Camera shake: self timer or cable release?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Edimilson, May 18, 2007.

  1. Edimilson

    Edimilson Member

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    Hello!

    I swear I have tried to find a definitive answer to this question before deciding to begin a new thread. My search was not succesful, so here I am with what may be another newbie question for you guys...

    I just bought a tripod in order to try to get sharper pictures and use smaller apertures for greater depth of filed. I also intend to try low light photography. My OM 2000 has a self timer that lifts up the mirror a few seconds before the shutter is released. My question is: if I use a cable release instead of the self timer, would I get more camera shake? Or perhaps the difference is not significant? I won't be using lenses longer than 200 mm at first.

    I ask that because using the self timer would imply longer intervals between shots. A cable release would make things faster.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Do you have mirror up on the camera? If you do you could raise the mirror and use the release.
     
  3. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Be patient.

    The camera-lens assembly will vibrate for a short time after the mirror has gone up. Using the self timer to bring the mirror several seconds before the shutter fires reduces the chances that this vibration will have an effect on image quality. Using a cable release doesn't do this, relies instead on whatever is holding the camera to damp those vibrations.
     
  4. Edimilson

    Edimilson Member

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    Nick,

    No, the mirror lock up feature is tied to the self timer. There's no lever or button I can press to raise the mirror. I think only other Olympus OM models have a separate lever.

    Dan,

    Your answer confirms my initial guess. Thanks! I only wonder now if the difference in vibration would be significant considering I'll be using mostly short lenses.
     
  5. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    Test it. :smile: It depends on how good the mirror damping is on your body.
     
  6. Snapshot

    Snapshot Member

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    I found the damping on the Nikon F100 was "good enough" but my Nikon FA was a vibration machine. I used the timer on the FA to flip the up mirror before the shutter went off up for those low light tripod shots. I found the pictures very good and I would hazard a guess a cable release will not improve things much for your tripod shots. I didn't see any difference.
     
  7. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    Use a heavy tripod and tightten everything down properly. tim
     
  8. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    “if I use a cable release instead of the self timer, would I get more camera shake?”

    It depends on the cable release. A long flexible cable release is much better than a short stiff one when it comes to minimizing camera shake.

    There are times when a self-timer can substitute for a cable release and there are times when it cannot. For example, if you are doing a motion study of a dancer and are using a slow shutter speed in an attempt to demonstrate motion by creating a blurred effect, it is easier to capture the segment of the dance you need with a cable release rather than a self-timer.
     
  9. laverdure

    laverdure Member

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    The only answer is to test and see how much it matters to you. It all depends on your equipment, your technique, and your finickiness. Plenty of good SLRs don't have any sort of mirror lock. When I need it, I use a self timer when I can (because I'm lazy) and a cable when I must (for timing.) But my finickiness level is pretty low. This last winter half my shots were hand held at a 1/4 second, and I rarely enlarge past 5x7, so.
     
  10. Edimilson

    Edimilson Member

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    Thank you all. I think I get the idea. I'll do some tests and see what I find out.

    The fact that I shoot 35 mm must be considered too, I guess. The difference between using a cable release and the self timer would probably be more pronounced on medium or large format negatives, I believe (??).
     
  11. Thorney

    Thorney Member

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    I think you'll find that most MF and LF users use a cable release rather than a self-timer. A question you may wish to ask is, "Since I'm using a cable release and a tripod, why limit myself to 35mm?"

    There's some great Bronica gear out there for pennies on the dollar... The improvement in quality between 120 film and 35mm is profound.
    Good luck with your tests.

    ps - I use mechanical cable release (Pentax brand) for MF and LF but my Contax 35mm has an electromagnetic cable release that is very good. The mirror slap is likely your biggest cause of shake. I've done a lot of low light (night) work recently with a camera that I dare not mention in this analog group and found that if your exposure is going to be 2 minutes or so, any mirror shake would be inconsequential to the overall exposure.
     
  12. Edimilson

    Edimilson Member

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    Thorney,

    I do plan to move on to medium format. I'm only waiting for a good oportunity, that is, a good camera with a good price. In fact, "moving on" is not the right way to put it, since I like to do also a kind of photography that demands the flexibility that only 35 mm affords.

    As to exposure times, I was thinking mostly of shorter times, like 1/15, 1/8, 1/4.
     
  13. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Most LF have no mirror. Many MF are leaf shuttered. I guess a higher precentage have mirror lock up then the 35mm world.

    So things are different in LF and MF.
     
  14. donbga

    donbga Member

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    I think you will find that using the self timer in conjunction with a long cable release will give you the best results, IMO, virtually vibration free.

    Don Bryant
     
  15. Thanasis

    Thanasis Member

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    I agree. I use this for long exposures. I manually lock the mirror up once i've set shutter speed and aperture. Then i set the camera to timer mode, then i block the viewfinder, then i press the electronic cable release button. Then, for some strange reason, I hold my breath until i hear the shutter fire.