that most of what I want to do could easily be available on the camera.

  18. #18
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: I don't know how well this works...

    Quote Originally Posted by pnodrog View Post
    Richard I have been thinking about getting a wireless remote trigger/timer for awhile. There seem to be a number of options including android apps coupled blue tooth trigger devices but it just irks me that most of what I want to do could easily be available on the camera.
    You are preaching to the choir, my friend. I totally agree with you. There are several reasonably simple additions I'd love to see on my Canon 7D. I am sure that this would not have cost much to add. I'd happily trade my "print from camera" and "add JPEG or RAW" buttons for these capablities. Heck I would trade those buttons for any one of the below capabilities...
    1. Auto focus at f/8 - use my 400mm f/5.6L lens with a 1.4x TC
    2. ISO 50 or even 25 capability - slower shutter speeds without an ND filter
    3. Audio recording to record data about my images - reason should be self explanatory
    These are available on some of the Canon 1D (series) cameras and MAY be available on some Nikon cameras (I don't know about the Nikons)

  19. #19
    pnodrog's Avatar
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    Re: I don't know how well this works...

    Richard maybe I should stop moaning. My new camera can meet all of your wish list but to record audio I need the video capture running. (f8 AF ,ISO 50, user bank for quick select for RAW or JPEG and capture size)

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    Re: I don't know how well this works...

    A few pennies for a knock off 3rd party remote release is hardly a hardship. And an ice breaker for passing traffic, because you must be good if you have a big camera, tripod and cable release

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