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What is Tethering?
Nikontrol 3K is a type of tether software that connects your camera to your computer. This is a free program that works with nearly any type of Nikon camera. This program is basically an alternative to the Camera Control Pro software, which costs about $150 and which doesn’t support many Nikon DSLR cameras. While this is a free program, it offers just as many functions as the paid program.
Basically, the Nikontrol 3K program allows you to remotely control your camera by using your computer, and this is known as tethering. You plug your camera to your computer via a USB cord, and you can do things like download your photographs and delete ones that you don’t want.
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The standout feature of this program, however, is the ability to take photographs right from your computer. You can also look at the last photograph that you took, and then decide if you want to delete it or upload it to your computer.
Basically, your computer becomes your mini-viewfinder and external shutter release. For example, you can set up your camera on a tripod and point it at the object that you want to take a picture of. Then, use your computer to release the shutter.
This is really helpful if you are zoomed really far out. Even if you are set up on a tripod, you may get blurry pictures by just pressing the shutter release button.
This program even allows you to take and view time-lapse photographs, and you can upload all of your images to a FTP server. You can also adjust your camera’s ISO, shutter speed, white balance and F stops.
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A downside to this program is that it’s only for PCs as of 2011, meaning that Mac users can’t take advantage of this free program. Plus, it’s still in the Beta stage, and you may run into some glitches along the way, especially when trying to transfer pictures between your camera and computer.
Further, the software doesn’t support some Nikon models, including the D300. But, the developers promise that they are adding supports for different cameras all the time.
Another downside is that you can only connect your camera to your computer via a USB cord. This means that you have to have a long enough USB cord to reach your computer, or you need to setup really close to your camera. Since more and more Nikon cameras are support wireless networking, perhaps the developers will add this as a feature in the future.
Another issue is that the program reads certain settings like numbers, making it different to change settings like F stops.
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Is It Worth Your Time?
Overall, the Nikontrol 3K program offers you a lot of features for a great price – free! It’s easy to use despite the Beta, minor glitches. If you own a Nikon camera, then you should download and use this program.
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Word to the Wise
Just one final word of warning when it comes to downloading software programs: try to download from the author’s website or a reputable third-party site. You can get a virus if you download products from un-trusted sites.
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Freeman, Dave. "Nikontrol 3K Tethers Your Camera To Your PC For Free", http://www.crunchgear.com/2011/01/11/nikontrol-3k-tethers-your-camera-to-your-pc-for-free/