Nikon MC-30 Remote Shutter Release

Concept: 3 out of 5
Execution: 1 out of 5
Yeah, but: Seriously, it costs how much?

The Long Version: The Nikon MC-30 is an 80cm wire with a button on one end and a connector on the other. When the button is partially depressed it sends one kind of signal, when it's fully depressed it sends another, and there's a lock to keep the contact closed. The slim amount of power needed for the signal comes from the camera it's connected to. It works reliably and smoothly.

For $14.95, it would be just about perfect. And in a perfect world, it would cost about fifteen bucks.

For those who haven't seen the actual price of this device, I won't spoil the surprise. Let's just say that we live in a very imperfect world. For some reason, wired remotes are invariably expensive, and the Nikon one doesn't break the trend.

A cable release is what you need to make all of the rest of the tripod-related expense and hassles worthwhile. In fact, I'd wager that a decent tripod and a cable release will outperform a tripod that costs significantly more but isn't used with a remote shutter release. So in a way, the Nikon wired remote (and all of its original-manufacturer brethren) are a cheap way to improve your photographs. But by comparing it to the vastly more complicated electronics that you can buy for less money - toasters, alarm clocks, DVD players - it's completely out of alignment with the universe. The MC-30 cable release will probably last forever and is made in Japan, but considering what it costs I have a hard time endorsing it as a general purchase, no matter how useful it can be.

Long-time readers of this blog may notice that this is the first time I've reviewed anything from Nikon, and wonder why I'm not writing up the almost-as-expensive Olympus RM-CB1 instead. That might be a really good question.


  1. DSLR camera bodies are free crack that sucks you into alliegance to "the System".

    Two Words worth $15: Gadget Infinity.

  2. So I'll ask the question: Why are you reviewing a piece of Nikon gear? Are you migrating away from Olympus, to say the D300 or D700?

  3. Bill, I wouldn't say that I'm moving away from Olympus, but I have added a D700 and 85mm tilt-shift to my kit. It does things that my Olympus gear can't, but likewise Nikon can't match the range, quality, and carryability of the Olympus lenses that I already have. My Nikon equipment will eventually include 3-4 prime lenses, and I have no plans to buy more Oly gear, but that's mostly because I've already bought it all. So I hope that the two will peacefully co-exist, the same way that two different film formats can.

    Keith, you raise an important point: there are other, invariably cheaper, solutions to this problem. But the two words that mattered most to me this time around were "immediately available". And you're always better at finding good mixes, I'm much more likely to go for the name-brand system-component mentality.

    Nikon actually makes an even more expensive wired remote: the MC-36 with a built-in intervalometer timer. All of the current cameras that it fits include built-in intervalometers. It costs twice as much as this one, doesn't include batteries, and gets rave reviews on Amazon. I'll never figure this stuff out.

  4. Thanks for answering, Matt. I own an E-3 with a number of Olympus lenses (12-60, 50-200, 9-18). The entire system is quite remarkable for most of my personal needs. But there are times when I could some of the more exotic lenses from Nikon, such as tilt-shift for architecture. I could also use the better low-light abilities of the Nikon sensors. For that reason I've been thinking of purchasing the D300.

    I'm looking at the D300 because of price, and because it has a full 100% viewfinder like the E-3. It also has a magnesium-built and sealed body like the E-3. It's also in the same basic price range as the E-3, and within my budget constraints. I had considered the D700, but the 95% viewfinder is a deal-breaker for me, and the D3 with 100% is too expensive for my tastes.

    I know I carry on about the viewfinder coverage but it's very high on my list of important features, and it's a feature the D700 should have carried down from the D3. Especially for $2000.

    Good luck. I'll certainly be watching this blog a lot more in the future.

  5. Bill, thanks for your endorsement. I'll be writing some thoughts on the D700 / E-3 comparison soon. It's something that I've been spending a lot of energy on, for obvious reasons; and it might interest a half-dozen people, which is a pretty sizable audience around here.

    The 95% viewfinder in the D700 is something to adjust to, but it's the even littler things - power switch, dial directions - that are tripping me up. And while its iso3200/6400 performance is amazing, the E-3's IS makes up for some of it. What has really blown me away is just how much latitude the raw files have for adjustment. The sensor really is amazing.

    I'm not sure that the D300 is really any better than the E-3 - it's certainly one of those cases where the photographer will make the difference. The sensor might be a touch better, but the cost and practical advantages of built-in IS easily makes up for it. And Nikon has no answer to the 12-60 or 50-200, just like Olympus has nothing like the Nikon perspective control lenses.

  6. take that thing apart. It's three wires and a couple pieces of metal...
    if you chopped off the handle, you could still operate it by connecting the wires. Two for the half-press, all three for the full press of the shutter.

    Re: D700.
    You can swap the dial functions, rotating direction and meter direction to whatever you like.

  7. Anthony, thanks for the vivisection.

    I've been playing with the various controls and settings on the D700, and have a goal of a 'one week' overview. That would mean I need to have it up in three days - four if I count the time to charge the battery. I don't think I'm gonna make it.


Thewsreviews only permits comments from its associate authors. If that's you, awesome and thanks. If not, you can find the main email address on this page, or talk to us on Twitter.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

contact me...

You can click here for Matthew's e-mail address.