cPix Software Camera Control Software for Nikon Coolpix 990, and allegedly others 

Windows users go to http://nikontechusa.com/Nikontechnicalnote6.htm and install that dll , if you haven't already, it should solve most of your connection problems ( for USB ).

This is no longer needed, if you do need the drivers, go to Nikon USAs page and get NKCD.zip it’s the Nikon Coolpix 990 drivers zip file, use the setup program included in the zip
file to install it, then connect the camera, once its recognized run cpix.
USA users Start here http://www.nikonusa.com/template.php?goingto=dtc_home

WebCam using cPix, not always on, but still shows example

cPix camera controller cPix 1.9.3 Latest version is 1.9.3, Version 1.9 had a download bug in Get All

This is an application to control the Nikon Coolpix 990 digital camera. It includes time-lapse functions, and download capabilities. It is in Alpha state.

Last screenshot cpix.jpg

Latest screenshot of cpix version 2.0  cPix 2

 Time for coffee? (Notice there is no pixel creep at all here its dead steady and no after touching, and no tripod I just sat the camera in front of the cup, imagine what you can do if you actually try! )

I added some of the calibration info to the FAQ December 2003, fixed a few of the spelling errors J

Alpha Versions - Its all beta, but this is b(squared) or Abandon all hope all ye who enter here and are called Horatio.

Latest 2.4


-- Version 2.4 march 30 2004 (updated notes)

Added CCD read, recalibrate and RAW mode toggle

The CCD remap has been tested successfully, so you can now map out hot/stuck pixels with cPix.

Also i haven’t checked my new changes with anything other than the Nikon 990 version 1.1 firmware with a USB cable, since i can’t find my serial cable i haven’t checked if it’ll work,
the Get CCD defects should be ok to test, but most 990 owners ought to have a USB cable. The other cameras have other tools available to do this stuff, so you don’t need it.

I did some stuff here ->

-- Version 2.2.1 May 31 2002

Added get exposure

-- Version 2.2.0 March 28 2002

Added shutter adjust ( EV )

-- Version 2.1.9

Added Synctime, which should set the cameras date to the PC's current time , maybe some time zone issues, tested for PST set in UTC  

-- Version 2.1.8

Fixed crash bug for when pictures are taken with 775 no normal timestamp turned off message boxes if upload ftp is used, should restore state.

-- Version 2.1.7

Added simple refreshing html cam support for time lapse mode and ftp upload Started adding exif info to html page

-- Version 2.1.6

Reports of working with 880 Started working on better preview mode

History ( or 2.1.5 ) ( 22:48 PST 7 November 2001 )

Finally got hold of a 995(rented one from samys), its all timing issues with the initialization (seems to work now)
There’s no aperture control available with the 995, zoom seems odd too(though works), and  no shutter speed settings ?
Bug in 2.1.4/3/2 that cause problems with "Download All" fixed, i knew that would bite me sometime.
Verified 995 diction and resolutions, something works!
There is a few seconds delay in connecting while in serial mode while i figure out what’s really going on.
There must be information missing in the protocols, there has to be otherwise the MC-EU1 wouldn't work on all the coolpixes.
I hope I'm not the only person using this software =)
Rebuilding for size, not speed. ( or 2.1.4 ) ( 12:60 PST 3 November 2001 )

added video capture framework, simple motion detect and trigger in place.  Requires a DirectShow compliant video source.
Reports of 995 still not working, quite depressing!  I'm going to try and pick one up to test with.
Added more info to the logger. These can get quite large so check on them now and again ( or 2.1.3 ) ( 11:03 PST 1 November 2001 )

added current frame between serial connects
added 995 resolutions
serial soak test completed, 4 hours / 200 images run with little problem
oops bug in "other" resolutions would have caused a crash in non recognized cameras.(updated 11:43 1 November 2001 ) ( or 2.1.2 ) ( 20:52 PST 31 October 2001 )

