An open letter to Nikon by Gunther Wegner: timelapse photography with Nikon cameras and our problems with Snapbridge

Gunther Wegner, timelapse photographer and creator of the LRTimelapse software, points out that the latest Nikon cameras that implement Nikon’s Snapbridge-technology cannot be used for advanced timelapse, astro or macro work using 3rd party apps, which connect via WiFi to the camera.

Basically, all the latest Nikon Cameras, like the Nikon D500, D7500 and D5600 prevent any 3rd party app from connecting via WiFi. The only app that can connect, is the somewhat limited Snapbridge app itself, but that doesn’t even allow for very basic camera control.

Timelapse photographers have special tools to control the camera, that can analyze the histogram of any image that has been shot and change camera settings accordingly. All this happens in a fraction of a second and works very well with all non-Snapbridge Nikon cameras and of course, Canon and Sony cameras too. But any other photographer, that would like to control his camera with his phone or tablet, should be interested in being able to do so with the app of their choice and not to be limited to Nikon's own implementation.

According to Gunther: “technically, the standard Wi-Fi interface is also available in the new cameras with SnapBridge, and in principle, it would even work with specialized apps. Unfortunately, the cameras currently switch it off after a short time, as soon as the user switches from the SnapBridge app to another one. The only thing missing in the newer Nikon cameras is the possibility to manually turn on Wi-Fi via the menu independently of the SnapBridge app!”

Therefore, he wrote an open letter to Nikon, explaining how timelapse photographers work today and requested that Nikon reintroduce the possibility to use Wi-Fi independently of SnapBridge.

You can show your support to Gunther’s request by leaving a comment on his open letter to Nikon.

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  • Michał Piotr Stankiewicz

    I thought that SnapBridge was a failure and they were going to rewrite it?

    • mikerofoto

      agree, its not like Nikon is making any money by selling Snapbridge so why not let users use 3rd party apps

      • Jeffry De Meyer

        It is so we don’t find out the camera is copying all wifi data it comes across and storing it to be read out when connected to an NSA monitored internet connection.

      • Michał Piotr Stankiewicz

        They should treat it as they priority to have best possible app. Writing something like that is not rocket science and they can only benefit from it. It is piece of software not a hardware added to every camera.

        • Chris

          Sometimes these companies don’t have enough programmers working on things. BMW expanded their research facility to 3x original positions, hiring mainly programmers working on smarter cars.

          However, I am not saying Snapbridge is that complicated. Yet it doesn’t mean Nikon has hired enough people to get things turn around fast enough.

          • nwcs

            Nikon could easily outsource the development. That’s pretty standard procedure. On a project like SnapBridge they would only need to specify the protocols and API to a good third party consulting company and they’d have gotten a far better app in return. But the bean counters would probably just look at the upfront capital expense rather than the long term cost of doing the least possible.

            • Thom Hogan

              Probably. Moreover, Nikon has a history of requiring that the code come back to them for “maintenance and expansion,” which has resulted in more of the same problem downstream.

            • Chris

              It is equivalent to hiring more people.

            • nwcs

              Not really. It means leveraging people who have skills in areas you don’t. It may only be one person working on it.

          • Thom Hogan

            Read the Mythical Man Month. More people is not the solution to software problems. Better people and tight communications are.

            • Chris

              That’s much higher requirement than just triple number of programmers.

            • Thom Hogan

              Sure. But tripling the number of programmers actually creates more problem than it solves. Again, Mythical Man Month.

          • Nikon doesn’t like being shown to lack in their software development chops. So they don’t let others make them look bad. It’s one reason I gave up on Nikon and let m6 NPS membership lapse.

            • XXTwnz

              Wouldn’t want someone else to make Nikon look bad, software wise. They are doing a find job of that all by themselves.

  • Hans98Ko

    There must be a reason why Nikon does not allow other apps to connect to Wi-Fi, it could be security related like unauthorized access or bandwidth hijack.
    The author Gunther Wegner did not address this issue enough to get my support.

    • Hmm…is NASA using SnapBridge on Nikon’s?

      • Hans98Ko

        Nothing to do with NASA using snapbridge or not, it is the overall security of the equipment.
        Many sites that we visited does not and will not allow any devices that has a transceiver in it. The reasons for this is because of potential information leak and tracking purposes.

