Using Bulb Mode

Certain bodies allow the use of bulb mode while tethered. This allows for exposures greater than 30 seconds.

Tethered-Bulb-Capable Bodies

Even though all Nikon bodies show ‘Bulb’ in the shutter speed list, only the following bodies allow shooting in tethered bulb mode. This means that the commands to trigger the shutter travel down the USB connection just like the other ControlMyNikon commands.

  • Df
  • D4
  • D4S
  • D5
  • D500
  • D600
  • D610
  • D750
  • D800
  • D800E
  • D810
  • D850
  • D5200
  • D5300
  • D5500
  • D5600
  • D7100
  • D7200
  • D7500

Non-Tethered-Bulb-Capable Bodies

For bodies not on the above list, you can still do bulb shots with ControlMyNikon. However you will need a separate piece of hardware called a DSUSB. It can trigger the shutter via a separate USB connection that controls a wired or infrared trigger. You must enable the DSUSB in the Tools menu first, then select bulb mode.

Bulb Duration

  • Minimum: 1 second
  • Maximum: Varies per body. Check your manual for more info.


Bulb shots are accurate to 200 milliseconds (1/5 second). For more accuracy on shots shorter than 31 seconds, use the actual shutter speed needed instead of using bulb. So if you want a highly accurate 20 second shot, select ’20’ from the shutter speed list instead of setting it to bulb and setting the duration to 20 seconds.

Two Methods for Bulb Capture

Use the Long Exposure workflow for assistance in calculating the bulb exposure time necessary for a good exposure. This workflow also provides a step-by-step description of the steps to take to capture the bulb shot and an extra shot that can be used for noise reduction in post-processing. Your captures are shown in the image browser.

Use the Bulb workflow for an easier capture workflow. It assumes that you already know the exposure time you need, so you just need to enter the exposure time in seconds, and the press the Capture button. Your captures are shown in a mini-browser on the same tab.


  • The ‘AF and Shoot’ button will not trigger a bulb shot.
  • Bulb mode while in live view is not available.
  • Bulb mode is accessible in the HDR, Time-lapse and Long Exposure workflows.

Example 1: 90 second exposure on a Tethered-Bulb-Capable body

  1. Connect to your camera.
  2. Set the shutter speed to ‘Bulb’.
  3. Go to the Workflows menu and select ‘Long Exposure’.
  4. Set the Duration to 90 seconds.
  5. Click the Capture’ button. You can click the ‘Cancel’ button to cancel the bulb shot at any time.
  6. Wait until the 90 seconds has passed.

Example 2: 90 second exposure on a Non-Tethered-Bulb-Capable body and/or with DSUSB.

Same as above, but enable ‘DSUSB’ in the Tools menu first.