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Thread: New Tutorial: Tips for Reducing Camera Shake with Hand-Held Photos

  1. #1
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    New Tutorial: Tips for Reducing Camera Shake with Hand-Held Photos

    It's a fundamental topic but one that most of us can benefit from. The article is broken up into two general sections: tips for (i) increasing the shutter speed and for (ii) reducing camera movement. It can be viewed via the following direct link:

    Reducing Camera Shake with Hand-Held Photos

    As usual, any suggestions/feedback/corrections are always welcome. Expect several other articles on more advanced topics over the coming weeks...

    PS: To receive updates when new tutorials are added, there's a new feature here:
    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/subscribe/form.htm
    Last edited by McQ; 24th September 2010 at 05:11 PM.

  2. #2

    Re: New Tutorial: Tips for Reducing Camera Shake with Hand-Held Photos

    Sean

    Yet another excellent tutorial. I was taking handhelds in poor light earlier and struggling somewhat. Very timely.

    I have not been through this with a QA checkers hat on (too much of that at work) so the only thing that jumped out was the vernacular reference to a town in the northwest of England...Burry...description of first image

    Cheers

    Steve

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    Re: New Tutorial: Tips for Reducing Camera Shake with Hand-Held Photos

    I would like to contribute some other tips, they may help members.
    • It is surprising how often using a faster shutter through a higher ISO will improve your sharpness. I often use ISO800, ignoring the "noise", in order to be able to use a faster speed
    • With a telephoto, you're pushing it if your shutter speed is less than your mm. This is not a hard and fast rule but more often the case than not.
    • Again with a telephoto, if you're using a collar and on a tripod, it is often beneficial to have your hand resting on top of the lens for added support. It helps me, YMMV
    • With a tripod, mirror-up and a few seconds delay is your friend.
    • Slight addition to the point about lenses with image stabilization (IS) or vibration reduction (VR). There are also marques which carry the stabalisation in the body rather than the lens, ie Pentax, Sony. Not as efficient as in-lens systems, but nevertheless capable of producing good results.

    Thanks for a very valuable tutorial because this is a fault that's often made.

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    Re: New Tutorial: Tips for Reducing Camera Shake with Hand-Held Photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Wirefox View Post
    the only thing that jumped out was the vernacular reference to a town in the northwest of England...Burry...description of first image
    Thanks for the feedback. Yes, that town is very important for photography, and camera shake in particular . It's been fixed...

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    Re: New Tutorial: Tips for Reducing Camera Shake with Hand-Held Photos

    It looks alright to me; before my operation, I must sound like Victor Meldrew or whatever his name is, camera shake simply was not a problem. A tripod can have shake if used improperly but that is the best method to avoid it, a monopod takes practice.

    The important thing is practice. Practice

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    Re: New Tutorial: Tips for Reducing Camera Shake with Hand-Held Photos

    A great tutorial, Sean, gets right to the key points. And the new subscribe function rocks!

    Some wordsmithing and nitpicking, as usual. One point of interest: in this thread there's a link in a post by Jeroen to a video by Joe McNally, describing "Da Grip." You hold the lower-left corner of the back of the camera against your left collar-bone, point the camera off over your left shoulder, and use your left eye in the viewfinder. I don't use it regularly, because I find it a bit uncomfortable to twist my neck, but I use it when I need more stability, and it's very effective. It might be worth describing.

    In "Overview," instead of "Camera shake happens," maybe "Camera shake is visible"?

    In "Methods," first sentence, I think it should begin, "There are."

    In "Methods," sentence beginning, "However, if you're using your camera in automatic mode." I think it would be good to either list the modes that favor shutter speed, or reference the "Exposure Modes" section in the Exposure tutorial, and warn that some automatic modes do the opposite.

    In "Methods," last sentence, says, "If none of these are sufficient, you'll also need to employ [impoved hand-holding techniques]." The introduction said you should use both, whereas this implies that you should reduce motion only if you can't speed the shutter.

    The example image of the photographer leaning against the wall doesn't show three points of contact, since he has one foot cocked up.

    In shutter button technique, FWIW, rifle marksmanship classes usually teach taking a deep breath and letting out half, rather than a full exhale. I've seen this same recommendation for photography, and you probably have, too. The idea is that you have ten seconds or so to compose the shot and push the button before you feel the need for another breath.