        • Spy Black

          It has everything to do with NASA because it’s a goverment agency. Your argument is unfounded.

          • Hans98Ko

            Anywhere did I said that NASA is not a government agency?
            Is security of the device unfounded?

          • PhilK

            As an I.T. guy who has done a lot of work in network security, it is indeed a very important point.

            In fact, the state of affairs today for network and wireless security in most consumer products is mind-bogglingly bad. The “Internet of (Insecure) Things” is making this much worse.

            Nikon of course is infamously obtuse about its internal machinations, but if they are actually making an effort to engineer security into their products then I salute them.

            Tho given historical trends, more than likely they are just under-staffed and clueless that this time-lapse oversight is even an issue. 😐

            • Thom Hogan

              Let’s see, the D500’s SSID is D500_serialnumber and the Password is NIKOND500. Yeah, great security there. ;~)

            • j j

              Did it ever occur to you to, you know, change the default password? I should move to your neighborhood and get free wifi, I’ll bet your SSID is Thom_Hogan, password Thom123.

              I swear, if Nikon did open it up to 3rd parties, then everyone would p00p their pants because their photos could be stolen by random 14 year old kids with Raspberry Pis.

              Edit: winkie WINK.

            • Thom Hogan

              Sure it did. Don’t mistake my personal practices with Nikon’s.

            • Robert Garfinkle

              ethernet, the way to go 🙂

            • Jordan Petram

              not unlike every home router made though. Linksys routers all have Linksys as their SSID and admin as their password to start. Anytime you set up something for the network you should be changing those defaults.

            • PhilK

              While that’s a bit silly, that’s not really what network security is about. Anyone with a clue about network security is not going to leave any wireless network passwords at default settings, as the defaults on those things for most major wireless vendors are widely known anyway.

              They are probably actually doing that to make it easier for people to use it right out of the box, something Nikon often is criticized for not doing.

            • Thom Hogan

              The problem is that Nikon doesn’t exactly make it simple in SnapBridge to change those things. Well, they do, but not if you accepted their offer to pair the camera when you first turn it on (e.g. Connect to Smart Device).

              Basically, you have to know to reset your SSID and password before the pairing first occurs. If you do, SnapBridge will use your choices. If you don’t, SnapBridge uses the defaults. You can’t then go in and change the password at that point. You have to completely unpair and start from scratch with the Wi-Fi/Network Settings menu item before using the Connect to Smart Device one.

              There are other gotchas that Nikon doesn’t explain, too. Like the fact that there is a minimal limit for the password (8 characters).

              But, in essence, the SnapBridge cameras all try to hide that SSID/password bit from the user from the git go and make you think that things just happen “automagically”. Thus, I’m pretty sure that we have hundreds of thousands of not secure devices out there.

            • PhilK

              I haven’t had the displeasure of using Snapbridge because I’m still using older generation stuff at this point, but if the design is as you said, making it difficult to change settings and limiting the password (WPA key) to 8 characters, then they are definitely not designing for good security at least in terms of user-settable parameters. 8 characters is not long enough for a strong WPA key.

              As a general point: this kind of design is precisely why I call the “Internet of Things” the “Internet of Insecure Things”. Lots of terribly designed products that get immediately put on the internet and endanger us all. Lots of gargantuan DoS attacks recently have exploited this. (The most famous recent example exploited poorly-secured “security” cameras using crappy default settings)

      • julian_n

        Do you mean NASA or NSA?

    • FountainHead

      Why should he speculate as to Nikon’s “reason”?
      As it stands, he has a huge problem in his use case and he has every right to complain.

      Is there a ‘reason’ why Nikon tries to cripple third-party batteries?
      Who cares.

      • Hans98Ko

        One is a security issue the other is a safety issue, if you don’t care about it, then there is nothing we need to discuss here.

        • Thom Hogan

          See my comments, above. There is NO useful security in Nikon’s implementations to date. Indeed, I could argue that someone writing an independent product to communicate over that hardware could IMPROVE the security greatly.

          • Hans98Ko

            Yes, I did read your above comment before coming to this post and agreed with what you said. Like I said somewhere here that many action cameras can be hacked because they were doing exactly what you mentioned above. The password were printed on the user’s guide and cannot be changed by user.

