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Nikon D3400

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#1 cjarvis64

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 10:13 PM

I wanted to start a new topic about the Nikon D3400 entry level DSLR.  I know there are many users of this camera, likely unmodified, that are getting into the hobby of astrophotography.   I have found that this DSLR body is difficult to use for astrophotography and I think this is a good place for Nikon D3400 users to share their thoughts and ideas on the camera.  I am unable to find an existing topic covering it so I am starting my own.  This camera is a bit of an oddball in that it is not wifi compatible and does not have a utility or 3.5mm jack connection.  It only has micro USB and a 'mini' HDMI port.  The micro USB does not support any intervelometer device that I can find which makes this camera difficult to use as an astrophotography camera.  You are ultimately constrained to 30 second sub-exposures and using a wireless IR shutter release remote which requires the user to stand next to the camera and monitor it at all times to make sure its taking pictures correctly.  I am proposing using its IR capabilities to use an existing app and "IR blaster" to control the shutter.  (For android users this is easy, there is an app readily available to do this. Check out this video.

 

However for iPhone users like me its not so easy.  I found this app  and I used this 3.5mm jack IR blaster  that I was able to use to control my camera with over IR, only it is much slower than I would have wanted.  For instance, the app allows you to enter a start time delay (time to elapse before the camera starts to take photos) and a time delay (time in between shutter releases) and a count (number of shutter releases.)  When set to the 'time' setting, this will tell the camera to take x amount of exposures by adjusting the time delay setting, but the time in between exposures equals the same x amount of time.   For instance:  1:00 sub exposure time = 1:00 in between sub exposures.   This is the best solution I have come up with without spending the time to write a script to run an arduino or raspberry pi with an IR transmitter mimicking the nikon IR signal to control my rig.   Anyone else have the same issue?  This a general discussion of the Nikon D3400 in general as well so anything about the camera is welcome too.

 

Thank you all!


Edited by cjarvis64, 14 March 2019 - 10:21 PM.


#2 Stelios

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 12:09 AM

Moving to DSLR forum for a better fit.


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#3 danhz

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Posted 19 March 2019 - 09:39 PM

I just got started with astrophotography about a month ago and the camera I have in hand is the D3400. I too read how the D3400 does not support exposures of more than 30 secs and how no more than 9 pictures could be taken at a time, however I had a Raspberry Pi laying around and installed Stellarmate onto it just this weekend. Using Kstars i decided to test out what i had read so far about the D3400 and to my surprise, I could fully control the number of pictures and exposure time.

 

I just tested it out again with 20 - 1 sec exposures and 5 - 180 sec exposures and it did them just fine. According to the documentation, it is fully supported thru the Indi library and Gphoto.

 

Hope this helps.



#4 starbob1

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 07:51 AM

 Get the d5300. You will have a killer camera then. Sell3400



#5 cjarvis64

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 08:21 AM

 Get the d5300. You will have a killer camera then. Sell3400

Part of me has been wanting to do this but I'm not sure where I'd be able to find a buyer for the D3400.  It's a great camera for daytime photography though, I've had D750 users comment on how they can't believe some of the photos that come out of it.  

 

I've actually figured out a funny trick you can do with the standard shutter remote, I'll probably post more on it later.  I found that if you just hold the remote button down the camera will take another exposure immediately after the previous is finished, indefinitely (or at least until either the remote or the camera runs out of battery).  Downside is you can't review photos, or define shutter count parameters. So you better make sure your focus is in order and nothing touches your setup.  Better than nothing though, at least I can go inside and warm up for a little bit if I need to.  I just used a small clamp to hold the button down and I balanced it on the counter weight aimed up at the camera's IR receiver.  Taping it to the OTA aimed back at the camera would work better in hindsight, though.



#6 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 08:36 AM

What a change from the D3300. No such 30 sec restrictions on the 3300. 


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#7 OldManSky

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 11:09 AM

What a change from the D3300. No such 30 sec restrictions on the 3300. 

There's no such restriction on the D3400, either.  It has both "Bulb" and "Time" mode (as shutter speeds under M mode).

The big difference is that there's no wired remote jack like there is on the D3300.  So the only way to USE Bulb and Time are with an infrared remote.  Controlling the shutter in those modes over USB doesn't work (it also doesn't work on the D3300).  The Nikon app (connected to the D3400 using Bluetooth, since it doesn't have WiFi built-in) won't control Bulb or Time modes, either.

 

Setting up the D3400 that way was manifestly stupid on Nikon's part.  Oh, well.

I have a D3300, and I basically have the same gripe though (since I can't control the shutter in Bulb over the USB connnection, like I can on every Canon I've ever owned).


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#8 cjarvis64

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 08:20 AM

There's no such restriction on the D3400, either.  It has both "Bulb" and "Time" mode (as shutter speeds under M mode).

The big difference is that there's no wired remote jack like there is on the D3300.  So the only way to USE Bulb and Time are with an infrared remote.  Controlling the shutter in those modes over USB doesn't work (it also doesn't work on the D3300).  The Nikon app (connected to the D3400 using Bluetooth, since it doesn't have WiFi built-in) won't control Bulb or Time modes, either.

 

Setting up the D3400 that way was manifestly stupid on Nikon's part.  Oh, well.

I have a D3300, and I basically have the same gripe though (since I can't control the shutter in Bulb over the USB connnection, like I can on every Canon I've ever owned).

Yeah after thinking on it I think the move is going to be just get a D5300 like starbob suggested, or a D5500 which replaced the 5300.  I'll just deal with what I have for now I guess.  


Edited by cjarvis64, 22 March 2019 - 08:21 AM.



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