28 Jun 2009

Remote shutter for Nikon 4500

Remote shutter release is an important capability in photography especially while taking high-speed product shoots or low light / long-shutter exposures. The basic aim is to ensure that the camera remains vibration-free and absolutely stable during the shutter release operation.

One way of accomplishing this is to place the camera on a tripod or on some other stable support and achieve the shutter press capability by using long cord of wire called as a remote release cable. Remote release cables can be mechanical or electrical. Mechanical ones are perfect for older cameras that donot have an electrical shutter release slot. The performance of these are debatable. Electrical ones are better suited as they are completely vibration free. Shown on the left here is a Ricoh CA-1 Remote Release Cable.

One of the grudges I have against my current camera, the otherwise versatile Nikon 4500 is the snail-speed shutter speed. You see a child smiling, and by the time you have changed the aperture and just clicked that shutter button, the child has stopped smiling and is now wondering what the heck are you upto. The same expression is then captured by the sensor. This agonising problem is called shutter-lag. Technically speaking its a delay between the press of the shutter button and the time the actual shot is taken. The momentary but important time when nature flies by, smiles change by and a whole scene changes into something different from what you had observed.

SLR cameras have negligible to virtually no shutter lag. The problem mostly plagues digital compact cameras as they have to use the same sensor for focussing and metering as well as capturing the final image.

Shutter lag was the primary reason I was trying to find a cheap remote shutter release cable for the Nikon 4500. Thats when I chanced upon some forums on photography where a list of software was mentioned that could actually use the existing Nikon 4500 USB cable to send some commands and download card images and so on. People had actually spent time reversing the protocol used by Fujitsu chipset compliant firmware. Primary amongst these include

http://photopc.sourceforge.net/ - Eugene Crosser's application for managing digital camera photos.

http://www.ruwebit.net/article/81 - Snappixx - Nikon Coolpix series control via serial cable. Also available for the PocketPC platform.

http://vyskocil.free.fr/coolcom/ - Coolpix remote control application for Palm devices. Again based on the Sierra protocol.

But the best amongst these that I found was Krinnicam, a remote control software for Nikon Coolpix using the USB protocol. The others mostly use the serial protocol hence requiring a serial cable. However Krinnicam works well with existing usb cable supplied with the Nikon 4500. Krinnicam doesn't seem to be actively developed anymore. However the past versions work well with the Nikon 4500.

Some of the features supported by v2.02 include
  • Works with the standard UC-E1 (USB) cable or the optional SC-EW3 (serial) cable.
  • Supports automatic image downloading through USB.
  • Supports time-lapse photography.
  • Supports control of most aspects like focus, flash, white-balance and metering.

I tried out Krinnicam on my laptop and it works like a charm. Great tool for indoor and product photographers still using the versatile little Nikon 4500.


  1. Don't you think it is the right time to switch from your versatile Nikon 4500 to an D-SLR?

  2. Well thats something i've been contemplating for long. But yeah - a few more months of waiting won't hurt. I suppose you have picked up one ? You were a gizmo wizard ;-).