Why you should use a tripod, remote and MLU
Over on the CameraTechnica.com website, Preston S. has published a couple of interesting video demonstrations (original, reloaded) of just how important a tripod. mirror lock-up, and a remote shutter release is to prevent motion from blurring your photographs in the “danger zone” from 1/60 second to about 2 seconds.
In the experiment, a laser pointer is attached to a Canon 7D mounted on a tripod as a vibration detector. A separate camera is then used to record a video the light from the laser hitting a target about 6 meters away. The video of the experiment consists of four segments:
- In the first segment, the camera is used handheld and the shutter button is pressed manually.
- In the second segment, the camera is put on a tripod and a hand is placed on the camera and the shutter button is pressed manually.
- In the third segment, the camera is on a tripod, the shutter is fired remotely, but the mirror was allowed to flop normally.
- In the final segment, the shutter is also fired remotely, but with mirror lock-up enabled.
The video clearly shows that hand-holding requires fast shutter-speeds, and that a tripod in this class is not enough to keep things perfectly still as long as the shutter is tripped manually. Using a remote shutter release, as shown in in segment three, improves things substantially. In the fourth and final segment, it is shown that using mirror lock-up may also help to reduce vibrations at slow shutter speeds.
Here is a summary of the most significant findings of this experiment:
- Manually pressing the shutter button is by far the most significant cause of vibration during image capture.
- In order for mirror lock-up to be worthwhile, the camera must be on a tripod with remote shutter release attached.
- Mirror vibration can be significant in some circumstances. For slow shutter speeds, significant degradations in image quality were noted.
- For fast shutter speeds, mirror vibrations seem to have negligible impact.