Finished the progress meters.
Thumbnail view changed, seems to sort correctly, though it probably needs to be a natural sort.
Preview window has a progress box
Preview window is always on top.
4000 ms serial mode timeout seems to work fine for my 990 in serial mode.
Resolution should detect 950 or 990 , waiting for 995 model number.
Added new resolutions for scripting (you can specify any value for the resolution via the scripter, of course it might not take) thanks to Dr. Stanislav Vitha for the numbers for the 995
Scripter shows a display.
Gaussian blur shows a display.
Should now remember all click boxes between sessions
CurrentFrame changes, since CURRENT_FRAME is write only
Should remember changes between serial reconnects, what a pain =) ( or 2.1.1 ) ( 14:56 PST 31 October 2001 )

Started serial disconnect/reconnect model of operation, seems to work well now.
Fixed up some RPT macros for linefeed/CR. (internal)

Added SerialTimeout to serial dialog, use this to specify the timeout between reconnections in serial mode, if camera fails to respond in serial mode
 between commands, try lowering the value, to low and it'll be very slow, too high and it'll lose connection, default is 1 sec / 1000ms. Doesn't affect
 USB mode.
Hopefully i got all the commands, I may have missed one or two, let me know if any fail.

Added Gaussian blur mode ( accessible from scripter , designed for upcoming dark frame subtraction )
Redone the progress meters, nearly there, temporarily disabled
Added messageboxes command to switch off message boxes for scripter and quiet mode.
Added image conversion routines, can now convert between jpeg,bmp,wbmp,png,pnm and tiff. (exposed in scripter)

I haven't updated the resolutions for the 995 etc, and I understand some things are not settable on the 995 (aperture etc)

Unfortunately the camera forgets some settings between reconnections; I'm working on determining which and implementing work around, this
only affects serial mode. ( or 2.1.0 ) ( not uploaded )

Save folder more stable in settings. Takes note of thumb view option (at startup) ( or 2.0.9 ) ( 15:53 PST 28 October 2001 )

Serial setup changed to a modeless dialog and some bugs fixed in the remembering of the serial port settings, more streamlined
Please use this one for testing the serial support on the 995 etc. Feedback if it works at all is greatly appreciated ( or 2.0.8 ) ( 14:32 PST 28 October 2001 )

Serial support seems to be behaving a lot better now. To use it click the "Use USB" so its not selected, click "Serial setup" select the serial port, and baud rate, 115k is the supposed best, but its dependant on the system.
Note: if something goes wrong the camera needs to be reset (switched off and back on) and then the connection has to be remade. I’m hoping the 995 will start working now. The serial is flakey at best. ( or 2.0.7 ) ( 00:54 PST 27 October 2001 )

Added little thumbnail browser viewer, it'll show you a thumbnail of all the pics on your camera, currently its set always on, so when you connect it takes a few seconds longer, since it now downloads all the thumbnails first, for now it downloads them to \thumbnail of the current drive so don't be surprised to see a new directory containing a bunch of mini jpegs, you can delete it if you like it won't hurt cPix.
Theres a caveat/bug in the thumbnails at the moment, if you do a delete last or such, then take a pic, the thumbnail doesn't update, normally not a problem for most, just be aware.
When its done you'll be able to choose if its on or not, apologies for leaving it on, I ran out of time =)

Recoded browse for dir, much better now.
Added more script commands, started docs for script.
Browse to folder is set to remember last path correctly. ( or 2.0.6 ) ( 01:43 PST 23 October 2001 )

Added scripting support, you can now make little programs to control the camera, neat huh.
http://www.lua.org/manual/manual.html - This is manual on the scripting system cpix uses (it covers the non-cpix parts of the language)
Local mirror of manual Lua 4 Reference
Start of cPix scripting specific documentation Quick reference

Heres a sample file, save as test01.txt or such (must end in .txt and be a txt file, notepad will do )

zoom( 14 );

I'll get together docs and so on, threes a few commands left to implement yet. So this is an interim version, just for interest mainly. ( or 2.0.5 ) (
22:07 PST 18 October 2001)

More error checking added, to help identify ftp and registry key problems.
Aha, due to adding more error checking, I identified the problem with the registry keys and strange behavior in save/restore of the settings between sessions.
Pops up message trying time lapse if FTP isn't working, then switches off ftp and continues with time lapse = ), if message box is displayed, time lapse will stop. ( or 2.0.4 )

User can specify predefined name for FTP upload.

