I'm doing panoramic HDR photography for work using one of those stupid cheap mirror balls mounted on a tripod (not my decision!) and I am noticing on my longer exposures that sometimes I'm getting blurred images. I am using mirror lock-up and a 2 second delay. SOMETIMES on my 2 or 3 longest exposures the image is blurred when I view it in Photoshop. I am using a Canon kit lens with a +2 magnifying lens mounted on the front, and I'm SURE I'm not touching the tripod at all. The only thing I can think is causing this is the image stabilizer which is pretty much kept on at all times. Can anyone think of anything else that might cause this behavior?
EDIT: I might add that it's not ALL of my longest exposures. It's one or two, sometimes 1, sometimes NONE, but usually it's the 2nd longest exposure. The tripod itself is a sturdy Manfrotto. Now that I think of it, I usually have to bring all my images into Photoshop first before merging to HDR because they all seem to be out of alignment by up to 4 or 5 pixels. The way the panorama head works on this contraption is that there is a head mounted on the tripod with a screw for mounting the camera, pointing up at the mirror lens. The plate that the camera sits against can be adjusted up or down by millimeters so that different camera/lens configurations can be used.
UPDATE: Ok, after reading all your comments/suggestions, let me give you guys some more info. For those of you wondering, the mirror ball contraption is used for when you need a 360 panorama of your subject (in my case it's a room inside a condominium) in one shot (the system is used a lot by realtors who need quick shots of a whole room using a cheap point and shoot). You get a low-res pic since you are shooting a reflected image of the image, but for quick solutions to real estate photography it does its job. What you get is a large round image that you then stick into the software for this particular mirror ball manufacturer and you can either 'roll' the image out into a panoramic cylinder image or you can use it to turn into a 'virtual tour' for showing on the web.
Here is a picture of what they look like mounted to a camera (tho my setup is mounted on a tripod and looks a little different):
Here is the image that these things produce:
Here is what I get sometimes--note that it looks like camera shake:
Here is the exact same shot taken right afterwards to ensure at least one of the exposures comes out sharp:
I have mirror lockup enabled, and am using a delay before shooting, so there is no issue with me touching the camera and accidentally causing blur once the shutter opens, or the mirror causing vibrations. Because this sucker takes a picture of the WHOLE room at once, I can either choose to stick it on a 10 second delay and leave the room or sit underneath it with a smaller 2 second delay. Since an HDR series takes me about 15 pictures, it is not expedient for me to leave the room for 10+ seconds at a time, and a shutter release cable (or IR remote) isn't necessary if I'm using a timed delay (and if I used it it would be in the shot unless I was still sitting underneath the tripod). I am not using auto bracketing but manually dialing in each stop. The building is rock solid, well away from the road, and is built to withstand hurricane force winds. I am not walking around during the shot, but sitting underneath it. I make sure no part of my body is close to any element of the tripod before I press the shutter, and hold my hand away from the camera until the timed delay passes and the camera takes the picture. I have taken to taking two shots of each of my exposures that are more than 1 second as inevitably at least one of them will be completely blurred. The others will maintain their sharpness.
So, somehow, even tho the building is solid, the mirror is locked up, there is a timed delay, I'm not touching the camera or the tripod and the tripod is sturdy, I am getting camera shake. Because these mirror ball images are EXTREMELY sensitive to vibrations and I am positive I have eliminated any human reasons for shake, I gotta wonder if the only thing that's left is the IS?