KYC #5 : Lock it up – Mirror?

There are a lot of features in your camera that we do not use often and don’t know much about. Today we talk about ‘Mirror Lock-up’. 

Did you know that your camera comes with a feature named mirror lock-up? So lets see how does one reach this feature and what does it do…

Enabling Mirror Lockup:

Nikon Guys have it easy – Just lookup ‘Mup’ or MLU on your command dial

Mirror Lock Nikon

Canon guys, Here are a couple of images that should help you 

Canon Mirror Lock

 Try to switch it on. Please note that once you do that, you have to click twice to get the image. Why?

Why does this happen and what am I achieving by this?

Well, to start off, the mirror is the element in your camera that lets you see through the viewfinder. Without the mirror, currently an optical viewfinder is not possible in an SLR. Now, when you click an image, the mirror has to move out of the way so that the light rays fall on the sensor right?

Take a look at the image below : 

Mirror Cross

When you press the shutter release button, the first thing that happens is that the mirror goes up. When the mirror does that, there is a certain amount of vibrations that occur due to the physical movement. Now, these micro-vibrations aren’t really an issue most of the times unless you are clicking a landscape with mountains that are far far away or the moon/astro-photo or a bird with an ultra zoom like the 1200mm. Under such circumstance the minute vibrations also cause a massive shake in the image. A slow shutter speed also suffers from this micro-vibration. 

So if you plan to do astro photography or any very slow shutter speed photography, it is a handy tool to have. It is advisable to practice it before you land up on the field. Remember the dialogue “You went into battle with an unproven rifle?” from Ghost And the Darkness. It is relevant for cameras as well. Make sure you know the working of your gear before you head out!!

Don’t forget to switch it off before you hit the bed though. I have seen a lot of people completely clueless about whats gone wrong with their cameras after leaving this control on and not getting an image every-time they click the camera.

To Read all the KYC articles, click the following link : Know Your Camera Series

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on Tumblr


  1. Raghunath Singh October 29, 2017 at 8:21 am #

    Thanks for your blogs, very informative. Is mirror lock up technique helpful for macro photography?

  2. Sujeet Deshpande April 12, 2018 at 9:25 am #

    Thanks for your blogs. Very informative. This would mean mirrorless cameras would not have this feature since there there is no mirror to lock up. Is that correct? If yes, then every image made by mirrorless camera is some what equivalent to Mirror Lock up image.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *