How useful is the mirror lockup function?
Could you share your personal experience with the "mirror lockup"? Are the pictures noticeably better (sharper) when the mirror is locked up? I know that in theory it should be. However I'd like to know practical experiences.
Could you elaborate it for the following usages:
- Camera is fixed on a sturdy tripod
- Camera is fixed on a monopod
- Camera is handheld
Thank you, Stefan
Mirror lockup is really only useful when the camera is on a tripod. You're introducing chance when you use ML with a monopod or handheld, since you won't be able to verify composition before you trip the shutter. That is, unless you're rock solid steady, and won't move at all during the compose/meter/set exposure/set shutter/trip ML/trip shutter sequence - doubtful!
For tripod exposures, I *always* use ML - why wouldn't I? Anything to reduce camera shake from mirror slap is a good thing.
One thing is for sure - if you use ML, your photographs will most definitely not be less sharp than if you don't use ML. Will they be better? Who knows - depends on your camera.
With some cameras, it makes ALL the difference in the world. As Ken said, this is a use it on a tripod thing. Some cameras that don't have MLU can fake it by using the self timer (the Nikon FM series is a good example) because the mirror goes up when the timer starts, not when the shutter cycle begins.
Some people are like Slinkies. They're really good for nothing, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.
With the Pentax 67II it's a must. The mirror makes a loud "clunk" then the shutter fires.
As for handheld, i use it then also in some cases.
Personally, I don't think I'd buy a camera that doesn't have mirror lock up (unless of course it wasn't an SLR... duh!).
Just because you're not paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.
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Agree with Ken. I use it whenever I can as I like very sharp pictures.
The effect of mirror slap varies by camera, so there's no single answer to that part of your question. My 35mm SLR's have a cam driven mirror, so the mirror decelerates at the top of the cycle and stops on its own at the top of its cycle without hitting the chassis, doesn't even have a foam pad there. Some cameras have significant mirror impact against the body, and with lighter bodies, it's a bigger problem. Bigger mirrors on medium format bodies are generally more problematic. I've gotten sharp handheld shots with my SLR bodies at 1/15 and slower using a 24mm lens. But even so, if I want the shot critically sharp and can manage it, I'll use a tripod consistently even on 35mm cameras with wide angles. My SLRs claim not to need MLU because of the cam drive, and so don't have it, so I can't do a comparison with and without. I've not seen a situation where I've determined that to be a factor in the 30 years I've been using it, and I've done tons of macro work. My prior SLRs had mirror lock up and I used it routinely for time exposures and macro work.
Mirror lock up is critical for some applications, like astrophotography, where it's out on a long lever arm and can ruin a shot. Astrophotographers also use the "hat trick" for cameras without mirror lock up, covering the front of the scope with black objects while the exposure is initiated, and again just before ending the exposure. That trick can obviously be used with any long exposure.
Last edited by Lee L; 11-30-2005 at 09:13 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I use it most of the time on the tripod, and even a lot of the time when hand-held. There is always a risk especially with the hand-held that the camera and/or subject move, but it's better than letting the mirror slap.
20 years ago when I bought my F3 20 years ago I decided to test the mirror lock up effectiveness.
This was done with a tripod and a 55mm micro Nikkor lens.
Shutter speed from memory, was either 1/15 or 1/4. I shot the standard for all camera lens tests, a sheet of newsprint.
I then did enlargements equivilant to:- 8x10, 12x16 16x20 and finally 1 metre wide on the long side of the film.
Film used was B&W 50 ASA.
8x10" virtually no difference, from 12x16" upwards there was a noticeable difference. I remember the 1 metre wide being unuseable, whilst the mirror locked up exposure was useable, just.
For practical purposes mirror lockup does help, so I use it on a tripod. The only time I use it hand held is with a 24mm wideangle, when I wish to remain as discreet as possible.
With my P67, NOT using the mirror lock-up is disastrous. Not only is the mirror slap a major detriment to sharp images, but even the shutter vibration is a potential source of problems and mirror lock-up doesn't even address that. So...at least with the Pentax, USE it!!