Should you worry about mirror vibration when shooting stills?

by planetMitch6 Comments

When you're learning about your camera, one question that comes to mind is should you worry about the mirror vibration when shooting stills? Does locking the mirror up really help? Well, Preston Scott of CameraTechnica put that question to themselves and decided to put together a little test with their Canon EOS 7D (reviews) to help analyze the situation.

Of course, this will fuel the debate about whether a DSLR even really needs a mirror any more – why not go mirrorless?

Redrock Micro

The test video

DSLR Mirror Vibration from Camera Technica on Vimeo.

More details

Please read the blog post there are more details there and a really good summary. Of course one question that I had while watching the video is answered in Preston's post – what impact does the shutter speed have?

He also said this snippet:

The results are fairly telling. In the first case, despite all attempts to press the shutter button smoothly, erratic vibrations sent the laser dancing in all directions. The addition of the remote shutter in case two improved things substantially, but there was a surprising amount of movement induced by the mirror. In the third case, it became clear that allowing mirror vibrations to dampen during mirror lock-up helped the situation substantially.

What do you think? Should future DSLRs be mirrorless?

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)

Zeiss Cinema Lenses


chief astronomer at planet5D LLC
Mitch "planetMitch" Aunger is the creator and mastermind behind

He's incredibly happy running planet5D and sharing so much joy of photography and filmmaking with his readers.


  1. Pingback: Should you worry about mirror vibration when shooting stills? | DSLR Camera Update

  2. I think that one of the selling points of a DSLR is having the view finder without any electronic additions, which means there is no lag when moving around or zooming etc.

    I would accept a DSLR with an electronic view-finder if it added something to the view-finder, maybe a feature that zooms into the centre of the image to help you get focus, or video mode through the view finder.

  3. The difference between 2&3 is a lot less than I anticipated, and I’m guessing would be virtually indistinguishable in real world results, unless you are making posters from your raw images.
    Still, I prefer to use mirror lockup when doing time lapse sequences, wish it were possible to use LiveView(ie mirror lockup) with 1 second intervals however on the 7D.

  4. Seriously, after 150 years of colour photography why start worrying now? This would probably only really be a concern if you’re shooting time lapses in case of a shift and even then time lapses are rarely shot with a telephoto; you will not see it with a wide angle on a locked off tripod.

    When you’re learning about your camera, mirror vibration should be the last thing to worry about.

    As for mirrorless cameras for photography, personally, there is nothing quite like looking through the viewfinder to frame your shot than staring at a digital screen in sunlight.

  5. Not at all, just witness all those millions super sharp sports photos taken hand held (or with the help of a monopod) with a SLR/DSLR. Probably only photographers concerned with this are landscape photographers using slow shutter speeds. Other vibration-inducing items: lens finger pressing shutter release button, iris closing, shutter opens/closes,.

    Luminous Landscape has a good article on this.

  6. This is a retarded demonstration, at least in the way its presented. I looks like they are showing video footage what I don’t get and I don’t get the point of the laser for that matter.

    For one mirror lock up is for stills. And the question should DSLRs even have Mirrors not that smart of a question, yes they should after all thats what the term SLR means, duh. And photography wise technology wise there is nothing better then the mirror system, what you see in the view finder is what you get for the most part, and the system works fast. Still to many issues with electronic systems. A mirror system keeps the exposure as the least amount of steps for exposure, a electronic on will add a bunch of steps, you can’t accurately see a 10 second exposure and focus at the same time so the view finder system would have to view that at a viewable electronic setting then convert all its settings to the exposure settings, a lot of wasted time.

    Also mirror lock up in only needed at a range of exposure and focal length. Longer exposures actually don’t need mirror lock up much because the exposure is so long that nothing is really burnt in until after then vibration is done. Mirror lock up is important when zooming in and doing long exposures, its all a no brainer

Leave a Comment