Nikon Camera Control Pro Software

Having written in glowing terms about Scott Kelby, who recommended the use of Nikon’s Camera Control Pro software, I now find I am going to speak less favourably about it.

OK, first, it almost works well and certainly I was able to shoot images and see them on my laptop screen, writing direct to hard drive. I could control the camera settings from the laptop and generally not have to touch the camera at all – good if you want to keep things still, certainly.

However, I have some gripes. Chief amongst them is that this software costs money, and it really isn’t all that good as an application on a Mac. In fact, it probably works better on a PC, since the layout of it was pretty counter intuitive. For example, when you use mac software you generally get a very logical experience. So when you take a photo and send it to your computer you’d expect it to appear on screen right away (or as soon as it ‘lands’), right? Well, no… you have to set a preference so that the image can be viewed. This just isn’t right, in my opinion.

Then you get the issue with speed. Resizing the window takes an age, whether you are viewing a RAW file of 15Mb or a JPEG of around 4Mb. There are only two size options pre-set – 100% (way too big for a laptop screen) and 50% – usable, but not great. At 100% you get scroll bars, which do not move. Where is the ability to set the scale exactly as you want it? Or do we rely on the infinitely slow resize the window and click the button that fits to the size you create?

Moving back and forth between images… ? Be prepared for a wait. A long, long wait.

It was excruciatingly slow and I thought there must be an update. There was – I had downloaded and installed version 1.3, and there was a version 2 ‘Pro’ application as a trial, too. The change og didn’t look impressive – basically added some functions for the D300 and D3 cameras. Fair enough, but I wanted to try it all the same. I downloaded it and ran the installer, which kindly informed me that it had to remove the earlier version before it could continue.

And that’s where it all stopped.

Version 2 wouldn’t even install on my system (OSX 10.5 ‘Leopard’) and just sat there eating resources as it did very little of any use. OK – it could be that it isn’t keen on the current flavour of OSX, and to be fair there is a suggestion on Nikon’s web site that hints this might be the case, but again – if it doesn’t work on Leopard, don’t let it start the installer (there’s plenty of apps that check the system before they install)!

So I am left with a great urge to shoot ‘tethered’ and no ability to do so. And the price for this is around $70, so I shan’t be parting with that money just yet, then.

This software really ought to be free. I can’t imagine anyone using this and thinking it was a good experience, and yet the potential for it is simply massive. As a free download I might live with it (and wouldn’t use it much). As a paid download I would feel absolutely cheated. Its a good job there is a trial period!

So come on Nikon – get your act together on this one. Give us the right functionality, get it working in an intuitive way, and get ALL of the features running at the right speed, please! I’d be happy to help you do this if you need someone to act as part of a focus group of testers – but until then I won’t be giving you any more money (well, for software at least).

13 thoughts on “Nikon Camera Control Pro Software

  • 14 February, 2008 at 8:56 am
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    It may not be a good experience on a mac but it sure does work well on a pc. I can’t speak highly enough of the product and have used it for the past 3 years. Apart from transferring photo files quickly between camera and computer, the profile loading and saving feature is my favorite. I can simply plug the camera in and download all my particular settings in a few seconds. When I need to set the camera up for one of my preset modes: “concert”, “studio”, “walkabout”, “hand held portraiture”, and “sport” I plug the camera into my laptop, click on the profile I want and 2 seconds later 20-30 different settings are adjusted and ready for the task at hand.

    I think all you have identified is that the software doesnt run well on Macs. Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your choice of computer and go with the majority which will always be serviced better by software vendors.

  • 14 February, 2008 at 2:03 pm
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    Hi Gary – thanks for that. You could well be right and I think at least in part I was bemoaning the way that the new OS (Leopard) is not quite ready. That said, version 1 did work after a fashion, but not nearly as well as it might.

    I have no doubt that the software will provide a lot of additional tools for me and others), but I see no reason to move away from the Mac platform just for one piece of software. As a matter of fact I do also run win XP on this machine using an emulator, so it may be worthwhile installing the software in that to see what happens.

    I note that Apple have just released version 2 of ‘Aperture’ which provides tethered capabilities too. I doubt that it will match the settings capabilities that you mention, but I’d be prepared to try.

  • 14 February, 2008 at 7:45 pm
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    Im running v2 on Leopard and it works flawlesley. Does exactly what I expect it to do and does it well. So far I have no complaints.

  • 15 February, 2008 at 10:56 am
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    Thanks for that Matt – yes, I have now managed to install the software, but to do so I created a new admin account, installed there and then deleted the account. I can at least run the software now!

    I’ll take back what I said about the software installation 😉 It must have been an issue on my mac…

    As soon as I can I’ll post a (hopefully more positive) review of v2!

  • 2 February, 2009 at 6:15 pm
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    Hi Hal,
    Your last line on the review said that you would post a new review “(hopefully more positive)” on the Nikon Camera Control Pro V2, which was dated Feb 15th 2008.
    Have you had a chance to write that revise yet please? I’ll tell you for why, I have a Nikon D200+PowerBook G4+ IBM ThinkPad so it’s up to you. Mac or PC?
    I look forward to an interesting reply.
    Clive

  • 4 February, 2009 at 10:31 pm
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    Hi Clive – thanks for that… I *did* do a quick check on version 2, which you can see here:

    http://www.halmaclean.co.uk/2008/02/20/nikon-camera-control-pro-software-version-2/

    I was altogether more impressed with v2, but there are still things I’d change in terms of the user interface – it’s not as intuitive as most pieces of mac software, but I think that’s a legacy from the way it must have been developed… PC first, perhaps?

    Anyway – I still think it is a tad pricey, but if you want tethered shooting, decent controls and spend a lot of time with the kit it does offer value for money. For the incidental user, it’s probably a step too far.

  • 5 February, 2009 at 11:57 am
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    Hi Hal,
    Thanks for the review, most enjoyable. My IBM ThinkPad is less unwieldy even than my beloved Powerbook G4 so that is the route I shall take. Tell me, where can it be bought for £70 as you quoted in your review? The cheapest I found was £115 or are you talking about version 1?
    Kind regards
    Clive

  • 5 February, 2009 at 4:26 pm
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    Hi Hal

    Clive Lloyd must have misread your $70 for £70!

    I have been looking for a way to shoot tethered with a D3 on a Mac & did not relish paying £145 for the CCP software. I have just tried Bibble Pro app. and it does work, after a fashion, but with no way to adjust the camera from the computer it is a bit basic, so if you need a moderately good editing application as well,that may be the direction to go. I am disappointed with Nikon not including tethered shooting software with its ‘professional’ hardware (as Canon does!) when many professional shooting jobs are much easier with a tethered camera/computer.

    This is one of many reviews of Camera Control Pro I have seen which are only lukewarm on the application, especially when used on a Mac.

  • 5 February, 2009 at 9:45 pm
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    Clive – the review was a while back, and I bet the price has long since changed…. I am sure it was about that when I last looked, but since I didn’t purchase it, I can’t be sure. £115 sounds about right in today’s market.

    James – thanks – I’ll look at Bibble Pro, but I think I’m more interested in seeing Aperture and what can be done there. CCP does give great control over the camera, and you can save as many settings as you like, which is a real bonus, IMO. However, the overall impression is that there is more to do (particularly on the mac version) to get this app to a good level and worth the cost. I’m glad I’m not the only one saying it!

  • 5 February, 2009 at 11:31 pm
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    Thank you Hal for your advice I will put it to good use.
    You might find the attached of interest, it must have taken for ever to produce.
    Zoom in and enjoy.
    Clive
    http://tinyurl.com/c64uam

  • 7 February, 2009 at 12:02 am
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    Thanks Clive – that’s an awesome image, isn’t it? I have seen it earlier this month, but it still amazes me with the clarity.

  • 22 April, 2009 at 3:29 pm
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    I really want to use this software for time lapse using the nikon d80 when filming our weddings. I would like to mix time lapse photography into our wedding videos. However, I would like to try this software before I buy. Does anyone know where I can get a trial of camera control pro for the mac?

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