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Nikon Motor Drive MD-4 Manual

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Nikon Motor Drive MD-4Nikon MD-4 - Camera power drive booster

Weight: 16.9 oz

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Comments to date: 2. Page 1 of 1. Average Rating:
ehegagoka 7:41pm on Sunday, September 26th, 2010 
Works, but overpriced This does exactly what you want it to do, so there is not much to review. It is overpriced though.
eric l 11:18am on Tuesday, June 1st, 2010 
Works, but Cheaper Alternatives Out There No problems with these cables. They trigger my strobe using the Pocket Wizard. However.

Comments posted on are solely the views and opinions of the people posting them and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of us.




Nikon Motor Drive


(1) Battery check button (2) Counter setting dial LED indicators (9) Auto rewind-stop terminals (10)
(3) Frame counter setting index (4) Frame counter (5) Rewind slide (R2)
Rewind slide 1 lock button (11) Rewind slide 1 (R1) (12) Battery chamber with Battery clip (13)
Trigger button (14) (6) Motor drive coupling prong S-C mode selector (15) Motor drive coupling cover storage compartment (16)

(7) Electrical contacts

(8) Rewind button pin
Camera positioning pin (17)
Mounting screw (20) (18) Anatomical grip Attachment wheel (21) Automatic film rewind fork (22) External power terminal (23)
Remote terminal (24) (19) Maganize back terminal Battery clip release catch (25)

Tripod socket (26)

NOMENCLATURE. 2-3 FOREWORD. 4 BASIC OPERATION. 5-9 CONTROLS IN DETAIL. 10-16 Anatomical Grip. 10 S-C Mode Selector. 10-11 (including Mulliple exposures) Trigger Button. 12 Frame Counter. 12-13 Rewind Slides 1 (R1) and 2 (R2). 14 Battery Chamber. 15 Battery Check Button and LED Indicators. 16 ElectricalTerminals. 16 (Magazine back terminal/External power terminal/Remote terminal) ACCESSORIES. 17 - 21 PowerAccessories. 17 (MN-2 NiCd Battery Unit and MH-2 Quick Charger/ MA-4 AC/DC Converter and MC-ll External Power Cord) ConvenientAccessories. 18 (MF-6 Camera Back/Pistol Grip Model 2 and MC-3 Connecting Cord/AH-2 Tripod Adapter) Remote Control Accessories. 19-20 (MC- 12 Remote Cord with Button Release /MW-1 Radio Control Set and MC-S Connecting Cord/ ML-1 Modulite Remote Control Set and MC-8 Connecting Cord/ MR-2 Terminal Release) Simultaneous and Time Lag Shooting Accessories. 21 (MC-4 Remote Cord/MT-1 Intervalometer and MC-S Connecting Cord/Time-lapse exposures) SPECIFICATIONS. 22 OPTIMUM BATTERY PERFORMANCE. 23


Congratulations. You now own the MD4 Motor Drive, an accessory designed to advance the film automatically through the Ni*on F3 camera. The MD-4 offers either "Single" or "Continuous" operation. At "S," the film advances to the next frame as soon as the picture is taken. At "C, "it will be advanced at 4 frames per second with penlight batteries or at 6 fps when using the optional MN-2 NiCd Battery Unit. In addition, the MD-4 offers automatic film rewind. Even though the MD4 is extremely easy to use, you should still familiarize yourself with its basic operation as presented in the first section. For more detailed explanations and special picturetaking situations, refer to the sections CONTROLS IN DETAIL and ACCESSORIES. A few minutes wisely invested now will pay off in years of rewarding photographic experiences.


1.Unscrew the camera's motor drive coupling cover. First make sure the camera's power switch is turned off. Then turn the camera upside down and use a coin to unscrew the cover.Remove the motor drive's battery clipG). Slide the release catch ~to the right and the battery clip will pop out.
2.Remove the motor drive's battery clip(13). Slide the release catch (25)to the right and the battery clip will pop out.
3.Store the cover in the compartment (16) provided. To prevent the cover from being misplaced, slip it into the storage compartment on the end of the battery clip. To remove the motor drive coupling cover, push the small catch to the outside as you turn the battery clip upside down. The cover will then fall out.


4.Load the batteries. Install 8 AA-type penlight batteries into the clip following the " + " and "-" indications.
5.Install the battery clip. Put the clip back in the battery chamber (13). Push it until it snaps into place.
6.Check the battery power. Push the battery check button (1) If both LED's (9) light up, the batteries have been loaded properly and their power is sufficient. If one LED glows, the batteries should be replaced with a fresh set. If none go on, this indicates that the batteries have not been loaded correctly or are completely dead.

