Accessories

Nikon ML-L3 Wireless Remote Control

Remote shutter release method will come handy when you want to capture a fireworks, do night photography or any other kind of long exposure shooting where the movement of the camera will be the reason to get blurred image. If you want to trigger the camera shutter remotely, you have two options; one is to use a wired remote shutter release cord and the other one is to use a wireless remote control device. Few months ago, I wrote a blog about Nikon MC-DC2 wired remote shutter release cord and today I want to write about my experience with the wireless remote control device, Nikon ML-L3, to remotely control the shutter release. There are a lot of rumors and speculations about using the wireless remote control but I will express my opinion based on my own experience about the accessory and get your feedback as well.

Nikon ML-L3 Wireless Remote Control

Nikon ML-L3 Wireless Remote Control

In the past few weeks, I read some reviews about the ML-L3 where reviewers mentioned that it has to have a proper line of sight with the camera IR sensor to trigger the camera shutter remotely otherwise the device won’t work. If you are buying it without knowing this limitation of the IR technology, you might be disappointed with your decision. I think it is a limitation of using any system that works in a Infrared technology that the line of sight is a must for it to work. If the remote is completely out of sight with the camera, it might not work at all but in my experience, I have worked it out by trying from different angle pointing towards the camera. And the other feature that many people are concerned about is it's Autofocus feature. There is no doubt that this remote is able to autofocus the lens before triggering the shutter but it will not re-focus if the shutter release button has already been pressed halfway down to focus the subject. To focus using a wireless remote control, it would be better to compose your shot but do not press the camera's shutter release button half way down to focus it but instead, use the wireless remote control unit.

When you purchase the device, it might not come with the instruction to properly setup and connect the device with the camera. Here is a brief instruction on how to sync your wireless remote control with your DSLR camera.

How to use ML-L3 Wireless Remote Control?

Nikon D90 Top View

Nikon D90 Top View

To setup a wireless remote shutter with the camera, most of the Nikon DSLRs come with the menu option. If you go to the Custom Settings Menu (CSM) with the pencil icon, you will see the Release mode. This is where you can specify which method you want to use to release the shutter button. With the Nikon D90, its even easier than that. D90 and many other new DSLRs come with the release mode button just to the right side of the LCD panel. This button has a set timer icon and a wireless remote icon nearby. While pressing that button, you have to rotate the main command dial to change your release mode option. Nikon D90 gives you four different options when you rotate the command dial. You can choose for a single shot, continuous shooting, shoot in a timer mode or wireless remote mode. Once you change your release mode option to the wireless remote (it will display a wireless remote icon on the LCD), you are ready to use the wireless remote control to trigger the shutter remotely.

Nikon ML-L3 Wireless Remote Control supports Nikon P7000, D3000, D40, D40x, D50, D5000, D60, D70, D7000, D70s, D80 & D90 Digital SLR Cameras.

MB-D80 Multi-Power Battery Pack

If you are shooting all day events using Nikon D90 or D80, MB-D80 might be your best friend. MB-D80 battery pack simulates many buttons of your Nikon D90 and D80 camera, gives you an extended battery life and provides easy, comfort and stable holding of your camera in different orientations. Specially, if you shoot portrait photographs most of the time, MB-D80 Battery Grip can make your life much easier. It will give you nice grip and provides stability for a long day shooting. MB-D80 runs on either one or two EN-EL3e batteries or six AA-size batteries. Nikon has listed AA-size alkaline, Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), lithium and nickel-manganese as a compatible batteries for MB-D80. However, it is not compatible with non-Nikon EN-EL3e batteries.

MB-D80-with-battery.jpg

The MB-D80 has a vertical shutter release button, main command dial (rear dial) and sub-command dial (front dial) which matches to the camera and it functions similar to the camera buttons as well. It also includes an AF-E lock button for an Autofocus exposure lock. In addition, you can also lock the shutter release button to prevent an accidental press.

Nikon D90 or D80 itself has a nice grip around the camera body but MB-D80 adds an extra grip for your camera. It is made out of very high quality materials from the Nikon products and feels solid and sturdy with the camera.