    • MB

      The reason is that Nikon put WiFi under control of a SnapBridge application, and if anything can be cracked it is propitiatory software … just see what happens with Windows, it became trivial to hack it … and if anything NASA would not depend on their security is Nikon programmers …
      Nikon is pushing this because some old fart in Nikon management decided they need something to attract mobile phone users, but the whole concept as farted from his old and wrinkled ass is unusable to anyone.
      Mobile phone users want the simple way to share a shot with a single click after they took it, and there is no way to do it with SnapBridge … actually Nikon would have done way better if they are using just a Bluetooth for that, the camera needs to have dedicated control for this, must support profiles for image sharing (Facebook, Instagram, etc ), should edit and resize images for that specific profile and be able to post it (a small file size just a couple of KB) directly on the net without meddling on a cell phone …
      And this is breaking existing applications that actual Nikon users
      came to depend on … so nobody is really happy … except the old geezer that released some gas so he fills less bloated now …

      • Hans98Ko

        I have never said that SnapBridge is any good, and does agree that their software developers are one of the worst in the industry because they use Japanese software developers which are actually written in Japanese and then converted to other languages. Because of the normal single byte used in English software and the double byte used in Chinese and Japanese software, it is not exactly a direct conversion thus causing problems. Take Capture NX-D for example, it is supposed to be a very powerful software, but because of the reasoning above it takes a lot of time, and uses a lot of memory and processing power to do it, making the software almost useless for professionals who running against time.

        • nwcs

          That doesn’t really make sense. Almost all development in even moderately recent environments (like in the past 10-15 years) is in Unicode. And converting encoding? It’s trivial and has been for a long time. The issue is that Nikon has never “understood” software – only firmware. They put the least experienced and least knowledgeable people (by all appearances) in charge of the software side of things.

          Capture NX-D is simply a modified version of SilkyPix. The latest version of SilkyPix apparently is pretty good. But just like Fuji, Nikon picks a particular version to work from for the free version.

          It goes against Nikon’s ethos but they would do better picking a vendor, such as Adobe, and work directly with them to ensure the best workflow possible. Or produce an extensive SDK with good documentation (beyond what is already there) and encourage third party development.

          • Wildness

            The only good software Nikon ever released was written for them by Nik Software.

            • nwcs

              And that was only OK. I had NX from when it was first released to the last NX2. It was very clunky and slow for a long time. I liked the results but it was painful at times to use. In a way, Capture 4 worked better for me but that was back when I had a D50.

        • Thom Hogan

          Please don’t attempt to lecture us about things you don’t understand. @nwcs:disqus is correct: we don’t code the way you suggest, and haven’t for decades.

          • Hans98Ko

            I would take it as a discussion rather than lecturing. And I don’t think any of us know exactly how they did it. The problem is word boundary error is very common during conversion be it unicode or not because it involved different characters for the different national languages used.

            • nwcs

              Word boundary error? That still makes no sense. I spent 3 years doing international translation software back in the dark ages of the 1990s when things were more difficult than today and it wasn’t even a problem then. And since about 2001 everything has generally been stored In Unicode, generally in UTF-16. Even if UTF-8 or ANSI it’s trivial to convert.

              Plus factor in that we’re talking about raw bytes being transmitted. Not exactly sure how word boundaries in double byte languages could ever factor in. It’s a stream of byte data being processed via protocols. Relatively straightforward stuff that’s been done for decades. And given files and network streams must adhere to a protocol there’s no chance for encoding errors and if there was it would have been rooted out a LONG time ago as it would show up in the first day of testing with pretty much anything.

            • Hans98Ko

              Well, I don’t think we need to further discuss this because like you already mentioned above that it will still happen be it early in the testing stages or possibly escape into the field. Even Microsoft can’t prevent it, if they could we wouldn’t be needing any periodic updates.
              I too was involved in software development once upon a time, so I do understand what you mean.
              Like I said if you see it, you see it, if you don’t then you don’t. There is no ending to this kind of discussions.

      • Just Me

        Your comment would have been a lot better without the asinine comments regarding people you don’t know, real or theoretical.

        • MB

          You are right, I got carried away a bit too much, I am sorry…

          • Just Me

            No need to apologize to me but I’m always encouraged when someone can address their shortcomings. Now if I could just work on mine… 🙂

      • Thom Hogan

        Well, the D3400 only uses Bluetooth (no Wi-Fi). See my review of the camera and my SnapBridge articles for the (poor) result.