7.Attach the motor drive to the camera body. Make sure the S-C mode selector (15) of the motor drive is set to L (Lock) before attaching the camera. Otherwise the motor might start operating. Place the camera body on top of the motor drive so that the motor drive's mounting screw (20) lines up with the camera's tripod socket and the camera positioning pin (17) is aligned with the motor drive coupling hole. Then turn the attachment wheel (21) counterclockwise until the two units are screwed tightly together.
8.Load the camera with film. Load film into the camera in the normal way. Note: Do not detach the motor drive from the camera while it's still loaded with film. Unless you are in o darkroom. the film might become exposed to liqht entering through the bottom of the camera.
9.Set the frame counter (4) to the orange dot. Turn the counter setting dial (2) until the frame counter reaches the orange dot.
10.Set the S-C mode selector (15). Lift up and set the S-C mode selector for either S (SINGLE) or C (CONTINUOUS) operation.

11.Take the picture(s).

Depress the trigger button (14) halfway to switch on the meter. If you're satisfied with the reading, push the button all the way down to take the shot (s).
12.Rewind the film automatically. When the film reaches the end of the roll, it will automatically stop and one LED will light up. Depress the lock button (11) on rewind slide I (R1) (12) and push the slide to the left. Then, while holding it, push rewind slide 2 (R2) (5) up. Immediately the film starts rewinding. When the sound becomes more high-pitched, push rewind slide 2 back down to stop film rewinding.
13.Remove the film cartridge.
14.Turn the S-C mode selector to the L-setting. To prevent the shutter from being accidentally tripped between shooting sessions, turn the S-C mode selector to the L (LOCK) position.
Unload the camera in the normal manner.


Anatomical Grip (18) The MD-4 features a new anatomical grip to permit the photographer to shoot either horizontal or vertical pictures comfortably. For horizontal shooting, hold the grip so that your thumb is behind the camera and your forefinger is on the trigger button. In this way, you can change quickly from horizontal to vertical shooting. However, another way to hold the motor drive vertically is to balance the grip in your palm with your thumb over the trigger button. This position is recommended for onehanded shooting over an extended period of time, such as when using a bracketmount flash unit off-camera.

S-C Mode Selector (15) Concentric with the trigger button for easy access, this dial sets the motor drive for either single frame (S) or continuous (C) operation. There is also a lock (L) position. At "S" (Single Frame) At all shutter speeds, except "B" and "T," the motor drive trips the shutter and winds the film in a single sequential step. At the same time, one LED lights up to indicate film advance. At~the "B" setting, when the trigger button is pushed, the shutter fires and remains open until you take your finger off the button. Then the film advances automatically to the next frame. At "T," the shutter remains open until the shutter speed dial is rotated off the "T" setting.
Note: With the camera's power switch turned on, you can take motordriven single frame shots by using the camera's shutter release button. When you depress the button, the shot is taken, and when you release pressure from the button, the Rlm B wound to the next frame. This occurs with the S-C mode selector set to either "S" or "C."
At C (Continuous) As long as you hold the trigger button down, shots will be taken rapidly in succession. Any shutter speed setting, except "B" and "T," can be used. At shutter speeds slower than 1/125 sec., the firing rate automatically slows down to match the shutter speed in use. Motor-driven multiple exposures are possible by holding the multiple exposure lever in position while firing off a short burst (see the picture above). After you're finished, make a blank shot by covering the lens with a lens cap. This will advance the film to the next unexposed frame without adding another shot to the multiple exposure just completed.
Caution: Do nat hold down the backup mechanical release lever while shooting on Continuous, as the shutter will not open properly.
At L (Loc) The trigger button is locked and the motor drive will not operate. However, by turning on the camera's power switch, you can use the shutter release button to trip the shutter and advance the film manually just as if the MD-4 were not attached.
Trigger Button (14) The MD-4's trigger button, because it is an electromagnetic release, operates in exactly the same manner as the camera's shutter release button. It not only trips the shutter but serves as a meter switch as well. When depressed halfway, it turns on the meter and activates the LCD exposure information in the viewfinder. If the button is not touched again, the meter will turn itself off automatically after 16 sec. to conserve battery power. With the MD-4 attached, it makes no difference whether the camera's power switch is turned on or not. In fact, you might find it easier to leave the switch in the OFF position and control the camera's meter entirely with the trigger button.

