User Tag List

Thanks useful information Thanks useful information:  5
Results 1 to 18 of 18

Thread: Can one get sharp images handheld with long lens?

  1. #1
    Ausphotography Regular tduell's Avatar
    Join Date
    10 Nov 2013
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    733
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Can one get sharp images handheld with long lens?

    Hello All,
    My normal bird shooting, until recently, has been with 150-450mm lens on Pentax K-3 II (apsc crop sensor), and I have generally been getting nice sharp images at 450mm handheld with camera shake reduction ON.
    In the usual quest to get closer to some of the little blighters I recently added a 1.4x rear converter, so the max focal length is now 945mm (35mm equivalent).
    I know this is getting a bit problematic for handheld shooting. I have previously tried using a monopod but found it a hindrance much of the time when wandering about the bush. It is OK if I prop in one spot and wait for birds to appear, but it doesn't work for me when walking about.
    I guess I'm not the only one in this situation, so I'm looking for advice on whether it's possible to get sharp images shooting as I do, and how to do that, i.e. technique, camera settings, etc.

    Cheers,
    Terry
    K-1, K-3 II, HD PENTAX-D FA 150-450mm F4.5-5.6ED DC AW, Sigma 18-300mm F3.5-6.3 DC MACRO HSM, Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 IF DG HSM, HD PENTAX-DA AF Rear Converter 1.4x AW

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    24 Oct 2009
    Location
    Sydney, Randwick
    Posts
    291
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I read sometime ago about techniques and they worked actually. You should lean against something or lay down or put your elbow (of the hand which holds the lens) on your knee. Also, I assume you know about the correlation between focal range and shutter speed.
    Nikon D750, Tamron 15-30, Nikkor 70-300 VR2
    http://FotoForge.net

  3. #3
    Ausphotography Regular
    Threadstarter
    tduell's Avatar
    Join Date
    10 Nov 2013
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    733
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by ColdBlood View Post
    I read sometime ago about techniques and they worked actually. You should lean against something or lay down or put your elbow (of the hand which holds the lens) on your knee. Also, I assume you know about the correlation between focal range and shutter speed.
    Hello CB,
    Yes, I'm aware of the shutter speed rule.
    Thanks for your comments.

    Cheers,
    Terry

  4. #4
    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
    Join Date
    25 May 2010
    Location
    Hunter Valley
    Posts
    4,562
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    When I was using Pentax (K20D and K5) I found that I couldn't use the in-built image stabilisation when mounted on a monopod. The images were very blurred.

    Terry, unless you have the steadiest hands on the planet, getting sharp images hand-held at 945mm is nigh on impossible. Even tripod mounted you will need good technique to get acceptable results.
    Cheers
    Kev

    D800 & GAS

  5. #5
    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
    Join Date
    04 Aug 2010
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    7,634
    Mentioned
    5 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    It definitely is possible to get sharp shots handheld at that focal length, albeit you will need faster shutter speeds as your subject movement is the issue as much as camera shake even if you have Shake Reduction as this only stops camera movement, not subject movement. I have been using my Nikon 400mm f2.8E FL VR lens plus 2x teleconverter handheld with no issues. These have also been cropped about 25% meaning the effective focal length is more like 1,000mm.

    D810 + 400 f2.8 + 2x TC, 1/800sec, f8





    D810 + 400 f2.8 + 2x TC, 1/800sec, f8, cropped about 15%




  6. #6
    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
    Join Date
    25 May 2010
    Location
    Hunter Valley
    Posts
    4,562
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    @ Lance ....

    Along with your steady grip the VR in your 400mm f2.8 is obviously very, very good.

  7. #7
    Ausphotography Regular
    Threadstarter
    tduell's Avatar
    Join Date
    10 Nov 2013
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    733
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Lance B View Post
    It definitely is possible to get sharp shots handheld at that focal length, albeit you will need faster shutter speeds as your subject movement is the issue as much as camera shake even if you have Shake Reduction as this only stops camera movement, not subject movement. I have been using my Nikon 400mm f2.8E FL VR lens plus 2x teleconverter handheld with no issues. These have also been cropped about 25% meaning the effective focal length is more like 1,000mm
    Hello Lance,
    Well those images are about as sharp as they get, and certainly prove that it can be done.
    Thanks for your comments and the stunning examples...I'm off now to have another try.

