Nikon EFCS seems to work

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Steve S
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Nikon EFCS seems to work

Post by Steve S »

This is all preliminary, but some things are clear after ~80 comparison exposures with the D800e and D810 on some hilariously rickety tripod setups using an old Gitzo travel tripod which the designers had unwisely fitted with a telescoping centerpost. A very small ball head supported a Nikkor 70-200mm f/4 at 200mm, f/4. In the more unstable setup, the tripod apex was at 73cm with the lens axis another 64cm above that. The target was the old faithful USAF 1950 at about 5m, indoors, on a masonry floor at grade in a quiet neighborhood.

At exposures of 1/10, 1/30 and 1/100, with mirror-up and EFCS enabled, the D810 never showed any vibrational degradation: nearing the resolution limit, the horizontal and vertical lines of the chart dissolved into pixilation and a little false color at just the same rate. By contrast, all exposures with normal mirror and shutter operation with both cameras showed as expected higher resolution on vertical lines than horizontal. So did the mirror-up exposures on the D800e and the D810 without EFCS enabled.

My elderly ears can detect no noise at the start of EFCS exposures: I don't think there is any mechanical motion at all from when the mirror is raised until the shutter closes. In this respect, at least, the EFCS implementation seems successful. As the manual implies, it functions only in mirror-up mode: even if EFCS is enabled in the custom setting, it does not function in live view or in the 1-3sec shutter delay mode. Too bad.

Of less relevance to the macro realm but still worth noting, many have already observed that the mirror-slap/shutter-noise of the new camera is considerably reduced. The reduced mirror noise is definitely associated with reduced vibration: with normal mirror operation and with the very shaky dynamical system I set up, the D810 vibrational degradation was substantially less than half that of the D800 at the more sensitive exposure times (1/30th more or less). (Of course with sufficiently long or sufficiently short exposures there is no difference between the cameras.)

On the other hand, with mirror up and normal operation of the shutters, the vibration differs little between the cameras: one or two chart increments.

Finally, Canon and I think most of us refer to "first curtain shutter"; Nikon says "front curtain shutter." Go figure.

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Re: Nikon EFCS seems to work

Post by Chris S. »

Steve,

Thanks for the first credible report (understanding that it's "preliminary") on EFSC in the Nikon D810.

I was heartened a couple of days ago, when listening to a Nikon promotional video several weeks old, but which I'd missed, to hear the Nikon rep say that EFSC would be useful for things like astrophotography. If Nikon is really thinking of something that would work on a telescope, I'd expect it to work on a microscope or macro rig, as well.

On the other hand, successful implementation of EFSC by Nikon could lead to a nasty dent in my wallet.
Steve S wrote:As the manual implies, it functions only in mirror-up mode: even if EFCS is enabled in the custom setting, it does not function in live view or in the 1-3sec shutter delay mode. Too bad.
Agreed--too bad. Not a deal-breaker for me, as I can live with mirror-up, though prefer exposure delay. But a bit of a disappointment. One wonders "Why?" Adding EFSC to exposure delay mode and live view would seem to be little more than changes to the firmware.

--Chris

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Re: Nikon EFCS seems to work

Post by ray_parkhurst »

Chris S. wrote:
Steve S wrote:As the manual implies, it functions only in mirror-up mode: even if EFCS is enabled in the custom setting, it does not function in live view or in the 1-3sec shutter delay mode. Too bad.
Agreed--too bad. Not a deal-breaker for me, as I can live with mirror-up, though prefer exposure delay. But a bit of a disappointment. One wonders "Why?" Adding EFSC to exposure delay mode and live view would seem to be little more than changes to the firmware.

--Chris
Total deal breaker for me and makes me very glad I did not join the pre-order crowd. I held off because CCP2 is not yet upgraded, and neither is CMN, so I would have no way to tether the D810 when I got it. Now with the alleged EFSC/EFCS Mup fiasco it seems tethering workflow is neutered, greatly complicating studio photography. I guess I will wait for the D820/900.

Steve S
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Post by Steve S »

Ray, I'm totally ignorant regarding tethered mode. Mirror-up mode is compatible with on-camera live view: the first press blacks the screen silently (since the mirror is already up), and the second makes the exposure. Is it just that the tethering software doesn't support the press-twice regime? Is it possible that the software might change to support this?

Repeat, totally ignorant, just curious.

Chris, I too prefer the 1-3sec delay, mainly because the camera shutter button can be used, and the D8XX doesn't provide for IR remote: you have to connect a cable of some sort or else the second press on the button jars the camera just at the time of exposure.

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Post by NikonUser »

Steve S wrote:you have to connect a cable of some sort or else the second press on the button jars the camera just at the time of exposure.
And that will cost another $65.00 if you are the USA
http://www.adorama.com/NKMC30A.html?utm ... flaid63773
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Steve S
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Post by Steve S »

Yes, I have a wired and a wireless release for the socket, at least one of which I can usually find. But I'm lazy and often when taking pictures in too much of a hurry.

ray_parkhurst
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Post by ray_parkhurst »

Steve S wrote:Ray, I'm totally ignorant regarding tethered mode. Mirror-up mode is compatible with on-camera live view: the first press blacks the screen silently (since the mirror is already up), and the second makes the exposure. Is it just that the tethering software doesn't support the press-twice regime? Is it possible that the software might change to support this?

Repeat, totally ignorant, just curious.

Chris, I too prefer the 1-3sec delay, mainly because the camera shutter button can be used, and the D8XX doesn't provide for IR remote: you have to connect a cable of some sort or else the second press on the button jars the camera just at the time of exposure.
If the camera can do this then no worries, the software will likely do it as well. I would need to hear it verified at this point but that is not a problem at all. However, Mup is not like this on my other Nikons that support it. Mup does not activate Live View. They are independent modes. Perhaps other models like the D800 already do this? If so, then Mup is really just Live View, isn't it?

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Post by Chris S. »

ray_parkhurst wrote:Now with the alleged EFSC/EFCS Mup fiasco it seems tethering workflow is neutered, greatly complicating studio photography. I guess I will wait for the D820/900.
Steve S wrote:Is it just that the tethering software doesn't support the press-twice regime? Is it possible that the software might change to support this?
Neither Camera Control Pro 2 (tethering software written and sold by Nikon) nor ControlMyNikon (very good third-party tethering software) work in mirror-up mode with any camera body I’ve tried. Among the various bodies I've tried with both tethering programs, mirror up never creates an error message, but does initiate a variety weird behaviors--never resulting in an actual photograph being made. My sense is that mirror up causes confusion, rather than a consistent response. This suggests to me that the trouble lies in Nikon’s SDK or perhaps in the firmware or even basic design of the cameras themselves. If it could be addressed by a change to the tethering software, I’d bet that ControlMyNikon, at least, would have supported mirror-up long ago. Whatever the underlying cause, it’s asinine.

But I can still use mirror-up in tethered studio photography. The tethering goes through the camera’s USB connection, and the double shutter-press is administered through the camera’s 10-pin remote connection. This works quite well with the StackShot controller, which actuates the camera via the 10-pin connection. It works equally well with my 10-pin hand-held remote cords.

So for my studio work, tethering is not "neutered." But it does seem senseless that Nikon didn't include EFSC in the exposure delay mode, which requires just one shutter press, and so works perfectly when triggering the shot directly within tethering software. (For those not familiar with exposure delay mode, it is an option under which a single shutter press lifts the mirror and fires the iris solenoids, then waits a user-specifiable period from 1-3 seconds, the lifts the shutter curtain and makes the exposure. See the problem? A more sensible implementation, in a camera with EFSC, would raise the shutter curtain at the time of mirror lift and solenoid firing, so that all these sources of vibration would dissipate during the delay period.) Let's hope that this will be addressed in a firmware update--but don't anybody hold their breath. If this could be fixed with one man-day of effort, Nikon would more likely devote 1,000 man-days to denying the problem.
Steve S wrote:. . . the D8XX doesn't provide for IR remote: you have to connect a cable. . .
I for one am glad that Nikon was conservative in leaving the 10-pin remote connection in place—though if they’d chosen to add IR capability in addition to it, I would not have complained. The 10-pin standard has been around for a long time, and many of us have quite a collection of remote cords, intervalometers, and other things that attach to it. And of course the pinouts are widely known, and easily addressed by do-it-yourselfers. There are even unterminated 10-pin connectors available, for those who want to build their own controllers and the like--good thing Nikon didn't break this happy situation.
NikonUser wrote:And that will cost another $65.00 if you are the USA.
Like most Nikon accessories, this cable is absurdly overpriced--and of course, Canon, Panasonic, and other players also engage in this game of price-gouging. But let's remember that there are lots of quite decent third-party remote cords for the Nikon 10-pin connection. For around $10, there are some very serviceable 10-pin remote cords.

Cheers,

--Chris

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Post by NikonUser »

Page 323 of the Manual

d5: Electronic Front-Curtain Shutter
Gbutton➜ACustom Settings menu

Select Enable to enable the electronic front-curtain shutter in
V mode, eliminating blur caused by shutter motion.
A mechanical shutter is used in other release modes,

The Electronic Front-Curtain Shutter
A type G, D, or E lens is recommended;
select Disable if you notice lines or fog when shooting with other lenses.
The fastest shutter speed available with the electronic front-curtain shutter is 1/2000s


What would happen if no lens was attached directly to the camera, e.g., bellows + microscope objective? Lines, Fog, Both or neither?
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No man can be truly called an entomologist,
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Inseewincesee
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Post by Inseewincesee »

Digital Photography Review.
Comparison images from D800e and D810 of electronic first curtain.

http://www.dpreview.com/previews/nikon-d810/8

Not much in it, but when you consider the magnifications a lot of users at this forum might be using....?

Maybe ignorance is bliss, I hope so.
I think it rather pointless to update a already excellent camera for a relative pittance in performance upgrade, when you think that most photographers would be dreaming of achieving a much greater quality upgrade, by getting a D800e from their current camera.