Frame Counter (4) A subtractive-type frame counter is built into the MD-4. For normal shooting, set the counter to the orange dot and forget it. At this setting, the counter is disengaged and the motor drive stops automatically when the film tension increases at the end of the roll. However, in below-freezing temperatures, film becomes brittle and easy to break. Therefore, to prevent the film from being accidentally torn, set the frame counter to the number of fraEr es on the roll. When the counter reaches "0," the motor drive automatically shuts off before the film is damaged. One LED also lights up as a visual indication. To set the counter, turn the counter setting dial to the right until the desired number is aligned with the white index (3). 36, 24, 20, and 12 are in red corresponding to the number of 12
frames in commercially-available cartridges. You can also shoot short bursts by setting the counter to the number you want (Fig. 1). When the counter reaches "O," the motor drive stops and one LED lights up (Fig. 2). To reset the frame counter for another burst, first turn the counter setting dial to the orange dot and the LED will go out (Fig. 3). Then you can rotate the counter to the desired number. Before resetting the counter, make sure to check the camera's frame counter to determine whether there are enough exposures left on the roll for the next burst.
Note: If you rewind the film before the frame counter reaches "O," the counter will not reset properly to the orange dot. Therefore, before starting to shoot your next roll of film, make sure to reset the counter to the desired setting. The film becomes brittle in low temparatures. In cold climate, be careful not to overestimote the number of frames remaining on a roll of film since thismayresultin the motor pulling the Rlm offthe supplyspool or damaging its perforated edges. R may be a good practice to set the frame counter to one less than the number af frames remaining on a roll of film. For example, if you food a fresh S6-exp. roll, set the frame caunter to 35.
Rewind Slides 1 (R1) and 2(R2) (5) When one LED lights up to signal that the film is at an end, you must rewind the film. To simplify this operation, the MD-4 features completely automatic film rewinding. Depress the lock button on R1 and push the slide to the left. Then while holding R1 in position, push R2 up. Immediately the film will start rewinding. When the sound becomes more high-pitched, this indicates the leader has been completely rewound back into the cartridge. To stop the rewinding action, push R2 back down and immediately R1 will spring back into its original position.

If you were using the frame counter, it moves from "O" to the orange dot position as soon as R2 is pushed up. Rewinding time for a 36-exposure roll of film with alkalinemanganese batteries is approximately 8 sec.; with the optional MN-2 NiCd Battery Unit, it is reduced to 4.5 sec.
Note: If the film is automabcally rewound in cold weather, static electncity charges may cause accidental expasures resembling lightningLalts to appear an the film. To prevent this from happening, push R1 to the leff and rewind the film slowly by hand with the camera's film rewind crank.
* Possible when shutter speed is 1/125 sec. or above and the mirror is locked in the up position.

Table 1

Shutter speed range (sec.) AA penlight batteries (Zinc-carbon) 3.8 4


Power source AA penlight MN-2 batteries battery (Alkaline(NiCd) manganese) 3.5.MA-4(AC/DC converter)


1/125 - 1/2000 mirror up
Battery Chamber (13) Instead of using a separate battery pack, the MD4 houses its batteries in a built-in battery chamber. The standard MS-3 Battery Clip accepts 8 AAtype penlight batteries to power the motor drive up to 4 frames per second. Once the motor drive is attached, the camera gets all its power from the batteries in the motor drive. In this way, the camera is able to run on high capacity batteries. As a separate accessory, the MD-4 accepts the MN2 NiCd Battery Unit for extremely high-speed shooting up to 6* fps. Since NiCd batteries are better able to maintain their peak performance in cold temperatures, the camera/motor drive combination will still operate down to -20C. The following table lists the firing rates according to power source (Table 1), while the bar graph gives you the expected life of various battery types under ordinary temperatures (Table 2).

Table 2

Zinc-Carbon Alkalinemanganese) NiCd Battery Unit MN-2
(Number of 36-exposure rolls)

100 140

The range of guaranteed firing rates The range within operative battery power but without gurantee of the specified firing rates

Battery Check Button(1) and LED Indicators(9) To check battery power, depress the battery check button. If both LED's light up, the power is sufficient to provide the fastest firing rates. If only one LED comes on, you can still use the MD-4, but at slower rates. If neither LED lights up, the batteries should be changed for a fresh set. The LED's also indicate other camera functions. One LED will light up: 1) each time the film is wound after a shot is taken; 2) when the film reaches the end of the roll and needs rewinding; 3) when the frame counter reaches "0"; or 4) when auto-rewinding is stopped with the optional MF-6 Camera Back.
Note: One LED will also hght up if the batteries become so weak that the motor dNve can no longer advance the hlm and just stops during the course of shooting.
Electrical Terminals The MD-4 is provided with three separate electrical terminals. 1) Magazine back terminal (19) Located at the bottom of the motor drive's grip, the magazine back terminal allows a magazine back to be connected to the MD-4's electrical system. 2) External power terminal (23) The smaller of the two terminals on the front of the motor drive's base, the externalpower terminal allows the MA-4 AC/DC Converter to be connected to the MD-4 for extended studio shooting. 3) Remote terminal (24) The larger of the two, the remote terminal allows a variety of remote control devices to be attached.


