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Exposure Delay vs. Remote Release

NatureDon

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NatureDon Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Nov 2007
Sat 09-Mar-13 10:38 AM

Hi all. With regard to landscape or other static subject photography, does the combination of live view and a 3-second exposure delay replace my "old" way of triggering the shutter such as mirror-up combined with a remote release.

Specifically, and for example, say I am setting up a landscape shot with a D800E and 24-70 lens, and my goal regarding this question is to get the sharpest detail possible with regard to eliminating the effects of any camera movement/vibrations as best as possible.

My current method is to set up the shot, focus in live view, initiate the shutter release by gently pressing the release button, then taking hands off and allowing the exposure delay to complete the process.

Everything locked down on sturdy tripod, of course.

Thanks,
Don

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agitater

Toronto, CA
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#1. "RE: Exposure Delay vs. Remote Release" | In response to Reply # 0

agitater Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007
Sat 09-Mar-13 12:55 PM

Exposure Delay is designed, among other reasons, to reduce the possibility of camera movement caused by a physical press on the shutter button or shutter trip by an attached cable release. So yes, using exposure delay can increase the likelihood of getting sharp shots in the situation you described. Lots of photographers use exposure delay for just that reason.

I see a number of photographers using exposure delay while doing handheld shooting, which makes very little sense at all.

Mirror Up plus a wireless or cable release works well.

Many tripods have an eyebolt under the mount to which a sandbag or some other kind of moderate weight can be attached to stabilize a rig. Use the technique to add stability in combination with mirror-up or exposure delay.

I've read recommendations elsewhere about attaching an eyelet connected to a length of wire rope to the bottom of the tripod head, and then stepping on the wire rope to tension the rig. It's not much of a stabilization method because it requires that the photographer not shift the foot position on the wire rope even the tiniest bit - something which is almost impossible to do. The point is that the slightest shift or tremor or rock or lean in the foot position actually moves the rig and that completely defeats the purpose.

Some photographers lay large bean bags or sandbags across the top of the camera in an effort to dampen vibration. I have no idea why this would work, but I don't see it used very often anyway. I don't think the technique actually does much except to potentially stabilize the rig somewhat, albeit at the same time raising the center of gravity of the rig (which seems counterproductive) and simultaneously placing excess weight on the top of the camera. It makes much more sense to hang a stabilizing weight from the bottom of the tripod head, as described above.

Positioning for ultimate stability is as important as anything else. I watched, early last Fall, as a shooter set up on a footbridge in a wildlife conservation area on Lake Ontario in south Ajax. The steel beam-framed bridge with wood plank walkway can be made to vibrate by a couple of energetic eight-year-olds, never mind adults and families out for a stroll. The photographer tried for an hour or so (I didn't watch him the entire time) to get a sharp shot of the ducks fooling around in the water only a few yards below, but he couldn't get anything decent. I finally walked up to him and pointed out that even when there was nobody walking on the footbridge, the thing was still moving and vibrating in the breeze. Dumb location combined with a photographer who wanted the shooting position no matter what.

I've watched photographers with weighted rigs, mirror-up usable shutter speeds and in gorgeous lighting conditions set up a tripod on soft ground or gravel or muck or unstable talus and you-name-it, then scratch their heads afterwards trying to figure out why everything they were getting was soft.

I watched a photography instructor with a group near the Wye Valley (UK, somewhere outside of Wilton IIRC), go from person to person and kind of leaning/resting his left hand on each rig as each one made a shot. It was bizarre to see and I think the instructor must have messed up every shot as far because he wasn't just touching the rig with his left; he was also talking and gesturing with his right hand. What a goof.

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johno

St. Louis, US
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#2. "RE: Exposure Delay vs. Remote Release" | In response to Reply # 1

johno Silver Member Nikonian since 23rd May 2006
Sat 09-Mar-13 02:11 PM

Sand bags is kinda funny.

Next will be a concrete piling sunk to bedrock. Portability being limited.

Good advice in previous post, seriously speaking.

I use the timer release combined with exposure delay at least a second.

If anything is still wobbling after a second the tripod needs disposal. Or wait to shoot until after the earthquake/twister, etc.

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JazzDoc

Rochester, US
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#3. "RE: Exposure Delay vs. Remote Release" | In response to Reply # 0

JazzDoc Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 11th Mar 2006
Sat 09-Mar-13 07:51 PM

Just to add a bit to the above, I use the delay mode often for tripod and slow shutter conditions. The mirror slap is a nasty purveyor of vibration in the period up to about 500 msec after pressing the shutter release and dampens rapidly. I don't see an advantage in waiting longer than a second, unless the tripod is really bad and continues to reflect that vibration excessively--not likely with most fine tripods. The only clear advantage of using mirror-up and then tripping the shutter is that you can be precise in timing the latter. For example, those cool nighttime shots with a citiscape and moving vehicles (cars, trains, etc. with colored lights) are easier to coordinate if you don't have to guess tht 1 second delay and just open the shutter at the moment you wish. Otherwise, in either method, the mirror is up and still when the shutter is activated, so results should be the same. I have come to adore the delay method, as you can use it even if you forget or do not carry your remote shutter release. Also, remember that solid support elements in the environment can serve as very stable tripod equivalents in a jam, such as a granite bolder, a rigid fence, etc. and that 1 second delay in conjunction can save the day.

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NatureDon

US
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#4. "RE: Exposure Delay vs. Remote Release" | In response to Reply # 3

NatureDon Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Nov 2007
Sat 09-Mar-13 10:38 PM

Thanks Guys. Appreciate the feedback. Some good food for thought also.

Don

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jamesvoortman

Durban, ZA
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#5. "RE: Exposure Delay vs. Remote Release" | In response to Reply # 4

jamesvoortman Silver Member Nikonian since 06th Sep 2004
Sun 10-Mar-13 02:42 AM

The D800 has significant mirror slap. I can feel it when shooting handheld, much more so than with my D300. So either Mirror up or some delay, or both would be a good idea when you need it. I routinely use a cable release on tripod so that there is no need to touch the rig after you have aimed the shot.

Delay is a pain in certain situations such as night-time shots with transient lighting effects as described and macro where wind or insect movement require you to be able to react quickly to shooting opportunities. In such cases, using a cable release with live view (includes mirror up) can give you the quick response time without the mirror slap if I understand it correctly.

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jerry r

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#6. "RE: Exposure Delay vs. Remote Release" | In response to Reply # 5

jerry r Registered since 08th Oct 2008
Sun 10-Mar-13 03:51 AM

Is there a range of shutter speeds where you have to be concerned about mirror slap and/or camera movement from pushing the shutter button?

Jerry

JazzDoc

Rochester, US
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#7. "RE: Exposure Delay vs. Remote Release" | In response to Reply # 0

JazzDoc Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 11th Mar 2006
Sun 10-Mar-13 09:46 AM

Yes, the shutter speed matters quite a bit. Most of the vibration from mirror slap occurs early and then decays rapidly after about 1/4 s or so. Shutter speeds in a range of about 1/20 to 1/5 s would be expected to be affected most, with some affect in either direction. The affect is diluted as shutter duration becomes long--a 30s exposure would be less affected by vibration during the first half second, for example.

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jtmcg

Simsbury, US
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#8. "RE: Exposure Delay vs. Remote Release" | In response to Reply # 0

jtmcg Moderator Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Awarded for his high level skills, specially in Wildlife, Macro & Landscape Photography Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 22nd Mar 2007
Sun 10-Mar-13 12:10 PM

I do a lot early morning macro work with bugs. A sturdy tripod is a prime requirement. For me the best method has been LV with an electronic cable release. With LV you also have mup so mirror slap isn't an issue. One of the things I have to deal with constantly in this environment is subject motion. With LV and magnification I can watch carefully for motion to stop and then mash the release. Since it's electronic, no vibration is transmitted to the camera as long as there's slack in the cable.

