Shutter Speeds to Hand-Hold 280mm IS?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Mardon, Feb 5, 2006.

  1. Mardon

    Mardon Guest

    I use a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS USM lens with a 1.4x Converter on a
    20D. At full zoom of 280mm, I have to shoot at 1/500 of a second to
    reliably get sharp shots. At 1/250 I get an occasional sharp shot
    but most exhibit camera movement. At 1/125 it's pretty much useless.
    I suspect most people can hand-hold a 280mm IS shot at slower shutter
    speeds. Is this true?
    Mardon, Feb 5, 2006
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  2. Mardon

    Alan Browne Guest

    With the crop factor, your effective FL is 200 x 1.4 x 1.6 = 450mm.

    So a normal (non-IS) handheld, _small print_, could be shot at 1/500 or
    faster. Maybe.

    Did you turn on the IS? You should get reasonably sharp phots down to
    at least 1/250 and we would hope down to 1/125.

    OTOH, the "rule of thumb" 1/FL shutter speed is reasobable for shorter
    focal lengths (say up to 135mm) and assumes (at that) that your prints
    won't be much larger than 5x7.

    I always assume that a photo I'm taking will be blown up to 8x12.

    So, anything above 200mm should really not be attempted without a
    tripod, (preferably with a cable release and/or mirror-lockup)

    -the shutter speed is very fast (1/[2xFL] or faster) -and/or
    -have flash on the subject.


    Alan Browne, Feb 5, 2006
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  3. Mardon

    Mardon Guest

    Hi Alan,

    Thanks for a very interesting reply! I was not aware of the (1/2XFL)
    Sec 'rule of thumb'. This matches almost exactly with my imperial
    experience. I generally print my 'good' photos are 8"x12" but I
    almost always for crop composition purposes, so for this discussion
    you can consider that I print at 12"x18". I usually shoot the 70-
    200mm f/2.8 IS with IS turned on, unless I'm trying to intentionally
    blur the background, when I sometimes put it in IS Mode 2. I rarely
    turn it off altogether. I shot some handheld stuff recently at
    1/1000 sec at 200mm x 1.4 x 1.6 = 448mm and the images turned out
    sharp as a tack. 1/500 also produced acceptably sharp prints at 8" x
    12". I've given up trying to hand-hold at less than 1/250. For
    anything under 1/500 I use a tripod unless I must shoot without it to
    avoid losing the shot. This is all pretty much exactly what you
    said! Maybe my hand is not as shaky as I thought it was. :)
    Mardon, Feb 5, 2006
  4. Mardon

    Alan Browne Guest

    The key thing here is print size. Print small enough, and you could use
    coke bottles as lenses.

    You're one of the few with an IS lens to claim it does not meet your
    total satisfaction in difficult situations... prepare for the protests...

    <runs for cover ... er, linguini carbonara at my SO's place, anyway...>
    Alan Browne, Feb 5, 2006
  5. Mardon Guest

    A monopod might give you a couple of stops.
, Feb 6, 2006
  6. Mardon

    Mardon Guest

    Oh, "NO!" I don't blame the lens for my human limits. I love the
    lens. It's a fantastic lens and produces wonderful images; much
    better, no doubt, than I'm capable of taking. I was just curious
    how steady a hand other people have compared to mine. Without the
    IS, I think it would be foolish to even think about hand-holding a
    500mm equivalent at 1/250 sec. Obviously, for a 4"x6" print, I could
    hand hold a lot slower that that.
    Mardon, Feb 6, 2006
  7. Same rig for a lot of sports shooting although for basketball I leave
    off the 1.4 often. But I always use a monopod. I don't think any
    appreciable percentage of shots have motion blur, but I will look closer
    to the next batch. I hit the delete button so quickly on OoF shots that
    what might be motion blur is seen by me as a simple missed focus.

    John McWilliams

    Two vultures board an airplane, each carrying two dead raccoons. The
    flight attendant looks at them and says, "I'm sorry, gentlemen, only one
    carrion allowed per passenger."
    John McWilliams, Feb 6, 2006
  8. In my own experience (400mm) it is very variable. Sometimes 1/1000 is
    soft, sometimes I can get a sharp 1/60! In practice I find 1/250 will
    give a sharp print at least half the time.

    Luck & steady hands play a big role. Even camera type (mirror & shutter
    damping), weight & lens shape/weight have an influence.

    Also, leaning or bracing against something, shooting sitting or lying
    down, elbows on something make a *huge* difference. "Handheld" isn't
    always the same thing...
    Chris Loffredo, Feb 6, 2006
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