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Minimum shutter speed to avoid camera shake ...

Discussion in 'Talk Photography' started by Shiskine, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. Shiskine

    Shiskine

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    Most noticeable on some of my moon shots, I've been having some problems recently with out of focus shots.

    I've read on here that it's difficult to generalise about the shutter speeds at which one can hand hold as some people simply have a steadier hand.

    However, I want to be certain that my problems are focus related and not due to camera shake so is there a shutter speed above which camera shake can be safely eliminated as a factor?

    On the subject of my moon shots, I probably should have used Live View zoomed to x10 and then manually focused the shots, so that's something I can try next time, but I've also had some disappointing results with some wildlife shots and don't know if it's camera shake or poor focusing technique.
     
  2. andrewc

    andrewc

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    usually people say 1/effective focal length
     
  3. pete.rush

    pete.rush

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    As AC said, depends on the length of your lens. 200mm lens 1/200 sec, but you also have to take into account what body you use, so with a cropped sensor camera (1.6x) 200mm would frame like a 320mm lens, so 1/250 or 1/320sec would be more suitable. But it also depends on the subject and what you what to do with the image. Motorsport, you want to create motion blur, cars, 1/150 - 1/250 sec, bikes 1/200 - 1/400. Wildlife, especially birds, 1/500 sec or faster, but light conditions also play a very important part to acheive these shutter speeds. As for a moon shots, use a tripod
     
  4. jerry12953

    jerry12953

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    I'm not sure what shutter speed you'd be using for the moon, but don't forget that the moon is actually moving and that can lead to apparent camera shake.

    At long exposures it can be motion blur!
     
  5. Nod

    Nod Ethel Prescott

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    The above is correct as a ROUGH rule of thumb but to make sure what each individual can handhold, they should check with each lens at an assortment of focal lengths (if the lenses are zooms) to see what they can hold still for how long. Don't forget that all sorts of other factors also come into play - if it's cold, you're likely to be shivering; if you're tired, you'll be less steady; excited, expect an excited tremor.

    Have to say that for moon shots, I'm happy to up the ISO to ensure a fastish shutter speed and ignore any noise that that might cause - a conversion to greyscale and/or noiseware disposes of the noise anyway. If you're at all unsure of handholding the speed, use a decent tripod and head. As an example, the following shot was taken at 1/800th, f/8, ISO 400, at 500mm on a D70 (1.5x crop) using a Sigma 150-500 OS. IIRC, the exposure was guessed at using another rough rule of thumb - the sunny, f/16 one.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. mrtoad

    mrtoad

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    this is the rule of thumb...but for long lenses i thing a tripod or support is really called for
    your wide angle shots wont show too much if using 1/30 etc but from experience a +200mm wobbly outfit really needs a bit more than 1/200

    :)
     
  7. Tight Fart

    Tight Fart

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    The rule is for whats safe but if you can hold the camera still anythings safe!
    this was taken with a 300mm at a 40th of a sec around a 10th of what should work. (not saying I could do it every time).
    [​IMG]
     
  8. MagicMynx

    MagicMynx

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    125 is what I was told at college, but as it's been said, remember that the moon is moving.

    I tried to shoot the moon the other day and made the stupidist mistake of slow shutter speed
     
  9. PerfectSpeed

    PerfectSpeed

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    Using CFP at 200mm

    This was 1/1000sec f/4 ISO125

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Shiskine

    Shiskine

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    Thanks for the comments. I wasn't really trying to establish my minimum handheld shutter speed rather identify a shutter speed above which camera shake could be ruled out.

    If I use my EF-S 55-250mm IS at 250mm, would 1/320th be fast enough to rule out camera shake if shooting a still subject?
     
  11. dinners

    dinners Has a winkie at last!

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    For a still subject - I would expect 1/320 to be shake free at 250mm. There will always be shots that aren't but you wouldn't be expecting too much with IS and those numbers.
     
  12. jerry12953

    jerry12953

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    It also depends on the lens. You would expect that 55mm on a long and heavy lens like yours would be more prone to camera shake than a 55mm prime (if one existed).
     
  13. tdodd

    tdodd

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    The shutter speed required to make camera shake acceptably low depends on several things, but one thing that is often overlooked is the final enlargement factor to make a print or display on screen of a given physical size in inches/cm. The more you enlarge your image the more easily imperfections will be noticed, including shake, blur, misfocus and other things.

    The rule of thumb for minimum shutter speed of 1/(focal length) did work quite well for shooting 35mm film and printing at sizes up to around 10"x8". A 35mm frame has dimensions of 36mmx24mm. To make a 10" (254mm) print the enlargement factor is 254/36 = 7X. That is quite a modest degree of enlargement and the original rule of thumb works well for most people.