Because of the magnification I've found this method more effective than either looking through the VF or or directly at the subject to try to detect when motion stops.

John

Herbc

US
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#9. "RE: Exposure Delay vs. Remote Release" | In response to Reply # 8

Herbc Registered since 10th May 2012
Sun 10-Mar-13 01:38 PM

Being new to DSLR work, long time LF shooter, I find my REIS tripod still very good for close to the car work. They are quite a bit of overkill for small formats, but wood really dampens vibration well.
I have some fiber tripods, and for portability, they win.
Another idea is to widen the stance of the tripod legs. when they are in the uppermost spread, the 'pod is a bit wobbly, but if you go down a click and widen the spread, much improved.

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jerry r

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#10. "RE: Exposure Delay vs. Remote Release" | In response to Reply # 7

jerry r Registered since 08th Oct 2008
Sun 10-Mar-13 02:54 PM

Thanks, Gary

That confirms what was in my memory bank (1/30" to 30"). Not much has changed here over the years from film days.

Jerry

walk43

Pennsylvania, US
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#11. "RE: Exposure Delay vs. Remote Release" | In response to Reply # 0

walk43 Registered since 07th Feb 2012
Sun 10-Mar-13 07:23 PM

Good discussion guys! Since it was brought up in this thread, has anyone seen any tripod tests where different products are actually tested for vibration/ stability? I'm looking for real test data and reviews.

Dan
(Nikon D800,V2,Sony HX400V,Lumix ZS40)
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agitater

Toronto, CA
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#12. "RE: Exposure Delay vs. Remote Release" | In response to Reply # 11

agitater Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007
Sun 10-Mar-13 08:55 PM

>Since it was brought up in this thread,
>has anyone seen any tripod tests where different products are
>actually tested for vibration/ stability? I'm looking for real
>test data and reviews.

Interesting question. I think it is improbably difficult to create a test series, a measurement or rating system that makes sense or indeed any data representing anything more than extremely coarse results that can be just as easily obtained by simple observation and appropriate modification of technique. .

It's possible to measure the transmission of various vibration frequencies through a tripod leg that is under load. But determining both suitable methods of loading and methods of inducing appropriate vibration frequencies and amplitudes to somehow emulate anything encountered in actual shooting conditions would be tremendously difficult. On top of all that, there would be very few similarities from combo to combo of tripod brand, leg material, leg length, head type, head material, camera load and lens load, not to mention differences from camera model to camera model. An insurmountable amount of testing to obtain only highly questionable results.

Tripod makers already already use marketing language that implies certain models are stiffer or transmit less vibration and so on. But I think the makers base those suggestions on materials characteristics rather than anything resembling hard testing. It's impossible for tripod makers to know how a photographer will set up and use the rig, how well a head is locked or what camera & lens combo will be used.

The other key issue is the method(s) used to create and set up a shooting test to measure the effect of increased or decreased vibration. How could we separate the effect on sharpness caused by tripod-induced vibration from the effects of mirror slap, lens softness at certain apertures or other focus-softening causes? I suppose we could attempt to use some sort of relative or correlative assessments, but it would just be a roll of the dice, IMO anyway.

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walk43

Pennsylvania, US
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#13. "RE: Exposure Delay vs. Remote Release" | In response to Reply # 12

walk43 Registered since 07th Feb 2012
Mon 11-Mar-13 10:23 AM | edited Mon 11-Mar-13 10:26 AM by walk43

Thanks Howard, I always value your opinion (explained well and detailed). I completely understand about the variables in testing out tripods. But with all the technology today and all sorts of 'seismographs' I though someone by now would have designed sensors to place on tripod legs and camera bodies that would wirelessly transmit data to a recorder for analysis. Guess not.

But I did read a test awhile back that I have used several times on different lens set-ups. It goes like this.

