D800 Remote trigger

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mawyatt
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D800 Remote trigger

Post by mawyatt »

I have been having problems with the D800 getting out of sequence on long sessions and causing thin out of focus "ribbons" across the image. On another site a suggestion by oldtigger was made that the camera might be busy causing this.

I ran an experiment to try and see if the file type had anything to do with the camera getting out of sequence over the long shooting session of 500 shots over a 2.25mm span (4.5 micron step).

I used the same StackShot controller setting for all. Dual trigger, first trigger raises mirror (MUP), wait 2 seconds then second trigger to raise shutter curtain, exposure is 1/2.5 second, wait 2 seconds then move and repeat sequence. Trigger pulses were set at 0.3 seconds width.

First I ran JPEG files only, then RAW, then TIFF from D800E. The RAW files were converted to TIFF in Lightroom before stacking. All were stacked with Zerene Stacker.

The RAW converted to TIFF had no out of focus ribbons, the JPEG had a couple and the direct from camera TIFF had many.

So it seems the D800E gets confused more while directly suppling TIFF files than RAW, with JPEG in the middle.

This leads me to believe you are correct about the camera being busy when the trigger comes along. This could be the case where the camera simply rejects the trigger command, gets out of the image capture sequence of trigger (MUP), wait, trigger (expose), wait, move. If the camera rejects the trigger again it gets back into the proper sequence.

I would assume the camera does the least processing on the RAW files and the most on the JPEG & TIFF, but since the JPEG is the normal image mode the processing engine is honed for the best performance on JPEG.

I know this isn't a well controlled experiment, but does lean towards believing the camera is "busy" doing something when the trigger comes along and simply ignores it.

Anyone else experience this kind of situation?

Happy Holidays,

Mike

ChrisR
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Post by ChrisR »

How annoying. :evil:
Nikon would possibly deny that it could ever happen, but it might be worth asking Cognisys? If it's a camera problem, they'd be likely to have heard of it.

If it were me I'd assume I'd blame everything else first. The correlation with file type is compelling, but could you put a 'scope on the shutter trigger connection just to be ++ sure it's getting a clean signal?

mawyatt
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Post by mawyatt »

Chris,

Very annoying indeed!! I have sent a note to Cognisys, but with the holidays haven't received a reply to date.

I have a D800 and D800E and they both do this, so it's not unique to my camera.

StackShot has a LED that indicates when a trigger command is sent, I have seen this light and the camera not respond with mirror up. I think it's safe to assume the camera missed or ignored the trigger command. I have also noticed than the StackShot and camera will get back into sequence after being out of sync, which I believe is simply another missed/ignored trigger command.

Don't have a scope at home now....but I think the StackShot controller LED is a good indicator that the command is being sent. Can't say it's a "clean signal" but this would not be file type dependent I would think. I do believe I have "seen" the effects of this in the past while using RAW & JPEG, but can't remember. I may try a run with RAW & JPEG later to see. These take awhile at 500 runs, but don't want to change anything other than the file type to try and keep a stable experiment baseline.

This may be happening to others, but they might not notice on the particular subjects they are using. With the chips I am shooting it does show up, but only a few microns of very subtle OOF ribbons. I can live with this, but it is very annoying!! I was delighted that I could use TIFF right out of the camera without having to wait for LR to create 500 36Mp TIFF files (this takes awhile), but looks as though I was premature!!

Sir Edsel Murphy is always around looking for opportunities to mess everything up!!

Cheers,

Mike

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Post by ChrisR »

This is wired trigger I assume, not IR?

Suggestion you've probably thought of - reduce the times, one at a time, to see if/where things get noticeably worse.?

Guido
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Post by Guido »

Could it be the sensor heating up?

mawyatt
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Post by mawyatt »

ChrisR wrote:This is wired trigger I assume, not IR?

Suggestion you've probably thought of - reduce the times, one at a time, to see if/where things get noticeably worse.?
Yes directly wired to StackShot. Already tried the reverse to extend times to see if problem went away, did not see any correlation even at over 3 seconds delay between triggers. Good idea though to reduce times and watch for misses.

Thanks,

mawyatt
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Post by mawyatt »

Guido wrote:Could it be the sensor heating up?
Good idea but I don't think sensor heating is the problem, the OOF ribbons seem to appear random in stack location and then after the first occurs then more may or may not appear. I have about 5 seconds minimum between exposures, sometimes 10 seconds and this still appears.

I would think if it's heat related, once the problem occurred early in the stack sequence it would reappear often, which isn't necessarily the case.

I am leaning towards background housekeeping that may be related to the file type, since the camera firmware was probably not intended for this type of use (500 + sequential shots). Most use is probably burst mode with less than 20 shots in sequence, followed by wait and then maybe another burst. Although I wouldn't think than continuous use at 1 frame every 5 to 10 seconds should tax not anything.

Best,

Chris S.
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Post by Chris S. »

A strange problem. I'd be very surprised if the D800 and D800E would have any trouble shooting very deep stacks at moderate speeds. I don't have these cameras, but none of the Nikon bodies I've used has any problem with stacks of well over 1,000 images.

Though probably not the problem, you don't have shutter delay mode turned on, do you? (I could see it messing up the timing if not accounted for.)

Your issue does sound consistent with filling the camera's buffer--in which case, the camera would indeed stop taking pictures until there is room in the buffer. However, I'd expect the speeds at which you're shooting--on the order of a shot every five to ten seconds--to be easily within the capabilities of those camera bodies, unless something is clogging up the works. A slow or incompatible memory card seems like a prime candidate for this.

So does the problem go away with a faster memory card, or even the same card, freshly formatted?

Tethering issues would come to mind as possibilities, but I presume you are not shooting tethered, since you're using mirror up mode. (No tethering software I know of handles mirror up shooting for Nikon.)

--Chris

mawyatt
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Post by mawyatt »

Chris,

All good comments.

I have used shutter delay when shooting with strobes with rear curtain strobe trigger and seen the problem. Now I am experimenting with Ikea LEDs instead of strobes, so not using any shutter delay mode and still see effect.

I use Lexar 64GB 600X SD card and Lexar 64GB 800X CF card (D800 has both SD and CF). I always format both cards before stack session. I have used both SD and CF cards and seen the effect on both.

One interesting effect in some cases, but not all, is the D800/E locks up and I must remove battery (actually I use a battery replacement 120VAC module) to turn camera off. This points to a firmware issue I believe.

I use StackShot for triggering camera, no other camera control. StackShot is controlled from Zerene on a Mac.

I know I need to do some controlled experiments and document the results, instead of relying on my memory!! Maybe I'll try this experiment later this coming week and try some of these ideas, but it will take some time though!!

Best,

Mike

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Post by rjlittlefield »

Check to be sure that your cameras' firmware has been updated. Update 1.10 in May 2014 included this point:
In some rare cases, the memory card access lamp remained lit for longer than usual, and some time was required before any operations could be performed. This issue has been resolved.
--Rik

Chris S.
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Post by Chris S. »

A firmware issue is certainly suggested.

Another thing to check is that the Focus Mode Selector switch on the camera is set to "M" ("Manual focus"). [I suspect "C" ("Continuous servo autofocus") would also work, but have not checked). The mode you don't want this kind of work is "S" (Single Servo Autofocus), as the camera will not respond to a shutter button press if it thinks focus has not been achieved. This is true even if manual focus is selected on the lens.

This has surprised me a few times. The camera's refusal to fire can be erratic and intermittent, especially in conditions that confuse the autofocus system. There is good reason that Thom Hogan mockingly refers to Single Servo as "Shutter frustration mode." (To be fair to Nikon, there are good reasons for using this mode, in other sorts of work.)

--Chris

PS--What say we move this thread out of the gallery and into one of the technical fora?

mawyatt
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Post by mawyatt »

rjlittlefield wrote:Check to be sure that your cameras' firmware has been updated. Update 1.10 in May 2014 included this point:
In some rare cases, the memory card access lamp remained lit for longer than usual, and some time was required before any operations could be performed. This issue has been resolved.
--Rik
Thanks Rik, will check this.

mawyatt
Posts: 2479
Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2013 6:54 pm
Location: Clearwater

Post by mawyatt »

Chris S. wrote:A firmware issue is certainly suggested.