2..0.0.3 ( or 2.0.3 )

Resized view to fit on 800x600.
Updated calibrations with more info on the process.
Added feature to allow user to upload as DSCNnnnn.JPG instead of lastpic.jpg when using in webcam mode.

2..0.0.2 ( or 2.0.2 )

Small changes to internals.
Made window a little smaller for people with low rez screens.
Added Autofocus calibration and White balance calibration, I cannot stress enough that you must know what you are doing with these, they are provided as a tool to those who understand them.
More error checking and logging.
Added new viewfinder modes.

2..0.0.1 ( or 2.0.1 )

This adds some serial support as well as setting the downloaded files time to the picture taken time.
Also remembers most settings between sessions.
Serial settings should work correctly now, you can switch between com1,2,3,4 and different baud rates

995 users should use version 2.x.x. You'll need the serial cable though!!! (note the serial doesn't work well yet )

The following is a log of each version sent out to beta testers.



1. It doesn't work, at all
2. Shutter speed
3. Will it work on the 950/995 etc
4. Will you add XYZ feature
5. Mac / Linux / PocketPC ports
What about the TWAIN driver (updated 3 Nov 2001)
7. Payment, thanks etc.
8. Questions not answered here.
9. Why not to number FAQs, or tips about the preview mode.
10. Marching ants, march no more, Camera doesn't respond.
11 Whats the Threaded Comms mode.
11 Whats the Leave me well alone section for
Why are there two number 11's
13. The calibration modes.
14. Problems and stuff
15. Windows XP

1. It doesn't work, at all, Connection Problems

I can't say this enough, get the above .dll if you are having problems, its nearly always the issue, if you did get it and it still doesn't work email me and we'll talk, or I might just send the boys round. Note its a different name on different languages it seems for some reason beyond me I have the Japanese drivers locally, and they are called nkdusd.dll (its usd not USB) 

I modified the .inf file to refer to nkdusb.dll instead , its a text file and its obvious where to change it. English language users shouldn't have that problem, or you can go to your local Nikon website and they likely have the updated dll in your language version. 

USB scanners or any USB device that acts as a scanner / STI (still imaging device) will cause problems for connections; you will have to remove it during use of cPix, or photopc or DC_RemoteShutter.

2. Shutter speed

Shutter speed is limited by the camera to a maximum of 8 seconds in Coolpix terms this is (at least on the 990 in USB mode, serial mode doesn't seem to be)

8 * 1000 * 1000 = 8000000

1/100th    = 10000
1/10th      = 100000
1/1th        = 1000000 ( get the idea =) )
8 seconds = 8000000 Which is the maximum the camera supports. There’s no way of support bulb mode from USB that I know of (again in USB mode), serial mode has some tricks to get beyond this.

Its all in ms you see. One day I’ll write a gadget that converts it to the old 1/nnn th mode.

3. Will it work on the 950/995 etc

Serial mode is more likely to work on the other cameras, some will support USB but resolutions are often incorrect. Since they don't all support the same res's.

The 995 doesn't support control via USB, yet (and it seems unlikely it ever will)
The 995 has no aperture mode, shutter speed doesn't work.

4. Will you add XYZ feature

If it can be added, generally yes, though no guarantees of time frames.

5. Mac / Linux / PocketPC ports

There are Mac and PocketPCs ports in progress, see gphoto or xphoto for a linux/unix application that’s a bit like cPix

6. What about the TWAIN driver

It sort of works, but no one ever requests it, so I've let it slip.
Update: I've started it again, it captures single frames now with some small problems, Photoshop doesn't like it, thumbs plus does, i like thumbs, i don't like Photoshop =)

7. Payment, thanks etc.

None necessary, an email telling me what you are doing with it, and if it works well for you is always appreciated, but not a requirement. A person who wishes to rename nameless, suggested I recommend that if you like the program and want to do something consider being a blood donor. (The hospitals etc, not down the local pub/rugby match or vampyres)

8. Questions not answered here.

What, you mean I've not answered everything you need to know! Oh well no pleasing some people =) Just drop me an email and we'll see what I can do, I'm on California PST time (since that’s where I live, I tried adopting Artic time but none of the shops were open).

9. Why not to number FAQs, or tips about the preview mode.

The preview mode is a constant thorn in my side; I've found that it either works really well or not at all. Today it’s working very well, buts its a Tuesday so that explains that...

Off - Can't for the life of me figure out what this means, Off? What kind of TLA is that? I've searched high and low through photography books to no avail.
Viewfinder - Crashes the camera, well not always. When it works initially the screen will be black, take a picture and it will appear as preview, then it should switch to a real-time preview, same as monitor mode 2.
Preview Whole - After taking a picture its displayed here with some other info (just like the real thing, no not coca cola)
Preview Thumbnail (or Preview Thumb since someone didn't make the box wide enough) - Doesn't seem to do anything, seems to be silently ignored.
Thumbnail 1 - Go into thumbnail preview mode
Thumbnail 2 - Go into thumbnail preview mode, don't know the difference yet, i would expected it to zoom
Next - When in Thumbnail 1 or Thumbnail 2 mode, selecting Next or Previous will move the cursor through the thumbnails, then you can select Preview Whole to see the image, its currently a bit of a chore.
Previous - See Next

Take a Preview mode also works with most of the above, and it updates it on the camera too. Viewfinder mode seems to be the most useful. I've found that the live update doesn't always work as you would expect, to get it to work I select Viewfinder, then Take a Picture, that usually does it, sometimes it takes twice, especially if you've just used Preview

Run a Preview  this takes a short sequence (16 frames) and stores them in the current folder specified under the name preview00.jpg-preview15.jpg. Its best to use Snapshot just before using it, and if you've changed the viewfinder mode from Viewfinder to Off then you need to do Snapshot again. It works quite well for short anims, but there’s no flash, no focusing etc and it has to download the picture each time it does it so its quite slow, it takes an instant picture of what the camera is currently seeing, Snapshot will make the camera set itself up for taking a preview if the scene doesn't change. Note: It will overwrite any files called preview00.jpg etc, so be sure to save any from before or use a new directory.

Selecting Viewfinder twice in a room seems to be a bad idea!

Currently there is no known way for cPix to find out which mode the viewfinder is currently in, which is why it remains blank at the start.

10. Marching ants, march no more, Camera doesn't respond.

The cameras has likely frozen, take the batteries out, switch it off, reinsert the batteries, unplug the USB cable, switch it back on, wait a few seconds, reconnect the USB hit Connect. Gather food for the queen

11 Whats the Threaded Comms mode.

Its a way for you to be able to quit the program after the camera locks up, it also slows the communication speed down so it can make it slightly more stable, but it is a lot slower, I will be altering this soon, to make it still threaded but a lot faster while still keeping the slowness for stability in.

11 Whats the Leave me well alone section for

Best not to ask, no really. Its not a toy.

12 Why are there two number 11's ,And how did number 11 thats not there get into the FAQ if we aren't supposed to ask.

There aren't, and you didn't.

13. The calibration modes.

These are as dangerous as I make out, you can pretty much make the camera useless with these buttons, there are many layers of security to make sure you don't accidentally select them. Basically it updates some parameters internally in the camera, once changed they cannot!! be restored, if you get the calibration wrong, you will have to keep going until you get it right.

The white balance is the hardest to set, Peter iNova suggests using as close to natural sunlight as possible as incandescent will cause it to be too blue (it does, i found out the hard way), I'm hoping to try this soon, (its dark now), out in the natural sunlight. Of course if you live in the UK you'll never actually get any sun, so you'll have to get something as close as you can.

This is where I leave you and you find out yourself, I know very little about lighting in the real world, I'm a 3D graphics programmer so I'm used to things like I = L . N for lighting. If you do feel comfortable doing this and manage I’d be happy to hear about it, if you have no clue what you are doing and upset the camera, i don't want to hear about it =) but you'll need this http://www.nikontechusa.com/serviceinfo.htm 

The Auto focus seems relatively easy to set, but it requires some time and fiddling with different setups.