Tape a laser pointer to the top/side of your camera lens and tighten everything down...solid base...balanced load on the tripod, etc. Then tape down the button to turn on the laser pointer and direct it at a point that is far away....like 30-200 feet. Then shoot all sorts of test shots. In your resulting images, look for a perfectly round inner yellow light with an halo of red perfectly round around it. If the image of the light (inner and outer circles)is perfectly round then you have good support and very very minimum shake...if the laser light image is an oval and/or shows light spurs going in opposite directions, like a 'quasar', then you have shake.

As a test, I shot with my tripod on a carpeted floor and then on a concrete floor. The image shot on the carpet showed ovals...the image shot on concrete showed round laser points.

I also tried it hand held with VR....can you guess the result....yep ovals every time.

Dan
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agitater

Toronto, CA
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#14. "RE: Exposure Delay vs. Remote Release" | In response to Reply # 13

agitater Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007
Mon 11-Mar-13 11:33 AM | edited Mon 11-Mar-13 11:38 AM by agitater

>As a test, I shot with my tripod on a carpeted floor and then
>on a concrete floor. The image shot on the carpet showed
>ovals...the image shot on concrete showed round laser points.
>
>I also tried it hand held with VR....can you guess the
>result....yep ovals every time.

Okay . . . interesting again. But I think it partly bears out the point about coarse observation by eye being good enough. Actual measurement of the (e.g., + or -, in mm) amount of change is problematic. As a simple test, you proved without doubt that positioning a tripod on a concrete floor is more stable than a tripod positioned on a carpeted floor. That aside, you haven't seen any evidence of a reduction in vibration, because I'm not sure what the oval represents. Does it represent a static misalignment which occured after you locked everything down? Does it represent continuous movement? Does it represent a slight shift in the taped-down laser? Did the tape shift occur because it was overstretched during application (impossible to measure)? Was the tape too loosely applied (impossible to measure)? Was the camera-mounted laser perfectly perpendicular to the target surface and the plane of the sensor from shot to shot? There's a short list of other controllable and semi-controllable variables that I think must be accounted for if an accurately useful testing setup is to be devised.

Now that you've done a rough test setup, I think the trick is to develop refinements. A taped-down laser won't do because there's no way to tape it down so tightly that it won't budge in the slightest, while at the same time setting its position at a perfect right angle to the plane of the sensor and a perfect right angle to the target surface. Anything less than accurate positioning at a tolerance variable that is smaller than the smallest test differential that is worthwhile recording (e.g., the smallest change in the circle that would be visible as a negative effect in a test photo) is unacceptable. There's no guarantee that the hotshoe plate is perfectly perpendicular to the plane of the sensor, so a machined laser mount with a fine adjustment control of some sort is probably needed.

That leaves the challenge of measuring the source of an induced vibration. You've measured alignment, not vibration. To test for the effect of vibration, it has to either be continuous or induced at just the right moment so that it will have an effect during the period the shutter is open.

As well, and just as important, because you've observed an effect that is visible on a target surface positioned at some distance from your rig, you're inherently biasing the significance of the observable difference from setup to setup, while at the same time revealing a variable in the setup repeatability and basic accuracy the rig. For example, a straight line that is 1 degree elevated compared to a plane surface, measured at a distance of 1 meter from the point of origin, will be elevated a certain distance (e.g., measured in mm). Measure the same elevated line at a point that is 3 meters from the point of origin, and the elevation will be higher. Measure the height at 6 meters and it will be higher still. So at what distance should the target surface be placed in order to duplicate a common target position in real shooting situations, and to create an easily repeatable reference position that helps in some way to minimize the effect of other variables.

If you can get your hands on a fine movement sensor (3-axis) that can be mounted on one tripod leg, or a fine vibration sensor, it's possible to measure the effect of vibration amplitude on image sharpness I think - at least with a specific righ. For example, some rented studios struggle with mechanical vibrations transmitted through the concrete floor (via the building structural members) by HVAC units. A/C compressor operation operation and main blower operation are factors, along with the rigidity, vibration transmission, isolation and insulation characteristics of the building construction in which the studio is located. Quite often, photographers who rent such studios simply turn off the HVAC system during the actual shoot in order to eliminate any vibration and air movement. It's a simple and straightforward solution, but it is not the best one. If you can devise a test method which can be used to determine the sensitivity threshold of a particular rig, it might be possible for a studio owner to have the HVAC system modified to run at lower pressure, lower fan speed, etc. - just enough to keep the studio livable during a shoot with continuous lighting and all that heat buildup, while at the same time reducing or altering mechanical vibration so that it drops below the sensitivity threshold of the photography rig(s).

