Shutter Shock, Part II ...

Started Jun 24, 2014 | Discussions thread
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Shutter Shock, Part II ...
Jun 24, 2014

Well, as I promised to several posters in my other thread about Shutter Shock with my E-P5 and certain lenses, here are my conclusions after extensive testing, various combinations of settings, tripod/no tripod, "Short" shutter lag vs. normal, etc.

CAVEOT: it needs to be realized that ANY camera with a pixel density and small pixel size like the M4:3 Pens is very susceptible to less-than-sharp captures from even the slightest movement, especially at slow to moderate speeds.

It really doesn't take much movement at all to soften an image taken by a high resolution camera, and many times we will blame the camera or the lens simply because the softness looks very much like lens softness or a "strong AA filter."

Make no mistake about it: these cameras will generally take tack-sharp images if we approach them with full awareness that they need to be handled with greater precision and care than cameras from the 6, 8 & 12MP era. I find that Mirror Slap is less of a problem and more easily prevented ... even in a full frame camera ... than Shutter Shock in an M4:3 camera. IBIS can't cure everything!

On to my conclusions:

1) Shutter Shock is a real phenomena in certain Olympus Pen cameras; the "problem" appears to stem from Olympus' choice of shutter mechanism

2) Something similar to Shutter Shock can be caused by poor technique, but the end image from poor or improper technique won't look like a Shutter Shock image; Shutter Shock looks more like ghosting than blurring; it can also be extremely subtle and not even noticeable when viewed full screen, normal size. Even viewing a Shutter Shock image at 100% can have us assuming "Oh, that one mis-focussed a little. I can fix it with USM." Shutter Shock isn't always obvious, though the gross examples are.

3) Olympus' firmware update combined with Short Shutter Lag and the other setting for "Anti-Shutter-Shock" (my term) in the Super Control Panel works very well, but it's not a cure-all.

4) Short Shutter Lag is essential if a maximum reduction in Shutter Shock is the goal.

5) The problem does subside, as per #3 & #4 above, but still can manifest itself at 1/60 and other "slower" speeds. It doesn't seem to occur at the higher "normal" speeds (1/125, etc) when the settings are right. This is a major improvement compared to shooting with the original firmware.

6) Adding some weight to the camera ... including shooting with heavier lenses ... seems to reduce and even eliminate that last ounce of Shutter Shock, at least with my E-P5 it does. I've attached my heaviest Arca-Swiss quick release plate to my E-P5 and have not seen any evidence of Shutter Shock with the plate attached. As per my CAVEOT above, it really doesn't take much to cause softness and blurring in these cameras. Conversely, it doesn't take much added weight to dampen the slight movement that's causing Shutter Shock.

7) Likewise, shooting with my Olympus Four Thirds Zuiko 14-54 f/2.8 and adapter (a much heavier combination than my 14-42 II R) also eliminates Shutter Shock.

8) If adding weight is inconvenient or hampers the shooting experience in any way, then read my CAVEOT above. You'll need to improve your hand-holding and shutter press techniques to effectively eliminate all possibility of Shutter Shock.

9) Shutter Shock can be induced on a less-than-stellar tripod. I've compared mounting my E-P5 on my lightweight but relatively sturdy travel tripod to mounting it on my big, heavy, carbon-fiber Induro and ... surprisingly ... I saw evidence of Shutter Shock when using the lighter tripod.

Not sure there's more I can add to this. Don't know if it's helpful or not, but it was fun writing it all down.

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