Press The Button, Max!

on November 26, 2016
I used to be a dentist and a rifle shooter. You needed a steady hand for both sports, particularly if you wished to do them on the same subject at the same time. You could go for the trifecta and attempt to thread a needle as well, but few people went in for that sort of thing...

On the photo side of things, we have long been enjoined to use some form of steadier to fire off our cameras. If we are trying to get the ultimate sharpness that the sensor is capable of, we need to shoot without moving the camera.

We use tripods, and in the Little Studio, I use a studio stand, to hold the apparatus firm. I turn off the VR or OS or VC mechanism. And up until now I have been connecting a mechanical cable release or electric switch to the Fujifilm cameras and shooting that way after I presumed that all vibrations had died away.

Today I conducted an experiment with one of the quieter Fujifilm cameras - the X-100 - to see just how much improvement is to be had. I used a bare finger on the release button, a soft release pad on the shutter button, and a mechanical cable release. The conclusion is that the cable release is no better than the soft release.

If you have a solid tripod or stand, the action of a finger shot is no worse than the complexity of the cable release. There is always the option of engaging the self-timer in the menu at 2 or 10 seconds and letting vibration damp down in that interval. I do like the soft releases in hand-held shooting, and also find them to be valuable in the studio.

Where an electric switch release is a blessing is when you need to be over near a studio flash holding a flag or a gel to modify the light at the time you release the shutter. You can shoot the electric switch with one hand...or stomp on it on the floor...while the other hand(s) are engaged. Just don't expect to be able to do the exact same thing two times in a row.

Note, your camera needs to have a threaded release button, like a Leica or a Fujifilm to be able to take the spigot of the soft release. Flat finger pads can have something glued on the top to spread the load but this is do-it-yourselfery.

PS: I still shoot the occasional tooth out of someone's head but this is only to amuse the children at Christmas lunch.

Note the UD photo-tip - the plug for the electric release is a tight fit in the camera and it's hard to grasp it for removal. The tape wrapped around the end means it pulls out easily and safely.

Uncle Dick