The new Nikon MC-30A remote trigger vs. the old MC-30 version

Nikon MC-30A remote trigger release
Nikon recently quietly updated their wired remote trigger release: the old MC-30 model ($59.95) is now replaced with the new MC-30A ($64.95). Here is a first hand feedback from a [NR] reader (thanks Laura from Connecticut) who purchased the new version:

I just purchased a new Nikon cable release. Finally they took all of our complaints about the old version and upgraded the cable release. The new model # is MC-30A.

There is now a white arrow to align with the dot on the camera.

The angle of the part that attaches to the camera is a little less of an angle. So, when you hold the camera in your right hand and rest it down on the other side of the camera, the cable is more flush with the body so it does not exceed the edge of the body to kink and/or catch on things.

The cable is thinner and more flexible. For colder climates, hopefully the outside casing will not crack.

The best change: they put better grooves on the part that screws into the camera body. Easier to screw into the camera.

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  • really?

    How better is this compared to 1/5th price ebay or b&h wired triggers for nikon?

    • photoroto

      I tried one of those with my old D2X. It had to forced in. Obviously wasn’t quite the right size. I discarded it and bought a genuine MC-30 that still works fine with my D810. It’s attached all the time since I do 99% panoramas on a tripod. A little hard to get a grip on the locking ring, but one learns to cope. Not in a rush to upgrade.

      I had a knock-off switch for the D7000. Used it for a few months (a lot) and it basically fell apart. Get the real thing and be happy forever.

    • JT

      Or a knockoff of the Nikon MC-36A from Amazon for 1/10 the price. It works.

      • whisky

        there were reports that on some of the knock-offs the pins would break off and/or damage the port.

        • JT

          If I ever see any evidence that pins will break off or otherwise mar the port, I’ll have no problem with tossing a $15 unit into the trash and forgetting about it.

        • rt-photography

          really where? just another nikon fanboy? accessories like lens caps, sync cables, hoods and batteries can be bought for much lower than nikon with excellent quality.

          also flashes, battery grips, and even 3rd party dont have to be bought from nikon anymore. and judging by how nikon released a firmware trying to sabatoge 3rd party batteries from working says to me they are losing a lot of sales from the above products. A HUGE CHUNK OF SALES!

        • Jorge

          I’ve been using Knock-off wired releases since my D300 in 2008 and have never, ever had a problem. I suppose for those that are ham-fisted it could be…

          • In all fairness, there are some 3rd party models which are utter crap, although many are quite serviceable. You just have to know what to buy.

    • Andy Aungthwin

      I’ve had two 3rd party triggers that have never worked properly – especially in the cold. Yes, I know there are no batteries in it but I tested them at room temperature and they worked fine. But outside in the cold they didn’t.

      The genuine item works great but there is definitely a design problem. I have finally worked out how to plug it in in normally conditions but when working with gloves on it is not at all easy because of this strange angle that you have to deal with.

      Hopefully, the MC-30A has addressed some or all of the issues.

      When you have something like 4500 eur of equipment (D800 + 14-24mm) mounted on a tripod and you are about to do a series of long exposures in winter, you will know how much better the Nikon MC-30 is compared to a clone that is only 1/5th its cost.

    • saywhatuwill

      The cheaper Ebay versions worked but I found them to be inconsistent where it fired most of the time, but not all the time. I needed something more reliable, but, for me, I needed the button layout of the current version.

    • peterw

      How better?

      Much better, alas.
      I had a clone for 15 euro which fit in nicely and worked sometimes. Especially just after using a screw driver to open it and re-align the contacts and scratching them a bit. No problem for my lazy macro subjects, just time consuming and irritating.

      I found a second hand MC-30 for 25 euro. That’s a proper price compared to the 15 euro for a piece of junk. I find 64 euro ridiculous. But it is not as mad as the price for a spare lens hood for a super tele.

      The man who sold the clone told me most Canon shooters are happy with that piece of junk, whereas Nikon users tend to complain… ;).

    • Markus

      I had a chinese MC-20a which is very similar to the original Nikon part, exept the cost.
      I did not see any mentionable difference between the Nikon and the no-name part. Probably, the Nikon part is slightly more robust, but I could afford at least 5-10 no-name parts instead of a single Nikon MC-20
      If you imagine, those remote Triggers aren’t really high-tech, I doubt if it will be worth to buy the Nikon part. It would not surprise if both parts would be identical (and probably manufactured in the same factory)

  • AlphaTed

    My MC-20 still works.

  • Spy Black

    Why is Nikon, or anyone for that matter, still making wired triggers?

    • JTK3

      Wired triggers don’t suffer battery failure

      • longzoom

        If the battery already failures, there is no triggers to help you, wired or wireless one.

