shutter speed while hand held

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by rweakins, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. rweakins macrumors 6502


    May 3, 2007
    just curious what people would say a minimum shutter speed would be for shooting hand held. still subjects what would the speed need to be to avoid blur
  2. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

    Jul 22, 2005
    The general rule is 1/(focal length)(crop factor). For example, say you're shooting at 200mm with a 40D (crop factor 1.6). You should be shooting at 1/(200*1.6) = 1/320s.

    What camera and lens are you using?
  3. FX120 macrumors 65816


    May 18, 2007
    To expand, IS/VR will also allow you to shoot at slower shutter speeds (up to 4 full stops on the better lenses).
  4. H2Ockey macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2008
    General rules are changing. There are some decent optics out there in some light weight lenses, and with VR/IS and quicker/more accurate auto-focus there are just too many factors to list.

    For example I was able to take some shots with a 18-200 AF-S VR at 200mm and f5.6 and 1/60. Granted I had one elbow braced and was seated but with my newer 80-200 AF-D at f2.8 I can't take a shot that isn't blurry below about 1/160 and I would probably go for 1/250 and accept a much higher ISO. The difference in weight of these two lenses is huge plus the VR on the lighter lens made for more than 4 stops, for similar shots on the same camera it is a bit more like 6 maybe I could argue 9 stops with one at f5.6 and the other at f2.8 under weird conditions.
  5. Apple Ink macrumors 68000

    Apple Ink

    Mar 7, 2008
    Latter is completely accepted but I doubt that the quality of optics in any lens has anything to do with vibration blur! Its just that a poor lens produces unsharp images without vibration... so in case of vibration, the blur increases vastly!

    Also...a heavier lens is more steadier to hold than a light lens!
  6. anubis macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2003
    Assuming you're not taking pictures of people or other moving objects
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    I don't beleive the part about the crop factor. The geometry is determined solely by the focal length. For example if I am shooting a picture of a row of street lamps and I'm using my 50mm lens on a dx body I might get blur do to camera shake and I'd see three blured lights. But the same lens, same shutter speed an a full frame I would get the EXACT same three light blurred but I'd also get two more blured lights in the frame.

    Think of it another way: What if you cropped an image you take with a DX camera body. Does the post production crop create more blurr? If you knwo you plan to crop an image in iPhoto should you use a faster shutter? Of course not.

    Now if you want to go past the simple 1/(fl) rule then you have to know the size of the final print. What you want to avoid is detectable blurr in the final product. Very small prints and web size images cn stand a lot of blurr and no one will see it. Large prints need to be very sharp. I'd say you want to keep the camera shake to under two pixels in the final printed product.
  8. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

    Jul 22, 2005
    The crop factor determines the effective focal length. An image taken at 200mm on a 1.6x body is the same as an image taken at 320mm on a 1.0x body.

    A good example is with little superzoom P&S cameras, such as the S5 IS. That thing had a real max focal length of 72mm, yet with crop factor taken into account, it was more like ~430mm. If you shot at ~1/72 compared to ~1/430, you'd get very different results.

    H2Ockey: The laws of physics aren't changing. Without any form of vibration reduction, a shot taken at 800mm and 1/50 is still going to be more or less as blurry now as it was 30 years ago. Focal length is a standard, and VR technologies are features. They can help to reduce motion blur, but they vary from lens to lens.
  9. Cliff3 macrumors 68000


    Nov 2, 2007
    SF Bay Area
    The problem with that analysis is that it assumes all else is equal except for the crop, and that is not the case. A crop sensor is going to have more pixels in a specific area of an image than a full frame sensor, and that added pixel density could affect the quality of the resulting image.
  10. Apple Ink macrumors 68000

    Apple Ink

    Mar 7, 2008
    No we really won't! Shooting at 72mm in pns and 430mm on dslr also means that you're zooming 600% in pns as compared to 100% in Dslr! That's why they both still remain same!

    But to clarify... Your supposition of 72 vs 430 is wrong! Both pns and dslr will effectively have a focal range of 72mm only but the pns' tiny sensor induces a huge crop factor for the pns... In this case a fovcf of 6x....
  11. H2Ockey macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2008
    ???:confused: I didn't say we are changing physics, I'm saying GENERAL RULES are changing because of technology. With VR better/faster AF and a lighter lens it is possible to get a much less blurry shot at a much lower shutter speed. Same as general rules about exposure changed once lenses started getting better optical coatings.

