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  • mirror lock-up vs. silent shooting

    Which is the better option for eliminating camera shake: mirror lock-up or silent shooting?
    Canon 60D, 60mm macro lens, tripod, no flash

    I've seen write-ups about both and have tried both. But I'm also having some sharpness problems with longer exposures (which may have nothing to do with any of this). But I'd like to read a more informed opinion (for a non-techie, please )

    Thanks!
    www.gardeningthroughalens.com

  • #2
    Mirror lock-up will help reduce shake more. What it does is sets the shutter mechanism so that all it has to do is slide the shutter curtains up and down. The Silent option just alters the process of moving the mirror up out of the way and so on.

    If you're doing long exposures, there are tons of things that can affect sharpness. I shot this yesterday:




    My girlfriend, bless her, knows that if she was walking around it would affect the image. So she sat down and played some iphone games while I took the shot. Its an 8min exposure, so you can imagine how fed up she was with me...
    I am responsible for what I say; not what you understand.
    adammontpetit.com
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    500PX | Graphic Design

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    • #3
      Mirror lock-up is designed for this very situation. Silent shooting is an option within "live view". Personally, I'd go with MLU in a heartbeat. I was doing some macro work just this weekend using that very same lens and used MLU quite successfully.

      The best factor that I use for steadying the camera is in the tripod. I have a (very?) heavy tripod and rely on that for steady images. Back "in the days" we didn't have things like carbon fiber, so mine is made of aluminum and steel; it's definitely heavy.

      If you have a lighter weight tripod, then: (1) find the weight limit of your tripod, and (2) in addition to mounting your camera on it, hang something else from the head using a small piece of rope. Some tripods even include a small hook at the bottom of the center column for this very reason. Be careful to not exceed the weight limit. Even if the tripod doesn't collapse, too much weight will cause the legs to slip (slowly).

      If you care to offer any more details of what you're seeing, there may be more advice from the forum...
      Dave.
      Some pictures... (500px)

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      • #4
        Hate to do it, but I have to agree with Dave again.
        "Silent mode" is "basically" a jpeg frame capture from video captured in LV. Low resolution and Jpeg only. Although it will certainly eliminate any camera shake due to mirror/shutter movement.

        (what OS was talking about is "quiet mode" which separates the mirror and shutter movements by a small amount of time)
        Steve
        the Photographic Academy.com
        SharpShooter Industries
        My 500px, My Flickr, My Blog

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        • #5
          I don't know the 60D, but different "silent" modes are implemented in very different ways.

          In the silent mode you're talking about, Steve, isn't it already including mirror lock-up, essentially? Live View has the mirror locked up while it's active, so if it does a JPEG capture from that, there's no mirror motion. Of course, that's going to be the same as with MLU and no live view but produce a much lower-resolution image. (So, I'd go with MLU also.)

          One of the newer Canon quiet modes slows the motion of the mirror, which should create less shake.

          Still, mirror lockup is going to be the absolute least mirror shake, because if you do it right, there's zero. A different mode that's more convenient might have enough less that it's "good enough", but it won't have less.

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          • #6
            +1 on the mirror lock up

            Factors to be advised of if you're still getting less than stellar sharp images are:
            Wind, if you have a camera strap and it's just hanging loose; the wind blowing even just slightly can add some shake to your image. Wrap it up and tie it to your tripod leg to fix that.

            Make note of the surface your tripod is standing. Is it soft? Is it prone to minor vibrations? i.e. Sand at the beach waves can cause your tripod to burrow itself lower into the sand.
            You or someone nearby walking by can cause micro vibrations (like a wooden deck).
            On a bridge and cars/people are driving/walking by. etc....
            Tony
            Canon stuff

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            • #7
              Originally posted by jpowers View Post
              I don't know the 60D, but different "silent" modes are implemented in very different ways.

              In the silent mode you're talking about, Steve, isn't it already including mirror lock-up, essentially?
              Yes, and the shutter is also already open. Nothing moves (as compared to mirror lockup or taking a normal image from LV) so it is going to be the absolute steadiest, but also only a MUCH lower resolution jpeg.
              Steve
              the Photographic Academy.com
              SharpShooter Industries
              My 500px, My Flickr, My Blog

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              • #8
                Silent mode is part of movie and Live View in the 60D, while the separate mirror lockup option is used for normal viewfinder photography.

                According to this explanation of 60D menu options in movie mode and Live View "Silent Mode 1 is the default, and uses an electronic shutter to initiate the exposure, and so reduces operation noise, since only the second shutter curtain must be physically operated to complete the exposure."

                That may or may not reduce shake or vibration in Live View, but I wouldn't expect more than minimal effect.

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                • #9
                  Thank you all for your responses! I've always used mirror lock-up but came across some site that suggested the silent mode was better. This comes at a time when some of my macros are looking a little soft. The two below are examples. I wondered if the problem might be that I'm focused on the ice but that ice might be melting, so not have any hard edges to focus on?

                  Photobucket

                  Exp: 1/30 at f/13
                  ISO: 250
                  60mm lens

                  Photobucket

                  Exp: 1/15 at f/18
                  ISO 250
                  60mm lens

                  By the way, I LOVE the image, Osmosis! Patience can be rewarded.
                  Last edited by mapgirl; 01-14-2013, 10:47 PM. Reason: adding EXIF info
                  www.gardeningthroughalens.com

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                  • #10
                    So, these are outdoor shots (which are subject to some wind, even if just slightly). The shutter speeds are just long enough that with a small bit of movement could blur just enough to get this softness.

                    The main subject leaf in the first picture is not parallel to the focal plane, but (you're right) none of it seems to be really sharply in focus.

                    Your aperture is small enough in the first (at f/13) to be sharp. The second is even smaller, and I don't know when diffraction kicks in on that lens, but f/18 seems a bit early. This takes me back to the shutter being slow enough to allow a tiny bit of motion. Everything else says "sharper picture".

                    That, or when you reduced the JPG processing, how aggressive were the compression settings?
                    Dave.
                    Some pictures... (500px)

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dasmith232 View Post

                      The best factor that I use for steadying the camera is in the tripod. I have a (very?) heavy tripod and rely on that for steady images. Back "in the days" we didn't have things like carbon fiber, so mine is made of aluminum and steel; it's definitely heavy.
                      My Manfrotto 055XPROB is a fairly heavy aluminum getup; Ive had trouble in some cases. Doing 4min exposures on a bridge with pedestrian traffic gave me a blurred mess.
                      I am responsible for what I say; not what you understand.
                      adammontpetit.com
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by OsmosisStudios View Post
                        ...Doing 4min exposures on a bridge with pedestrian traffic gave me a blurred mess.
                        Yeah, I'm a fan of long exposures too. It sounds like the *bridge* is the weak link in that case. I haven't found a fix for that one...

                        I recently did a long-exposure night-time shot from a major highway and it's amazing how much even those sway around...
                        Dave.
                        Some pictures... (500px)

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by dasmith232 View Post
                          I don't know when diffraction kicks in on that lens, but f/18 seems a bit early. ?
                          Technically diffraction is occurring at f/8 for the 60D. So it's probably starting to be apparent at f/11. IMO, there might be a bit of front focus. What method are you using to focus?
                          Steve
                          the Photographic Academy.com
                          SharpShooter Industries
                          My 500px, My Flickr, My Blog

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                          • #14
                            Wow. Well this IS called "Digital Photography School." I feel completely stupid. I've been shooting with this lens for a few years and get excellent sharpness. So why, I ask myself, why did I decide out of the blue to stop down to f/13 and f/18 when I usually shoot @ f/8? I hadn't a clue about lens diffraction. I'm guessing that's the problem here.

                            The air was pretty calm (though perhaps not quite calm enough) when I shot, and I use a combination of point selection in AF and manual focus.

                            But I need some help with the question about how aggressive my "compression settings" are when I reduce to Jpg. Um, explain please? I use Lightroom 4.3.

                            Thank you all.
                            www.gardeningthroughalens.com

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mapgirl View Post
                              But I need some help with the question about how aggressive my "compression settings" are when I reduce to Jpg. Um, explain please? I use Lightroom 4.3.

                              Thank you all.
                              Compression settings means the "quality" level you are selecting when converting to jpeg. The lower the quality level the greater the compression and the greater the loss of image detail. Generally anything 8(80%) and above is fine for web/printing.

                              It could also be considered the "quality" of the original jpeg file if recorded as jpeg originally (normal/fine, etc).

                              It is quite common to think/hear that a smaller aperture setting is going to be sharper and gain you greater DOF. But there is a point at which the tradeoff isn't beneficial due to diffraction, and with macro the difference in DOF is miniscule...as is the dof to start with. I would opt for focus stacking for DOF before pushing the aperture too far...assuming it's an option.
                              Steve
                              the Photographic Academy.com
                              SharpShooter Industries
                              My 500px, My Flickr, My Blog

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