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Thread: Minimum handheld shutter speed argument

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    Minimum handheld shutter speed argument

    Now we all know (or I hope we all know) that the general rule of minimum shutter speed to avoid blurring a shot with camera shake is generally held to be 1 over the lens focal length - ie 200mm lens it has to be a minimum of 1/200th of a second.

    Now a friend of mine swears black and blue that for a zoom lens, let's say 50mm - 200mm for the sake of the argument, it is the "maximum" focal length you use - ie 200mm or 1/200th of a second in this case.

    My argument is that if the lens is set to say 50mm it is 1/50th of a second.

    forgetting overly technical "what ifs" such as a heavy zoom lens is harder to hold still than a prime lens, but some of the cheaper zooms are not overly weighty and some professional limited zoom lenses (say 16mm - 35mm) can weigh as much as cheaper long zooms. My argument is that it comes down to the image size on the sensor which will be the same on a 50mm prime lens as for a zoom set to 50mm. Put another way the image of something with a 200mm lens will be as equally blurred by shake as the same image at 50mm - but because the image is so much smaller it will be appear sharper.

    Adjudication please.


    Robert Norman
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    You'll find that if you actually want maximum possible sharpness then you will have to ignore the '1/focal length' rule altogether and test YOURSELF, your camera, and your technique to see what you are capable of. It's a rough guide at best.

    I need to shoot a 50mm lens at about 1/250th to get the mazimum sharpness out of it, not just an acceptable image. At the same time, I've shot heaps of sharp images with 50mm 'ish' lenses at up to 1/2 sec where I've been able to shoot lots of frames (on continuous) and delete all the crap one's, which you can do with digital anyway.

    But to answer your question the main issue is the angle of view and the way this magnifies or minimises camer/lens movement.

    JJ
    Last edited by jjphoto; 15-09-2011 at 12:46pm.

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    I test myself all the time with slow shutter speeds, Cause I'm too slack to carry a tripod I usually can shoot 1/15th all the time , But last Saturday I got this With the 24-105 f4 L , IS On @45mm, ISO320, 1 sec exposure @f4 , Hand held ( I swear) No filters




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    BTW 1/focal length * crop factor is the guide, as jj said it's really about the angle of view and that does not allow for subject movement.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kym View Post
    ... and that does not allow for subject movement.
    Which is why IS is often unusable. Even if you can get a sharp image at a couple of stops less than without IS, it aint gonna stop your subject moving.

    JJ

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    It is like everything....its a good place to start! There are soooooo many variables....It cannot be a hard and fast rule, but when you need somewhere to start....start here!
    Call me Roo......
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    sorry to be blunt but these formulas are crap. a load of cods...

    at 500mm with OS on i still get a sharp image at 1/60th. how does that fit the formula? its an individual thing... people say that you'd have to be crazy to shoot macro 1:1 hand held and that a tripod is a must... i shoot all macro hand held.

    if you are steady then you can shoot lower, simple.

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    Im with Ving. Those shutter equations cannot be applied generally to everyone, as we all have different levels of hand holding skills.

    I go by the belief that if you are very good at shooting weapons, you will be very good at low shutter speed shots.

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    Quote JM : I go by the belief that if you are very good at shooting weapons

    Funny you should say that

    I had plenty of practice in my younger days using Telescopic Sights as well , All you do is get the right stance , Tuck your arms in for brace , Hold your breath , Easy
    Last edited by William; 15-09-2011 at 3:15pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by William View Post
    Quote JM : I go by the belief that if you are very good at shooting weapons



    Funny you should say that

    I had plenty of practice in my younger days using Telescopic Sites as well , All you do is get the right stance , Tuck your arms in for brace , Hold your breath , Easy
    hello from the guy on the grassy knoll


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    I thought there were 2 shooters!? haha

    Ive seen some terrible hand holding techniques, most popular one is where the left arm is not supporting the camera and lens from below, but held out to the side with the left hand to turn the zoom lens. Or the one where both elbows are not tucked in tight but away from the body like using a compact camera etc.

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    I think the inverse focal length "rule" is a guideline for those NTP, as a simple mental check thing
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    Quote Originally Posted by ving View Post
    sorry to be blunt but these formulas are crap. a load of cods...

    at 500mm with OS on i still get a sharp image at 1/60th. how does that fit the formula? its an individual thing... people say that you'd have to be crazy to shoot macro 1:1 hand held and that a tripod is a must... i shoot all macro hand held.

    if you are steady then you can shoot lower, simple.
    yes with image stabiliser. if you had 3 stop IS then 1/500s becomes 1/60s.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4wdexposure View Post
    forgetting overly technical "what ifs" such as a heavy zoom lens is harder to hold still than a prime lens, but some of the cheaper zooms are not overly weighty and some professional limited zoom lenses (say 16mm - 35mm) can weigh as much as cheaper long zooms.
    Heavy lenses are less prone to camera shake becuase f=ma of course if you are going to collapse under the weight of certain lenses after a few hours use then this becomes meaningless

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    I cannot take a shot looking at the Screen, I have to look through the viewfinder , On a long hand held exposure , The correct way to hold the camera and breathing is important , But I'm buggered if I can hold a P&S at arms lenght and take a shot

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    It depends on how many coffees I've had.

    But yes, the rule is the longer the focal length the higher the shutter speed required. What that limit is varies for each individual and the particular lens involved.

    Ask your friend to shoot with a superzoom eg 18-200. Set it to 18mm and find the lowest shutter speed he/she can get a sharp image. Let's say it's 1/15th second. Now try it at 200mm and see what happens.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ving View Post
    sorry to be blunt but these formulas are crap. a load of cods...

    at 500mm with OS on i still get a sharp image at 1/60th. how does that fit the formula? its an individual thing... people say that you'd have to be crazy to shoot macro 1:1 hand held and that a tripod is a must... i shoot all macro hand held.

    if you are steady then you can shoot lower, simple.
    And I never shoot macro hand held. You simply cannot get it as sharp as I require hand held.
    But - I do agree that all those things depend on how steady you are. I've shot at 600mm with IS at 1/20 sec and it was dead sharp (and I'm picky).

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    Quote Originally Posted by ving View Post
    hello from the guy on the grassy knoll

    1" group @ 100 meters (L1A1 SLR in the 70's)
    Last edited by Kym; 16-09-2011 at 8:45pm.

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    It depends on how many beers consumed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ving View Post
    hello from the guy on the grassy knoll

    Inspired LOL

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