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A pellicle mirror is a semi-translucent mirror used in cameras.

Advantages of a pellicle mirror:

  • The viewfinder does not go dark - you can see what happens all the time
  • There is no mirror shake - this is good for macro photography, where even the slightest shake of the camera can cause a blurred image
  • Pictures can be taken a faster rate. The mirror does not have to go up and down for every image. The EOS 1N RS, for example, can take 10 pictures every second
  • The system can be more quiet (no "mirror slap")

Disadvantages of a pellicle mirror

  • Using a pellicle mirror causes a 1/3 stop of light loss. (Some light has to go to the viewfinder)
  • The mirror has to be kept perfectly clean, or else the light sensor and other electronics (as well as the image quality, obviously) will suffer.
  • Cleaning a pellicle mirror is difficult

Possible disadvantages of a pellicle mirror

(these are taste matters that could mean something to one photographer, and nothing to others)

  • The viewfinder does not go dark. This can be a problem if one is in a noisy environment (Rock concert, war, etc)
  • Ripping through a 36 picture film in a little more than three seconds can be a practical and / or financial problem

This type of mirror has been used in:

  • Canon
    • Pellix QL (1965)
    • F-1 High Speed (LE for the 1972 Olympics)
    • EOS RT (1989)
    • EOS 1N RS (1994)
  • Nikon
    • F2 HS
    • F3 HS (Introduced for the 1998 Nagano Olympics -thanks, anti-nate)

 

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