A550 MLU test with two tripods

Started Mar 28, 2010 | Discussions thread
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Nordstjernen
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A550 MLU test with two tripods
Mar 28, 2010

How does the A550 perform on a tripod with long lenses, since this camera lacks Mirror Lock Up (MLU)? I decided to run some tests, inspired by the last days writings. I put my Sony G 70-400 mm lens on the camera and worked with aperture settings from f:8 to f:16. For the longer exposures I used a ND filter to avoid stopping down below f:16.

The 10 sec timer was used, and a gentle push on the release button (no shutter release cable). When I ran these tests there was no wind. The light was flat, but not worse than camera shake easily should be disclosed. The distance from the camera to the subject was about 710 meters.

The left column shows two exposures with the same shutter speed with the camera on a Gitzo Studex tripod with a Manfrotto geared head. This is a mid-range tripod, suited for focal lengths up to 400-500 mm. For better support a Tele Studex would be a better choise, but I don't own one.

The right coloumn shows the results with a lighter Gitzo tripod and the same Manfrotto head, a combination suited for medium focal lengths. In fact this tripod is not recommended for such long focal lengths as 400 mm. The results shows some camera shake, which is is easily reduced with the use of a sturdier tripod.

So how does the camera perform? Compared to my A900 where MLU is needed for shutter speeds in the area that was tested, the A550 did very well. In fact, I expected worse results. With the A550 I think turbulent air normally would be a more noticable problem than lack of MLU. The lack of MLU is not critical, and I think most photographers will accept such results.

When I am using my camera in the field I always strive for two point support when using long focal lengths and the Studex tripod, to avoid camera shake caused by wind.

Here are my test shots:

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