Tam Nguyen Photography

New York Beauty and Fashion Photographer

DSLR Mirror Vibration Shown Using a Laser Pointer

Posted on May 2, 2011 in Photography, Tips

DSLR Mirror Vibration Shown Using a Laser Pointer

How much does a camera vibrate due to your finger pressing the shutter or the mirror flipping? Camera Technica decided to conduct a test by strapping a laser pointer to the hot shoe of a Canon 7D. They then filmed the red dot on a far wall against some text while shooting normally (i.e. pressing the shutter with a finger), using a remote shutter release, and finally with a remote shutter as well as mirror-lockup.

You might be surprised at how much movement the camera experiences even if the shutter is pressed carefully. Lesson learned: for the sharpest possible photos, use a tripod, a remote shutter release, and the mirror-lockup feature on your camera.


  1. Manually pressing the shutter button is by far the most significant cause of vibration during image capture.
  2. In order for mirror lock-up to be worthwhile, the camera must be on a tripod with remote shutter attached.
  3. Mirror vibration can be significant in some circumstances.  For slow shutter speeds, significant degradations in image quality were noted.
  4. For fast shutter speeds, mirror vibrations seem to have negligible impact.
  5. For some newer cameras, live-view mode may be a better alternative to mirror lock-up.  By definition, the mirror will already be locked up to enable a live view of the light hitting the sensor.

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