    1/(focal length) doesn't take into account these things. The reason I mention the AF is because the less time you have to hold steady the less chance of blur.

    I'm also going to have to say that a heavier lens is only stedier to hand hold to a point. in my example, the 18-200 is 560g and the 80-200 is 1300g. It makes a differnce and it is a difference I have felt.

    Minimum shutter speed at 200mm with the 18-200 because of its lighter weight and VR and fast accurate AF 1/60 for a usable shot.

    Minimum shutter speed at 200mm with the 80-200 ~1/250 for a very similar result.
  12. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    VR/IS/whatever-you-wanna-call-it does not account for subject movement. So if you want to make the statement that 1/focal length is going obsolete because of these technologies, you better qualify it.

    AF has nothing to do with getting a sharp shot handheld. Just breathe properly and time the shot accordingly. Holding a camera for 5 seconds as opposed to 1 doesn't make a difference.

    i can't comment on lens weight, though i'd agree that a heavier lens is better than a flyweight for stability.
  13. H2Ockey macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2008
    The OP said stationary subject, so that is what I was talking about. With a moveing subject yep it is a completely different ball game.

    I think it can help some. The two examples I'm giving are an AFS lens and an AF D it is probably directly related to the weight of the lens as well. Maybe i'm just using a very bad example and it is too specific a case, but one of the lenses is ~2.5 lbs the other is about 1.2 lbs. The problem could be that the heavier lens is heavier than the camera so it is just very hard to hand hold. The other lighter, VR lens is made to hand hold. The AF speed helped in these cases just because i noticed the AFS lens hit the subject and focused so fast, and the heavier lens sometimes the extra weight and extra time to focus became noticeable.
  14. stcanard macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2003
    How slow you can go is very much a factor of how steady you are -- all of the above is a decent rule of thumb if you are using film and need to wait a few days to develop the photo and see if it turned out.

    With the instant feedback we get these days, do what you think you need to get the shot and check if it turned out. You'll quickly get an idea of how steady you are and what a workable range for your situation is.
  15. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601


    Feb 10, 2004
    You are confusing "zoom" or "reach" with field of view. I did the same thing until I read a post by compuwar touching on the subject and did some thinking.

    While the end result of zooming and decreasing field of view seem similar, what is actually happening is quite different. It might be helpful to think of the crop sensors as always on digital zoom (it's not but its effect is more similar to this than it is to using a "larger" zoom).

    Back to the original question, the rest of what you say is true. 1/(focal length) is a decent guide, but I find I can shoot pretty steady down to 1/15th of a second at 18-35mm or so. 1/30th of a second is plenty for me at 55mm.

    While researching the Sigma 18-200mm OS lens I found these samples (from real people not marketing departments) demonstrating the lenses OS. (In case anyone doesn't want to click, the user shows some handheld shots at 200mm with some at 1/10th of a second being quite sharp).
  16. Kebabselector macrumors 68030


    May 25, 2007
    Birmingham, UK
    You handheld a 600mm lately? ;)

    Though I know what you mean :)
  17. Apple Ink macrumors 68000

    Apple Ink

    Mar 7, 2008

    LOL... He he he. If you ask me to "Hand Hold" the Canon 600 or the 800 for that matter... I'm sure that after a few minutes there wont be much of something as an arm on my shoulder left! :)
  18. rweakins thread starter macrumors 6502


    May 3, 2007
    i'm using a 50D sorry it took so long to respond
  19. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    So far so good...

    Ah, here's where you miss- You'd also have to magnify the cropped image by the difference to get the an equal print- that is, to get an equally sized picture you'd have to enlarge more (though it would of course be of a smaller region.)

    No, you can simply add in the crop factor to take into account the amount of magnification necessary to get a roughly equivalent picture. Even 1/FL doesn't take into account the final size of the print and is therefore a rule of thumb rather than an exact guide. But adding in the crop factor works well enough, and will result in a better picture in any instance where you can reach that shutter speed.
  20. gnd macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2008
    At my cat's house
    I shoot a lot of statues in museums. That means a dark enviroment, stationary subjects, tripods prohibited so everything needs to be handheld. My Pentax has stabilization in the body, my primary lens for normal sized statues is Sigma 24mm f1.7 (I try to keep the aperture above 2.4 though). Having said all that, I have perfectly sharp photos that were taken at 1/6th of a second. But as a general rule I try not to go below 1/15s ...
    For the portraits I use the Pentax 50mm f1.4 lens. Because of the longer focal length I try to keep around 1/60s. When the subject is more than 10m away I try to be at 1/90s or above, even with the proper breathing and stabilization. With sharp photos I mean sharp at 100% zoom.
    I did try the "string monopod", but that doesn't really work. It does reduce vertical shake, but it on the other hand increases the horizontal one ...
  21. 147798 Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    To the OP: go out and shoot a bunch of pictures with the lens in question on the camera in question, because your holding technique and the steadiness of your hands will have a lot more to do with it than debates on crop factors, IMO.