    Cheers,
    Rick

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    Re: New Tutorial: Tips for Reducing Camera Shake with Hand-Held Photos

    Quote Originally Posted by rick55 View Post
    there's a link in a post by Jeroen to a video by Joe McNally, describing "Da Grip."
    Joe is certainly the champion of hand holding @ low shutter speeds! I use his technique when required, but it's possibly worth noting that unless you have the extra depth of a pro body, or a battery grip on a non-pro body, it's pretty awkward to do it this way.

    @ Sean: Just wondering if it's worth mentioning the use of MLU and/or liveview when "jury rigging" the camera on something like a lens cap as the mirror slap imparts a force along a plane that can cause movement?

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    Re: New Tutorial: Tips for Reducing Camera Shake with Hand-Held Photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Joe is certainly the champion of hand holding @ low shutter speeds! I use his technique when required, but it's possibly worth noting that unless you have the extra depth of a pro body, or a battery grip on a non-pro body, it's pretty awkward to do it this way.
    I did use it with the 500D before I got the battery grip, but you're absolutely right: it's much more effective and requires less contortion now that I have the grip.

    Cheers,
    Rick

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    Re: New Tutorial: Tips for Reducing Camera Shake with Hand-Held Photos

    Quote Originally Posted by rick55 View Post
    I did use it with the 500D before I got the battery grip, but you're absolutely right: it's much more effective and requires less contortion now that I have the grip.

    Cheers,
    Rick
    Probably why he called it "da grip" ... it's designed and subsidised by Nikon to sell "da grips" !

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    Re: New Tutorial: Tips for Reducing Camera Shake with Hand-Held Photos

    Hi Rick, thanks for the detailed reading. Most of your suggestions/fixes have been incorporated. Please see below:

    Quote Originally Posted by rick55 View Post
    One point of interest: in this thread there's a link in a post by Jeroen to a video by Joe McNally, describing "Da Grip." You hold the lower-left corner of the back of the camera against your left collar-bone, point the camera off over your left shoulder, and use your left eye in the viewfinder. I don't use it regularly, because I find it a bit uncomfortable to twist my neck, but I use it when I need more stability, and it's very effective. It might be worth describing.
    Yes, that's a very helpful technique. The only reason I haven't gone into some of those is I wanted to leave the window open for a page that specifically addresses a handful of these since there's a lot of them. Right now the article keeps it really general.

    Quote Originally Posted by rick55 View Post
    In "Overview," instead of "Camera shake happens," maybe "Camera shake is visible"?
    Changed.

    Quote Originally Posted by rick55 View Post
    In "Methods," first sentence, I think it should begin, "There are."
    Changed.

    Quote Originally Posted by rick55 View Post
    In "Methods," sentence beginning, "However, if you're using your camera in automatic mode." I think it would be good to either list the modes that favor shutter speed, or reference the "Exposure Modes" section in the Exposure tutorial, and warn that some automatic modes do the opposite.

    In "Methods," last sentence, says, "If none of these are sufficient, you'll also need to employ [impoved hand-holding techniques]." The introduction said you should use both, whereas this implies that you should reduce motion only if you can't speed the shutter.
    Still working on these.

    Quote Originally Posted by rick55 View Post
    In shutter button technique, FWIW, rifle marksmanship classes usually teach taking a deep breath and letting out half, rather than a full exhale. I've seen this same recommendation for photography, and you probably have, too. The idea is that you have ten seconds or so to compose the shot and push the button before you feel the need for another breath.
    Breathing portion has been clarified.

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    Re: New Tutorial: Tips for Reducing Camera Shake with Hand-Held Photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    @ Sean: Just wondering if it's worth mentioning the use of MLU and/or liveview when "jury rigging" the camera on something like a lens cap as the mirror slap imparts a force along a plane that can cause movement?
    Thanks, a quick pointer has been added to that paragraph.

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    Re: New Tutorial: Tips for Reducing Camera Shake with Hand-Held Photos

    Quote Originally Posted by McQ View Post

    [Joe McNally's "Da Grip"] is a very helpful technique. The only reason I haven't gone into some of those is I wanted to leave the window open for a page that specifically addresses a handful of these since there's a lot of them. Right now the article keeps it really general.
    That makes good sense, Sean. One of the things that's so good about this tutorial (and others) is that it hits the key points in a clear, tight presentation. It's a great way to help people prioritize. If the things in the base tutorial are the things that help most or hurt most, it all probably obeys the 80/20 rule, and you're shooting yourself in the foot if you spend a lot of time on tricky stuff before you're clear on the basics. I'm the worst at that: I want to get some esoteric detail right, and forget to make a good composition. Duh.

    One other thought did crop up while rereading, along those lines. You can't freeze motion blur with camera stability, so maybe a mention of that when you reference the exposure tutorial, would be helpful. I.e., of the two approaches to reduce shake, one also reduces motion blur, the other doesn't.

    Cheers,
    Rick

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    Re: New Tutorial: Tips for Reducing Camera Shake with Hand-Held Photos

    Has anybody else tried the string method?

    Screw a bolt into the tripod attachment threaded hole of your camera. Tie a loop in one end of a suitable length of strong non stretch string and attach the other end to the 'camera bolt'.

    Place your foot through the loop and stretch the string upwards until it becomes taught. Keep some upward force on the string while taking the photo.

    It is essential to get the foot to eye level length of string exactly correct.

    Not exactly advanced rocket science, but I have found this method to help when a tripod/monopod isn't available.

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    Re: New Tutorial: Tips for Reducing Camera Shake with Hand-Held Photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    Has anybody else tried the string method?
    I have read similar recommendations of this method Geoff, but never tried it. I don't recommend using a bungee cord .. just in case!!

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    Re: New Tutorial: Tips for Reducing Camera Shake with Hand-Held Photos

    wow! I thought string theory was MUCH more complicated than that. Dont know what those astrophysicists are moaning about

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    Re: New Tutorial: Tips for Reducing Camera Shake with Hand-Held Photos

    Here is a method that I frequently use when shooting with my 400mm f/5.6L lens. That is one great piece of glass but, the lack of image stabilization hurts. I have seen several different types of shoulder mounts of which, the Bush-hawk is probably the most popular. My problem with the Bush-Hawk is that the rifle-type stock is pressed against the shoulder rather than resting on the shoulder.

    The Arriflex 16mm motion picture cameras had an accessory stock which you pressed against the shoulder. This was never as steady for me as a camera mount which was resting on the shoulder. In fact, I never even carried the Arriflex shoulder stock as part of my kit.

    I investigated several over-the-shoulder mounts such as the Redrock Micro mount. http://www.redrockmicro.com/microSho...unt/index.html but, they all had several problems. First, they did not support the camera as steadily as I liked and second, they were all very expensive.

    I decided to fabricate a shoulder mount and came up with this one.

    New Tutorial: Tips for Reducing Camera Shake with Hand-Held Photos

    It can be fabricated with simple hand tools and with materials at minimum expense. It works quite well. I have not gone through the trouble of a head-to-head comparison between hand-holding the camera with my 400mm f/5.6L lens and shooting with this lightweight mount. However, I do notice the difference when shooting. I expect than my ten-dollar fabrication would work just as well as this $569 (USD) Varizoom mount. http://cameras.pricegrabber.com/stab...oduct/sv=title

    Here are the details of fabrication. Sorry that the measurements are in the antiquated English system which we seem to be the only nation still using.

    http://rpcrowe.smugmug.com/Photograp...36822870_3vQ4W

    BTW: Removing the four bolts which secure the handles onto the camera platform allows the unit to be broken down and transported easily.

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    Re: New Tutorial: Tips for Reducing Camera Shake with Hand-Held Photos

    I often shoot with long shutter times when the light is low, so I have trained a lot to hold the camera steady. It is only a matter of training, no props, just holding the camera as steady as possible.

    Of course I use a bean bag if possible, or any convenient support, but sometimes there just isn't nothing to use as support in the right position, and there's where the steady-hand technique comes in.

    It's a matter of slowly pressing the shutter release, often with the middle part of the finger instead of the outermost; holding the camera steady with the same aiming point through the exposure. Of course some shots will be blurred, but more often because of subject movement rather than shake.

    The image in the link was taken in a very dimly lit Cuban home. There's one lightbulb in the corner of the room about 20' from the sofa where the people sit. The wall behind the lightbulb is coloured, green, so there's a green tint over the whole scene, so I took a wb reading from the matte of the picture on the wall. 1 second f 2.8 at ISO 800 handheld.
    http://www.ifokus.se/Images/ImageVie...2-5fc1f82a3b07

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    Re: New Tutorial: Tips for Reducing Camera Shake with Hand-Held Photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    Has anybody else tried the string method?

    Screw a bolt into the tripod attachment threaded hole of your camera. Tie a loop in one end of a suitable length of strong non stretch string and attach the other end to the 'camera bolt'.

    Place your foot through the loop and stretch the string upwards until it becomes taught. Keep some upward force on the string while taking the photo.

    It is essential to get the foot to eye level length of string exactly correct.

    Not exactly advanced rocket science, but I have found this method to help when a tripod/monopod isn't available.
    I have used this and find it a great help...also cheap!

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