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Reader Comment: D850 Negative Behavior with Shutter Vibration

Jeff S writes:

I know you've been testing the D850 in the field as well as some studio set ups quite a bit.

At the studio I shoot at we've just started testing the D850. Were noticing some negative behavior with shutter vibration when shooting small objects like rings/jewelry etc. We've been also using LED Lighting so in the recent test we were shooting at 100 ISO at slower shutter speeds i.e., 1/6 sec at f/11. Were noticing unusable captures from shutter vibrations.

To solve, it took going to 4000 ISO at 1/650 sec to get vibration free captures. Silent shutter seemed to work pretty well though, but this is a bit concerning. We did not have this problem with the D810.

Also, Live view on Capture one 10 is useless right now. Not sure if this is a Capture One issue (or update on their end needed ) or a needed firmware update by Nikon etc.

Was curious if you've done any critical testing that might show similar results regarding vibration.

DIGLLOYD: shutter vibration is a serious problem with cameras, and has been even since the Nikon D1x (with super telephotos). But today’s cameras have solutions, excepting the unmitigated disaster of the Sony A7R, which the Sony A7R II solved.

With the D850, I've seen no vibration issues at all doing this using EFC shutter and at up to 135mm; I see extremely good detail such as in Examples of Outstanding Resolving Power. Although those are not the 1/6 second shutter speed, many images I've shot are in that range.

I am shooting the D850 the same way I’ve shot the D810 for years, to play it safe until I can be sure of any surprises.

I would look at how shutter release is being done.

This is how I shoot in the field:

  • Two second delay, since I press the shutter button with my finger (and very gently). With longer focal lengths, I may use 3 or 5 second delay.
  • Electronic shutter (but not silent shutter because all electronic shutter can cause image shape distortions for moving objects), such as shown with the Fujifilm GFX in Blur and Image Deformation with Fully Electronic Shutter.
  • M-up mode. On press takes the image X seconds later (X being the delay time).

In a studio, the all electronic shutter (silent shutter) mode should have zero vibration, since the shutter does not open or close at all. And since the subject does not move, there should be no issue with image deformation. So there should be no issue there except shutter release or subject movement.

Continued from Jeff S:

Shooting in silent shutter mode does seem to solve the problem, so that's a solution for sure. However at 1/20s shooting near 1:1 magnification there is obvious damaging vibration in normal shutter/cable release mode which we did not find on the D810's used on the same test. It shouldn't exist.

We don't use mirror lock up as it slows down production, do 10 focus stack frames typically per shot on these jewelry sets, and normally shoot strobe, so it's not an issue. However we recently began switching some systems to LED for possible motion usage, and the issue has become apparent.

This is just concerning, because we noticed the normal shutter seems to have more vibration than the D810?? If users are not aware, don't lock up or use silent shutter, it could pose a problem -similar to the issue with the old D800 vibration issues. Unless the first body we got in to test is defective, it's a bit strange?

DIGLLOYD: I’m not sure I understand the shooting protocols being discussed. But if shooting strobes, then the strobe might have been freezing motion by its very short duration, masking a flaw in shooting protocol.

Using a cable release is a risky business; it is a physical link that can transmit tiny movements and it is why I never use one, particularly in the field where wind can subtly jostle it. The D850 4.3 micron pixels are ~4 millionths of a meter.

Check out the stability of the rig; with some unbalanced setups, the tiniest input oscillates through the rig, matter how heavy the tripod. This is a major issue with super telephoto lenses, and macro setups are at risk also.

Any mode that opens the shutter or flips the mirror to start an exposure is unacceptable for critical sharpness unless the shutter speed is very high.

All electronic shutter seems highly appropriate for a studio. If the choice is speed versus blur, the choice seems clear.

John G writes:

I was reading the comments from Jeff S. regarding shutter vibration caused by the mirror and shutter on the D850. As you know, much of my work is accomplished in the studio, both with strobes and “hot” (Led, Kinoflos, etc.) lights. When shooting both motion and stills, I commonly use continuous lighting as it allows a seamless transition between the two. I can shoot a video sequence and subsequently capture some stills with the same lighting rig. (I should say that, while they’ve come a long way, the state of art of LED continuous lighting still falls considerably short of strobes for the quality and continuity of light, but that’s another topic…).

I, too, am shooting bracketed sequences of products, which, of course, are stationary. The comment "We don't use mirror lock up as it slows down production…” is completely lost on me. I shoot tethered to a calibrated monitor, and often control the camera settings and even the shutter release from the computer. This requires extreme vigilance in cable strain relief, etc., to ensure no vibrations are transmitted to the camera by the cable during critical shooting.

But to the point—I don’t see that there is any “production” efficiency when shooting with the mirror in play. I can shoot ten or more bracketed shots in a matter of seconds by controlling the camera settings from the computer, and/or, changing the output from the strobes (also from the computer). Given the degree to which a photographer shooting in the studio goes to ensure a quality outcome, shooting with the mirror flopping around makes zero sense. And doing so would not improve the speed of the output, once a sensible workflow has been established.

DIGLOYD: I agree, though I am unsure of exactly what Jeff S is using for shooting procedure.

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