DaveMazz Photography

Obsessed with Photography

DaveMazz Photography - Obsessed with Photography

ControlMyNikon Review

I haven’t seen a lot of ControlMyNikon reviews on the web, so I’m reviewing this awesome tethering application.  I take a ton of self portraits, mostly to test out new lighting and posing techniques.  At least that’s my story.  In reality, my whole room is filled with ridiculous pictures of me in different poses.  My wife isn’t a huge fan of posing for me, so it’s either my dogs or me.  Cooper only sits for me for all of 10 minutes, so most of the time it’s me staring into the lens.  Come see why this is such a great learning tool, as well as a steal.  Review inside…

ControlMyNikon Review - DaveMazz Photography

For a while I was using a Targus remote to trigger my D90, but that was a pain, I would have to get up every few shots and chimp my LCD to see how the lighting, focus etc. was.  I decided that it was time to get some reliable tethering software.  I use Lightroom 4, but the tethering options in Lightroom aren’t great, they are pretty basic.  I tried a few free ones too, but I always seemed to get the “camera not found” error a little too often.  Then I tried the trial of Camera Control Pro 2, which did all the basics flawlessly, but the full version was expensive, and didn’t offer a whole lot of options.  I continued to search….In comes ControlMyNikon.

ControlMyNikon is a standard camera tethering application.  It’s Windows only and can only be used with Nikon DSLRs.  Check here to see if your camera is supported on their download page.  I purchased a 15 foot mini USB cable for about 6 bucks on Amazon.  It connects from my D90 to my laptop.  That is pretty much it.  You can view your images on your laptop screen instead of having to look at a tiny LCD screen.  Review after the jump.

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One word about this software.  Sweet.  CMN comes with a ton of features.  In this regard, it destroys Camera Control Pro 2.  This includes built-in triggers, full-screen mode and scripting as the most important differences between the two apps.

Lets start with all the triggers that CMN offers.  This includes a sound trigger, speech trigger, and a web-based trigger.  I tested most of the triggers out and they performed pretty well.  I used the built-in microphone on my laptop, and set the trigger to release every time I said “shoot”.  It worked about 90% of the time.  The sound trigger is an interesting option, although I probably won’t use it in the real world.  You can set up certain sounds to trigger the shutter.  I ended up just whistling, and it worked well enough.

My favorite trigger though was the web-based trigger.  CMN installs a web backend.  This is a website on your network that you go to that allows you to trigger the shutter, trigger auto focus and a bunch of other options.  I LOVE THIS.  You navigate in a browser to the same ip address of the computer that CMN is loaded on and this web app loads.  It works on cell phones too, which is the reason it’s so awesome.  It essentially adds a remote control option.  There are a bunch of other commands besides just triggering the shutter, see the screen shot to the right of Safari on my iPhone.ControlMyNikon Web Control Screenshot

The second feature that I’d like to mention is scripting.  This is actually pretty handy.  You can create a macro using predefined commands such as setting the ISO, shutter speed or aperture.  You can also send a command to pause for a certain number of seconds.  I’ve created one where I auto focus and shoot, pause 3 seconds, shoot again, pause another 3 seconds and shoot one more time.  It’s a great tool if you are experimenting with different posing techniques, or even with different camera/lighting settings.  I’ve only just begun to explore it but it’s a welcome feature and super simple to use.  Double click the command and it adds it to the script.

The other features are pretty much what you would expect from a tethering application, as well as many that aren’t typical..  There is live view on your computer screen, motion detection to trigger the camera, intervalometer for time-lapse shots to name a few.  There is also focus stacking. This is a neat feature that allows you to stretch your depth of field by taking multiple images of the same subject, focusing on different areas.  Then it can combine the exposures into one image, with an increased depth of field.  This is a great feature for macro shots, as the DOF is quite small for them. I also like the real-time histogram in live view.

Everything just worked the way it was supposed to.  There is about a 2 second delay before your image appears on your computer, but that is inline with most other tethering applications.  All the options that are usually controlled through your camera can be controlled right on your computer screen, without issue.

The best part about this software?  It’s 30 dollars, which is practically giving it away, for what you get.  I know I’ve been pretty positive in this review, but this software is a godsend for anybody wanting to tether their Nikon camera, especially in studio.  Nikon’s Camera Control Pro 2 is about 140 dollars.  I use all Nikon equipment and am a big fan of the company, but they need to really look at Camera Control and make some changes, or at least cut the price.  Then again, maybe they don’t care all that much about it, as it’s a tertiary concern to their hardware.  Either way, if you have a Nikon and are planning on tethering, this is a great choice.

 

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    9 October, 2017 at 7:06 am
  • Paul Rolke says:

    AND, thanks for the very helpful post and detailed replies to comments.

    29 July, 2017 at 4:32 am
  • Paul Rolke says:

    davemazz- I also shoot a D90. Being forced to use the tiny LCD screen to assess focus during live view video capture is problematic for me. Do you have experience or an opinion re. the practicality of using tethered computer screen for confirming focus adjustments during the vid capture.

    29 July, 2017 at 4:28 am
  • Ken Therkelsen says:

    Although I didn’t see it specified (this post is older), I’m confident you were not using Windows 10 for your review. I have. To update, the software works OK in Windows 10 but it has not, apparently, been specifically updated for the OS. I paid for the software because, as you have noted, it works well and is relatively inexpensive. But I had not yet shut it down and attempted to restart the program. When I finally did that, I learned that it would simply not run a second time. An error message windows appears saying “Application Already running”. Task manager shows that, after being shut down, the program is still running (using 0% CPU) and so it can never be restarted. I was also unable to shut down the still running task with Task Manager. I had to restart my PC to get the software to run again. This tells me that it was never designed to run properly on Windows 10. Also, when I click on the “About” help menu item, the program’s “Close” button disappears… not sure why.

    Finally, these are not super bad problems but the issue I currently have (over a week and counting) is that I’ve received zero response from my email support request (sent out on August 25, 2016). It also seems strange to me that software touted to work on Windows 10 does *not* do so over a year after Windows 10’s initial release (July of 2015). Unsupported software that the creator appears to be just milking for money for as long as possible is my conclusion here and I’ve encountered it before (it’s never a good thing for the customer). In the end, I’ll likely have to get a refund of my $49.95 through a Visa charge back procedure (which works, but is a pain).

    2 September, 2016 at 9:00 am
    • davemazz says:

      Hi there Ken, sorry it took a bit to answer you. I actually do have it running on Windows 10 without any problems. I’ve seen similar problems before with other apps. I’ve been able to fix it by installing it using the system admin account. Even if you are already logged in with an admin account, I’ve right clicked on the setup exe, and selected “run as administrator”. See if that fixes the issue for you. You may want to uninstall it using an app like Revo Uninstaller, to make sure all remaining registry keys, .dlls, etc are deleted. After uninstalling, try installing with instructions above. Let me know if that helps you.

      2 November, 2016 at 8:55 pm
      • Ken Therkelsen says:

        Hi Dave. Thanks for your reply. Well, I haven’t tried your steps but it was more straightforward for me to simply get a refund and uninstall the software. There are several other programs available for my purposes (at least one of which is very good and is “donateware”) so I’m not left out in the cold, just unable to wait (this long, at least) for an explanation or things to try. I’ll save your response in case I decide to go with this software sometime in the future and I might test out the download version anyway. I appreciate your advice.

        2 November, 2016 at 9:14 pm
      • Kenneth Therkelsen says:

        Hi Dave. Just wanted to followup with a note that I have given ControlMyNikon another try (on Windows 10) and installing as an Administrator (specifically, using “Run as Administrator”) apparently makes all the difference. I’ve successfully re-installed the software and it’s running well as I prepare for the upcoming Solar Eclipse of 2017. Thanks for your tips…

        7 June, 2017 at 8:46 am
  • Jim Foley says:

    Hi Dave, been using your software for sometime, now and I’m highly satisfied. Is it possible to use an electronic trigger?

    Thanks.

    Jim

    1 May, 2015 at 1:45 pm
    • davemazz says:

      Hi Jim. Do you mean like a wireless shutter release? I haven’t tried it, but probably. I normally use a sound trigger, i.e., yell “SHOOT” or something like that. Using an IPhone is another good way. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      11 May, 2015 at 10:02 pm
  • John says:

    Do you know of a comparable program for mac users? Thank you

    16 November, 2014 at 5:16 pm
  • Mia Alva says:

    Hi I was wondering if there is any version of this program that supports Mac users?

    14 August, 2014 at 10:38 pm
    • JIm Foley says:

      Hi Mia, as far as I am aware there is no Mac support at the moment.

      15 August, 2014 at 7:39 am
    • davemazz says:

      Yes, you are correct Jim, no Mac support at this time, although it says on the ControlMyNikon site that they are going to implement it in the future.

      20 September, 2014 at 12:15 am
  • Jim Foley says:

    Hi, does this work with RAW files?

    Thanks.

    Jim

    24 April, 2014 at 6:49 am
    • davemazz says:

      Hi Jim! Yes, i shoot exclusively in RAW, no problem at all. you can choose to save the files directly back to your camera, or on a hard drive, network location, etc. However, I’ve noticed that if you save it to a network location, it takes a few extra seconds to view the image after you take it.

      24 April, 2014 at 8:31 pm
  • Miguel says:

    Dave great review, I’ve used Nikon’s control software in the past and use it mostly to reset presets and settings before I shoot an event.

    That said, does CMN give you the option of tweaking all the settings in a preset and saving them back to the camera like Control Pro 2 does?

    Thanks in advance,

    Again Great Review!

    Miguel

    9 January, 2014 at 10:05 pm
    • davemazz says:

      Hi there Miguel. You can save a preset within CMN, then open up the preset while your camera is tethered, disconnect the camera and the settings will stay on your camera for sure. As far as saving the preset and then sending it to your camera, I don’t have that option with my D90, but from what I can see it isn’t possible to do with CMN. I didn’t realize you could do that with Control Pro, definitely a cool feature! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      11 January, 2014 at 9:02 pm
  • irwin lakin says:

    dave, have you tried the program called helicon remote and if so does it compare favoribly with this program. I will be doing some macro focus stacking on flowers and does xrene stacker work well?

    17 June, 2013 at 1:07 pm
    • davemazz says:

      Hi there Irwin. I haven’t used Helicon before, although I have heard of it. I took a look at the Helicon site, and from what I can tell, it looks pretty similar to ControlMyNikon, save on big difference, see below. Your best bet may be to download both trial versions and see which you like best.

      ControlMyNikon will set up the focus stacking for you and of course take all the pictures of the various images, BUT CMN won’t combine them into an image for you. There is a setting in the preferences to automatically point to Zerene stacker to combine them, but if you use another third party stacking app, you will have to go outside of CMN to combine them.

      Just something to think about. That being said, Zerene has worked flawlessly for me so far, it is a little pricey though. Hope this helps. Let me know if I’m not being clear or if you have any other questions!

      17 June, 2013 at 11:35 pm
  • bob mondry says:

    Thanks Dave for areview of controlmy nikon. like you i use a D90 and love it. I was a little hesitent about by this program but now am more confident.

    28 April, 2013 at 7:46 pm
    • davemazz says:

      No problem, glad I can help. I am loving it, I think you will too. I’m mad it took me so long to discover it! Don’t hesitate to ask me any questions.

      28 April, 2013 at 11:02 pm

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