Another dumb question from a dslr newbie -- camera shake?

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Roy Smith, Mar 14, 2006.

  1. Roy Smith

    Roy Smith Guest

    In 35mm film, I used to use the rule of thumb that I could hand hold
    without noticable shake as long as the shutter speed was faster than
    about 1/f, i.e. with my f=50mm lens, I could shoot 1/60 or faster and
    be OK. With my f=180mm, I would aim for 1/250 or faster. If I could
    brace the camera against a solid object, I'd hope for about 1 stop
    better than that.

    How does this rule work with digital cameras? Let's say I've got a
    4/3 system (just to make the math easy), where a f=25mm lens gives the
    same field of view as a f=50mm on a 35mm camera. Can I expect that
    1/60 sec will give me about the same amount of visible camera shake?

    How much improvement can I expect from the Image Stabilization systems
    some lenses have? Will I get a 1 stop improvement? More? Or is that
    just not the right way to think about it?
    Roy Smith, Mar 14, 2006
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  2. Today Roy Smith commented courteously on the subject at hand
    In my film days many years ago, I could get down to 1/4-1/8
    with my 50mm Nikkor and maybe 1/15 with my 105mm. But, with
    the much harder pressure to press the shutter on the digitals
    I've owned and the time the camera takes to do its AF et al, I
    find that camera shake comes on at much higher shutter speeds.
    Plus, my hands are shakier today than they were 30 years ago,
    What people relay to you is at best an estimate of what you
    will see personally, as shooting conditions and subject type
    as well as varying skill in using camera(s) are important.
    Once you buy what you're intending to buy (or, maybe you
    already did), your best bet IMHO is to do your own tests. You
    are the only one who really knows how much /you/ shake and how
    much is the camera needing much more oomph on the shutter
    button than your film camera.

    If you've not purchased yet, I'd strongly recommend you buy
    from a store that'll give you 10 days with rights to a full
    refund if you find the camera just doesn't get it, for
    whatever reason, including shake, image quality, features,
    your impression of ergonomics, etc.
    All Things Mopar, Mar 14, 2006
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  3. Roy Smith

    tomm42 Guest

    Had a bad experience a couple of days ago, I had just finished my
    midmorning coffee and a doc I work with askes me to go to the operating
    room for a few photos of a surgery. Grabbed my camera (Fuji S1) and a
    120mm medical Nikor. I have hand held the lens at 1/180 (no strobe room
    lights are very bright)and a couple of times at 1/125. Did the first
    shot, whoa was I shaky, turned the IE up 800 (bottom is 320 on this
    camera) did the pics. The other surgeon probably thought this was one
    shaky guy. Used 1/360 for the shutterspeed and I was OK.
    I'm finding that if I take the lens conversion into account it is still
    1/converted focal length. Just don't have a cup of coffee first.

    tomm42, Mar 14, 2006
  4. Yes, use the 50 mm number.
    2 to 3 stops, generally.

    Other factors: large, heavy cameras are more stable ... brace your body if
    you can't brace the camera ... crank up the ISO ... gently squeeze the
    shutter button ... etc.
    Charles Schuler, Mar 14, 2006
  5. Roy Smith

    C J Southern Guest

    Someone posted an interesting comment sometime ago, which seems to ring true
    in practice ...

    Although we use the reciprocal rule for hand-holding a camera, it's been
    suggested that if one wants to eliminate all traces of camera shake then one
    should then aim for around 5 times the "reciprocal" shutter speed.
    C J Southern, Mar 14, 2006
  6. Roy Smith

    eawckyegcy Guest

    Nonsense. Lay off the caffeine and just take more pictures and pick
    the best. I have images from my EF 500/4 + 1.4x which were handheld at
    ~1/100th of a second -- the main problem is subject motion, not jittery
    eawckyegcy, Mar 14, 2006
  7. Wow! You're good. I've done 2 to 3x the 1/FL on the 500 f/4 +1.4x with the
    IS on and still had problems:

    500 f/4 + 1.4x TC 1/3000 second iso 400 with IS.
    Very sharp but best one of several.

    500 f/4 1/1600 second iso 400, with IS:
    very sharp, but it was the only really sharp one.

    But then I've done 1/4 second exposures with a 28 mm lens
    inside a church and had very sharp results.

    My experience is the 1/FL rule is good, but faster is better with
    higher percentage of sharp images. It is really a guide, not a rule.

    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Mar 15, 2006
  8. Roy Smith

    cjcampbell Guest

    In my experience that is about right.
    It is exactly the way to think about it. Four stops improvement,
    according the manufacturers, but lots of people report getting better
    than that. Canon's IS or Nikon's VR are miracles, no ifs, ands or buts.
    I think four stops is very conservative. I have gone a full eight stops
    and still managed to get sharp pictures, although not every time. But
    then, digital film is "free" so you can take a whole series and keep
    the sharp one.
    cjcampbell, Mar 15, 2006
  9. Roy Smith

    RiceHigh Guest

    How does this rule work with digital cameras? Let's say I've got a
    4/3 system (just to make the math easy), where a f=25mm lens gives the
    same field of view as a f=50mm on a 35mm camera. Can I expect that
    1/60 sec will give me about the same amount of visible camera shake?

    The rule still works. What you need to do is to revert back to the film
    equivalent focal length with the equivalent Field/Angle of View.