Even if there are lots of features and advantages of using it, some people are complaining about the softness of the shutter release button on MB-D80 grip. If you are used to with the camera shutter button, you may feel shutter release button on MB-D80 is little softer than real camera button and can have a chance of pressing it all the way down when you are just trying to press only halfway down for an Autofocus. But, I am sure you will be used to with it once you start using it more and more.

Nikon D90 with MB-D80 Multi-Power Battery Pack

Nikon D90 with MB-D80 Multi-Power Battery Pack

Some people think it looks bulky on their camera and don't want to use it. But personally, I think it adds great benefits to the camera by giving an extra battery life and an emergency backup for a long day shooting until the next recharge.

Using The Lens Hood

It's not necessary to use lens hood all the time but there are some benefits of using it. Lets discuss what are those benefits and you can decide whether you want to use it or not.

Benefits of using the lens hood

First thing is it helps to remove stray lights from different sources. It prevents the light from hitting the front elements of the lens, which will reduce the contrast and create flare caused by the excess light, from the sides. Generally, pictures taken using the lens hood are clearer with rich colors, balanced contrast and the deeper saturation.

Lens Hood

Lens Hood

Second purpose of using the lens hood is to protect your lens. We spend few hundreds to thousands of dollars buying lenses and may be it is a good idea to protect it against any accidental physical damage or scratch on the front elements of the lens. Lots of professional photographers and personally, I also use the lens hood most of the time to protect my lenses. Good quality lens hoods are made out of strong and good quality plastic which can prevent your lens from accidental scratch or damage. And the good thing is, it doesn't cost much if it doesn't already come with your lens. You can buy the lens hood from $10 to $100 depending upon the quality and the average price is around $30. So why not spend that much money to protect your several hundreds or thousand of dollars worth lenses, right?

When not to use the lens hood?

This is my personal experience and may not be an issue with other photographers but I found an extra shadow in the photographs when I use the lens hood in the dark area and shooting with the built-in flash. I think it's probably because of the lens I was using (18-200mm) and since the height of the built-in flash is not much, the hood might have blocked the part of the flash and caused a strange shadow on my photographs. If you are using a wide angle lenses or short prime lenses, you might be able to use it without any such problem.

Some photographers do not like to use the lens hood when they are using the polarizing filter. But I use an UV filter and the lens hood all the time together and I have had no issues shooting with it in a bright day light condition.

Nikon MC-DC2 Wired Remote Shutter Release Cord

Nikon MC-DC2 wired remote shutter release cord is primarily made for Nikon D90 and D5000 DSLR camera. MC-DC2 simulates the work of the shutter release button for the DSLR. When you press the shutter release button of your MC-DC2 halfway down, it will focus your subject (provided that your camera is in Autofocus mode) like it does when you press the shutter release button on the camera. It also has a lock feature to hold it down for a long exposure shooting while using the BULB mode. You will have more control over your camera using this cord vs Nikon ML-L3 Wireless Remote Control. MC-DC2 is 41" long and enough for you to move around your camera freely. When you want to shoot long exposure photographs like fireworks shooting or night scene, this cable works best to avoid any camera shake. MC-DC2 also works best when you want to shoot a macro. You can setup your camera on the tripod, check your cable connection and enjoy remote shooting. This unit is small, lightweight, and fits in your camera bag with ease. If you are looking for something to avoid camera shake while shooting, MC-DC2 can be your best friend.

How to use the remote shutter release cord?

Nikon MC-DC2

Nikon MC-DC2

Using MC-DC2 wired remote shutter release cord is really simple. When you want to use the shutter release cord, you just have to turn your camera off (if your camera is on) and then plug-in the cable to your camera port (single port on the left side on Nikon D90). Next step would be to turn on your camera and the shutter release cable is ready to use. You don't have to change or adjust any settings on your camera to make this cable work. As soon as you plug the cable in, it starts working as a remote shutter release button.

I bought this cord for Nikon D90 couple of months ago to shoot fireworks. I paid around $35 and it does exactly what it says it does. I am very happy with the purchase.