Photo Experience





Tech. Intro

















In recent months, a number of magazine articles have been printed about reduced telephoto image sharpness as a result of mirror slap and shutter vibrations.  At first thought, the ideal solution might be to use a camera that has mirror lock up to reduce mirror slap and a telephoto lens that has image stabilization to counter shutter vibrations.  While this is definitely a solution, but expensive, how does one account for all of the great, tack sharp, telephoto images not taken with mirror lock up and image stabilization?  In fact, I've never figured out how to take photographs of flying birds with mirror lock up and my arms are not strong enough  to hand hold an 18 pound camera and lens for any length of time.


There is a technique for taking tack sharp photographs with a telephoto lens which is outlined below:

  • Use a good tripod and ball head.  Don't raise the center post of the tripod if at all possible.

  • Avoid shutter speeds of 1/8 to 1/30 seconds since this is where shutter slap is most prominent.

  • Hold left hand firmly on top of lens barrel, above tripod, to dampen mirror slap during exposure.

  • While looking thru viewfinder, firmly hold back of camera against face, this will dampen shutter vibrations.

  • Slide right finger across shutter release to make exposure, don't poke the shutter release.  Typically, I will already have the shutter relief button already pressed half way to engage the auto focus.

  • Inhale or exhale and hold your breath while depressing shutter release.