|Friday, October 25, 2002|
Nikon News - Freeware Remote Controls
Okay true confession time-- I've been out surfin' da'web all night in search of one of my holy grails: a NON-Nikon remote control for my Nikon Coolpix 990.
First off I need to give credit to the folks running the Digital Photography: Nikon Forum Group. If you own a digital camera, you should check this place out. To quote Jerry Pournelle: "Highly recommended. For a variety of reasons I won't bore you with here, I've been searching for ways to connect the Nikon 990 to either a shooting scope I own, or find a reasonable (cheap) telescope I could connect the camera. (I will tell you where once I get mine!) A funny thing happened while I surfed da'web happened: I found both.
Suggestion #1: Hook up the camera to a Palm/Visor to act as a remote control. It appears Vladimir Vyskocil is a frustrated programmer/astromomer had just enough time on his hands one weekend to figure out how to hook a Palm OS PDA to a Nikon 990. The connection works via a serial cable (SC-EW3) between the camera and the PDA with a null modem plug, via his freeware program called CoolRemote to emulate the Nikon MC-EU1 protocol. He also wants to mix this with the Sierra Imaging Protocol, Nikon's other language, to automate shots completely. Very cool. Very technical. If you have a Nikon 990 or other supported cameras it is worth diving to this subject. Down side for me-- I own a Handspring. It appears there are power problems in connecting the Visor to the Nikon 990. Anyone have an old Palm they can donate to the cause for me to play with?
Suggestion #2: Hang up the idea of using the PDA. Go straight to using the laptop to the Nikon 990 as a remote control. Greg Pruden appears to be the Wizard du Jour with his program called (drumroll) The Force. This freeware program will remote control nearly any of the Coolpix line of cameras by using the Nikon Serial cable (SC-EW3.) This is what I was looking for... And it appears Greg loves to drag his laptop out into the dark and do midnight astronomy, when he isn't programming something. Sounds like some of the men I hang out with. No smart comments about my social life, please. The Force is a remote control program for Windows and the Nikon. The program makes it possible to completely set up the Nikon to take time-lapse photographs and control the cameras functions from the laptop. For those of us who take time-lapse photographs of various things from sunsets, microscopic growth, to missles launching this sounds like the ticket. Now I need to find or make a cable. (Kudos to David Holmes for his tutorial on cable making.) The major reason this concept appeals to be is The Force does not require a high powered laptop run the program. So if you had an old laptop hanging around, this would be an excellent program to put it to use vs. to pasture.
I will try this out over the weekend, if I can find or make a cable and report back. Thanks to all those online community people over at Digital Photography Magazine. They made tonight very interesting and educational! [FRY's RUN!]
|Thursday, October 24, 2002|
|Tuesday, October 15, 2002|
|Thursday, June 27, 2002|
Today we had a ton of errands to run and get done during Doug's only two days off this week. Murphy was in the planning, because unexpectedly we spent the morning dragging Doug's folks Sony WEGA TV (read heavy and big) from their home to the Sony Repair Center in Irvine to get repaired. Ah they joys of SUV ownership. We also had meetings with the family law-sharks (God Bless em') and a "To-Do List" that read like a random note. My job was to keep Doug and everyone else on schedule and drive the freeways like a NASCAR pro-driver. By the end of the day, we got everything done, including getting his glasses adjusted and his watch battery changed.
Finally after the last "To-Do" was done, I was walking back to the truck and decided to go into Claremont Camera. I have been looking jealously at the great pictures Susan Kitchens took on her trip to the Cape for the Shuttle Launch and have lusted after a 3X teleconverter for my Nikon 990. (Even Doug was impressed with the pictures!) So after emailing Susan a couple times and going to some research great sites she pointed me to-- I had decided to drag the 990 into the shop and see if I wanted the lens. I really wasn't sure I could afford it. But after playing with it for about 15 minutes. (God love John and the guys-- who always let me run around and try things out in the store.) Doug looks at me and says... I know it's expensive. But I didn't buy you a b-day gift last year. So I'm buying it and a good filter for you! Thud! And I didn't think he'd noticed the drool marks I was making on the lens. That will teach me. However he nearly had a brick when he got the total bill. That will teach him to buy me the most freakin expensive filter in the world for the lens!
So home we went with one of the lens. I couldn't wait to use it. Finally he went to bed, I spread out the material and read... here's what I think...
The Nikon TC-E3 (ED) Teleconverter is that it is not the most graceful lens to balance on the Nikon 990. I suspect it's easier to use on a fixed, non-swivel body. But it works well if you are careful to lock the camera into one of the normal positions, as the half-way positions are not solid enough to hold it in place. Use of a solid tripod and the remote camera control or shutter timer are my recommendations. The lens is several pieces of very heavy high quality glass. The book explains the 3X all-glass tele-converter give the photographer an optical 345mm telephoto equiv. lens. (very cool) Also the lens uses Nikon's ED (Extra Low Dispersion) optical element, which creates superior optical performance with very limited distortion & aberations. The outcome is wonderful pictures. Tonight I took my first shots of the moon (upper right) using my tripod and the shutter timer.
My personal thanks goes to Susan for all her help and encouragement. I owe you lunch when you get home!
Whatta ya think of the moon pics? I reduced it to 50 of part of the frame. I'll be putting up the whole picture once I move the blog to the website shortly. I'm psyched to go out and do some shooting.
|Monday, June 24, 2002|