    • TheInfinityPoint

      Then why does Nikon not release firmware for the older cameras that do have Wifi to only work with snapbridge?

      • Hans98Ko

        First I don’t own every Nikon cameras that comes with Wi-Fi and wouldn’t know which camera has which version of SnapBridge.
        Next, questions like your is best directed at Nikon and not me, because I wouldn’t be able to give you an answer.

        • TheInfinityPoint

          Understood. But I the point I was trying to make earlier was that, if Nikon went Snapbridge only wifi on the latest 3 cameras because of security concerns, quote you: “…it could be security related like unauthorized access or bandwidth hijack,” then why doesn’t Nikon update the older cameras (ie D750) to be snapbridge only? In other words I don’t think it’s likely that security is the reason the current cameras are snapbridge only. If it was, they would be issuing firmware updates for the D750 (and other older cameras with wifi). My guess is, for the current cameras (D500, etc), they want to force as many people to use their own (currently crappy, from what I hear) wireless software implementation: snapbridge.

          • PhilK

            It’s quite possible/likely that the basic interfaces required by Snapbridge to interface with the camera are not present in either the firmware or hardware of pre-Snapbridge cameras.

            Same sort of reason your old iPhone 4 won’t connect to a Lightning cable or run iOS 10. 😉

          • Thom Hogan

            I’ll repeat: Nikon did not go to SnapBridge because of security concerns. There is no security in either the WMU or SnapBridge implementations as far as I’m concerned. Best case is that you can implement a WPA2 password that isn’t NIKONCAMERA by overriding the default password.

            The reason Nikon implemented SnapBridge was to take out “user configuration.” In theory, it’s supposed to configure once automatically and stay configured. You only have to compare Apple’s AirPod implementation to Nikon’s SnapBridge to see examples of how it should be done versus how it shouldn’t be done. Guess which one is Apple and which is Nikon? ;~)

            • TheInfinityPoint

              Thanks Thom for confirming my hunch. I really liked the WMU implementation on the D750 overall. It sounds like with the recent cameras Nikon is dumbing down all of their user interfaces to the point where advanced users can’t get the functionality they want. Honestly this sounds a bit like Windows 10 which I specifically did not upgrade to for the same reason lol.

        • The correct answer is Nikon I’d crap at software. They should keep Wi-Fi open. No one is going to steal photos. People have better things to do.

      • Thom Hogan

        SnapBridge uses Bluetooth LT4.x to establish and hold communication.

        But more to the point, why did Nikon break the old WMU-style Wi-Fi in the SnapBridge cameras? The D7200 Wi-Fi works better than the D500 Wi-Fi using the same part, but different software.

        • Andreas Vesper

          There’s a clear reason why the D7200 WiFi works better than the D500 Wifi that obviously uses the same parts: The D500 needs a Bluetooth connection that keeps its Wifi up and simultanuously interfereses with WiFi as both are using 2.4 Ghz and Bluetooth hops through the band by switching its frequency steadily. Any Bluetooth connection on both sides (camera or both) has a negative impact on WiFi transmission, something that I have shown here, as well:

    • nwcs

      Extremely unlikely it has anything to do with security. If it did, Nikon would issue updates to set a password by default for all wifi in all their cameras past and present. Even so, it’s pure speculation that this has anything to do with security. Given the low wifi standard used, the requirement that someone turn it on, the fact it’s a single access point and not an extender, I find it implausible that security would be the primary (or even in the top 10) concern for SnapBridge’s creation.

      The more plausible reason for SnapBridge is that Nikon is trying to brand their access and didn’t even consider, research, or query to see if anyone was using their existing interfaces differently than what they originally specified at one time.

    • Thom Hogan

      You realize, of course, that Nikon has had a history of either completely unprotected communication or passwords that are easily guessed or hard coded? ;~)

      So, no, I would guess that security and privacy aren’t the reason.

      • That is true – I remember contacting them few years ago about missing passwords on their website.

      • Hans98Ko

        Who knows, maybe they are learning from their past mistakes.

    • Robert Garfinkle

      there is no security issues w / Ethernet – all nikons should have a usb3 / ethernet, or a straight ethernet interface by now

  • sickheadache

    Crapbridge..the Mothra of Apps.

    • Captain Megaton

      I checked. This is no lie.

