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05-13-2014, 06:32 AM   #1
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Is there a in-camera timer for bulb exposure?

Hi, I'm wondering if there is any camera which has such a function. I think it would be very useful if the camera lcd screen displays a running timer instead of just going blank during bulb exposure. What do you think?

05-13-2014, 06:45 AM   #2
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An illuminated display during exposure could be tough because the glow would light up a surrounding dark area. You may want a totally dark area to do light painting, etc. However, it could be nice to have as feature to enable/disable for some specialized applications.
05-13-2014, 09:43 AM   #3
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That might be useful, though with bulb, the traditional solution (going back to the dawn of time) has been to use an external timer such as the sweep second hand on a wrist-watch. I have an external wired remote that provides the same functionality.


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05-13-2014, 10:17 AM   #4
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I think I would prefer to be able to set the shutter speed for much longer than 30 sec in bulb mode. FI 1 - 240 min (with manual override)
But it would not hurt if the camera could also display the count down on the top display, or even better, display the count down on your smartphone when exposure start.

05-13-2014, 10:30 AM   #5
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I use a $10 digital wristwatch with stopwatch function. I honestly think the point of light interfering with your image could be an issue if it were on camera. many people actually go to the effort to cover the eyepiece for star shooting, the last thing they'd want is the camera adding more light.

plus I would think it would deplete the battery quicker if the display were illuminated. if it wasn't, you definitely DON'T want to be touching the camera during bulb mode to check a timer.

finally, in some circumstances I've actually walked a good distance away from the camera, to get out of the wind/be near heat/check on companion doing her own shooting/etc. having an off camera timer makes it easier.
05-13-2014, 11:08 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fogel70 Quote
I think I would prefer to be able to set the shutter speed for much longer than 30 sec in bulb mode. FI 1 - 240 min (with manual override)
But it would not hurt if the camera could also display the count down on the top display, or even better, display the count down on your smartphone when exposure start.

Wow! 240 mins! That's 4 hours!

I thought the sensor gets warm when it is used for 10's of minutes.
05-13-2014, 11:24 AM   #7
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What you want is an extended shutter time in MANUAL mode. By definition, BULB is an arbitrary-time mode. The name is a holdover from the film era where you squeezed an air "bulb" cable release to release the shutter, and it closed when you let go of the bulb. Adding a timer to that mode would be confusing it with regular manual mode.
05-13-2014, 06:05 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fogel70 Quote
I think I would prefer to be able to set the shutter speed for much longer than 30 sec in bulb mode.
You can "set" it for however long as you please. It will stay open until released. That is where the wired remote comes in handy.


Steve

05-13-2014, 09:21 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
You can "set" it for however long as you please. It will stay open until released. That is where the wired remote comes in handy.


Steve
Sure, I have wired remote. But I think it's a stupid limitation to have 30s as longest shutter speed when there is a computer in the camera that easily could handle much longer shutter speeds. It have happened that I get a important phone call or something during a bulb exposure shot so I miss stopping the exposure in time.
I just would prefer not always having to babysit the camera during these shots.

And if using noise reduction you have to wait twice before next shot.
05-14-2014, 02:15 AM   #10
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Hi guys, what I actually meant is that it would be cool if the lcd screen would display how much time has elapsed while the camera is exposing on bulb mode. The camera is recording the elapsing time anyway (for the exif). It just doesn't display it live. The display doesn't have to be bright and colorful. Just a small white text display on a blank lcd would suffice and would do little harm.

Maybe I'm not field trained enough. My wristwatch does not have a chronograph and the only stopwatch I have is the one in my smartphone. You can imagine how fiddly things can get. So the idea of a timer in the camera came around

Yeah, a function like this would be definitely in my wish list. But it must come with an option to switch it off

Last edited by weijen; 05-14-2014 at 02:22 AM.
05-14-2014, 04:33 AM   #11
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With a wired remote that supports a half-pressed shutter button, you could have the elapsed time pop up in the LCD on the half press during the exposure. Seems like a user friendly idea. It might be awkward to do with an IR remote that only supports one button, but a wired solution would still be a nice addition.

I've never understood the 30 second limit in other modes. If it's to protect users from themselves, they could make an 'enable long exposures' as a menu option. With built in interval mode, you can always simulate a longer exposure with stacking, but that's not always ideal.
05-15-2014, 06:18 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fogel70 Quote
It have happened that I get a important phone call or something during a bulb exposure shot so I miss stopping the exposure in time.
Obviously a case of misplaced priorities.

Better to buy a camera that has the "smart" feature that you need then keep the "dumb" camera that you have. There must be a brand/model out there somewhere that has a long exposure timer, never mind that a composite image with shorter exposures at interval will yield better results. My K-3 supports that feature. Even better would be a camera that lets you set an arbitrarily long exposure and does the composite automatically...not exactly the thinking man's solution, but who said thinking is a good thing?


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05-15-2014, 10:16 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Obviously a case of misplaced priorities.
I believe I'm better at prioritizing my life than you are.

QuoteQuote:
Better to buy a camera that has the "smart" feature that you need then keep the "dumb" camera that you have. There must be a brand/model out there somewhere that has a long exposure timer, never mind that a composite image with shorter exposures at interval will yield better results. My K-3 supports that feature.
If there was any brand of K-mount camera with longer exposure times than 30s I would definitely check that up. I have interval shooting on my camera, and that is another work around this issue, but it's a bit of a hassle to set up. If I have calculated that I need a 15 min exposure I just would prefer that I choose that on the camera and be done. Longer exposure times would also be useful to have in interval mode, and to be able to bracket longer exposure would be nice too.

QuoteQuote:
Even better would be a camera that lets you set an arbitrarily long exposure and does the composite automatically...not exactly the thinking man's solution, but who said thinking is a good thing?
I'm not sure you could get a RAW image out of this.
05-16-2014, 09:51 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fogel70 Quote
I believe I'm better at prioritizing my life than you are.
Quite possibly, but then don't complain when your priorities interrupt your photography. Sorry for the curt words, but I am sort of old school and have spent my share of time using mechanical cable releases for timed exposures using bulb. You stick by the camera or risk losing the shot.

Quite simply, the basis for your complaint about your "stupid" camera is that it does not support a particular use case (exposures of arbitrary length) that you may desire. You have multiple work-arounds, none of which is a particular burden or particularly expensive. It is true that Pentax could have built the feature into your camera, but they didn't. My "stupid" K10D does not even have an intervalometer or the ability to do long exposures without holding my finger on the shutter release. Solution?...A $30 USD wired remote. I have had my K-3 for several weeks now and plan on using my cheap remote to do something that I don't think any camera maker supports...nested interval shooting using the intervalometers on both the camera and the remote. Should Ricoh/Pentax have built that feature into the camera? Nah! I don't think so!


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 05-16-2014 at 10:01 AM.
05-16-2014, 06:51 PM   #15
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I think a cheap wireless remote would be a solution here also. Push the button once the shutter opens. Come back any time and close the shutter by pushing it again.
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