Power Accessories MN-2 NiCt Battery Unit and MH-2 Quick Charger Optional battery unit and companion charger for the fastest firing rate. Also recommended when using the MD-4 under extremely cold weather conditions. Three to four hour recharging is possible.
MA-4 ACIDC Converter and MC-ll External Power Cord Especially recommended when using the MD-4 for extended studio sessions. Supplies a constant 15V DC current to the motor drive. The new MC-ll Cord plugs into the external power terminal of the MD4. Note that the motor drive MD-4 cannot be fired by using the release button on the MA-4 AC/DC Converter.

Convenient Accessories MF-6 Camera Back
Attached to the F3 in place of the standard camera back, the MF-6 provides automatic film rewindstop with the film leader left outside the cartridge for ease in darkroom handling.
Pistol Grip Model 2 and MC-3 Connecting Cord Nikon's special pistol grip can be screwed into either the camera's tripod socket or the tripod mounting collar of a supertelephoto lens to provide more stable handheld shooting. The MC-3 Cord plugs into the MD-4's remote terminal.
AH-2 Tripod Adapter (Not pictured) A plate screwing into the bottom of the MD-4 repositions the tripod socket in the middle. 18
Remote Control Accessories MC-12 Remote Control with Button Release For remote control up to 3 meters away, the MC-12 has a handgrip and trigger release button for convenient operation. Depressing the button halfway turns on the camera's exposure meter; depressing it further releases the shutter. After finger pressure is removed, the meter stays on for 16 sec., automatically turning itself off to conserve battery power.
MW-1 Radio Control Set and MC-5 Connecting Cord Provides interference-free remote control up to 0.7km. Three separate channels allow three motordriven cameras to be operated automatically. Easy to handle. MC-S Cord plugs into the MD-4's remote terminal.
ML-1 Modulite Remote Control Set and MC-B Connecting Cord Utilizes modulated light to control up to two motor-driven cameras automatically. Compact and easy to handle. Can be used up to 60 meters away. MC-8 Cord plugs into motor drive's remote terminal.
MR-2 Terminal Release Allows the MD-4 to be triggered with the AR-2 Cable Release. Does not provide viewfinder display of the shutter speed when depressed halfway.
Simultaneous and Time Lag Shooting Accessories MC-4 Remote Cord With plus and minus banana plugs, the MC-4 Cord can be used to fire up to three motor-driven F3s simultaneously. Follow the diagram for proper connection.
Note: For proper operation, the common electNcal leads (indicated by bold lines in the diagram) should be kept as short as possib/ e.
MT-1 Intervalometer and MC-5 Connecting Cord Provides time lag shooting with the F3. Time-lapse exposures You can trigger the motor drive for time-lapse exposures by connecting an intervalometer or similar device to the trigger circuit in place of the ON/OFF switch. In this case, there will be a slight time delay between the moment the trigger circuit is closed and the shutter is released. Delay time Mirror locked-up30 milliseconds Mirror operating40 milliseconds


Camera fitting Shooting modes Nikon F3 Choice of single-frame (S) or continuous (C) firing via S-C mode selector; lock (L) position also provided By electromagnetic trigger button; also switches on camera meter when depressed halfway; meter remains on for 16 sees. after finger is lifted off button Up to 6 frames per second (fps) with NiCd Battery Unit MN-2, up to 4 fps with 8 penlight AA-type batteries; firing rates decrease at shutter speeds slower than 1/125 sec. Motor shuts off at film's end with LED indication; frame counter also provided to automatically stop film winding after preset number of exposuresuseful in very low temperatures Number of 36-exp. Guaranteed firing rate: approx. rolls per fresh battery 60 with all types of batteries; set slower firing rates, but still usable: approx. 70 with NiCd Battery Unit MN-2, approx. 100 with zinccarbon batteries; approx. 140 with alkaline - manganese batteries Automatic film 4.5 sees. with NiCd Battery Unit rewind MN-2 and 8 sees. with AA-type penlight batteries for 36exposure film; automatic film rewind stop with optional MF-6 Camera Back Shutter speeds 8 to 1/2000 sec. including "X" ( 1/80 sec. ) Dimensions 146.5mm(W)x 115.0mm(H)x 71.0mm(D) Weight 480g

Shutter release

Firing rate

Automatic winding stop

1. New batteries: Between manufacturing and first use, all batteries exhibit some drain. Therefore, care should be taken to purchase the newest (and freshest) ones possible. To help you do this, some manufactures stamp the date of manufacture on the bottom of each battery. Ask your camera dealer for assistance in interpreting the codes. 2. Temperature: Battery life ratings are based on operation at around 20C (68F). At other temperatures, battery life is shortened. At 0C, for instance, battery life is shortened by as much as 2/3. Spare batteries should therefore be kept available if operation in low temperatures is anticipated. 3. Continuous use: Batteries are drained much more quickly by continuous use than by intermittent use. 4. Storage: When not in use, the batteries should be removed to prevent damage from leakage. To minimize drain during the period of disuse, store the batteries in a cool, dry place. 5. Battery brands: Do not use mixed brands of batteries, nor batteries with different model numbers. Also, avoid mixing new and old batteries since proper performance will not be obtained and battery leakage into your MD-4 may occur. 6. Disposal: Do not dispose of batteries by burning. Also, for safety's sake, do not disassemble batteries when disposing. 7. Polarity: When installing batteries, observe the voltage polarities carefully. Reversal of the positive (+) and negative (-) terminals will result in leakage. If leakage should occur, clean carefully or take your MD-4 to your dealer.



Nikon Motor Drive


Battery chamber lid Pilot lamp

Battery chamber lid

Power switch

Rewind slide

S-C selector lock

Tripper button

S-C selector Camera electrical contacts Attachment thumb wheels

Shutter release pin

Drive shaft coupling Rewind button extension

Attachment screw

Remote control socket

Tripod socket

Foreword. 4 Loading the batteries. 5 Attaching the motor drive. 6 Operation. 8 Single-frame shooting. 8 Continuous shooting. 9 Film rewinding. 10 Manual film advance. 10 Double/multiple exposures. 11 Time lapse. 12 Accessories. 13 Remote Cord MC-4. 13 Remote Cord MC-10. 14 Pistol Grip Model 2 and Connecting Cord MC-3. 14 Intervalometer MT-1 and Connecting Cord MC-5. 15 Modulite Remote Control Set ML-1 and Connecting Cord MC-8. 15 Radio Control Set MOO-1 and Connecting Cord MC-5. 16 Terminal Release MR-2. 16 Troubleshooting. 17 Battery performance. 18 Specifications. 18


Although supplied as an accessory for the Nikon FM and FE compact cameras, the MD-12 was, in fact, a major feature in their design concept. Consequently, the only significant difference between operating these cameras with the motor drive attached, as opposed to without it, is that their operation is made considerably easier. So, rather than regarding your Motor Drive MD-12 unit as a special accessory for use only on rare occasions, you should consider it as the normal complement to your Nikon compact camera. For, in fact, the two together represent a major advance in camera-handling technique. To obtain the best results from your Motor Drive MD-12, read the instructions in this manual carefully before use. Keep this booklet handy for quick reference until you have fully mastered operation. A few minutes preparation will help you avoid costly mistakes.


The MD-12 is powered by eight 1.5V penlight (AA size) batteries which are housed in the unit's battery chamber. To load or replace batteries, turn the coinslotted locking screw on the battery chamber lid counterclockwise. The lid will come loose and the battery clip, which forms a single unit with the lid, can be removed. Load the batteries, taking care that they are inserted correctly. Referring to the diagrams on the sides of the clip that show the correct ~vay to insert the batteries, ensure that the positive (+) and negative ( - ) terminals of the batteries are properly positioned. If the batteries are loaded incorrectly, not only will they be depletedthe motor drive could also be damaged. When the batteries are correctly positioned, replace the battery clip. Push the chamber iid down gently until it seats correctly; then, tighten the locking screw on the lid with a coin or similar object until the battery clip fits securely into the battery chamber.
Mounting the MD-12 on your camera is simple; the unit has been designed such that it can be attached or removed at any time regardless of whether or not the camera is loaded with film. Before attaching the MD-12, make sure that its power switch is turned off. Then, position the motor drive on the camera's bottom plate, its handgrip should be at the same end of the camera as the film advance lever. Ensure that the raised ring around the drive shaft is correctly seated inside the locating collar, coaxial with the camera's film advance coupling. Then, fasten the motor drive's attachment screw, turning it clockwise by means of the thumb wheels on either side. Simultaneous use of both fore finger and thumb will speed up attachment. Make sure there is no gap between the motor drive and the camera body; then tighten the attachment screw firmly. When the MD-12 is mounted on an FM camera (Serial No. below 3,000,000) *, the camera's mode selector switch around the shutter release button should be set to "M" (motor)the red line on the selector being aligned with the line on the camera body. This is not necessary with FM cameras (Serial No. over 3,000,000)* or the FE, because the switchover from manual film advance to motor drive operation is made electronically and automatically when the motor drive is switched on. Then, turn the motor drive's power switch to "ON." If the film has been advanced prior to attaching the motor drive, the motor drive

will not operate until you make an exposure using the trigger button on the handgrip. If the film has not been advanced prior to its attachment, the motor drive will operate when its power is turned on, and advance the film and cock the shutter ready for the next exposure. The motor drive will stop and the pilot lamp go out after advancing the film one frame only, regardless of the setting of the S-C selector on the handgrip.
*The serial number appears on back of the camera body just below the film advance lever.

Nikon FM

The camera/MD-12 combination operates in virtually the same manner as the camera on its own. Please refer to your camera's instruction manual for details. When the MD-12 is attached, leave the film advance lever flush with the camera body. Then, when the motor drive's power switch is turned on, the camera's meter can be activated by halfway depressing the trigger button. After releasing your finger from the button, the meter will remain on for approx. 50 seconds giving you enough time to set the correct exposure or adjust the controls. Then the meter will turn itself off automatically to conserve battery power. With the motor drive attached all exposures should be made via the trigger button on the motor drive grip. Concentric with this triggering button is the motor drive S-C selector, giving you a choice of either single frame (S) or continuous (C) shooting. To set the motor drive to either S or C, depress the lock and turn the selector to the required setting. Single-frame shooting: In this mode, depressing the trigger button on the motor drive grip fires the shutter, advances the film one frame and cocks the shutter. You can lift your finger from the trigger button even before the exposure is completed since the electronic interlock prevents the film from advancing until the shutter has completed its travel. The usable shutter speed range when the MD-12 is set at "S" is from 1 second to 1/1000 second with the FM. With the FE, in addition to the automatic setting (AUTO), you can set any of the marked speeds including M90. The "B" setting cannot be used with either camera.
Continuous shooting: In this mode, the motor drive will automatically trigger the shutter and wind the film for as long as the trigger button is depressed. Framing rate will depend on the shutter speed setting, as the motor drive's electronic interlock with the camera's shutter automatically advances the film as soon as the exposure is completed. Maximum framing rate is approximately 3.5 frames per second (fps) at shutter speeds faster than 1/125 sec. Remember that continuous shooting at the maximum rate of 3.5 fps will result in a standard 36 exposure cassette being completely exposed in a little less than 11 seconds. Consequently, you should exercise restraint when operating with the motor set for continuous shooting. Many photographers, however, prefer to leave the camera set for continuous shooting, lifting their finger off the trigger button the instant the exposure is made. This technique results in single-frame operation, but readies the photographer for taking sequence photographs should the situation or need arise. The usable shutter speed range when the MD-12 is set at "C" is from 1/2 second to 1/1000 second with the FM. With the FE, in addition to the automatic setting (AUTO), you can set any of the marked speeds including M90. The "B" setting cannot be used. The FE's automatic exposure capability allows you to follow subjects as they pass through areas of differing brightness, yet still obtain~ correctly exposed results. Although widely varying brightness changes of EV 4 or more may sometimes result in over- or underexposure for the first frame following the transition, this situation is rare in practice

and thus likely to be of little consequence to the average photographer. Important! After shooting, make sure that you turn the motor drive off.
Note: The camera/MD-12 combination is designed to work smoothly under a wide range of climatic conditions. Sub-zero (centigrade) temperatures, however, have a very severe effect on any mechanism. For faultless performance under these conditions, we recommend that, for continuous shooting, you do not use shutter speeds of less than 1/30 sec. The use of slower shutter speeds may result in erratic operation. If it is imperative to use shutter speeds of less than 1/30 sec., switch to single frame shooting.


When the roll of film in the camera has been fully exposed, the MD-12's motor will automatically stop, releasing film tension, with the pilot lamp remaining lit. Turn the power switch off to prevent unnecessary battery drain. Then, push the rewind slide on the motor drive up. Rewind the film normally. See your camera's instruction manual for details.


If at any time you wish to manually advance the film without removing the MD-12 from the camera, turn off the motor drive's power switch after it has finished advancing the film from the previous exposure. Then, in the case of the FM (Serial No. below 3,000,000), turn the mode selector switch so that the black line (white, on black camera bodies) is adjacent to the line on the camera body. As for the FM (Serial No. over 3,000,000) or the FE, it switches automatically from motor drive to manual film advance operation when the motor drive is switched off.
Your camera has a special double/multiple exposure provision built-in in the form of the multi-exposure button or lever. Merely depressing this button or lever allows you to superimpose any number of pictures on the same frame. This provision not only continues to function with the motor drive attached, but opens up creative possibilities that are just not possible when the camera is operated manually. When the motor drive S-C selector is set to "S," the double/ multiple exposure situation is exactly the same as for the camera alone, except that the trigger button on the motor drive is used to trigger the exposure. Remember to depress and hold the multi-exposure button or lever, with your left hand, before you remove your finger from the trigger button. Otherwise, the film will be advanced. On the "C" setting, triggering the release button, while holding the multi-exposure button or lever depressed, will produce multiple images on the same frame. Either the motion of the subject or your movement of the camera will result in the images being separated, producing an original and interesting effect. Hold the multi-exposure button or lever depressed with your left hand, while holding the camera normally with the right. Remember to release the multi-exposure button or lever just before the last exposure, so that the camera is left ready for the next sequence with an unexposed frame in the film gate. If not, cap the lens and make one "blank" exposure. The camera is then ready for the next shot.

Nikon FE

Time lapse photography, the taking of a series of photographs over a period of time from a fixed position, is easily accomplished with your MD-12 equipped camera and a suitable timing device. Timing devices for time lapse photographythe Nikon Intervalometer MT-1,for exampleusually have two variable controls: one for puIse duration and the other for interval time. Pulse duration refers to the length of time that the triggering pulse lasts. Interval time is the time interval between pulses and governs the frequency of the photographs. Additionally, the S-C selector on the MD-12 provides you with the option of taking single photographs or shooting in bursts. With the S-C selector set to "S," one exposure will be made for each triggering pulse, the motor winding on automatically at the end of the triggering pulse or the exposure, whichever is longer. The interval time can be set at any duration, but avoid setting the trigger pulse longer than the interval time. Otherwise continuous or erratic operation will occur. With the S-C selector set to "C," if the triggering pulse's duration is longer than the shutter speed set (or 0.25 sec. in the case of the higher shutter speeds), bursts will be fired at each interval. For example, if the shutter speed is set at 1/1000 sec., and the trigger pulse duration is 2 sec., then approximately 7 exposures will be made at each interval. Generally speaking you will find that operation with the S-C selector set to "S" and the trigger pulse duration set between 0.1 and 0.25 sec. is advisable for the majority of time lapse situations. The variable trigger pulse duration found on some intervalometers is a feature necessitated by the design of the older generation of motor drives, and is largely redundant with the MD-12. Time lapse photography is not possible with the shutter speed dial set to "B." Should you attempt this, the camera's mirror may lock up, with the shutter remaining open, making operation impossible. To restore normal operation in the event of this happening, merely turn the shutter speed dial away from the "B" setting.


Remote Cord MC-4 The Remote Cord MC-4 serves two purposes: it can be used singly as a remote cord or in combination with other MC-4 cords for simu Itaneous operation of multiple motor-driven cameras. One end of the MC-4 features a plug for connection into the camera's remote control socket while the other end has plus and minus banana-type plugs. For remote control operation, you can attach the banana plugs to a triggering circuit of your own design. The cable can be extended to any length, provided that circuit resistance does not exceed 1 kQ. For longdistance operation, however, you will find that Modulite orfadio control systems are more convenient. For simultaneous operation, you can connect two or more motor-driven cameras in parallel using a circuit containing two or more MC-4 cords, plus additional wiring. (Refer to the diagram for details.) For troublefree operation, the common electrical leads (indicated by bold lines in the diagram) should be kept as short as possible. In particular, the total length of each connecting cord (including the MC-4 cord) from motor drive to switch and back again must not create a resistance of more than 5Q. In certain installations in which long cords are required, the use of a relay box is strongly recommended.
Note: When the MC-4 cord is connected to the MD-1 2's remote control socket, the camera's meter is switched on as soon as you turn on the motor drive's power switch.

Remote Cord MC-4

ACCESSORIES - continued
Remote Cord MC-10 With a convenient handgrip and trigger button, the Remote MC10 Cord can be used to fire the MD-12 remotely at up to a distance of 3 meters (10 feet). Note: When the MC-10 cord is connected to the MD-12's remote control socket, the camera's meter is switched on as soon as you turn on the motor drive's power switch. Pistol Grip Model 2 and Connecting Cord MC-3 The Pistol Grip Model 2 screws into the tripod socket of the lens or motor drive to serve both as a means of support and as a means of motor triggering when working with long telephoto lenses. For electrical connection between the pistol grip and the remote control socket on the motor drive, you will also need an MC-3 cord.
Note: When the MC-3 cord is connected to the MD-12's remote control socket, the camera's meter is switched on as soon as you turn on the motor drive's power switch.
Intervalometer MT-1 and Connecting Cord MC-5 The Nikon MT-1 is a precision digital timing unit for slow sequence shooting of experiments or work study programs. Fully solid state, the unit requires only four AA size penlight batteries for operation; this makes it convenient for use on location, as well as in the laboratory. Use of the MT-1 in conjunction with your MD-12 equipped camera is merely a matter of connecting the two units w~th the MC-5 cord supplied with the intervalometer. Exposure intervals of up to eight minutes can be set on the MT-1 control panel.

Note: When the MC-5 cord is connected to the MD-12's remote control socket, the camera's meter is switched on as soon as you turn on the motor drive's power switch.
Modulite Remote Control Set ML-1 and Connecting Cord MC-8 With the ML-1 set, you can trigger your MD-12 equipped camera by remote control at distances of up to 60 meters. Using Nikon's modulated light system, the ML-1 set assures you of trouble-free remote control operation over moderate distances. The set's lightweight and compact size, plus its use of a 9V laminated dry battery, make it ideal for use in both field and studio applications. Connection to the motor drive's remote control socket is by the MC-8 cord supplied with the set.
Note: When the MC-8 cord is connected to the MD-1 2's remote control socket, the camera's meter is switched on as soon as you turn on the motor drive's power switch.
Radio Control Set MOO-1 and Connecting Cord MC-5 The MOO-1 provides you with a wireless, remote control triggering capability for your MD-12 equipped Nikon FM or FE. The set can operate up to three cameras, either simultaneously or individually, at ranges up to 0.7km. Battery powered, the MOO-1 is compact and lightweight, making it ideal for field use. it connects to the remote control socket on the MD-12 via the MC-5 cord supplied with the set.
Terminal Release M R-2 Plugging into the remote control socket, this accessory provides an additional trigger button for firing the motor drive with the camera in the vertical position. It also allows the MD-12 to be triggered with either the Nikon Cable Release AR-2 or the Double Cable Release AR-4. By depressing the button halfway, you can take a meter reading; the meter will automatically stay on for approx. 50 sec. after pressure is removed from the button. To take the picture, depress the button all the way.


Your MD-12 has been designed to make motor drive photography as simple and trouble-free as possible. However, should you operate the camera incorrectly or without clearly understanding what you are doing, minor "hitches" may occur. If this occurs, please follow the instructions below. If the motor drive "jams" during operation, this usually means that the controls have either been operated incorrectly or in the wrong sequence, and the coupling mechanism has disengaged. Should this occur, turn the MD-12's power switch off and make one exposure with the camera's shutter release button, remembering, in the case of the FM (Serial No. below 3,000,000), to switch over to manual film advance. You may find that the motor drive did not finish advancing the film. If so, complete the film advance using the camera's film advance lever, then press the shutter release button. Do not advance the film. Switch the motor drive back on and, in the case of the FM (Serial No. below 3,000,000), revert to the motor drive mode. The motor drive should advance the film ready for the next exposure. If this does not clear the malfunction or you are unable to move the film advance lever at all, do not try to force the controls. Turn the motor drive off once more and simply remove the motor drive from the camera. This will clear the tension in the film advance mechanism, allowing you to advance or finish advancing the film and make one exposure, again do not advance the film. Reattach the motor drive and, in the case of the FM (Serial No. below 3,000,000), switch to motor drive operation. When you switch the motor drive back on, the film should then advance one frame ready for the next exposure. Should you trigger the motor drive with the shutter speed dial set to "B" the absence of an "exposure complete signal" may result in the camera's mirror locking up and the shutter remaining open. To restore normal operation in the event of this happening, merely move the shutter speed dial away from "B." At all times during motor drive operation, the film advance lever should remain flush with the back of the camera. If you move it out to its stand-off position, the motor_drive will stop. Returning the lever to its flush position will automatically start the motor drive once more.


Battery performance varies greatly, depending on its type and age, as well as on operating conditions, including temperature. Consequently, the number of rolls that can be exposed with one set of batteries cannot be accurately predicted. As a guide, however, you can expect to be able to expose more than a hundred 36-exposure rolls of film per set of alkaline-manganese batteries. Since batteries have poor low-temperature characteristics, battery performance diminishes considerably as the temperature decreases. This results in slower shooting speed and reduced film transport capacity. Alkalinemanganese batteries, in particular, suffer severely at temperatures below 0 C.


Camera fitting: Shooting speed: Shooting mode: Usable shutter speeds: Shooting speed: 3.5 fgs approx. maximum (at shutter speeds faster than 1/125 sec.) Single frame (S) Continuous (C) At "S" setting FM 1 ~ 1/1000 sec. FE 8 ~ 1/1000 sec., Auto, M90 At "C" setting FM 1/2 ~ 1/1000 sec. FE 8 ~ 1/1000 sec., Auto, M90 LED lights up when in operation On/off switch provided (also acts as camera's meter switch Trigger button also acts as meter "on" switch and automatically goes "off" approx. 50 seconds later Possible; uses standard Nikon 3pin connector. Eight 1.5V penlight batteries (AA size, in integral battery chamber) Approx. 41 0g (without batteries) Approx. 144 x 36 x 42mm; approx. 144 x 68.5 x 109.5mm (including the grip)
Pilot lamp: Power switch: Meter switch:
Remote control: Power source: Weight: Dimensions: Nikon FM, Nikon FE


Technical specifications

Product TypeCamera power drive booster
Width5.8 in
Depth2.8 in
Height4.5 in
Weight16.9 oz
Universal Product Identifiers
Part Number120



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