I also have an SLR which claims not to need it, sentiment echoed by many who successfully use it with long teles and for macro work. I don't know, I would rather it was there. Now, with something like a Pentax 67... wow, you NEED it! I saw some shots where the difference was evident on a 8x10 print, from an exposure taken using a tri-pod.
My sentiment is this: if you can, use it. It may help a lot, at the very least, it won't hurt. But don't miss a shot because you can't get your camera mounted on a tri-pod and the MLU to work!
Mirror lock-up or mirror pre-release?
Simple really, if your camera has the feature and you want the best chance of critical sharpness then USE it. After spending money on sharp lenses, a tripod and nice fine film; why waste it all only to find that the mirror's action jumping up during the exposure caused vibration in the body only to make your final image less than critically sharp!
BUT, there is a difference in mirror lock-up and mirror pre-release. Lock-up implies that (like a few Hasselblad bodies) the mirror "locks up" untill you disengage the feature. That is, when it locks up it stayes there during subsequent exposures until you disengage it.
Mirror pre-release (much more common feature) is activated pre-exposure and then after the shutter is fired the mirror up is disengaged as the camera is re-cocked for the next exposure. Most cameras do not enable the mirror to remain "locked" up between exposures.
A finer point but one worth noting because some shooters must have genuine "mirror lock-up" so that they can operate the camera remotely taking subsequent exposures without having to trip the mirror up again between them.
For a practical demonstration using:
2 a light tripod
3 a heavy tripod, and
4 heavy tripod with mirror lockup
see Barry Thortons graphic results in his Edge of Darkness
Originally Posted by xpista
I use a Mamiya RB67, mostly on a copy stand and always use MLU, as it does make a detectable diference to the sharpness. I use a Pentax 67II for air photography where using the feature is impossible, but find that I really do need to use 1/1000th sec to freeze aircraft and camera vibration and, as others have said, on the ground it does make a real difference and a good heavy tripod with cable release also helps a great deal.
I've had mixed results using mirror lock-up on 35mm cameras. The Nikon SLR's I've used didn't seem to care whether it was used or not but the Canon EOS cameras I've used absolutely require it.
The Pentax 645's I use don't have the feature. I didn't think that was a good idea until I actually used the camera. The mirror slap appears to make no difference--the negatives are sharp every time unless I've kicked the tripod or bumped the camera during exposure. I read an article about this on the Luminous Landscape website some time ago that confirmed my observations.
As said previously, if the feature is there, use it.
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I am an RZ67 user and my recently acquired Canon FB has it also but I haven't used it yet...
As the mirror will always take the same time to do its travel and associated vibrations you really need to think about relative proportion of this travel time in comparison to the total exposure - If your exposure is very long I think mirror up mode is not required as the amount of light would be restricted by whatever means (ND, slow film, stopping down, low light conditions etc...) thereby the vibrations would only be present in a very small percentage of the exposure ...
I don't have actual time figures as each camera will have myriad different mechanical effects in different tripod combinations - but for example, mirror up is a waste of time with wide star-trails and handheld (for me at least, I don't know about the pentax 67 users tho )
As a counter example I imagine it would be essential for telephoto exposures around the 1/15 ~ 1/2 second range tho
This is exactly the critical time for me. I am pretty satisfied with the sharpness for long times (seconds) as well as for the times shorter than 1/125.
Originally Posted by nick mulder
However my camera has the sync time 1/30 and I am not able to get a sharp picture with this time using the 180 sonnar lens (even using the big heavy tripod). I am very suspicious that this is exactly the camera shake cause by the mirror flip.
Since I my camera does not have MLU capability I am considering upgrading it to the MLU enabled model. Do you think that the MLU can solve my problems? (180 mm lens on the MF camera @ time = 1/30 or 1/15 s)?
In a similar vein, what can we do for a medium format SLR that doesn't have mirror lockup or prefire? I've started using a Kiev-80, forunner of the Kiev-88. I tried using it on my standard tripod, a camcorder tripod I paid about 40 dollars for a couple of years ago at Walmart. This unit has the interesting combination of being heavy, but not very stable. I guess that's what I get for buying what I did from where I got it. I put a reducer bushing in one of the two 3/8" tripod sockets, mounted it on the camcorder tripod, and fired the shutter with a cable release. It's amazing how long the camera shook and twitched on the tripod head after that. After some experimentation, I found two partial solutions. For handheld work, using a camera strap and pushing the camera down hard till my neck hurts really helps. For the tripod, well, I hauled out Bruneau's Pneumatic Tripod that I use with the Seneca 8X10. With the camera bolted solidly to a slab of 3/4" plywood that makes the camera platform, it's very steady. But heavy. Not very portable, and no finesse, but it helps.
Happiness is a load of bulk chemicals, a handful of recipes, a brick of film and a box of paper. - desertrat
Getting anywhere near tele lens focal lengths in which a 180mm is considered by most to be a 'short tele' in 6x7 at least and using shutter speeds around the time most shutter vibrations are at there worst I would say yes it would help ...
Originally Posted by xpista
However, I'm not sure what camera you are using but if your talking sync speeds it sounds like your MF has a focal plane shutter that may also cause problems ...
I would suggest you search out other users of your camera and the upgraded version to get hands-on advice
In my case the RZ has a leaf shutter so once the mirror is up its all go.
(aside from major problems with wind vibrations):rolleyes:
I don't mean to start a brand holy war, as I like the Pentax 67 quite a bit - but I have heard many people say that the mirror on those cameras is only part of the problem - the (I believe) horizontal travel shutter moving across such an expanse of film being an issue in and of itself. This is of course erradicated by the "non-directional" (a misnomer, I know) nature of a leaf shutter. What makes me wonder, then, is that so many knowledgeable and very competent photogs swear by their P67's - and the one I used and have seen many results from, was quite a capable camera in every way - but definitely needed its mirror controlled at slow shutters.
What I venture to propose, is that there is a "sweet spot" if you will, most affected by the mirror slap/shutter shake. I would further venture that it varies from camera to camera, and that certain shutter speeds would pretty much make the exercise of trying to control it completely redundant. But, and its a significant "but" - who wants to go into the extensive research (with so many variables - like your tripod weight, sympathetic vibration frequencies, the ground its on... and so on and on). Perhaps it would be of some academic interest, but mainly, its not worth the trouble. Like has been said before, it can't hurt and often it is proven to help greatly, so use it when you can.