    Cheers,
    Terry

  8. #8
    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
    Join Date
    04 Jun 2006
    Location
    the worst house, in the best street
    Posts
    7,710
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by tduell View Post
    Hello All,
    My normal bird shooting, until recently, has been with 150-450mm lens on Pentax K-3 II (apsc crop sensor), and I have generally been getting nice sharp images at 450mm handheld with camera shake reduction ON.

    .... I recently added a 1.4x rear converter, so the max focal length is now 945mm (35mm equivalent).
    I think the problem is one of fighting a losing battle(in a sense).

    The issue is really about aperture.

    It's all well and good to say increase shutter speed, but when your aperture value at it's maximum is f/8, coupled to a teleconverter you're IQ will almost certainly be degraded at this 'wide open' aperture value. So with the generally accepted principle of one or two stops down to improve IQ in mind .. your real wide open aperture value is f/11.
    You need to be in very good light to use such a very small aperture value efficiently.
    While it's easy to compensate with higher ISO values, doing so obviously degrades IQ to a certain degree too.

    If you take Lances images as some examples, some of his images were shot at ISO3200(on a supremely capable camera in the D810 at that ISO level) f/8 and 1/400s.
    If you were to shoot in those same conditions, taking into account that Lances 400/2.8 and 2x TC(which I assume is the Nikon TC-20E III) are two of Nikon's finest image capture products(with exception initial IQ capabilities) .. using your gear (say)at two stops from wide open .. ie. f/16(for best image rendering) .. you need about 1/500s at a minimum, maybe 1/1000s and hence ISO 12800(min) probably ISO 25600 or so in reality.

    In theory, it's more than possible to get nice sharp images from your camera/lens/TC combo

    .. but like the Johnny Nash alluded too in I Can See Clearly Now .. "it's gonna (got to!) be a bright sun shiny day"
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


  9. #9
    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
    Join Date
    18 Sep 2009
    Location
    Nthn Sydney
    Posts
    14,870
    Mentioned
    16 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    TD. I usually manage, though I now hardly use the 2X on the 50-500 ONLY BECAUSE it takes away auto-focus.
    Mind you that the 2x does eat into the N number of stabilisation stops the lens is capable of by 2 stops. When using it, I
    "BRACE! BRACE! BRACE!" myself (or is that "Bruce") against anything I can, like gates, fences, walls. With just the 50-500
    I usually manage the moon shots straight hand-held (still)
    CC, Image editing OK.

  10. #10
    Ausphotography Regular
    Threadstarter
    tduell's Avatar
    Join Date
    10 Nov 2013
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    733
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    I think the problem is one of fighting a losing battle(in a sense).

    The issue is really about aperture.
    Hello Arthur,
    Yes, I do realise I'm up against it compared to Lance's gear, in respect of aperture, so using the TC in less than good light will be problematic.
    Thanks.

    Cheers,
    Terry

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by ameerat42 View Post
    TD. I usually manage, though I now hardly use the 2X on the 50-500 ONLY BECAUSE it takes away auto-focus.
    Mind you that the 2x does eat into the N number of stabilisation stops the lens is capable of by 2 stops. When using it, I
    "BRACE! BRACE! BRACE!" myself (or is that "Bruce") against anything I can, like gates, fences, walls. With just the 50-500
    I usually manage the moon shots straight hand-held (still)
    Hello Am,
    I think the bird's name is Bruce .
    Bracing against whatever is available is certainly a good idea. I should pull my monopod out again and persevere with it a bit more, it may help...but may also remind me why I stopped using it!

    Cheers,
    Terry

  11. #11
    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
    Join Date
    04 Aug 2010
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    7,634
    Mentioned
    5 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by tduell View Post
    Hello Lance,
    Well those images are about as sharp as they get, and certainly prove that it can be done.
    Thanks for your comments and the stunning examples...I'm off now to have another try.

