Before the rush

Before the rush
by evan-pak

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Reading Scott Kelby's Digital Photography vol. 1, I came across the following pro tip:

Don't press the Shutter (Use a Cable Release)

I own a Nikon D90, so reading Nikon's help on which remote release can I use with my Nikon D-SLR, I saw the following distinction:

Wired 10-pin terminal remote releases and accessories versus
Remote releases for D-SLR cameras without a 10-pin terminal

What is the use of this 10-pin remote accessory terminal, and why do some DSLRs have one while others don't? Does the D90 have such a terminal?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

What is the use of this 10-pin remote accessory terminal...

The 10-pin terminal contains lines that do the following:

  • Activates metering and focus (same as the AF-ON button)
  • Releases the shutter
  • Illuminates the meters
  • Provides battery voltage
  • Provide RS-232C communication at TTL levels. I've only ever seen this used for GPS on bodies that support it.

...and why do some DSLRs have one while others don't? Does the D90 have such a terminal?

Only Nikon knows for sure, but I'd imagine cost and bulk are the big factors. Bodies like the D40 didn't have one because there isn't a lot of call for GPS or remote shutter release on a bottom-of-the-line camera, nor is the extra bulk desirable.

The D90 has an accessory terminal with the same lines on it but with a different connector.

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Wait, D90 has a 10-pin terminal?!? Do you mean the accessory terminal -- 8-pin? – Marius Butuc Nov 14 '12 at 19:26
@MariusButuc: My mistake. I've corrected the answer. – Blrfl Nov 14 '12 at 20:00

Generally, you have more control with 10-pin remote. Can be controlled via a PC (serially) and various other ways. The wireless 10-pin remote has more control than the standard one. The only one there is the ML-3 which supports: Auto triggering, delayed shutter release, single and continuous shooting. It also has more range (than the ML-L3).

You still can shoot with a delayed shutter with the latter but all functions must be set on the body. If you're constantly trying different shot modes, the 10-pin one is better.

If you want to do a group shot with yourself in it, the standard wireless one will do. The camera body also has an IR sensor to receive the communication from the remote.

Main difference is more control.

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