        • Battery in the trigger, not the body.

        • JTK3

          The MC-30 is a manual release – it doesn’t need a battery to function.

          • longzoom

            Battery in the body, I have MC-30, HAH! THX.

      • Spy Black

        Never had a battery failure. You put fresh batteries before a shoot.

        • JTK3

          And with an MC-30 you don’t need to worry about a battery because it doesn’t use one. That’s the point – it’s about as foolproof as a release gets.

          • Spy Black

            If you want to be like Linus and your camera is the blanket, I suppose that will work.

            • JTK3

              Why stand away from your camera if you don’t need to? If that’s the way you want to shoot, fine. But you can fire your shutter with IR, radio or magic pixie dust and you won’t be able to tell the difference with a shot taken with a manual release.

        • Andy Aungthwin

          What, you put in fresh batteries before every shoot?

          And if it’s snowing and only then you find out that you need to change batteries in the field, you are going to try this with your gloves on (or off)?

          It may not be 1959 but last I checked, my tripod, tripod head and a whole host of other camera gear needs no power whatsoever.

        • Kynikos

          This isn’t 1959? Goddamnit. Anybody know how my Cuban fruit and sugar stocks are doing?

      • photoroto

        Anybody here ever use a radio remote at a rock concert? Near a a couple guys with an ENG video transceivers? And a few dozen walkie talkies, and several thousand watts of nearby cell phone radiation? Bet you wished you brought some wires. Best not to confuse gadgets with solutions to problems.

        As to battery failures, it’s more a matter of when, than if. It will happen a few times in a career, and the other guy gets the shot.

        • Robert

          To make everything as straight forward and failsafe as reasonably possible is one of my favourite approaches. Therefore I also use the MC-30A, since IMO avoiding unnecessary dependency on batteries and keeping the tool simple and reliable follow this approach.

        • Spy Black

          Depends on how close you are to the camera. What if it’s on a rig? Better have a loooooong cable then, no?

          “As to battery failures, it’s more a matter of when, than if.”

          Remember the old Boy Scout motto? That’s why you come prepared as a professional with extra batteries, right? Because you’re going to need them.

    • photoroto

      With those infrared triggers you can wind up going pokety-poke-poke-poke just to get the thing positioned right to shoot a frame. Very quickly replaced it with a wired version. Also, with the infrared I had to attach it to the camera with a string so as not to go hunting for it in pockets, bags, etc. So why not fully wired, since you’ll always be able to find the damned button.

      • Spy Black

        You guys never heard of radio trigger?

        • I must admit, that was my original thought too – why would anyone prefer a wired over a wireless release. I guess for some people it might work better, but at least for me, I can’t think of a situation that I lost a shot because I had to fumble with a wireless remote

          • JTK3

            If you need to fire your shutter and can’t be with the camera an IR or radio trigger is the obvious choice. If you need to fire the shutter via a release and can be with the camera a wired release works just fine. I fire my V1 with an IR, but my D3s, D810 and D300s all get either the MC-30 or MC-36 as the situation warrants (and I carry 3 sets of batts for the MC-36).

          • JXVo

            I shoot landscapes and macro on tripod while on multiday backpacking trips. MC30 is light, simple and rock reliable. If you need distance between yourself and camera then IR or some type of radio trigger is obviously better than a long cable but MC30 suits me.

            • Spy Black

              If you’re that close to the camera and are shooting a landscape, why not simply use the self-timer?

            • JTK3

              Because the manual trigger release is faster.

            • JXVo

              Sometimes you want to control the exact moment of release – such as to coincide with a moving cloud shadow or ray of sunlight. I sometimes have people in my landscapes for perspective or to show a sport like rock climbing. Freezing a pose while waiting for the timer is not always practical.
              Also, manipulating the timer sometimes shifts the camera/tripod a little. With macro, same thing. Puffs of wind may disturb the scene, insects move, so you want to control the exact moment and not try to work around the timer’s delay.

    • Captain Megaton

      The switch is two position, so you can half-press the shutter remotely. The dinky IR things are single press. I suppose they could make the MC-30A wireless, but it would cost more than $60.

    • SPfan

      Like any good small accessory, they are pure profit.

    • Me

      Because it’s guaranteed to work. There are times when a physical connection is worth its weight in gold. No radio interference, no passwords or other handshaking problems, no compatibility issues, and if you’re wearing a parka and gloves, it’s easier to use.

      And, also, when the camera is not within physical reach — like you’ve strapped it to the outside of a helicopter (which was awesome by the way) you’ll want wires.

      It doesn’t have to just be rock concerts with all the radios around, technical and medical facilities often have radio restrictions. Think of it as the advantages of a LAN cable to your computer versus your Wifi.

    • Anonymous Coward

      The wired trigger also has a lock function that along with the bulb setting on the camera will allow you to keep the shutter open indefinitely. Try that with a radio or IR trigger. Oh, and as someone else mentioned the “half-press” is sometimes invaluable.

  • whisky

    “The pursuit of profit alone will ultimately lead to failure. Hence, we conduct our business activities based on the premise that we must maintain harmony with society.”
    — page 10, 2013 Nikon Annual Report (English Version)

    it’s worth the extra $15 just for the harmony alone.

    • Robert

      I agree. For a company to be successful longterm, it needs to maintain sound values and have other goals besides being profitable. Thank you for sharing that quote. It made me feel good being a Nikon customer supporting these values. For the cynical amongst us, let us hope that they actually do so and not just say it. 😉

      • ZoetMB

        Your last sentence is the only one that makes sense.

        You think because a company puts such a statement in an annual report (written by the P.R. department) that they actually live up to that?

        Do you think Nikon maintains harmony with society when they ignore problems with new cameras until there are major lawsuits or government actions?

        Do you think Nikon maintains harmony with society when they clearly have no view what their users want?

        Do you think Nikon maintains harmony with society when they have moved much manufacturing to other countries, depriving Japanese factory workers of jobs?

        Do you think Nikon maintains harmony with society when there are incessant price increases (in the U.S.) in spite of the fact that their labor costs should have decreased and that the $ has increased in value over the Yen in recent years?

        I don’t think so. The statement is a joke.

        • Andy Aungthwin

          I think you need to take some deep breaths and try to get harmony within.

          You are going to give yourself a heart attack.

          • ZoetMB

            I’m perfectly calm. This is what I love about fanboys. They think the messengers are the problem instead of Nikon’s management. I’ve been a Nikon user since the early 1970s. (OK, I did use Olympus for a time after that). I still have a D3HP and an N80. I’ve bought the D70, D200 and D800 as well as tons of lenses. If I want to criticize Nikon for its failings, I will. I’m certainly not the only one.

        • Robert

          It may not have been obvious, but I am a bit cynical myself at times, hence the blink to others about that. I do believe that it is important for a company to have sound values and to have other goals besides being profitable. If they manage to follow these values or not can be seen in how they interact with their customers, the society, the environment etc.. That is how they show what they manage to achieve. It is good IMO if it is a goal at Nikon to “maintain harmony with society”, and it remains for them to live up to the statement. It would also be good if the statement actually does come from top management (because it increases the likelyhood for it to be implemented) and not from the P.R. department, but it is a very general statement which may indeed point in the P.R. department direction.

          • ZoetMB

            You’ll get no disagreement from me. You hear that “CEOs have a fiduciary duty only to the shareholders” so often, I thought it was actually written into law or regulations until I did some research and found out that it wasn’t (at least not in the U.S.). I believe that any ethically run company has a shared responsibility to its shareholders, employees, customers and society at large. I believe that some of the large companies I worked for actually did that. The push for profits is so great that I think relatively few companies do that today.

            The problem with “maintain harmony with society” is that it really has no meaning and you can’t objectively measure Nikon on whether it’s meeting that goal. It’s just “puffery”, which are subjective views to promote something which no reasonable person would take literally and which cannot be objectively measured, like a restaurant stating that “we have the best pizza”.

  • saywhatuwill

    Of course since I just bought the old version a few months ago.

    • Me

      What’s the problem? It’ll last you 30 years.

  • RandomDesign

    The MC-30A was released when the D4 came out, it’s not new. I ordered one with my D4 last March.

    • Robert

      It is indeed not new. I have used it since January 2013.

  • Scott

    I don’t think it’s that recent, I’ve had mine for quite a while. The new knob is way better as you say.

  • peterw

    I love discussion a Nikon wired remote trigger release.
    Don’t care if it is a hundred years on the market.

    Great site this is 🙂

    • ninpou_kobanashi


  • Nick M

    The new version is MUCH better – you can actually grip this one properly to take it off. And for those that think the knock-offs are worth it, try have one dangle in the water for a minute and still work no problems (the originals can).

  • Larrry

    While I haven’t used the MC-30, I found the IR based ML-L3 to have way to many limitations, particularly outside in full sun. Cheap wired triggers I tried were unreliable, and many times I have to be about 18′ from the camera (pole elevated photography). Even rigging Pocket Wizards as camera triggers had limitations. Best solution, but far more expensive than the MC-30, for both near (macro, etc) and distance photography has been Camranger. Neither wired nor IR, but creates its own nearfield internet signal that links with an iPad or other device. Live view on an iPad screen with access to change most camera controls (some, like zoom level or A vs M modes, have to be preset) is great. Has some issues that can work around, but wired, such as the MC-30, becomes a backup system.

  • broxibear

    If only Nikon had some other, simpler, more elegant, cheaper way to address the problem ?

    • Robert

      IMHO the MC-30A is a better solution, because the distance you have to press for focusing and then triggering the shutter is longer than on the shutter button itself, which makes the MC-30A easier to use than a traditional remote, but for a simple and reliable design you have a point there.

    • peterw

      I broke half a dozen of those chords. Both cheap and expensive.
      (you show the good looking part of this camera)

  • Global

    I’ve been using a cheap knockoff Chinese wireless Pixel remote for 6 years with no issue. I think it cost $10 including shipping. And it does way more stuff than this (bulb, single, multiple, etc). The batteries have also lasted 3 years in it.

    • ninpou_kobanashi

      This part is the negative part -> “The batteries’.

      • KS

        I don’t have this particular model, but mine only needs batteries for the timer function, not tripping the shutter.

  • Global

    By the way — kudos to Nikon for actually updating and improving a piece of their “side gear” accessories. I’m not sure why this is so hard for them. They really need to have a permanent 3rd party with strategic contracts to constantly refresh and modernize their “crap.” I know Nikon primary is a lens and body company, but it can’t let its system fall to waste. Small details like the Macro Flashes/Ring and triggers, and other stuff are a huge way to carry the brand and bring value to the system — but they constantly ignore it or overprice it.

    I think they are used to working with their lens and camera margins. But it makes no sense. Get long term contracts with cheap vendors, establish a permanent design team (under Nikon management) who are “The System Builders” — and take no more margin than the Chinese competitors + Overhead. Its not charity, its marketing and system building. Just because you have a good system in the 1990s doesn’t mean that 25 years later in 2015 that people feel the same way.

    This should work like a wholly owned subsidiary, or long term investment contracts with a strategic. Not one-shots and not in-house.

    • peterw

      You are so right.

      example: I tried Kenko macro rings… they are not stiff enough to hold a 105 F2,8 AF-S G micro or a 300 F4 AF-S without ‘hanging through’. But these are only rings that offer both mechanical and electronic coupling.

  • Vvw

    I’ve had a $10 clone for over two years, used heavily under all kinds of extreme conditions. Works flawlessly. No reason for me to ever consider the Nikon.

  • shawn

    Forgive my ignorance but why would anyone be using a putton on a cable still? I can understand having an intervalometer as part of the deal but just a button on a cable does not seem great value especially at over $60.
    I am more than happy personally using a 3rd party IR wireless trigger which cost like $3 and has no way of introducing any shake.
    If I were worried about the battery dieing well at $3 I can afford to have 20 backups for the same price as this.

  • axlrosefan

    Does D4s have something simple like ML-L3 trigger? That does not need any heavy gear (reciever) to use?

  • rt-photography

    wth is anyone buying a corded camera release today. I just use a wireless system that I can also use with flashes. still cheaper than the nikon cord.

    $65 for a fucking cord. fuck you nikon.

    I have the commlite G430 ($24 shipped) and a $3 10-pin sync cord and I can also use it with off camera flashes or monolights.

    more and more im amazed how nikon is ripping people off. their desperation clearly show. and why not. with stocks being at their lowest in 3 years, id be desperate and sell stuff like a black rapid strap for $90, and a AR11 button for the DF for $30 too.

    I predicting another quarterly loss for nikon. and that will be 4 in a row.

    they apologize for the low availability in the nikon 1 V3 but dont apologize for all the shit QC and shit CS service theyve been giving for a long time. nice

    • terress

      Are they forcing you to buy this equipment? If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Does whining make you feel better?

      • rt-photography

        so I see youre whining that im whining. please by all means support them and buy. I like to feel like im getting worth for the items I buy so I could buy a nikon logo, glue or sew it on and be done with it. and that adds $45 extra. nice. if you think theyre good deals, I got some great stuff to sell you 😉

        • Tony B

          You have some serious problems. Have a nice day and feel better : > )

          • rt-photography

            weak comeback. I have to thank you for supporting nikon and buying overpriced products. thank you.

            a sucker is born every 10 seconds.

  • Yesterday’s Papers.

    Was this a 2011 or 2012 release?

  • terress

    You go out and buy a camera and lens for $2,000 to $6,000 or $8,000+ and then skimp on a trigger or filter? Makes no sense. If you want to save money, use your finger on the release.

  • I have a couple of wired remotes, like this and the MC-36. Can you adapt these to old school sync terminal like on the Df?

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