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  1. #1

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    Slowest speed without mirror lock-up

    Hi all,

    I am inexperienced with medium format - just got a camera - and due to the large mirror size it is advisable to use the mirror lock up function at higher speeds than you would normally do in a 35 mm camera.

    I read somewhere should be at 1/60s and slower. I ask what is your personal experience about this. Please post only your experience and not something you read on the web.

    Thanks.

    João

  2. #2

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    I've gone as slow as 1/30 without mirror lock up and it was with a 645 format camera.

    It's hit-and-miss though and my ability to hold the camera steady was more of an issue than the mirror slap. Of course, I don't print THAT large for this kind of thing to be a major factor.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by jsimoespedro View Post
    Hi all,

    I am inexperienced with medium format - just got a camera - and due to the large mirror size it is advisable to use the mirror lock up function at higher speeds than you would normally do in a 35 mm camera.

    I read somewhere should be at 1/60s and slower. I ask what is your personal experience about this. Please post only your experience and not something you read on the web.

    Thanks.

    João
    My experience has been that it pays to lockup the mirror at any speed when sharpness is paramount, especially when using a poorly damped tripod.

  4. #4
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Years ago I had this discussion with Peter Cattrell ( at that time Fay godwins printer). His and Fay's experience was that mirror lock helped at all speeds when a camera was used on a tripod. The discussion came up privately at a workshop when Peter commented that maybe one or two images I'd shown didn't quite have the critical sharpness he'd expect, they were made before I began always using the mirror lock except for hand held work.

    In practice hand-held your body absobs the shock from the mirror but on a tripod it tends to be amplified.

    Ian

  5. #5

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    I'm assuming hte question is about when camera is on tripod. If so, my experience is same as Emil and Ian's.

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the replies. So to summarize:

    1) If on a tripod, always use mirror lock-up.
    2) If not on a tripod, forget it. Holding the camera steady is more important.

  7. #7
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsimoespedro View Post
    Thanks for the replies. So to summarize:

    1) If on a tripod, always use mirror lock-up.
    2) If not on a tripod, forget it. Holding the camera steady is more important.

    You've got it

    Ian

  8. #8

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    It depends on several factors. As was mentioned hand held or on a tripod? I don't know if the hand held dampening theory put forth is accurate. The fact of the matter is the simple act of pressing the shutter release with your finger will impart plenty of vibrations on its own so whether the mirror is doing anything or not is immaterial.

    You also have to factor in that the normal lens for most of the medium format cameras I've used is 80mm. With an APS-C DSLR you are looking at 30mm. Based purely on that alone you are going to have a considerably more blur prone experience with medium format. The other thing to consider is tripod. If you don't have a solid tripod in a lot of situations you will be wasting your time with mirror lock up. Your final print will only be as good as the weakest link in your work flow. My first tripod was one of those cheapy Vanguard plastic jobs you can get at Best Buy. Even with mirror lock up the results were often terrible. I eventually ponied up a whopping $80 and bought a used vintage Tiltall aluminum tripod in excellent condition. A bit too much bling for my taste but you can't argue with the results.

    The other thing that matters somewhat is what camera you are using. I have been using a Rollei 6008 Integral lately. The camera has an electronic cable release that has two big buttons. One says mirror and the other says start. So to take a picture I press the mirror button and wait a few seconds then I press the start button and the picture is taken. The question is why wouldn't you use mirror lock up for every tripod shot. It really doesn't add any more effort. Now if you get some other camera system I've heard mirror lockup can be more cumbersome. In that situation you will have to decide for yourself.

    This is an article about MLU from a 35mm SLR perspective. It's from 1998 but it is just as applicable today. The graph included is interesting.

  9. #9

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    A bunch of good info packed into this thread!

  10. #10

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    Recently all my shots have been on a tripod even 35mm so I don't worry about mirror lockup.

    Jeff

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