Another thing to check is that the Focus Mode Selector switch on the camera is set to "M" ("Manual focus"). [I suspect "C" ("Continuous servo autofocus") would also work, but have not checked). The mode you don't want this kind of work is "S" (Single Servo Autofocus), as the camera will not respond to a shutter button press if it thinks focus has not been achieved. This is true even if manual focus is selected on the lens.

This has surprised me a few times. The camera's refusal to fire can be erratic and intermittent, especially in conditions that confuse the autofocus system. There is good reason that Thom Hogan mockingly refers to Single Servo as "Shutter frustration mode." (To be fair to Nikon, there are good reasons for using this mode, in other sorts of work.)

--Chris

Chris, I use manual mode for everything, and am using an objective in front of a reversed Raynox....so no lens selection for AF.

PS--What say we move this thread out of the gallery and into one of the technical fora?
That's Ok with me.

mawyatt
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Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2013 6:54 pm
Location: Clearwater

Post by mawyatt »

Chris S. wrote:A firmware issue is certainly suggested.

Another thing to check is that the Focus Mode Selector switch on the camera is set to "M" ("Manual focus"). [I suspect "C" ("Continuous servo autofocus") would also work, but have not checked). The mode you don't want this kind of work is "S" (Single Servo Autofocus), as the camera will not respond to a shutter button press if it thinks focus has not been achieved. This is true even if manual focus is selected on the lens.

This has surprised me a few times. The camera's refusal to fire can be erratic and intermittent, especially in conditions that confuse the autofocus system. There is good reason that Thom Hogan mockingly refers to Single Servo as "Shutter frustration mode." (To be fair to Nikon, there are good reasons for using this mode, in other sorts of work.)

--Chris

PS--What say we move this thread out of the gallery and into one of the technical fora?
Chris, I use manual mode for everything, and am using an objective in front of a reversed Raynox....so no lens selection for AF.

Thanks

mawyatt
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Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2013 6:54 pm
Location: Clearwater

Post by mawyatt »

I think I have found the problem, or at least narrowed down the possibilities!!

I did download the latest firmware..thanks Rik. BTW this version did not help with the original problem but did address the LiveView function misbehavior. Now you can use LiveView and the mirror will stay up as it should while shooting a stacking sequence.

I did some simple tests with different file types while changing the sequencing times in Zerene. As mentioned I found that TIFF would fall out of sequence early, while JPEG and RAW were much better.

Then I did some tests using a hand remote trigger and found that TIFF files can take 6~7 seconds to write to memory (Lexar 64GB 600X SD), at least the memory green LED stayed on that long! RAW was about 2 seconds and JPEG less than a second, with RAW & JPEG ~3 seconds. I switched to the Lexar 64GB 800X UDMA 7CF card and the results were faster. TIFF was about 3~4 seconds. It seems the CF card write time is faster than the simple ratio of SD/CF card speed, which might be the D800 design has faster thru put for CF cards?? I tried a PNY SD 240X card and it took ~12 seconds for TIFF. BTW I didn't time these with a stop watch, just estimated.

So it looks as if the D800 buffer gets filled and then the memory write times becomes the issue. I think this makes sense because the memory buffer is trying to write to the card while new data is coming in, so when the buffer fills up is not easily predictable, thus the randomness I was seeing. Longer sequence times would just postpone the buffer filling, unless they were really long where the buffer could flush after every exposure.

So it seems for TIFF and using 600X SD cards you must wait at least 7 seconds after the exposure before another trigger is sent, or longer than 2 seconds for RAW and 3 seconds for RAW & JPEG. A 800X CF card would be about half this time. BTW I did try a Lexar 16GB 1000X UDMA 7 and it was a little faster than the 800X CF card, probably about 20% (800/1000).

I will make a complete shorter run soon to confirm or not these findings.

Mike

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