The D810 seems like a D4s V's a Vie D4 .... a minor upgrade, well in the D800 case, a amalgamation of two great cameras D800 & D800e, without a really huge overhaul.

I'd upgrade, but I can't see the point when I know a D820 is around 12/18 months down the track.

And that will be a far bigger upgrade than the D800/e to D810 is Nikon's new camera roll out strategy remains the same as it has been for the last 30 years

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Post by ray_parkhurst »

A guy on one of my coin photography groups got a D810 and was able to verify that running in Mup, with Live View activated, gives a true Live View operation and allows EFCS to operate with the 2-button protocol. Since Live View is active, I assume tethering would produce a LV window, but he does not have any tethering software to test. There is still the 2-button protocol issue, and Chris S's experience with lack of support in Mup mode. Perhaps someone soon will have both a D810 and updated tethering software to test functionality and workflow options. Until then, I'm going to wait on purchasing.

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Post by Steve S »

Bumping this thread for several reasons.

To NikonUser: Sometimes Nikon manuals are a bit mysterious. EFCS works normally with an AIS non-chipped lens, in spite of the strange language on page 323 of the manual.

I had failed to notice that shutter delay can be superimposed on mirror-up with EFCS, so I withdraw my complaint about being compelled to attach a cable.

As to the question whether the D810 AA-less configuration has higher resolution than the AA-neutralized D800e approach, see: blog.kasson.com. He finds no perceptible difference. Nor have I seen a difference in false color or moire in a few resolution-chart exposures. Regarding both resolution and sensitometry, the cameras appear essentially identical in the range ISO 100-800, at least. There are some entirely impressionistic reports to the contrary, but no real evidence.

Kasson also has a number of earlier posts on the effect of EFCS. In short, it works.

Finally, of marginal relevance to this forum, I mentioned mirror-shock was substantially reduced with the new camera. This, of course, was with tripod mounting. The always interesting and generally reliable Falk Lumo recently reminded us of his finding that mirror shock is of little significance if the camera is hand-held (the resonances/damping are very different from those with tripod mounting). After a number of comparative exposures using my age-betremored hands, it looks like he might be right: I could find no difference between the cameras and I was unable to hold the cameras steady enough to see mirror/shutter shock as distinct from random motions.

ray_parkhurst
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Post by ray_parkhurst »

Steve S wrote: Kasson also has a number of earlier posts on the effect of EFCS. In short, it works.
Can you provide some links? It seems that it does indeed work, but I am still wondering how much of a workaround it requires to make it function in a tethered workflow.

Has anyone made any tests at high magnification to see how it stacks up against Canon's EFSC?

Steve S
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Post by Steve S »

http://blog.kasson.com/?m=201407

This has a number of the tests; scroll down.

Don't know nothing about tethered myself, but Chris says use USB for the tethering and the 10-pin for actual shutter release (two presses, owing to mirror-up mode).

As to diff from Canon, wouldn't it come down to second-curtain differences? Might depend on particular Canon shutters. Anyhow differences can't amount to much, second- or third-order effects.

All of this so far is general-photography tripod stuff. Every macro rig is its own dynamic system, with its own peculiarities of stiffness, damping, etc, etc.

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Post by Chris S. »

Ray,

I can't recall whether or not you are using a StackShot controller. If so, it will easily handle the double shutter-press needed for mirror-up shooting, connecting via the 10-pin port. Meanwhile, you can have your choice of tethering software running through the USB connection. At present, ControlMyNikon's Website says that the D810 will be supported in "the next version"--with no information about when that will be released. All you lose in mirror-up mode is the ability to use the tethering software to actually take the picture. Granted, this is a boneheaded oversight on Nikon's part, and I hope they fix it. That said, it hasn't actually caused me much grief in my tethered workflows. When I'm not using the StackShot controller, I screw in an electronic release.

I noticed that Jim Kasson didn't use an electronic release when he ran his tests, apparently relying on exposure delay instead; in his report of testing with the 400mm lens, he speculates that the use of an electronic release might have made a difference. This is a bit hard for me to fathom, as someone for whom the use of an electronic release whenever possible is part of standard shooting discipline. It would never occur to me to attempt a test like this without a remote release.
Steve S wrote:. . .Falk Lumo recently reminded us of his finding that mirror shock is of little significance if the camera is hand-held (the resonances/damping are very different from those with tripod mounting).
Unless Mr. Lumo also demonstrated that his hand-held shots were as sharp as shots made on a solid tripod with a remote release, I'd question whether the difference is due to resonance and damping differences. More likely, image degradation due to shutter shock was subsumed by image degradation due to hand-holding the camera.
Steve S wrote:After a number of comparative exposures using my age-betremored hands, it looks like he might be right: I could find no difference between the cameras and I was unable to hold the cameras steady enough to see mirror/shutter shock as distinct from random motions.
It sounds to me as if you have described the real reason. Few, if any, of us can hand-hold a camera with anything close to the steadiness of a good tripod, properly used.

--Chris

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