I am currently photographing dancers with a Nikon D800E and want to compose an image out of two photos: the first one should have a shutter speed of 1/500 sec (to freeze the position) and the second one a shutter speed of 1/30 sec (to capture the movement succeeding the freeze).

The second shot should follow immediately after the first one (as it happens in continous shooting mode), but I do not know how to get there. I have tried it by controlling my camera with digicamcontrol and bracketing with the above mentioned shutters speeds, but the problem was, that between the shots the images are transferred to the camera which takes its time (a couple of seconds).

So I wonder if there is a possibility to program such a sequence?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Do you have any possibility of using flash? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Nov 29, 2013 at 21:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also a quick clarification -- when you are using digicamcontrol, do you mean "transferred from the camera (to the controllin computer)", or do you mean that the shot-to-shot saving time is too high? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Nov 29, 2013 at 22:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't know the D800 specifically, but have you checked if there is a bracketing option that would allow you to do this? That's probably your best bet. \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson
    Nov 30, 2013 at 0:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not possible on the D800(E) or any camera that I know of... Mind you, my experience is limited to Pentax and Nikon, so I suppose you never know. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    Nov 30, 2013 at 4:43

2 Answers 2


AFAIK there is no way to do that with camera settings, nor with any mainstream tethering software (You may be able to do that if you don't mind getting your hands dirty and coding something, but it would just be too much effort).

If you have the resources available you can do that shooting at 1/30 or more and firing a flash at the beginning (although I prefer to fire it at the end) of the shot. This would give something like this, which I assume is what you are after.


  • \$\begingroup\$ In this case, however, he wants to fire early to freeze the main image at the front of the exposure. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    Nov 30, 2013 at 4:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Then he just has to fire the flash at the beginning of the exposure. Here, in this answer there is a good example of what I'm trying to say: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/6667/… \$\endgroup\$
    – user24295
    Nov 30, 2013 at 15:04

From the responses and likely provided functionality, you will almost certainly have to do something "special".

If you shoot in aperture priority mode and add an external 3 or 4 stop neutral density filter between frames you'd achieve your desired effect. While this takes extra mechanical hardware it would be quite easy to achieve for anyone with reasonable mechanical proficiency. Add electronic external release of shutter and filter and a small amount of electronics and a close match to your requirement should be possible.

Several obvious methods come to mind and there will be others.

  • Dropped "mask" hinged so when released it drops across lens front.
    Spring loaded for extra speed.
    Released by a number of possible means. If an external shutter release is used then timing of shutter timings and of ND trip could be computer or microcontroller controlled.

  • Similar but a spring loaded sliding ND filter that slides across lens in a track when released.

  • Similar but rotating wheel.
    Swap in ND filter or change polarisation of polarised filters.

  • LCD shutter as used for eg auto darken welding goggles.

    Whether the cross polariser or LCD goggles are adequate to this task consistently dark I know not, but worth investigating.

How long "immediately after" is will affect what other techniques may work.
Methods that involve changes in camera settings probably require minimum times of a good part of 1 second minimum. Anything sensible would probably require cooperation between dancer and photographer.


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