      Snapbridge app logo is pretty cool though…

      • CERO

        I wonder if Nikon spent more money paying decent graphic designers that they ran out of money to make the app work properly lol.

  • speedy

    Security blabla. You can make the connection safe. The guy is asking for a control to turn it on. They could of course allow it to be turned off also.Sounds pretty basic to me.

    • Thom Hogan

      I have a problem with the way in which he asked and the lack of clarity in what he asked for.

      Simply put: fully open the API and document the hardware, support it, and let developers extend the ecosystem. That’s what we want.

  • aizkiub

    Security by obscurity? that doesn´t work, and doesn´t make any sense.. if it did, then Canon would be in the same situation and its software is far better. Snapbridge and it`s predecessor are pure crap. They just don´t do it right.

  • A-Sign

    If you don’t get independent Wi-Fi access without SnapBridge this will destroy the entire workflow of some really useful software to create better Timelapse and Macro photography. This doesn’t make any sense for us customers. Implement a Wi-Fi switch to turn Wi-Fi on these cameras on without forcing us to use SnapBridge. Nikon, should care for customers.

  • Captain Megaton

    Snapbridge does not work because Snapbridge *cannot* work. At some point the infrastructure will be there and it will be standard and transparent feature of all cameras. Today it is a right royal kludge and Nikon should have never have brought it to market.

    Oh it does function, don’t get me wrong, but it is not *liked* by consumers because it is complicated, unreliable, and doesn’t do what they expect. And if customers hate it, it is not a selling feature for Nikon, the inverse in fact. And meanwhile it upsets pros like Gunther here because they are locked out of advanced features or low level access.

    Snapbridge is a classic example of rushing to a good idea too early.

    • James Michael

      It seems to me that Nikon was late to the wifi party, and I don’t think they rushed at all. Most likely they just didn’t hire anybody that knew what they were doing.

      • Captain Megaton

        There was no wifi party. Just a small huddle over coffee to talk shop about the merits of wireless tethering.

        Snapbridge is a stab at a future reality where “there is no SD card”: all the photos we take appear in our camera roll / cloud storage just like the smartphone’s built in camera. For consumer cameras, this has to happen. Cards, USB cables, readers, importing files into a PC, uploading them to the cloud – you cannot continue to sell a consumer camera requiring this kind of workflow. Not viable, not competitive, not profitable.

    • “Oh it does function…”

      …ehhh, only barely, if at all. It has only been working consistently on Nougat for a couple months. Really wasn’t usable before that. Would only sometimes connect, and then maybe not stably. It’s only marginally better than WMU, and that was an unmitigated catastrophe.

      • Thom Hogan

        Actually WMU on the D7200 is far more stable in iOS than SnapBridge on any Nikon DSLR. Can’t speak for Android, but Android is a mess because of all the versions you have to test and support against.

        • Correction: NIKON is a mess. Canon and Panasonic made it work. (maybe others too, but that’s all I’ve had experience with.)

          Plenty of folks develop software for Android that works. Folks with smaller budgets and staffs. Nikon needs to make this work and is failing at it. That’s not on Google or any phone manufacturer. Android phones/tablets are a non-trivial portion of the market. They can’t afford to stiff us.

          The latest versions of Snapbridge got things rolling for me finally. But considering when the D500 shipped…they shipped a broken product. It would have been better to promise, and not ship until it worked, IMO.

    • PhilK

      Nikon is late to most of these external interfacing/consumer-product innovations, this has been the case for years.

      So no, it is not an example of “rushing to a good idea too early”.

      It is more like “Being late to the party, then doing it badly once you finally get in”.

  • teagueAMX

    Nikon seems to have a real weakness when it comes to outside the box, innovative solutions – not very aggressive at all. Time and time again, you get the feeling Nikon is run by a bunch of 1-trick pony old guys, squeezing every bit of tech like they’re taking it to their graves. And, if their not to careful they will be taking this sh*t to their graves because no one else will want it.

    • decentrist

      Nikon is best at imaging, that’s why you are here. If you are going to jump brands over an app, at least you have figured out your priorities. I find it interesting you are considering a model upgrade, and then, in 12 months, the next upgrade will last you longer than FX digital has been around. Tech change is accelerating, so basing your decision on apps for any camera purchase long term is a bet against yourself.

