As a long time Nikon user I’ve been super happy with most of the features of my SLRs. But I have to admit there is one feature that my companions who use Canon have that I have been jealous of, or I was jealous until last week.
In the effort to get tack sharp images I go through a series of steps to minimize vibration: Be sure my tripod feet are firmly planted, avoid using a center column, set the camera to lock up the mirror before releasing the shutter, and use a remote shutter release. There are many things that can cause vibration, but finger movement and camera vibration from the action of an SLR's spring-loaded mirror during slow exposures are most often to blame. Even the slightest image blur can make an exposure unusable for printing or publication.
It seems that I’m often working quickly to set up a composition as the light changes and in the hustle the remote release is somewhere in my bag or car that I just can’t find or be bothered to take the time to get out. I press the shutter release once and the mirror locks up. Then I’m ready to take the photo and try ever so softly to touch the button just hard enough to take the picture without vibrating the camera with my finger. I can’t set the camera for both mirror-lock up AND a shutter delay like my friends with Canon cameras. Or thats what I thought until I discussed the matter with a young photography workshop student at Lake Tahoe who told me to just turn on “Exposure delay mode.” HUH?!
I’d seen this setting deeply buried in Nikon’s vast menu but hadn’t checked to see what it did. I mean, why would I want to delay taking an exposure? Here’s why:
Duh! I looked at the student incredulously, realizing how happy I was to be introduced to this simple little setting. I immediately saved it into the “My Menu” folder to access it easily. I will still prefer to use my remote release, but forgetting it will be one less thing on my mind in the field.
You’d think one day I’d actually read the owner’s manual... Sheesh! It just goes to show, every day is a school day. The learning process is a truly an incredible experience and the student will always be the teacher!