    Also, I would say there is "perceived" sharpness vs. something actually in focus. I have lots of shots on primes with low shutter speeds that look fine in smaller formats, but viewed 1:1, not so good.

    I still think, though, that technique and your own hands will drive a lot of this. For small prints, using my 35mm prime (without IS) on my 1.6 crop, I can easily shoot down to 1/30 and often down to 1/15 and sometimes 1/8 sec with a reasonable keeper rate, especially if I can lean against something, but not if I want a larger print, and certainly not with my zoom (which is why my zoom has IS).

    And, of course, this all applies to stationary objects.
  22. -hh macrumors 68020


    Jul 17, 2001
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    And we need to remember that this rule of thumbs heritage comes from the days of 35mm film.

    I'll get to that in a minute :D

    True, but the rule of thumb was based on the focal length geometry of 35mm systems.

    As such, whenever the effective field of view is "X", you need to convert the actual focal length to the 35mm equivalent to apply the 35mm-based rule of thumb.

    But if you don't want to do this conversion to 35mm(equivalent), then the new rules of thumb are:

    For a Nikon 1.5x crop body dSLR:
    {0.667/(focal length)} sec

    For a Canon 1.6x crop body dSLR:
    {0.625/(focal length)} sec

    YMMV on if this makes for easier math.

    Agreed, and it was the cost and slow turn-around of film that had an influence on what was an acceptable risk, based on the expected probability of success, and its associated costs: you didn't want to waste money on shots that would fail, nor did you want to get your film back a week later and discover that you had failed, so the level of acceptable risk was lower relative to what we're willing to risk today (see further below for more).

    Do note however, that the question of "how steady you are" is a very important one. There can be a lot of skill transfer applicability between being steady for photography and being steady in weapons marksmanship. This includes body positions that provide better support (and self-support) for a steadier platform, and to similarly brace yourself against objects. There's also "trigger squeezing" techniques (to not jerk) and even breathing (breath hold) techniques.

    Part of military research on aiming accuracy has to do with a a known phenomina of a human tremor / oscillation ... IIRC, its at ~1.6 Hz...and a lot of their training techniques for steadier aim has to do with minimizing these movements. For example, holding a camera with both hands against your forhead (think 'Optical Viewfinder') forms two triangles with relatively short 'moment arms', and the camera will move around a lot less than when even a smaller camera is held out at arm's length (think P&S with LCD display). Bottom line here is that if you get firmly braced and "sandbagged in", your technique can be nearly as good as a full blown tripod.

    For example, this night photo was taken at 1/6sec @ 38mm(e), which means that versus the rule of thumb which would have called for a 1/45sec to 1/30 sec ... 1/15... 1/8 --> it is around 2-2.5 stops under the rule of thumb. How/why? Because the "hand held" technique was able to compensate: the support position was firmly braced against a streetpost.

    And getting back to H2Ockey, there's been some changes in technology that have allowed the rule to become less important. I think that the major ones are:

    (1) Optical path correction/stabilization, VR/IS stuff.
    Some systems claim to be as good as 4 stops. This improves your number of keeper shots.

    (2) Instant feedback from digital & the LCD display.
    You can try a shot, give it a quick review to see if seemed okay or was obiously trash, then decide if you want to try again. This lets you improve your technique rapidly, as well as improve your number of keepers.

    (3) 'Bottomless' film, from digital.
    Didn't like the above blurry shot? Delete & try, try, try, try again...unlike film, there's virtually no 'per shot' cost, other than your time and battery charge status. This similarly lets you improve your technique rapidly, and improve your number of keepers.

  23. dopeytree macrumors regular

    Jan 9, 2007
    with shake reduction or VR I get down to about 1/15th if i'm lucky. but the standard handheld shutter speed is 1/60th and faster

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