I have a Canon EOS 650D. It's a decent camera, but when using the live view, the shutter release triggers a blank LCD screen. I assume it's designed that way to hide the mechanism in action.

Anyway theres a significant delay (much longer than the shutter release) so if I use an intervalometer or set a continuous shutter, and try to get some rapid fire shots (particularly for focus stacking), I'm shooting blind.

Due to the nature of my photographic style, using the analog viewfinder is typically out of the question. I do a lot of experimental macro photography, in awkward spots, in strange positions, so I'm usually limited to using the articulated LCD screen to compose my shots.

Is there a way to prevent the blank LCD screen from happening, or shorten the delay? Failing that, can I simply upgrade to a more expensive camera that doesn't have this limitation? Or is it inherent in all DSLRs?

  • Do you have Long exposure noise reduction enabled / turned on? Or (I think) Multi-shot noise reduction?
    – scottbb
    Aug 31 '17 at 1:24
  • Just a note: The analog viewfinder will also be black while the mirror is flipped up.
    – Gerhardh
    Aug 31 '17 at 6:09
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    @Gnudiff - That's not why. There is still a blackout usually when the shutter blocks the sensor to perform the read-out, even on a mirrorless. The Sony A9 is special in that it has a global all-electronic shutter and can read the sensor at a much higher rate than almost any other camera.
    – Itai
    Aug 31 '17 at 13:29
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    Which focus mode have you set up? There's one that uses contrast detection in the live view image and another that uses phase detection and needs to lowr the mirror for that.
    – ths
    Aug 31 '17 at 18:34
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    @tjt263 It's on page 150 of your camera's manual. The second menu item under the fourth red tab labeled 'AF method'. Even though the lens is set to 'MF', the camera might still pause to drop the mirror if 'Quick Mode' is selected.
    – Michael C
    Aug 31 '17 at 21:27

It's largely inherent in the nature of DSLRs in that they use a mechanical focal plane shutter, which closes and reopens before and after taking the shot.

Your best bet, if you can find one, would be a mirrorless camera that uses a global electronic shutter. Without the physical shutter, the delay should be essentially zero. That said, I haven't looked at MILCs much—I shoot a lot in low light, where optical viewfinders are just inherently better choices than EVFs—so I can't offer any specific suggestions.

Failing that, If your camera has any silent live view shooting modes, try those. On some DSLRs, these modes electronically clear the sensor at the start of shooting rather than closing and reopening the shutter. Other cameras have a specific "electronic front curtain shutter" (EFCS) menu option to turn this on. I have no idea if the 650D has any of the above.


That is the way Live-View works. Newer camera do better but what happens is that the camera needs to close the shutter to clear the sensor. It then reopens it perform the exposure. At least you are using manual focus because AF with the mirror up lengthens the delay.

The delay is shorter on newer cameras but not all are equal. Some cameras have electronic shutters which are very quick. The sensor still has to be read out completely, so a high-speed sensor is also needed to minimize the delay. A Nikon 1 mirrorless for example has an imperceptible lag, so much that at first I was not sure if it was taking a photo! The Sony Alpha A9 is also said to be black-out free but I have not tried it yet.

Note that if this is really about focus stacking, you should consider an Olympus or Panasonic Micro-Four-Thirds camera, most mid-to-high-end models have that feature built-in. The recently announced Nikon D850, not available yet, does the focus-bracketing for you but does not stack the images.

  • Not necessarily about focus stacking. A lot of the time I just want that one perfect shot, but the DOF is so shallow it's hard to get the focus right by hand, so I use the continuous shutter to rapidly snap a few shots at a time. I might end up with one decent shot in amongst a small batch of mostly blurry shots.
    – voices
    Aug 31 '17 at 15:32
  • There are cameras then that have a sweeping electronic shutter. It takes a high-speed series of images at lower resolution. Como to thin of it, maybe you could benefit from Panasonic's 4K Photo mode which basically captures a stream of 8 MP images and lets you select which ones to keep.
    – Itai
    Aug 31 '17 at 15:46
  • Sounds interesting.
    – voices
    Aug 31 '17 at 15:49
  • " ... not sure if I was taking a photo." -> I recently bought a Sony A6300. In fully silent mode and high shutter rates it is easy to take unintended bursts of photos without realising you have done so - or even that you have taken any :-). You get used to it, fortunately. Sep 1 '17 at 14:54
  • Sounds like Sony have the issue in the bag, now they just need to make a 5x macro lens!
    – voices
    Sep 2 '17 at 0:26

If the LCD is blanking out you have set the camera to "Quick Mode" where the camera uses the dedicated AF sensors to focus rather than the "AF Live Mode" which uses the sensor to detect contrast.

  • I'll check it soon, when I get a chance. You might be onto something. Thanks for writing in.
    – voices
    Sep 2 '17 at 0:27

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