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Several years ago, I used MagicLantern with Canon EOS 600D/700D cameras to shoot timelapses (1 minute interval). But I wasn't able to achieve a silent timelapse. Even though the camera was set to have mirror up (viewfinder was set to be on the display, not to the ocular when the mirror is down), the camera for some reasons felt the need to flip the mirror up and down upon each picture taken, making a noise. Totally superfluous mirror movements, I never understood why, the mirror could stay up the whole time. And perhaps the shutter was the perpetrator there too, in place where perhaps some silent "software shutter" could have been used.

Has there been any progress since, has anyone achieved silent timelapses through MagicLantern, when the mirror is kept held up, and possibly also the physical shutter kept still?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you using manual focus or autofocus? If AF, what mode do you have selected for Live view shooting? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Aug 5, 2023 at 18:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ I no longer have access to a 700D, and couldn't install ML on it if I did, but I wonder if you could do better tethered to a computer. Remote shooting with live view through Canon's own software definitely cycles the shutter by default on that model, but it might be worth experimenting \$\endgroup\$
    – Chris H
    Aug 6, 2023 at 11:59

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If you're shooting in Live View, there are several choices regarding how you want the camera to autofocus. One of these options, Quick Mode, uses the camera's PDAF system which requires the mirror to drop so that the PDAF sensor array receives light from the lens via the secondary mirror behind the half silvered portion of the primary mirror.

If you don't want the mirror to cycle before taking a shot, set focus manually and leave the lens set to 'MF' (Manual Focus) or use any of the AF modes other than Quick Mode.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I've always found timelapses to work better in manual focus anyway. At least for the subjects I'm looking at, focus changes really spoil the result, much more than the things that cause them. Fixing the exposure can be a good idea too, but that depends even more on the subject \$\endgroup\$
    – Chris H
    Aug 6, 2023 at 11:51
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I think the noise you could hear was not the mirror flipping up and down, but rather the shutter itself opening and closing. This is "part and parcel" of how a (D)SLR takes a photo. The fact that moving parts make a noise is simply physics.

Take a look at this video showing the process in slow motion. It shows both the mirror flipping up, as well as the shutter opening and closing.
Slow motion camera shutter - Canon 5D Mark II 2,000 fps

Some newer cameras have a mode called "electronic shutter" where a frame is "grabbed" from the sensor without using the physical moving mechanical shutter. If silence is really critical for you, then you may need to obtain a new camera body with this feature. Canon has some information here: Electronic shutter vs mechanical shutter, and just yesterday Sony posted an article about this feature on their "Alpha Universe" blog site: Using Silent Sony Cameras & Remote Triggers To Photograph Animals In Their Natural Habitats.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for the answer. I am asking how to achieve this complete silent timelapses with Canon EOS 600D/700D with Magic Lantern (or similar software). If it is even possible. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tomas
    Aug 5, 2023 at 9:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ It could possibly have been done with a firmware update - but manufacturers rarely issue updates beyond the first year or two of sale, so there's no hope for a 12-year-old model. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Aug 5, 2023 at 11:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Tetsujin firmware update, that's what Magic Lantern is doing. I never had hope that Canon itself would bring something reasonable. And with ML, older models have advantage :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Tomas
    Aug 5, 2023 at 12:55

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