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Testing report: Tethered Shooting with Nikon Camera Control Pro2

Remote Control software for microscope applications using Nikon SLR cameras

In professional microphotography, it would be inconceivable working without camera control software, since software of this kind makes it possible to produce high quality images within significantly shorter time periods, thereby considerably boosting productivity.

For our test, we used our LM microscope adapter (DSLRNTCW_Pro) to mount the Nikon D7000 onto the C-mount port of the microscope (Zeiss Axiolab). Direct operation of the camera is not advisable for this application, since the whole optical system (the camera, including the adapter) is very sensitive to mechanical vibrations. Simply releasing the camera shutter manually can set off vibrations in the microscope and camera, resulting in blurred images.

The advantages of computer-controlled camera work are overwhelming. Using Nikon SLR cameras with Live View capabilities, the Live View image displayed on the screen can be comfortably controlled via the computer monitor. The user just needs to click anywhere in the Live View image for a quick check of the focus plane.

The ergonomic benefits are considerable, especially in the case of cameras that do not have a mobile display: all activities can be comfortably performed from a sitting position.

It is also quite handy to be able to save the images directly to your PC’s hard drive. The images can be immediately assessed on the screen and taken again, if necessary. It is no longer necessary to deal with the camera’s internal memory card at all.

Camera Control Pro 2Nikon D7000 microscopy adapter  Zeiss AxiolabNikon D7000 tube LM microscopy adapter

The Remote Control Pro software (the two windows in the foreground) forms a functional unit with the Nikon viewer ViewNX2, which comes with the camera as standard equipment. When pressing the release button, the photo or video sequence is automatically displayed in ViewNX2. The camera itself can be operated using free user-positioned windows in the Camera Control Pro software (on the left in the picture). As an option, an extra window with the Live View image (on the left in the screenshot) can be displayed for optimal camera control. However, that feature is available only for cameras that support the Live View mode.

Nikon Camera Control Pro 2  software microscopy

We performed our tests on a dual core CPU 1.6 GHZ laptop running on Windows Vista. Live image transmission via the USB2 interface places a considerable load (70%) on the CPU: the application could therefore quickly saturate the capacity of lower performance netbooks.

Despite considerable efforts, we were unable to locate the zoom control in the software, which is a very helpful feature, particularly in microphotography.

Nikon Camera Control Pro 2 microscopy

 Viewing the images with the Nikon viewer ViewNX2.

ViewNX2 microscopy application

The following screenshots show the Camera Control Pro settings we used for our Nikon D7000 test camera. The program automatically identifies which camera is connected (in our case, a Nikon D7000).

Nikon Camera Control Pro 2 Screenshot

Adjusting the ISO sensitivity and white balance is easy. In addition, the Nikon D7000 also lets the user set the colour temperature of the light source in degrees Kelvin.

Camera Control Pro 2 ISO sensitivity and white balance

Setting the JPEG quality and size. In the case of compressed RAW images, the colour depth can be set individually for each RBG channel. The destination to which the images are saved can also be changed, if necessary.

Camera Control Pro 2 JPEG Größe und Qualität

  The video recording quality is also adjustable.

Camera Control Pro 2 video recording quality

Battery status display and bracketing (taking several shots of the same subject using different settings)

Camera Control Pro 2 Bracketing, battery status display

Colour space setting 

Camera Control Pro 2 colour space setting

Camera Control Pro 2

The full version of Camera Control Pro 2 costs about € 140. There is also a free 30-day trial version that can be downloaded directly from the Nikon server. 

Supported cameras
Cameras with APS-C sensor
Nikon D1H Nikon D7000 (*)
Nikon D1x Nikon D7100 (*)
Nikon D6 Nikon D7200
Nikon D5 Nikon D7500
   
Nikon D500 Nikon D5600
Nikon D300 (*) Nikon D5500
Nikon D300S(*) Nikon D5300
Nikon D200 Nikon D5200 (*)
Nikon D100 Nikon D5100 (*)
  Nikon D5000 (*)
Nikon Z50  
   

(*) These cameras are no longer sold as new.

Supported cameras
Cameras with fullframe-sensor
Nikon D6 Nikon D850
Nikon D5 Nikon D800 (*)
Nikon D4 (*) Nikon D800E (*)
Nikon D4S (*) Nikon D810 (*)
Nikon D3 (*) Nikon D810A
Nikon D3S (*) Nikon D780
Nikon D3X (*) Nikon D750
Nikon D2 Nikon D700 (*)
  Nikon D610
Nikon D90 (*) Nikon D600 (*)
Nikon D80  
Nikon D70 Nikon Df
Nikon D60 (*)  
Nikon D50 Nikon Z6
Nikon D40 Nikon Z7
  Nikon Z5

(*) These cameras are no longer sold as new.

Not supported cameras
Nikon D3000 Nikon D3200
Nikon D3100 Nikon D3300
   
   

Conclusion: This program is practically a must for professional photography applications. Without this software, Nikon Live View cameras cannot be used to their full potential. The price of around € 140 is a very good investment, since it boosts both the productivity and the quality of your work. If you haven’t made up your mind yet, download the 30-day trial version and form your own opinion.

12.03.2015 Update:06.08.2020
New LM Digital Adapter for: Nikon D6 / Nikon Z6 / Nikon Z6II / Nikon Z7 / Nikon Z7II / Nikon Z5 / Nikon Z50 / Nikon D850 / Nikon D780 / Nikon D5 / Nikon D4s / Nikon D4 / Nikon D750 / Nikon D500 / Nikon D810 / Nikon D800 / Nikon D800E / Nikon Df / Nikon D610 / Nikon D600 / Nikon D7200 / Nikon DS-Qi2 (Microscope Camera) / Nikon D3x / Nikon D3S / Nikon D7100 / Nikon D7000 / Nikon DS-Ri2 (Microscope Camera) / Nikon D7500 / Nikon D700 / Nikon D3 / Nikon D5500 /