I supply these for the people who need them, and in the hope that we can build up a procedure to do it correctly every time, it might even save a trip to the service dept.

Incidentally I can't prove this yet, and I might be totally wrong but it does seem you can improve close range focusing by incorrectly altering the AutoFocus, of course what you add to one side, you take away from the other.

I added this information, this is the official setup.

White balance adjustment

[CAMERA] |--- 0cm<->18cm --| [WHITE BOARD]

White board should be all white, not grey(or gray) and at 5,100K
I believe Nikon use a light box.

Colour matrix adjustment

[CAMERA] |--- 15cm +/- 1cm  --| [WHITE BOARD]

White board should be all white, not grey(or gray) and at 5,100K

Focus Adjustment

[CAMERA] |--- 150cm +/- 3cm  --| [STAR CHART]

light at 400 lux +/- 10%

this requires a Siemens 'star chart' which basically looks a bit like the Japanese
WWII war flag, except with a smaller center and its centered
its basically 'rays' going off into the distance and converging into the middle i have
a sample, but i believe its a copyrighted image, apparently they are quite common
and used for back focus adjustment. It should be at A3 or larger.


Get Hot pixels, this read in a list of the currently mapped out pixels.
Recalibrate CCD, does the hot pixel redetection, NOT READY
Raw Mode, this toggles the RAW mode on or off, it its ticked, its in raw mode, if its not, it isn’t


RAW mode will save an extra file that is a “RAW” file, it’ll be called JPG though for some odd reason, so don’t
be surprised when photoshop won’t read the JPEG, since its not one, you need to convert this with a RAW2NEF tool, or
such, and then edit it in nikon capture.

Toggling the mode, will be permanent until you toggle it back.

14. Problems and stuff

Email me the c:\cpix.log and your windows settings etc, ( i.e. ME,98 2k, XP etc )

The second image taken is often blank; this is a known problem with the camera.

15. Windows XP

You can use cPix to talk to your 990 in Windows XP where NikonView won't. Install the drivers though.  (new versions of NikonView work)

Also read through the text files below, they contain useful information that I'm too lazy to include here.

Here is a screenshot of a new type of cPix thats going to be available for PocketPCs very soon. (iPaqs etc), Its serial based, since the iPaq itself is a USB device, not a root hub. Which means it ought to work with most Coolpixes, "ought to" being the key phrase here. It’s not very pretty, nor does it have lots of controls yet, but it will still be able to do almost everything that its bigger brother can do, at least in terms of changing camera settings. Possibly audio triggering, and if you want to upload to the web via an iPaq and an IRDA modem on a Nokia cellphone, good luck to you, I just hope you have a good service plan with plenty of free minutes.


I am happy to say I have successfully redefined the meaning of ‘very soon’

cPix downloader downloader 1.1 Latest version is 1.1

This is an application to display thumbnails and download images from the Coolpix 990. It is in beta stage.

Last screenshot downloader.jpg

Readme for downloader

cPix twain driver

This is a twain driver for the Nikon Coolpix 990. It is in development.

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Digital Camera.dk  - This is a link to Per Madsens camera control software, he has some nice interfaces for his programs.
John Bowman        - Without which cpix wouldn't exist you can get unix versions and a GUI for linux, XWindows.
Eugene Crosser      - for protocols, without which none of them would exist (probably)

Check out Peter iNovas "Digital Secrets" site and his EBook for the Coolpix cameras, highly recommended.

Phil Askeys DPreview Site, I think its one of the best digital camera resources on the .net

Harbortronics have the DigiSnap line of products they are much better than theMC-EU1, if you are looking for a standalone remote shutter release I  recommend it and them, they are a very friendly bunch and you get to talk to a real person.

Contact Information

Electronic mail address

Web address

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I'd like to thank the following people for all their help in making this better software :-

Don Schultz
Robert Harr
Martin Tedjawardhana
Jean Huet
Cliff Medina
Patricia Glenn
Chris Harlow
Peter iNova
David J Taylor

Renato Aranghelovici

And Especially :-

Eugene Crosser
John Bowman

If you like this HTML layout and need someone to design your website for you, then you must be quite mad, and I suggest getting some kind of medical help.

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