If you have been taking photos for any length of time, you know that to achieve the most tack sharp photos possible in any situation, the camera needs to move a little as possible, and zero movement if at all possible. This is especially true if you are taking long exposure shots and when the lens is wide open. The most obvious and prevalent method for keeping a camera still is to use a tripod, and this helps tremendously. The next step for even less movement is to use a self timer or remote shutter to get your hands off the camera when the shot is taken. But can we go even farther? The way a DSLR works is that a mirror sits between the sensor and the lens to reflect the view to the viewfinder. The mirror then swings out of the way when a shot is taken to expose the sensor. The swinging motion of the mirror, though small, causes a bit of vibration in the camera.
The Canon Rebel T6i includes a feature called Mirror Lockup that will let you move the mirror away before taking the photo, thus eliminating vibration from the mirror’s movement. In conjunction with other stabilization methods such as a tripod and remote shutter or self timer, this is the best way to get the stillest photograph possible. Here’s how to use Mirror Lockup:
- Enable Mirror lockup by opening the settings menu, navigating to the second-to-last tab and opening the Custom Functions menu, then scroll to page nine. Select Enable to enable the Mirror Lockup function.
- Return to shooting, and configure your camera for your shot. Mirror Lockup mode should be used in conjunction with a tripod and remote shutter.
- Press the shutter button to move the mirror up and out of the way of the sensor.
- Press the shutter button again to take a photo. Once the photo is taken, the mirror will swing back into normal position.
A couple notes on using Mirror Lockup:
- The mirror will be swung up and out of the way of the sensor between the two shutter button presses for thirty seconds, at which point the camera will automatically return the mirror. During shutter lockup, most camera functions are disabled (remote shutter and self timer are enabled).
- Mirror Lockup Mode will be enabled for as long as the setting is enabled in the Settings menu. Turn Mirror Lockup off when finished.
- The mirror in the camera serves the ulterior functionality of protecting the sensor when photos aren’t being taken. When the mirror is in lockup, the sensor is exposed and can be damaged from extended exposure to sun or bright lights. Don’t wait too long between the first and second shutter releases in Mirror Lockup mode.