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Minimum shutter speed hand-held


28 Sep 2012 7:54AM
Hi Guys
Just a quick question,

What is Minimum shutter speed you/me could get away with to get a "sharp" image while holding the camera?

I have been reading the the general "rule" of thumb is 1/FL - So if I was shooting @ 100mm I would need a 1/100 + to gain a sharp image.

What can you more experienced photographers get to with a steady hand?

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kaybee 10 3.9k 24 Scotland
28 Sep 2012 8:00AM
Rule of thumb is a good place to start ........... then practice to find your own level
ianrobinson e2
5 1.1k 8 United Kingdom
28 Sep 2012 8:18AM
well I was taught in courses that the human eye blinks at 1/30 sec, if you are using a 100mm you can get as low as 1/30 sec and get a sharp image.
I use a 120-300mm f2.8 with a 1.4 converter on it and can achieve aircraft images sharp at 1/200th second hand held, however this should not happen as the rules state the minimum shutter speed i should use is 1/400th min.
I know people that can achieve a sharp image at as low as 1/30th of a second with a lens of 100mm and less, it is all in the Technic.

I believe they say 100mm = 1/100th 200mm = 1/200th and so on, I use shutter speed according to what shot i want, a low shutter speed for panning shots for example.
cattyal e2
9 6.1k 6 England
28 Sep 2012 8:22AM
Rules etc aside and on a more physical note - if I'm using the SLR or R1 then I don't go below 1/160 hand held as neither camera are exactly lightweights. If I'm using the Fuji X10 then I can go way slower as it's a much smaller and lighter camera.

Or am I missing the point? Smile
rhol2 e2
3 311 1 United Kingdom
28 Sep 2012 9:09AM

Quote:Rules etc aside and on a more physical note - if I'm using the SLR or R1 then I don't go below 1/160 hand held as neither camera are exactly lightweights. If I'm using the Fuji X10 then I can go way slower as it's a much smaller and lighter camera.

Or am I missing the point? Smile



I agree, many people try to handhold at unrealistically slow speeds because they follow the "rule of thumb" too closely. Also, I know people who like to boast about "how slow they can go".Wink
I tend to go for the highest speed available, depending on circumstances.
Having said that modern IS systems clearly offer advantages in this area.
mikehit e2
5 6.8k 11 United Kingdom
28 Sep 2012 10:46AM
You also need to bear in mind the sensor size. If you print a APS-C image to A4 and a 35mm sensor image to A4, the APS-C is being magnified more so camera shake will be more apparent.
In other words, the 'theoretical minimum' for a 100mm lens on a 5D = 1/100 sec, for the 7D it would be 1/160 sec and for micro4/3 it would be 1/200 sec. But even then I would say that you need good technique to achieve these speeds and one that helps is a tip from the target shooters where you breathe in, breathe out and half way breathing out hold your breath then gently press the shutter.

Camera weight can be a double-edged sword: I have only recently bought a micro4/3 camera and I find it harder to hold it steady because it is light - I find the weight of the 7D goes some way to damping smaller movements. But put the 100-400 lens on it with the battery grip and the weight starts to count against it.

There are many simple things you can do to get a sharper shot:
fire a short burst so that the second/third shots are not affected by the action of pressing the shutter button
a short burst may also give you one of those sharp shots because the timing of the shutter coincides with a fraction of a second that the camera is actually steady
If I have my lightweight tabletop tripod with me, I may attach it to the tripod socket and let it hang there as a pendulum-like counterbalance for any movement
some people carry a 6-foot loop of string with a screw thread on one end that fits into the tripod socket. They put their foot through the loop and pull the camera against the string so it is in gentle tension.
sherlob e2
8 2.4k 126 United Kingdom
28 Sep 2012 11:09AM
Don't you just love rules of thumb...

Personally I find this differs on each lens I use. E.g. if I shoot at 200mm using a 100-400L versus a 200mm prime I find a difference in the shutter speed I can get away with. IMHO the weight and shape of the gear used, the context of the shot (e.g. environment, pose, subject etc) is an additional influencing factor. And thats before you get into the realm of what exactly sharp means?

I like the advice that you need to go for the fastest possible shutter speed versus the DOF needed and noise acceptable in the final image.

Regards,

Adam
cameracat 10 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
28 Sep 2012 11:24AM
To add to Mikes string suggestion, If you have a monopod handy, Leave it closed to shortest length and fitted to the tripod mound ( as straight down as possible ) The effect is similar to a pendulum and helps to stabilise the camera in your hands.....Smile

It is NO substitute for the appropriate for subject shutter speed/aperture/ISO combination, But can help, You can do the same with a closed tripod attached, BUT one question will arise, If you have a monopod or a tripod about your person, Why shoot hand held in the first place.....Smile For me its about having more freedom of movement in a situation where the subject is moving location or ambient conditions dictate.

Know your subject well ie: birds, Especially small birds, If you study them you will soon realise that shutter speeds need to be much higher than you realise ( way above the so called rule ).

My cameras have seriously good ISO performance, I would always prefer to use a higher ISO and get the speed right, Rather than end up with blurry pix.....!!!

Wink
Newdevonian 2 439 United Kingdom
28 Sep 2012 12:14PM
I am now totally confused!! In the old days of 35mm film it used to be the shutterspeed = focal length eg 50mm =1/60, & 200mm = 1/250.
Recently I have been told that with DX cameras, it's required to multiply shutterspeed by 1.5, so now 50mm = 1/125, & 200mm - 1/500

OK I can live with that. However what about smaller format cameras and all the small sensor "point & shoots"? Do their shutter speeds have to be increased pro rata to the sensor size? I'm not sure. I appreciate my Canon S95 has stability built in, but I have been using that at very low speeds with no ill effect.
cattyal e2
9 6.1k 6 England
28 Sep 2012 12:25PM
I'm so glad I don't worry about that particular techy stuff Smile I go by trial and error and remember (usually) what does and doesn't work - works for me anyway Smile
lobsterboy e2
10 14.2k 13 United Kingdom
28 Sep 2012 12:35PM
I usually go by sound:
"Klick" is OK
"Kerlick" possibly won't work
and "kerrrrrrrrrrrrrrlick" needs a tripod.
JackAllTog e2
5 3.7k 58 United Kingdom
28 Sep 2012 12:36PM
Just to add to all the great advice above which is spot on for still life and static portraits etc.
If the subject is moving you also need to consider that you may want to freeze its movement as well so for a small bird you may be up in the 1/800 sec or faster region, for a water drop splash maybe 1/2000 sec etc.
SlowSong e2
6 4.6k 29 England
28 Sep 2012 12:39PM
I find I'm steadier using the dSLR and a heavy lens than when using a compact or small camera. I wobble all over the place with the S100 even with the stablity thing on. Grin

I tend not to think about shutter speeds unless I'm particularly shooting moving objects. If you have a lens with IS it's easier and compensated for anyway.
lobsterboy e2
10 14.2k 13 United Kingdom
28 Sep 2012 12:43PM

Quote: I'm particularly shooting moving objects. If you have a lens with IS it's easier and compensated for anyway.

Just a small point, to clarify things for the OP, IS will compensate for hand shake but won't speed up the action so if you are getting plurry shots from shooting moving stuff you will still need a faster speed.
SlowSong e2
6 4.6k 29 England
28 Sep 2012 12:51PM
Well said lobster. Should've made that clear. Smile
x

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