Nikon D850 Electronic vs Mechanical Shutter Test at 20x

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RobertOToole
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Nikon D850 Electronic vs Mechanical Shutter Test at 20x

Post by RobertOToole »

This last thing I planned on doing on my first Saturday back from 17 days out of the country was to run a test, but after failing to find any difference between all mechanical and electronic shutter modes at 1/4 sec and 1.5 seconds at 1.3x, I just had to try a more demanding magnification!

So I grabbed a Mitutoyo M Plan 20x and I was shocked when I saw the results at 100% view. If I didn't do this test myself I wouldn't believe it honestly.

Full un-copped D850 wafer image at 20X, resized to 1500 pixels and showing the 100% crop area outlined in blue. Click on the image to see a larger image.

Image

Image

RESULTS LEFT TO RIGHT
Flash only
Flash with EFCS
No Flash with EFCS only
No Flash with Full Electronic Shutter, Nikon Silent Live View Photography Mode 1.
No Flash and Full Mechnical Shutter

MY CONCLUSION
What do you think? To my eyes they are all 100% sharp. If I had to choose I would say the EFCS only is sharpest.

These results blow me away. I was able to breeze through this test without much effort, I didn't even use a remote release, I used the front shutter button and they were all sharp, at 20X!

With all my other Nikon and Canon cameras I have had to make an effort to make a consistently sharp image at anything more than 1x without flash. EFCS has always helped but I seriously don't remember it being this easy to make sharp images.

Now the question is, how much of the sharpness consistency is due to my set-up, my technique, or the D850? In any case the D850s performance here was amazing.

From the Nikon D850 brochure:

Tested for 200,000 cycles — Durable, high-precision shutter To ensure durability, the D850’s shutter has been tested for 200,000 cycles while actually loaded in the camera. It’s also designed to minimize the mechanical vibration that causes image blur. The D850 is the first Nikon D-SLR to adopt a shutter counter-balancer in its shutter drive, which travels upward during each shutter release to counteract the vibration caused by the front curtain’s downward motion. What’s more, the camera’s shutter monitor function calculates the duration between front- and rear-curtain movements every time the shutter is released, and automatically corrects any variance.

THE SET-UP
Camera: Nikon D850
Objective: Mitutoyo M Plan APO 20X
Tube Lens: Sigma LSA https://www.closeuphotography.com/sigma ... ttachment/
Studio set-up used: My standard 52mm rig https://www.closeuphotography.com/52mm-setup
Sensor: 35.9 mm x 23.9 mm BSI CMOS Full Frame, 43.13 mm diagonal and Pixel pitch of 4.34 µm (micron sensor pitch).
Flash: Godox TT350s wireless flash x 2 with one Godox X1s 2.4G wireless flash transmitter
Vertical stand: Nikon MM-11 with a Nikon focus block

Manual exposure mode, ISO 64, 1/160th of a second and lowered to 10 seconds with the non-flash images. All images used CSM (custom settings menu) d6: exposure delay set at 3 seconds.

A series of images was shot with each configuration in 2 micron steps. At 100% view in Photoshop I chose the sharpest frame for the crop comparison. All images were shot as a single RAW file, no stacking, and all processed in PS CC with all noise reduction and lens correction turned off, all settings were zeroed out (true zero) and the same settings were used for all images. These are all single files, no stacking was used.

I actually shot this test to post here on the forum but the results surprised me so much I decided to post it on my website: https://www.closeuphotography.com/nikon ... rtain-test


Questions and comments welcome.
Last edited by RobertOToole on Sat May 12, 2018 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

RobertOToole
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Post by RobertOToole »

This area has more final detail than the first. Here the E-Shutter images do show slightly more detail like the small scratch in the extreme upper right corner.

EFCS only image looks like it has the most detail here.

100% view in Photoshop.

Click on the image to view a larger image.

Image

mawyatt
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Post by mawyatt »

Robert,

This is certainly interesting and does indicate that the new Nikon D850 has done a nice job improving the mechanical shutter for reduced vibration. :D

Apparently, your superb skill and setup get the most out of these images regardless of shutter mechanism :lol:

But must admit I am surprised (and pleased) that these are all so good and sharp at 20X :shock:

I had not done this same test, and "assumed" the EFCS and Silent LV modes would always prevail in sharpness. :oops:

The Godox Speelight flash at low output levels is probably pretty fast (guess maybe <500us), so the flash will determine the exposure and being this fast should subdue the effects of any shutter induced vibration (one reason we all use flash).

What you've shown us is that with a really stable and stiff setup, when operated with proper timing and technique, the Nikon D850 can produce stable images at high magnification in any shutter mode, with maybe the EFCS or Silent LV having an ever so slight advantage.

I particularly like the Silent Live View mode because it makes no noise or vibration and I've recently used it at high magnifications with continuous LED illumination. The correct exposure didn't require really long exposures, I recall something like 1/2 second, so was a nice option to have, and I didn't use the mechcanal shutter, nor mirror :D

With a long delay between exposures, EFCS and Silent LV should behave the same from an induced vibration standpoint (meaning no apparent effects), except when dealing with the subjects Lou mentioned (subject in a liquid).

I do believe that folks without the superb setup (extreme stiffness) you have will benefit more from the EFCS modes and/or Silent LV mode.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to do all these tests and show us just how good the Nikon D850 is for our macro work.

Best,

Mike
Research is like a treasure hunt, you don't know where to look or what you'll find!
~Mike

RobertOToole
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Post by RobertOToole »

Hi Mike,


Glad to hear you have the same opinion on the sharpness levels. Okay so its not just me!
mawyatt wrote:
I particularly like the Silent Live View mode because it makes no noise or vibration and I've recently used it at high magnifications with continuous LED illumination. The correct exposure didn't require really long exposures, I recall something like 1/2 second, so was a nice option to have, and I didn't use the mechcanal shutter, nor mirror :D

Don't forget the Silent Live View mode also saves the mechanical shutter from wear. Gotta love that.

Nikon actually promotes that as a feature and advantage of Silent mode.

Have a good weekend.

Robert

mawyatt
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Post by mawyatt »

Robert,

That's why I said " and I didn't use the mechanical shutter, nor mirror :D "

Think our D850's are even better than we expected, at least for me that's true
:lol:

Best,
Research is like a treasure hunt, you don't know where to look or what you'll find!
~Mike

RobertOToole
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Post by RobertOToole »

mawyatt wrote:Robert,

That's why I said " and I didn't use the mechanical shutter, nor mirror :D "

Think our D850's are even better than we expected, at least for me that's true
:lol:

Best,
That was really more for the benefit of others, I pretty much expected that you knew that :D

Agreed on the D850.

I shot lots with it in recently in Africa, with the grip and the larger D4 battery for 9fps, and it really performed superbly. The camera is at the point where if you are missing a shot with the D850, its going to be about 99.9% chance of user error. No more blaming the camera :D

All the best,

Robert

harisA
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Post by harisA »

If I understand correctly you are using shutter speed of 10sec with the combination mechanical shutter/no flash. Are you using a nd filter to block the light?If yes which one?.Also I think with such a low shutter speed (10s) you will avoid vibrations with any camera with a mechanical shutter.

ray_parkhurst
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Post by ray_parkhurst »

harisA wrote:If I understand correctly you are using shutter speed of 10sec with the combination mechanical shutter/no flash. Are you using a nd filter to block the light?If yes which one?.Also I think with such a low shutter speed (10s) you will avoid vibrations with any camera with a mechanical shutter.
I missed that, good catch. I was avoiding saying "something's up here" since I've been wrong too many times lately, but indeed this makes sense now.

RobertOToole
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Post by RobertOToole »

harisA wrote:If I understand correctly you are using shutter speed of 10sec with the combination mechanical shutter/no flash. Are you using a nd filter to block the light?If yes which one?.Also I think with such a low shutter speed (10s) you will avoid vibrations with any camera with a mechanical shutter.
No ND was used, just ambient light.

I am used to seeing a big difference in sharpness with EFCS enabled at any speed. in the 2 previous tests I ran before this one, I used 1.5 seconds and 1/4 seconds (at less magnification) and had similar results and mechanical and electronic shutter.

Robert

ray_parkhurst
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Post by ray_parkhurst »

The long exposure time nicely explained the lack of degradation, but even 1.5sec is long enough on my Canon to minimize shutter shake. I'm not so sure about 1/4 sec. I expect that's way too short for my Canon or Nikon cameras. It would be quite a coup if indeed the D850 shutter was good enough that its vibration dampens fast enough that a 250msec shutter is long enough to eliminate shutter shake.

Edited to add:

Just a thought...could the mechanical shutter operation be taking advantage of the availability of the electronic shutter, and delaying the start of exposure for some time after first mechanical curtain opens? That sort of "hybrid shutter" trick could work since the designers would know exactly how long to delay exposure to eliminate shutter shake.

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