    Do note the actual "stability" of your DSLR or DC do count. My MZ-S has
    at least a a two-stop advantage over my *ist DS which is having a
    vigorous mirror.
    some lenses have? Will I get a 1 stop improvement? More? Or is that
    just not the right way to think about it?

    Canon and Nkon claims that there is a 3-stop advantage. I think this is
    the ideal optimal value which the IS or VR system able to achieve.
    Otherwise, the advantage should be somewhat less than that.

    RiceHigh, Mar 15, 2006
  10. Eight stops would be exceptional, I think.

    Three stops is what many manufacturers claim, and is what I have seen in
    my own Panasonic/Leica lens. Some say that the stabilised sensor of the
    Konica-Minolta system is slightly less effective, which might be due to
    the larger mass which has to be moved.

    There is no standard measurement as yet, which is a great pity.

    By the way, on some Nikon cameras there is a mode called "BSS" - best shot
    selector. This allows you to take a rapid sequence of shots, and only the
    sharpest shot will be saved. Great for choosing the least camera-shaken
    image. I don't know if this feature is also available on their DSLRs.

    David J Taylor, Mar 15, 2006
  11. Roy Smith

    Roy Smith Guest

    Are there DSLRs with mirror lock-up? In the old days, you'd plant the
    camera on a tripod, lock the mirror up, wait for the vibrations to damp
    away, then trip the shutter (with a release cable, of course). Has this
    technique carried over to the digital world?

    Not that I ever did much of that. Except for toying with astrophotography
    a few times, for which I bought an old OM-1 body just to get that feature.
    Roy Smith, Mar 15, 2006
  12. Roy Smith

    erics Guest

    erics, Mar 15, 2006
  13. Roy Smith

    eawckyegcy Guest

    I wouldn't go that far: the equipment is good. When hand-holding, I
    usually crank off frames until the camera (1DMkII) chokes. I find that
    while the jitters ruin most frames, there are instants where you (and
    subject) aren't moving much at all.
    Oh yes, as the shutter-time drops, the keeper rate climbs dramatically.
    Handholding big optics isn't a recommended technique -- the above is
    hard on the shutter and card space -- but for whatever reason, in my
    experience the number of subjects seems to drop when one is sitting
    patiently with the lens on the tripod. Impatience is a virtue?
    eawckyegcy, Mar 15, 2006
  14. Roy Smith

    eawckyegcy Guest

    Actually, it just occured to me: how do you characterize "hand-hold"?
    My definiton may be somewhat liberal, in that it's anytime the
    camera+lens isn't on the tripod. But in most of these cases, I use a
    kind of marksman crouch:

    though I am sitting (usually on a bum pad) with the knee up, and with
    the lens collar rotated out of the way (to the left or up). Occasional
    use of a guardrail/cable/etc is sometimes made. The standing position
    is hard to maintain for any period of time, though this is used at
    times for birds in flight.
    eawckyegcy, Mar 15, 2006
  15. Roy Smith

    C J Southern Guest

    I don't drink anything with caffeine in it.

    So rather than address the underlying cause you use the "pot-luck" approach
    to managing the problem.

    Thanks for that - next time I'll be sure to call in some structural
    engineers to see if they can stop those damn moving buildings whilst I
    photograph them with my steady hands.

    C J Southern, Mar 16, 2006
  16. Roy Smith

    eawckyegcy Guest

    C J Southern blathers:

    Yo, CJ, I was responding to your idiot tripe that:

    This may be the case for a Parkinson's sufferer, but few other people.
    Is following along really so hard, nitwit?
    What an incredible idea! I'll call in the structural engineer to tell
    the birds to stop moving! Any other gems of wisdom you wanna pull from
    your anus?
    HA HA HA HA HA HA. Plonked by another fuckhead. I always like getting
    the last word anyways.
    eawckyegcy, Mar 16, 2006
  17. Roy Smith

    cjcampbell Guest

    Definitely. You cannot get it every shot, or even on the majority of
    shots. But it happens often enough to make it worth trying.
    It would be difficult to develop, too. Four stops is what Nikon claims,
    and that seems to be about right.
    None that I know of. I have it on my Coolpix 7900 and have used it. It
    is an interesting feature, but it has serious limitations. No flash,
    for obvious reasons. And I have no reason to believe that it chooses
    the best overall frame. I prefer "motor drive" mode on the D70. Then I
    can choose the best image blown up full screen on my computer.
    cjcampbell, Mar 16, 2006
  18. Roy Smith

    C J Southern Guest

    Ignorant, immature, and abusive. True to your usual form.

    Hopefully one day you'll grow up, but somehow I doubt it's going to be in my
    lifetime. Oh dear - how sad - too bad.

    Until then, let's get your witty repartee out of the way so that you can
    dazzle us one more time with your charm and witt, and of course get the last
    word so you'll be able to sleep sound in the knowledge that yet again you've
    done your best to destroy values created by others.

    Here it comes everyone ...
    C J Southern, Mar 16, 2006
  19. Roy Smith

    Paul Furman Guest

    Yes but it's not available on entry level dSLRs.
    Paul Furman, Mar 16, 2006
  20. Pentax provides mirror lock-up with a 2-second delay to settle down before
    the shutter fires. Best used on a tripod, of course :^)

    Pentax prices may be "entry level," but performance is a notch above its
    class. A brand consistently underrated by all who don't own one.
    Charles Gillen, Mar 16, 2006
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