I have D5100 and D5200 both. When I am using remote shutter release cable for star trail, without bulb mode, both cameras take only 100 images at a stretch. I even tried with 1/4000 shutter speed, but it is exactly 100 every time. I had to release the shutter and lock it again. As a result, gaps are being created in the trail.

Is there any setting that can be changed? If it doesn't then guide me how to cross this limit.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Hello Bobby, welcome to photo.stackexchange.com! This sounds like a nice question, but could you reword it a bit? What do you mean by "shutter lock"? There is no such expression in the manual. There is "autoexposure lock" and "focus lock". You can shoot to RAW in Manual program mode to get consistent exposure, and you can focus once, then switch to Manual focus to keep the lens state the same. \$\endgroup\$
    – TFuto
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 13:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you perhaps filling the camera buffer? And the "shutter lock" is the buffer clear time? It looks like a D5100 should get 50+ photos in large JPEG mode into the buffer before it needs to clear; are you shooting at a lower resolution/higher compression that could cause this? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 14:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Shutter lock means, using cable release I'm shooting continuously. My camera stores 7 shots in buffer \$\endgroup\$
    – Bobby
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 19:40

2 Answers 2


100 shots is the limit for Nikon's continuous shutter. You can try the shutter again after 100 shots.

Or you can use the Interval Timer, both D5100 and D5200 have it. It will allow up to 999 shots.

But if you are using the 30 second shutter setting, be aware the actual shutter time is 32 seconds for Nikon cameras. The interval timer must be set for an interval of 33 seconds because of the actual shutter time. A 30 second shutter cannot work right with interval of 31 seconds, because the shutter is actually open for 32 seconds.

This is a very common problem for star trail shots, and 33 second intervals when using Nikon cameras is the easy answer. Other cameras may use actual shutter speeds of 30 seconds, so for those cameras an interval of 31 seconds would be optimal.


The nominal marking of shutter speed is just an easy approximation of base 2 numbers (2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, etc.) expressed in more even base 10 numbers (2, 4, 8, 15, 30, 60, 125, 250, 500, 1000, etc) that are easier for most of us to understand and work with. With fractional shutter speed settings (1/125, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000, etc.) most all cameras actually aim for the base 2 numbers (1/128, 1/256, 1/512, 1/1024, etc.). But when shutter speeds longer than one second are set on some cameras, such as the Nikon D5100 and D5200, they use the base 2 values (2, 4, 8, 16, 32) while other cameras use the labeled base 10 values (2, 4, 8, 15, 30).

More detail about the theoretical differences of actual stops as powers of 2 and √2 compared to the round numbers we assign to them can be seen at http://www.scantips.com/lights/fstop.html

See also Is there a sane reason why ¹⁄₁₂₅ is not, instead, exactly half of ¹⁄₆₀?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I just tried this with my Fujifilm camera, and when I set the shutter duration to 30s, the time is actually 30s; there is no 32s option. It even counts down the seconds on the display (and they're real seconds, not stretched, as I confirmed with a separate stopwatch). This is also true at 15s. So, while it might be true with Nikon, it's definitely not universal. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 15:29
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ The point is that cameras are way less concerned about the theory than you might expect. That's one of the reasons I'm quick to mark photometry and other such questions about using cameras as instruments as off topic. They're not meant for that. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 15:48
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ It is ~0.09310940 of a stop — "about ¹⁄₁₀th". That extra precision is even more meaningless. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 15:51
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I would upvote this answer if all the irrelevant information about stops was removed barring a note that the timings listed in-camera aren't 100% accurate... The limit of 100 shots is as designed by Nikon, and can be avoided using an intervalometer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 15:56
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ You're right on that math, of course, but the point is that real-world cameras don't actually adhere strictly to that theory. I'm not offended, but I'm a little bemused by how adamant you seem to be about it. The same fuzziness is true for aperture and focal length, by the way. The difference between f/11 and f/((√2)⁸) for a 50mm lens is, what, 0.126mm? I doubt that level of precision is involved. That's even less than a ¹⁄₁₀th of a stop, and it's washed out by differences in T stop in the real world. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 17:15

The D5200 ( and probably the D5100 ) both have a bulb mode. This may help.

  • \$\begingroup\$ OP specifically mentioned not using bulb mode. People frequently do astrophotography by taking many short exposures and stacking the images rather than using a single long exposure in order to minimize noise, and this is probably what OP is attempting. \$\endgroup\$
    – Caleb
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 19:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Reducing noise can be achieved by using dark frame subtraction ( which the D5200 may automatically do for a long exposure ).. However, I take your point. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 20:07

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