I think you've started a very interesting line of thinking. There are a lot of approaches to this area of testing. Some of them might be of serious interest, in particular, to regular studio shooters.

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johno

St. Louis, US
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#15. "RE: Exposure Delay vs. Remote Release" | In response to Reply # 12

johno Silver Member Nikonian since 23rd May 2006
Mon 11-Mar-13 12:57 PM | edited Mon 11-Mar-13 01:01 PM by johno


>
>Tripod makers already already use marketing language that
>implies certain models are stiffer or transmit less vibration
>and so on. But I think the makers base those suggestions on
>materials characteristics rather than anything resembling hard
>testing.

No doubt true. However, I have three tripods and it's obvious which one is most solid based on how they vibrate and feel when they get thumped or pushed on.

My Gitzo 1325 feels like a rock and hardy "rings" at all. Put weight on it and it feels like it could hold up an engine block. My smaller gitzo is not as study feeling, but that Gitzo is tangibly more solid than by off-brand carbon fiber tripod.

For somebody who is yet to purchase, it is impossible to know about relative solidity unless they can thump on them and move them around in a store.

BTW, my 8-inch telescope is mounted on very sturdy legs (perhaps 25 pounds with two-inch-thick steel legs) and a beefy cast aluminum mounting. Vibrations in that are very easy to see when looking at a planet or cluster. After the slightest handling of the adjustment knob it takes a couple of seconds for a high-powered image to stabilize. This makes me curious at what amplitude vibrations begin to impact a camera image. The telescope certainly vibrates enough to fuzz up a planet photo for at least two seconds after any slightest touch of the telescope focus knob.

I am curious whether a solid tripod is still oscillating after 1.2 or 2 seconds. I am certain it would be if I were to somehow mount my telescope on even my sturdiest tripod.

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gpoole

Farmington Hills, US
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#16. "RE: Exposure Delay vs. Remote Release" | In response to Reply # 15

gpoole Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit. Awarded for his very generous support to the Fundrasing Campaing 2014 Writer Ribbon awarded for his article contributions for the Articles library and the eZine Nikonian since 14th Feb 2004
Mon 11-Mar-13 01:18 PM | edited Mon 11-Mar-13 01:18 PM by gpoole

A chart published by Neil Rothschild in the Astrophotography forum shows 1 pixel on a D800 is 10 arc seconds with a 100mm lens. This doesn't answer your question about oscillation amplitude or duration, but it does show that it doesn't take much to affect an image.

Gary in SE Michigan, USA.
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JazzDoc

Rochester, US
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#17. "RE: Exposure Delay vs. Remote Release" | In response to Reply # 11

JazzDoc Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 11th Mar 2006
Tue 12-Mar-13 11:13 PM

I recall an acutal test of tripod stability with respect to an SLR shutter and mirror mechanics some years a go, but cannot locate it. Try this: http://markins.com/charlie/report.html
It is a complex article that I find rather dense. If I were testing tripods, a mini-3D accelerometer (ACC) is what I would use first, in conjunction with the SLR and a long lens of choice for image association. The ACC (or several at once) could be attached to the camera back, its mount, any leg, and the floor just to cover some territory. The article noted above does not directly address the straightforward issue of this post as directly as we would like, but it is interesting and informative. What I cannot locate is what we really would like to see--a physical measure of vibration at different points of the mechanical system under conditions of a shutter release sequence with and without the mirror slap so as to isolate each and their affects. The variables involved are many (camera, weight, tripod, floor, etc.), but it would be nice to know given a very stable platform. I have seen such a report, and so sorry for not finding it to share.

Gary Paige

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G