    Cheers,
    Terry
    Thank you very much for your kind comments, Terry. Much appreciated!

  12. #12
    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
    Join Date
    21 Nov 2010
    Location
    magical Mudgee
    Posts
    16,435
    Mentioned
    22 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I'm lucky to have reasonably steady hands for the 400mm focal length I have, and the way I have to crop some photo they may be the equivalent of your focal length without cropping. So make sure you get photos you don't have to crop.
    I think the monopod has to come into the equation now. You just have to find a way to use it that isn't a PITA for you. If it means sharper photos it may just be worth taking the time to practice ways to use it.
    "Enjoy what you can do rather than being frustrated at what you can't." bobt
    60D, Canon 28-105, Sigma 150-600S, Sigma 120-400, a speedlite, a tripod, a monopod, a remote release and a padded bag to carry things in.

  13. #13
    Ausphotography Regular enseth's Avatar
    Join Date
    07 Feb 2013
    Location
    Orange
    Posts
    1,464
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I'm a strong advocate for using a monopod. Fitting a ball head mount or equivalent swivel mount to it is IMO is almost essential for birding.

  14. #14
    Ausphotography Regular
    Threadstarter
    tduell's Avatar
    Join Date
    10 Nov 2013
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    733
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Hello enseth,
    My monopod has a ball head, and that bit of the equation works well.
    I was comfortable using the monopod when I could park myself comfortably in a good spot, set the height, and wait for the birds.
    Unfortunately that didn't provide many opportunities, so reverted to my normal handheld practice of walking through the bush. This gave me many more opportunities but the monopod was awkward and a real hindrance when the bird is up in the tree...I would have the damned thing dangling while trying to aim and shoot.
    I am 6'4" in old money, which means the monopod is near full stretch for walking and shooting, but as Mark says, it is worth persevering to find ways of using it that suit me, and work.

    Cheers,
    Terry

  15. #15
    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
    Join Date
    25 May 2010
    Location
    Hunter Valley
    Posts
    4,562
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I use one of these on my monopod ..... https://www.kirkphoto.com/Kirk_MPA-2_Monopod_Head.html

    You can adjust the clamp to mount either your camera or lens and the locking mechanism is strong enough to hold your gear without drooping while still enabling you to swivel upwards. It comfortably holds my gear which is close to 3kg.

    I did try the Sirui job, very well made, but it wasn't quite up to the task re holding the weight without slipping.

    PS: Wow, that 150-450 is a beast at 2kg.
    Last edited by Cage; 08-01-2016 at 8:40am.

  16. #16
    Ausphotography Regular enseth's Avatar
    Join Date
    07 Feb 2013
    Location
    Orange
    Posts
    1,464
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    when the bird is up in the tree...........I am 6'4" in old money
    Crickey, at 6'4" you must be nearly at eye level when they're perched in a tree.

  17. #17
    Ausphotography Regular
    Threadstarter
    tduell's Avatar
    Join Date
    10 Nov 2013
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    733
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by enseth View Post
    Crickey, at 6'4" you must be nearly at eye level when they're perched in a tree.
    We have some pretty big trees around here

    Cheers,
    Terry

  18. #18
    D750 Shines cupic's Avatar
    Join Date
    10 Oct 2009
    Location
    Wollongong
    Posts
    752
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Lance I will take you up on a shoot in the future BUT the 400 might go missing ....at least for a while.
    cheers
    Last edited by cupic; 11-01-2016 at 4:50pm.



    Pentax K20D:Tamron 90mm f/2.8
    Nikon D750,D700,D300s,Coolpix P7700
    Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED VR, Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 VR,Nikkor 70mm-200mm f/2.8 VR, Nikkor 70mm-300mm VR, 35mm f/1.8, 50mm D f/1.8, 85mm D f/1.8, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8, Tokina 100mm f/2.8, Tamron 60mm f/2 , Tamron SP 24-70mm f2.8 VC Di

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •