16 April 2008

Guestimation of Unsaturated Swans

The guessing comes in when, rather than taking the picture directly, one switches the drive mode from "Single-frame" to "Self-timer (2 sec)"; that lifts the camera mirror assembly, counts to two, and then triggers the shutter. This is intended to allow the vibration involved in moving the shutter to damp out before the picture is actually taken, and is a recommended technique for taking pictures at particularly long focal lengths. It also gives the swans-a-swimming lots of opportunity to be not quite where one expected.
These were not taken at a particularly long focal length; 300mm, which gives (on an APS-C camera) a field of view equivalent to a 450mm lens on a 35mm camera, and field of view is what I am given to understand matters for managing shake.
The pictures are 100% crops, in PNG, from the original images; I've turned all the adjustments in the raw processing to 0, so this is not so much straight out of the camera as false black and white. Both were taken from a tripod, with the in-camera shake reduction turned off as the manual instructs when using a tripod.

1/350, F6.7, ISO 100, drive mode "Single-frame"
1/350, F6.7, ISO 100, Drive Mode "Self-timer (2 sec)"

(If anyone wants the full exif info from the DNG files, at about 7kb each, let me know.)

It's hard to see a difference; I think it does make a difference, but at the shutter speed involve not much of one. At slower (tenth-second) shutter speeds, trying to take pictures of swimming swans is close to hopeless, but with flowers in the dim evening it does seem to matter.

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