      • PhilK

        He may or may not “jump brands over an app”, but LOTS of people will consider it, or never consider Nikon in the first place if Nikon doesn’t get off their wrinkled old butts and figure out what is going on in the world outside of the Nikon Cave in Sendai, and embrace it before it’s already obsolete and replaced by some even newer tech.

        • Thom Hogan

          This has been my point now for nine years. At the high end enthusiast/pro market, we suffer for any small improvement in image quality. For the majority of what used to be the camera market—and now is mostly smartphone users—it’s all about workflow in sharing images.

      • teagueAMX

        Oh, how I love the fresh smell of scorn 1st thing in the morning. Yeah! LOL It’s not just this app. I primarily photograph landscape, cityscapes, some long exposure night photography, etc. No video. So my needs are really pretty simple. I’ve even considered digital MF. But right now, I can’t really see a need beyond 45-50 MP. And yes, things change. But here’s the thing: People know that buying a camera body is making a decision about an entire system. This app’s issues have been discussed for a while now, which disturbs me on two levels: 1) The person who wrote the letter is obviously a pro, using a pro body, who also makes highly specialized software for himself and others like him, but can’t exploit a camera’s advertized feature his software is designed to use. 2) This is a really simple problem to fix – all it takes is a desire to fix it and the right talent. If you don’t have the in-house talent, then get it, but they haven’t. That says we’re dealing with a structural problem within the corporate body, which based on this and other issues is beginning to smell like a rotting corpse. The D850’s rumored specs are darn good, but it lacks a few features which totally knock it out of the park. But the old sh*ts running the operation decided to hold onto that tech for the next iteration. BTW, Nikon’s lead won’t last much longer.

        You’re correct about Nikon’s image superiority, but that may not last much longer. Compare the tests below. Song is making radical advances into Nikon’s territory. Sony has announced it is reserving certain sensor chip for its own propriety needs.

  • BukkakeComet

    I just don’t imagine the D850’s Snapbridge being a completely new program or imagine them rolling out this great New Snapbridge and it working with previous models and being stellar at the same time.

  • Ashok Vashisht

    They should address the specific need, create a benchmark and then (maybe) buy the best app from a 3rd party which exceeds the benchmark.

    • Thom Hogan

      Given their multiple attempts at doing it themselves, I would say that they don’t know how to benchmark, or they don’t know to fire the people that can’t hit a benchmark.

  • Ashok Vashisht

    If they do stick with Snapbridge it should be a world class product and solution.

  • hussey

    This kind of thing might be just what let’s a new company take over this market! Like apple, who knows how to build user interfaces that work well!

  • PhilK

    Because Snapbridge already has a really lousy reputation, what they should probably do, if they were smart, is kill off that branding entirely, and come out with a new interface app that:

    A) actually works,

    B) does useful things,

    C) doesn’t make new model cameras more inflexible than older models (eg for time-lapse use), and

    D) has an entirely new name.

    • Thom Hogan

      Unfortunately true. WMU was a bust. SnapBridge was a bust. Maybe they can pull a Windows and make version 3.0 work, but it will need a new name. Maybe Nikon Vista? ;~)

      • blackTIE

        Maybe name a highly improved version FastBridge (or something like that): ‘fast’ sounds better than ‘snappy’, while retaining the use of the ‘bridge’ part gives it a something familiar…

    • Hans98Ko

      Totally agree that changing the software name is a better way to go due to the different failed versions already out.

      • A. F.O.

        I’m so glad my D7200 doesn’t have that crap/soft.

  • Matt

    totally support this open letter!!

  • decisivemoment

    This is one of Nikon’s two biggest weaknesses, refusal to support open computing standards. The other is horrible customer service. Try getting Nikon USA to repair a zoom lens properly. I dare you.

    Two simple things. One that any decent CS person could fairly easily implement. The other that any properly equipped third-party repair shop in the country can manage. Both that would gain huge credit from customers who may well have also suffered similar experiences with Canon and Sony. It’s not rocket science, Nikon. And with even pros using iPhones and GoPros for serious work at this point, it’s also not something you can put off any longer.

    • Wildness

      Every repair Nikon has performed on my equipment has been without issue and completed in a timely manner.

  • Robert Garfinkle

    All Pun Intended – Nikon has never focused their attention to wifi. It’s been a half baked feature through out the years / camera iterations.

    I mean, the D4, and Ethernet was cool, not having any experience with it, assume it was for capture / transfer at high speed production. But, wifi always fell short.

