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Thread: Shutter speed during hand held photography

  1. #1

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    Shutter speed during hand held photography

    Hello Forum ,

    What is the thumb rule for shutter speed , to capture nice pics without camera shake blurriness , during hand held photography at focus length 18 and 55 mm respectively.

  2. #2
    jiro's Avatar
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    Willie or Jiro is fine by me.

    Re: Shutter speed during hand held photography

    Use the nearest rounded off shutter speed relative to the focal length you are using. Example, at 55mm focal length don't go lower than 1/60 second. At 18mm, don't go lower than 1/30 ( though at 1/30 second if you are not up for it will still introduce some camera blur). You can actually go lower up to 1/20 at 18mm but as I have said there are some photographers that can't hold the camera still at shutter speeds lower than 1/30 second. Even if you still do handheld shots, try to brace your arm and the camera to something stationary like a wall, a rock, etc... Hope this helps.

  3. #3
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Shutter speed during hand held photography

    Shutter speed during hand held photography

    About 2 seconds at 50mm; if you only want 1 in a thousand to turn out. Good to practise so that when you are are presented without a choice, at least you got better than 1 in a thousand chance of getting it.

    In fact I've practised so much on this I think I can manage 4/5 sec on 50mm all the time, but a good rule of thumb is 1/f where f is the focal length, unless you have a stabiliser in which case 4/f might be OK, just might.

  4. #4

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    Re: Shutter speed during hand held photography

    Thanks Willie & Steve for enlightening me & sharing the thumb rule.

  5. #5
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Shutter speed during hand held photography

    The 1/FL rule is quite correct. However, it is not a carved in granite rule but, rather a general recommendation.

    Different people have differing capabibilities regarding holding a camera steady. In fact, the same person may have different capabilities from day to day; depending on how that person is feeling on any day, the amount of caffeine or nicotine consumed, whether the person has been running or breathing hard for some other reason and the amount of adrenaline that is coursing through a person's system. The ability to hold a camera steady also can deteriorate through aging. At 71-years old, I cannot hold a camera as steady as I could when I was younger.

    Often, by not paying attention to my hold, I will get sloppy. Correct procedure in holding a camera can make up for some physical problems and would not hurt the strongest and youngest shooter to learn and use.

    When working with crop camera, the shutter speed should be increased by crop factor factor (1.5 for Nikon or 1.6 for Canon). In other words, shooting with a 100mm lens might be O.K. at 1/100 second for a full-frame camera but, might need around 1/150 second when shooting with a cropper. However, this is not brain surgery. I doubt of anyone could tell the difference if you were shooting at 1/150 second rather than 1/160 second with a 1.6x crop Canon.

    The equipment that you are using also can make a difference in the shutter speed required for a sharp image. Sometimes a large and heavy lens combination might require a faster shutter speed than a smaller and lighter lens and camera combination. This can be especially true if you are shoting for long periods using a heavy lens like the 70-200mm f/2.8L (series) or my 300mm f/4L IS lens and are tired or have sore muscles.

    OTOH: sometimes the very lightest camera and lenses may suffer more from shake that the heavier ones. That is just like shooting a rifle which will give you a steadier hold if a bit heavier.

    I also can hold shorter lenses at slower then 1/FL shutter speeds; while I require faster than 1/FL shutter speed for longer lenses.

    All in all, I can say that Image Stabilization is a great boon to me as I am getting older. I originally thought that IS in the shorter focal range was just a toy and not needed. After using my 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens for several years, I now consider IS a very viable tool and it is pretty darn well necessary when I hand hold my 70-200mm f/4L IS lens.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 12th June 2011 at 06:49 PM.

  6. #6

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    Re: Shutter speed during hand held photography

    Thanks for sharing the insight Richard .

  7. #7

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    Re: Shutter speed during hand held photography

    And don't forget to allow for subject movement.

  8. #8
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    Re: Shutter speed during hand held photography

    Just wanted to say, that is some really cool advice and some good starting points to work from. Thanks for sharing on this.

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