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  • Photograph lightning with the Lightning Bug  Auto Shutter Release by MK Controls
  • Side view of the Lightning Bug Auto Shutter Release
  • Lightning Bug attached to DSLR camera (camera not included)
  • Lightning photography - Photo © SDC Photography 2012
  • Lightning strike photography
  • #230 - Olympus 3 Pin Plug
  • #232 - Olympus USB Port
  • #234 - Nikon DC1 Plug for Nikon D80
  • #238 -  Sony S1 Shutter Release Plug
  • #239 - Sony S2 Shutter Release Plug
  • #221 - Nikon 10-pin Plug
  • #236 - Nikon DC2 Plug
  • #218 - Canon N3 Plug

Product Videos

MK Controls Inc- The Lightning Bug™ 02:40

The Lightning Bug™ is designed to take pictures of lightning strikes and get the shot, day or night. It has features not seen before, such as water resistant soft touch buttons and a PC port to allow the use of an external flash in conjunction with the Lightning Bug™. The Lightning Bug™ is sure to be a must have for any photographer. www.mkcontrols.com

  • MK Controls In...
    The Lightning Bug™ is designed to take pictures of lightning s...

Photograph Lightning with Lightning Bug Auto Shutter Release

Fast, FREE ground shipping Fast, FREE ground shipping within contiguous United States. Other locations and rates calculated at checkout. Ships within 1 business day. We ship worldwide!

Product Description

Photograph lightning and capture dramatic photos during a thunderstorm with the Lightning Bug™ Auto Shutter Release by MK Controls.

The Lightning Bug™ is a special device for outdoor photographers to photograph lighting strikes during the day or at night.

How the Lightning Bug™ Works

The two stages of lightning are: 1.) The bright white flash you want to photograph and 2.) The unseen infrared light that comes before that. The Lightning Bug™ allows you to photograph lightning during a thunderstorm by using a high-speed photodiode sensor optimized to the infrared burst that occurs before lightning strikes. Because infrared light comes from vaporization of air and particles, the Lightning Bug™ acts as a lookout for your camera, watching for a change in infrared light.

Complete Control Over When to Take the Image

When a considerable change of infrared light occurs over a short period of time, the Lightning Bug™ directs the camera shutter to capture the lightning right when it happens. The Lightning Bug’s™ exclusive sensitivity adjustment circuitry makes it so that you can customize its operation for your shooting situation, giving you total control over when you capture the shot.

If you only want to capture the boldest lightning bolts simply decrease the sensitivity. On the other hand, if you’d like to photograph lightning over a mountain range from a far distance just increase the sensitivity. Only the Lightning Bug™ gives you this fine level of control to create images. The Lightning Bug™ allows you to limit the number of possible exposures per second to between 1 and 10 so you can capture dramatic shots of repeated lightning strikes.

Why You’ll Love It

  • Complete control over when you take the photograph compared to similar devices on the market
  • Weather-resistant soft touch buttons
  • Designed for use in the rain so you can photograph lightning when it happens
  • Mounts to your camera’s hot shoe (not required); if you’re using a Sony camera, a hot shoe adapter is required for mounting directly to your camera
  • PC port to use with an external flash
  • Proudly manufactured in the USA from foreign and domestic parts
  • Free firmware updates! To provide you with the best service, MK Controls occasionally releases free updates to the firmware used in the Lightning Bug™.

Top Features

  • 26 levels of sensitivity adjustment
  • Automatic or manual operation of the camera’s meter
  • Auto-meter Off feature helps preserve camera battery and power saving mode to prolong life of battery
  • Exclusive Fireworks delay mode, allowing a delay between initial detected burst and actual shutter release. Delay can be adjusted from 0–2.25 seconds in ¼ second increments.
  • Three simple buttons control all features
  • Allows limiting of frames per second; can be adjusted from 1–10
  • Orange LED display shows current settings
  • Yellow LED flashes when unit detects event within its field of view
  • Allows testing of camera connection
  • Retains user settings even with battery removed
  • Battery can be removed or replaced without removing from camera
  • Power On Self-Test ensures unit is operational every time it’s turned on
  • Electrical isolation between unit and camera via MOSFET technology to protect camera’s electronics

What’s Included

  • Lifetime no-fault replacement policy
  • Standard product warranty
  • Connection cable of your choice (find out which one you need under the Specifications tab below)

Related Accessories

Please see the Specifications tab below for additional information.


Canon E3 Plug (Cable #210)

Canon: 60D, 70D, 80D, 100D, 350D, 400D, 450D, 500D, 600D, 650D, 700D, 750D, 760D, 1000D, 1100D, Digital Rebel, Digital Rebel XT, Digital Rebel XTi, Elan 7/7E, Elan 7NE, Elan II/IIE, IX Lite, Rebel 2000, Rebel GII, Rebel SL1, Rebel T1i, Rebel T2, Rebel T2i, Rebel T3, Rebel T3i, Rebel T4i, Rebel T5, Rebel T5i, Rebel T6i, Rebel T6s, Rebel Ti, Rebel XS, Rebel XSi, SX50 HS

Fujifilm SubMiniPhone Plug (Cable #210)

X-E1, X-E2, X-T1

For Fujifilm X-E1, X-E2 and X-T1 models, you must provide a 3.5mm Male to 2.5mm Female adapter (by others), and you must specify the microphone port to be used as a remote shutter release in the menu options.

Pentax SubMiniPhone Plug (Cable #210)

K1, K10D, K100D, K110D, K100D Super, D20D, K200D, K3, K3-II, K30, K5, K5-II, K5-IIS, K50, K500, 645D, 645Z, K7, *ist D, *ist DL, *ist DL2, *ist DS, *ist DS2, MZ-6, MZ-L, ZX-L

Canon N3 Plug (Cable #218)

10D, 20D, 20Da, 30D, 40D, 50D, 5D, 5D MK II, 5D MK III, 5D MK IV, 5DS, 5DR, 6D, 6D MKII, 7D, 7D MK II, D30, D60, 1D, 1DC, 1DX, 1D MK II, 1D MK II N, 1D MK III, 1D MK IV, 1Ds, 1Ds MK II, 1Ds MK III, 1Dx MK II, 1v, 1v HS, EOS 3

Fujifilm 10-pin Plug (Cable #221)

S3-Pro, S5-Pro

Nikon 10-pin Plug (Cable #221)

D100, D200, D300, D300s, D500, D700, D800, D800E, D810, D810A, D810E, D1, D1X, D1H, D2H, D2X, D2XS, D3, D3s, D3X, D4, D4S, D5, F6, F5, F100, F90, F90X

Olympus 3 Pin Plug (Cable #230)

E5, E3, E1, E10, E20, E20N, E300, E-100RS, C8080, C7070, C5050, C2500L

Olympus USB Port Style Plug (Cable #232)

E30, E400, E410, E420, E450, E510, E520, E600, E620, OM-D E-M1, OM-D E-M5, OM-D E-M10, SP-510 UZ, SP-550 UZ

Nikon DC1 Plug (Cable #234)


Nikon DC2 Plug (Cable #236)

Nikon D90, D600, D610, D750, D3100, D3200, D3300, D5000, D5100, D5200, D5300, D5500, D7000, D7100, D7200, Df, P1000

Sony S1 (Cable #238)

SLT-A33, SLT-A33L, SLT-A35, SLT-A35K, SLT-A37, SLT-A37K, SLT-A37M, SLT-A55, SLT-A55V, SLT-A55VL, SLT-A57,SLT-A57K, SLT-A57M, SLT-A65, SLT-A65V, SLT-A65VK, SLT-A65VM, SLT-A77, SLT-A77M2, SLT-A77V, SLT-A77VM, SLT-A77VQ, SLT-A99, SLT-A99V, DSLR-A100, DSLR-A100H, DSLR-A100K, DSLR-A200, DSLR-A200K, DSLR-A200W, DSLR-A300, DSLR-A300/N, DSLR-A300K, DSLR-A300K/N, DSLR-A350, DSLR-A350K, DSLR-A350X, DSLR-A450, DSLR-A500, DSLR-A500H, DSLR-A500L, DSLR-A550, DSLR-A550L, DSLR-A560, DSLR-A560L, DSLR-A580, DSLR-A580L, DSLR-A700, DSLR-A700H, DSLR-A700K, DSLR-A700P, DSLR-A850, DSLR-A900

For certain Sony models, a cold shoe adapter is required to mount the Lightning Bug™ directly to the camera. Consult your user manual to determine if this adapter is required.

Sony S2 (Cable #239)

RX100 II, RX100 III, A6000, A7, A7II, A7R, A7RII, A7S, HX300, HX50V, NEX 3N

For certain Sony models, a cold shoe adapter is required to mount the Lightning Bug™ directly to the camera. Consult your user manual to determine if this adapter is required.


  • Front Overhang from Center of Camera Shoe: 3.51″ / 89.15 mm
  • Rear Overhang from Center of Camera Shoe: 0.74″ / 18.80 mm
  • Overall Height Not Including Shoe Mount: 1.13″ / 28.70 mm
  • Overall Height Including Shoe Mount: 2.10″ / 53.34 mm
  • Overall Length: 4.25″ / 107.95 mm
  • Overall Width: 2.60″ / 66.04 mm
  • Camera Connector Port1: 2.5mm Stereo
  • Battery2: Standard 9 Volt

1Contact MK Controls technical support for more information if you plan on making your own cables.

2MK Controls recommends either an Alkaline or General Purpose battery. Rechargeable batteries are not recommended.


  • Weight Without Battery: 2.96 oz / 83.9 g
  • Weight With Battery: 4.48 oz / 127.0 g

Learn How to Photograph Lightning

Download the Lightning Bug™ User Manual PDF for usage instructions.

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