Use mir­ror lock-up for as­tro shots

Practical Photography (UK) - - Hidden Camera Features -

WHEN YOU LOOK THROUGH YOUR viewfinder, the light you see has passed through the lens and re­flected off the cam­era’s mir­ror up to your eye. On press­ing the shut­ter but­ton, the mir­ror has to briefly flick up out of the way to al­low light onto the sen­sor – that’s why the viewfinder mo­men­tar­ily goes black. The prob­lem is, this mir­ror move­ment sends tiny vi­bra­tions through the cam­era, which can lead to a lack of sharp­ness in im­ages. In nor­mal day-to-day shoot­ing, these vi­bra­tions have no prac­ti­cal im­pact at all, but they can be an is­sue when us­ing shut­ter speeds slower than 1/20sec. This means as­tro, macro and land­scape pho­tog­ra­phers need to take mea­sures to com­bat the prob­lem.

On most cam­eras there are now two ways you can do this. The first is mir­ror lock-up, a func­tion that al­lows you to flick the mir­ror up be­fore you take the shot, giv­ing any vi­bra­tions time to die down. On a Canon, ac­ti­vate mir­ror lock-up in the menu, press the shut­ter but­ton once to flick the mir­ror, wait a sec­ond, then press it again to take the shot. On a Nikon, mir­ror lock-up is some­times in the menu, and some­times on the Re­lease Mode dial, marked MUP.

The sec­ond op­tion is to shoot in Live View, and com­bine it with the Quiet/Silent Shut­ter func­tion, the lat­ter of which tends to be slightly better as it uses an elec­tronic first cur­tain, so there’s no move­ment of the shut­ter mech­a­nism. Live View is a bigger drain on bat­tery life, but both op­tions will slow down your shoot­ing speed, so aren’t ideal for day-to-day shoot­ing.

Above Mir­ror lock-up or Live View with Silent Mode will help re­duce in­ter­nal vi­bra­tions that could cause blur.

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