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.

DSLR Mirror Vibration (via Foto Actualidad)

  • Chung Dha Lam

    UHm what cheap tripod is this guy using, I think a good heavy tripod won’t shake a bit at all.

  • Blueeyedpop

    wish we knew the distance to the wall, and the amount of excursion. Then we could figure out the angular amount of vibration.

  • Blueeyedpop

    wish we knew the distance to the wall, and the amount of excursion. Then we could figure out the angular amount of vibration.

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  • Rob

    Couple of quibbles

    The location of the laser would seriously interfere with the normal shooting style of most photographers impacting the hand held test.

    In the hand held test that person has some serious issues with shooting style and grip. I know for a fact I do not shake that much. I know this because of extensive marksmanship training with a system called Beamhit. Im more steady holding a pistol at arms length.

    The length of the laser pointer and its overhang on the back side of the camera exaggerates up/down/left/right motion. Ideally you would have the laser more centered on the camera body.

    The authors dont say if any kind of stabilization was in use. I should have been used with the hand held but not with the tripod.

    There is no indication of how far the “target” was from the camera. The greater the distance the larger the perceived motion.

    Im not disputing the findings – I use mirror lockup and a remote trigger when ever possible – but at a minimum the conditions of the test need to be more fully explained.

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  • Spin A Top

    it’s mirror up. not mirror lock-up, that’s for sensor cleaning.

  • Sergio

    MLU is correct too. The term existed even before digital.

  • AStarbucks


    I cannot believe the persistent rubbish from you and others trying rationalise away this fundamental issue of mirror vibration. Its an age old issue since the first SLR was invented. But you were probably just sucking on a pacifier during the film days.

    If you hand hold, you WILL SHAKE even more. The picture will suffer even greater blurring due to the combined effects of hand shake & mirror slap. Breathing + pulse + muscular movements + mechanical vibration = Camera


    Your hands will not damp vibrations better than a tripod. It only adds more blur. So stop throwing that tosh about your hand not shaking as much. That is just pure ignorance about the fundamental tenets of photography technique.

  • AStarbucks

    Again another example of ignorance… new to photography huh? The tripod only has some influence. A poor wobbly tripod will take longer to come still. But the vibration occurs at the focal plane regardless of tripod!

    Learn the photography fundamentals!

  • DrwMD

    The effect of vibration is still compounded purely based on the location of the laser. You would have to mount it exactly in line with the location and plane of the shutter to get a true sense of how much vibration is occurring at the sensor…