    Howver, when you shoot with a crop sensor camera you have a smaller sensor (obviously). To make that same 10" (254mm) print from a Canon crop camera, with a sensor 22.3mm wide you need to enlarge by a factor of 254/22.3 = 11.4X. In order to make camera shake no less visible at that level of enlargement you need a faster shutter speed. The speed increase required, as a multiplier, is equal to the crop factor.

    So, if shooting with a 400mm lens with a 35mm camera you would want a shutter speed of at least 1/400 in order to produce a "sharp" 10x8 print. To shoot with a 400mm lens on a crop body camera you would need a minimum shutter speed of 1/(400x1.6) = 1/640 in order to make that sharp 10" print.

    However, if you then use software to crop into your image even more, you are effetively increasing your crop factor even further. e.g. if you cropped out 1/4 of the frame you would effectively be doubling your crop factor further. Instead of a crop factor of 1.6X it would become 3.2X. Now in order to make your 10" print you would need a shutter speed of 1/1250. If you cropped in software to 1/9th of the frame your crop factor would become 1.6x3 = 4.8X and your shutter speed would need to be around 1/2000.

    That would be in order to make a 10" print (or on screen image). If you only want to make a 5" print or image then you could halve the shutter speed back down to 1/1000. So, there is a rule of thumb, but it needs modifying depending on your exact needs for final print/display size and also your own skills and abilities.

    When it comes to pixel peeping at 100%, that is equivalent to viewing a virtual image of maybe 30"-40" across, depending on the exact camera and the monitor used. So, if your virtual image is 40" across, instead of the rule of thumb target of 10", that is an enlargement factor 4X greater than the rule of thumb is designed to accommodate. If you want to see an image that is sharp at the pixel level you would need a guideline shutter speed of 1/(focal length x crop factor x 4). For a 400mm lens on a Canon crop body, viewed at 100%, your guideline minimum shutter speed would need to be around 1/2500.

    Oh, if your lens has IS/OS/VC/VR then you may be able to shoot at lower shutter speeds.
     
  14. Hairyduck

    Hairyduck

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    I can confrim that when hand holding a 600mm f4 lens with 1.7x converter that 1/30th of a second is far too slow for panning shots!

    I normally go for the 1/focal length rule and maybe knock a bit off if the lens has VR. The longer the lens the more relevant this equation becomes. A lot of it is also down to technique, I've hand held some very long exposures in the past and if you brace yourself well enough and lay off the caffeine and alcohol it's perfectly doable
     
  15. PerfectSpeed

    PerfectSpeed

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    = The larger the print required the faster the SS the better, and if it's for screen the 1/(focal length) rule calculating for FF or Crop. :cautious:
     
  16. Shiskine

    Shiskine

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    Thanks for the advice. I need to get out and take some more shots in decent light and fast shutter speeds and assess the results. Hopefully at those speeds, shake will be (nearly) eliminated and any blur can be put down to poor focus, whether poor choice of AF mode or duff manual focusing.
     
  17. deadkenny

    deadkenny

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    Remember though a (good, sturdy, heavy weighted) tripod can overcome these problems and you're free to use a wide range of shutter speeds then.

    Moon shots especially, but the moon does move quick so I find I set it up for the shot, and already the moon has moved just out of the focus point. Usually I set it up for a timer or remote use as even pressing the shutter by hand when on a tripod can cause shake on moon shots. Even the shutter itself can cause shake when it's such a long lens and focus distance. Some cameras will let you lock the mirror up so you can wait for the shake to go away, then take the shot.
     
  18. tdodd

    tdodd

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    Absolutely. For a moon shot a tripod is the way to go. This moon shot (not mine) was shot at 1/30 - http://www.pbase.com/liquidstone/image/121340498

    Focusing should be more or less at infinity, but do not get there by simply turning the lens all the way to the "infinity" end stop. Most lenses can mechanically focus beyond infinity, so whacking the focus ring all the way to the end will possibly give poor results. You need to focus properly. Live View focusing is recommended. For that you need a tripod.

    There is an interesting article/demonstration of the benefits of MLU and/or some types of Live View for slower exposures - http://www.juzaphoto.com/eng/articles/live_view_mirror_lock_up.htm.
     
  19. mrtoad

    mrtoad

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    the underlining criterion is ...can you tell what speed the shot was taken at
    camera shake....in all circumstances...is camera shake

    get as high as you can with the 1/focal length as a minimum and not guaranteed speed to avoid c.s.

    if you can go higher...good, and if you can support...even better
    learn to hold the camera with your body as the tripod and squeeze the shutter...

    shake will seem worse at longer focus...not focal...lengths...
     

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