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  1. #1
    mapgirl is offline dPS Forum Member
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    Default 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!

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    OsmosisStudios's Avatar
    OsmosisStudios is offline Don't Panic
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    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...
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    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...
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    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)

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    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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    +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....

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    sk66's Avatar
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    Quote 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.

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    Vagebond is offline dPS Forum Member
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    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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    mapgirl is offline dPS Forum Member
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    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 at 10:47 PM. Reason: adding EXIF info

  10. #10
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    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.
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