My own 'shutter shock' test

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TrapperJohn
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My own 'shutter shock' test
8 months ago

As I keep hearing about this, and as much as I've looked, I can't see any evidence of it in a year and a half of using the EM5, I thought I'd try to see if my new EM1 would exhibit this - others are saying that it does, and that it might be worse than on the EM5. Why should I be missing out on all the fun?

Lens is MZD 45 1.8, focus point is the one branch sticking up in the middle. Shot JPEG, untouched other than import into LR4 and crop. Since LR 4.4 doesn't support EM1 ORF's, I had to shoot jpeg. Handheld, with IBIS set to IS1. This test will take into account the reports that shutter shock happens with IS on, in the 1/100-1/200 range, or only at 1/100 to 1/150, or anything below 1/250, depending on who is doing the reporting.

Here's the full shot - a box bush in my yard:

Here is a heavy crop of the focus point at 1/500, as a baseline - supposedly well out of the shutter shock range. No, I did not employ anti shock, but given the degree of this crop, there's no real blurring of the in focus areas visible.

At 1/250, getting close to the danger point:

Here it is at 1/125, things should be dicey by now:

And here's one at 1/60:

To be thorough, let's try a different lens. These next three were taken with my ZD 35-100, set to 47mm (as close as I could guess). This should answer a couple of theories I've heard floating around here - that shutter shock can be dependent upon the weight of the lens (35-100 weighs around 2.5 pounds, a whole lot heavier than the flyweight 45 1.8), or that it can vary by the lens used. Not a complete test, but let's take both the weight and design of the lens (35-100 is a telecentric lens, one of the finest ZD lenses made) out of the equation.

No, you won't see much IQ difference between a $400 lens and a $2500 lens in these crops, but bright sunlight is not where the ZD 35-100 excels. It's a beautiful bokeh and killer detail in dim light lens, neither of which are applicable in this situation.

1/400, for a baseline:

1/160, should be well within the reported 'shutter shock' range:

And finally, at 1/80:

Now, you tell me - do you see any significant blurring of the shot at the focus point when shutter speed gets into the 1/100-1/200 range, where shutter shock is supposed to happen, even in these very heavy crops?

I don't.

And that's using two radically different lenses. There are a few very minor variations between the shots, but at this heavy a crop, nothing that could be even remotely visible in the full photo, and no real progression or significant degradation as the shutter speed drops. If shutter shock were a real and prevalent issue, it should have shown up in these shots.

It did not.

The trouble with this 'shutter shock' thing is - any number of photo goofs can be attributed to it, from bad focus, to a slow lens shooting in dark conditions and/or wide open, to stopping down into diffraction range, to... pretty much anything that can affect captured sharpness. Perhaps turning on 'anti shock' may help this, but if you're turning on anti-shock, you're thinking about your photograph and how you use the camera more, and that can fix quite a few problems.

I'm not saying I haven't taken bad or less than sharp shots with my EM5, just that when I have, I can usually pin the problem down to operator error. Which means I can take corrective action and fix the problem so it doesn't happen again.

And, I'm not saying that 'shutter shock' doesn't exist, just that when I use my EM5, and now EM1, to capture photographs using normal photographic procedures, I am not, repeat not, seeing anything remotely like what is being billed as 'shutter shock'.  That's across multiple 4/3 and µ43 lenses and two bodies that have been reported to exhibit shutter shock. Where is it?

Perhaps I'm not 'doing it right'. That's the point - I'm not interested in seeking out flaws, I'm interested in better photographs. If the day comes that I see unexpected blurring while using the gear like I normally do, I'll look into it further, and see if I can reproduce it.

That day hasn't come.

Fujifilm FinePix IS-1 Olympus E-M1
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