    Personally, I’d like to see a hard-core emphasis on wifi and / or usb3 to Ethernet capability for all Nikon cameras which have any viable videography features, or regular photography for that matter

  • I’ll post my original comment here:

    I agree with Gunther’s main key point, however there are two additional HUGE items (and one smaller one) that must also be mentioned which are currently stoping Nikon from being a true timelapse powerhouse.

    The first is Nikon’s HORRIBLE aperture flicker due to mechanical stop-down inconsistencies. I’ve ruined many a timelapse by trying to shoot at f/16 or f/11 on a lens that has a slightly sticky aperture. This has happened on multiple bodies, on both Nikon brand lenses and third-party lenses.

    The solution? Nikon (and third parties, if possible) must deliver more “E” aperture lenses ASAP, if they want to tout the D850 as an ultimate timelapse machine.

    Second, I’ll list the minor niggle I have: Nikon also needs to solve this weird interval timing problem: You basically must guess which interval will work correctly with which shutter speed. For example, if you set a 30 sec shutter speed and a 31 sec interval, you’ll skip every other shot. Which obviously makes no sense at all, since all Nikon camera can shoot much faster than 1 FPS.

    In fact if I were designing the built-in interval timer, you’d be able to set the interval to be *exactly* the same as any shutter speed longer than 1 second, and then just have the camera automatically compensate by flubbing the exposure to be a tiny fraction faster, (an indiscernible amount in any shutter speed longer than 1 sec) …and just fire away back-to-back exposures. This would allow for much easier timelapse calculations at 30 sec intervals, and it would also allow for much smoother star trail timelapse creation.

    Third, the second huge issue Nikon must face: Metering in the dark. True, many folks just do this manually using the “Holy Grail Method” that Gunther so impressively brainstormed. However, in my opinion there’s a better way: Metering that actually works even with nothing but starlight, or at least faint moonlight.

    Believe it or not, Sony’s metering actually works amazingly well at day-to-night transitions in aperture priority mode, or P mode even. Zero “holy grail” required. Unlike Nikons, which fail miserably (they expose to pitch-black) as soon as the landscape reaches -3EV ambient brightness metering.

    Unfortunately though, Sony’s auto-ISO is almost worthless on the cameras I’ve tried, because it forces a minimum 1/60 sec shutter speed and therefore ramping to ISO 6400 or whatever WAY too prematurely. They might be fixing this in newer cameras, though.

    Nikon’s auto-ISO is already quite intelligent, by comaprison, since you can designate a shutter speed “floor” such as 15 sec or 30 sec. Pair this with a 33 sec interval and set your max ISO to 6400, and you’re golden.

    The solution: I’d love to see Nikon create a shutter-up, on-sensor metering that is on par with Sony’s. This isn’t necessarily a feature that is only possible on mirrorless, all you need is to have a mirror-up, shutter-open mode on a DSLR that allows the sensor to be fully exposed for metering, with (or without?) live view active. If necessary, you can *end* each exposure by closing the shutter briefly, but that shouldn’t affect the metering.

    The first camera company to offer such a full compliment of timelapse-friendly features will definitely get my business.

    • Wildness

      Some of the worst flicker I’ve encountered actually came from one of their E lenses. As for intervals, the built in intervalometer needs to be set with a two second gap between exposures… I’ve never been able to get a one second gap to work without an external controller. What I’d really like sometimes is the ability to shoot a frame every 1/4 of a second.

      • 1/4 sec intervals? That’s exactly why the Df failed to be usable on this project here:–HFUs

        If you want to shoot such a timelapse, you’re outta luck on Nikon because while in theory you *could* just set the Cl (continuous low) shooting mode to be whatever FPS you want, and then jam the shutter with a basic cable release, …except all Nikons have a 100-frame cap on continuous shutter firing. FAIL.

        • Wildness

          Truthfully, I wouldn’t expect it until they have a mirrorless camera that can go electronic shutter better. My Sony video camera can do it, but only in 1080p – it won’t do it in 4K.

          • What does 1080p vs 4K have to do with shooting timelapse (raw) frames at fast frame rates?

  • Dr.S

    I think the camera manufacturers should make cameras and software companies should make software!

  • Ermenegildo Conte

    Nikon do something and respect the fact that I’m a professional and I intend to use my camera with other professional tool you didn’t develop.

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