Slowest speed for a hand held camera ?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Brian, Sep 20, 2003.

  1. Brian

    Brian Guest

    What is the slowest speed when holding a 35mm camera.?

    I want to take photos using a f16 asperature and on a clouding day
    using a 200asa film this means a slower shutter speed of 90. Is this
    too slow to be holding a camera without any support? I don't want a
    roll of camera shake pictures.

    Regards Brian
    Brian, Sep 20, 2003
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  2. Brian

    Mike Guest

    Will depend on who steady you are, experiment.
    Mike, Sep 20, 2003
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  3. Generally speaking, the slowest shutter speed that won't cause camera shake
    is reckoned to be 1/fl of a second where "fl" is the focal length of the
    lens used. However this can be affected by many factors so it is only a
    Tony Parkinson, Sep 20, 2003
  4. Brian

    Brian Guest

    Is there any general rule of thumb?
    I'm using a 35mm single reflex camera with short lens.
    I know that with 1/125 shutter speed there are no problems with camera
    shake but what about 1/90 sec or 1/60th second shutter speeds

    Regards Brian
    Brian, Sep 20, 2003
  5. Yes, 1/fl where fl = focal Length of lens
    What lens are you using ?
    Tony Parkinson, Sep 20, 2003
  6. Brian

    Brian Guest

    I'll be using 50mm lens (Canon EF 50mm 1:1.8 II)

    Regards Brian
    Brian, Sep 20, 2003
  7. Brian

    Jim Guest

    It will depend on how steady you are, but a rule of thumb is
    to take the lens length as the minumum fraction of a second
    for hand held shots e.g. 50mm = 1/50th sec, 200mm =

    To email me, go to my address and take out the dog
    Jim, Sep 20, 2003
  8. Brian

    Snaps! Guest

    You need 1/125th with a tele lens to avoid the mirror movement causing fuzz.
    Personally I can shoot 1/15th with a leaf shutter and maybe 1/30th but for
    sure 1/60th with an average SLR. If you can lock the mirror up, you can use
    a slower speed. The best trick is not to have any coffee the night before or
    during the day. Surprising how steady your aim becomes!
    Snaps!, Sep 20, 2003
  9. For most people that would be somewhere between 1/30 and 1/100. There
    is a much wider range however. With practice and a few tricks, like leaning
    up against a wall and bracing yourself, you may be able to go slower than
    that. On the other hand some people have problems at 1/100. The other
    factor is your tolerance in the result. If you are making 4x6 prints and
    don't look too close you can get away with a lot slower than if you are
    making 16x20 prints and are very critical of the results.

    There is even differences in the camera you may use. One that fits your
    hands and promotes a hand hold that allows squeezing the shutter rather than
    pushing it and maybe is a little heavier than others and has less mirror
    vibration prior to the end of the exposure all goes into the situation.

    You may be able to improve a lot by doing some practice. If you have
    one of those little laser pens, tape it to your camera and aim it at a wall.
    Without film practice watching the image on the wall, you don't want it to
    move. The same idea works with a small mirror taped at an angle so a
    flashlight beam shining on the mirror will be reflected on the wall.

    Good luck

    Joseph E. Meehan
    Please note that this author is not the same Joseph Meehan who is a
    professional author of Photograph materials.

    26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
    Joseph Meehan, Sep 20, 2003
  10. Brian

    Jim Guest

    Jim wrote:
    Apologies for duplicating others' answers - those answers
    hadn't appeared on the news server I was using at the time
    ( but I've moved to the main news
    server now...
    To email me, go to my address and take out the dog
    Jim, Sep 20, 2003
  11. Brian

    Hickster0711 Guest

    A cloudy day @f16 w/ 200 will be a lot slower than 1/90s, but I've found that
    the heavier you can make the camera, the slower you can shoot. Also, some
    cameras are nicely balanced, and some are not.
    Bob Hickey
    Hickster0711, Sep 20, 2003
  12. Then the "rule of thumb" would suggest 1/60th (the slowest speed faster than
    1/50th) though some of the factors others have mentioned could affect that
    by a couple of stops either way. I've got sharp results at 1/15th with the
    same lens you mention when bracing myself against a tree or fence, on the
    other hand, I've had problems getting a sharp image at 1 stop faster than
    the "rule of thumb" would suggest after a couple of beers in the pub then
    running a couple of hundred yards to get the shot
    Tony Parkinson, Sep 20, 2003
  13. Brian

    Ken Cashion Guest

    As you have seen, Brian, the simple question can have lots of
    answers, but most are suggesting 1 / fl of lens.
    'How steady are you?' was a really good question.
    From my recent experience, I could ask you how old you are.
    Perhaps for ages 15 to 45, it would be 1 / fl, however, for
    ages 50 to 70 it might be 1 / 2 x fl. Or after coffee, 1 / 3 x fl.
    I have taken sharp 1-second exposures...a few times...a long
    time ago. I now see image motion through a 135 mm that requires as
    little as 1/500 or 1/1000.
    I was writing totally in jest.

    Ken Cashion
    Ken Cashion, Sep 20, 2003
  14. Ansel Adams said 1/250 (or was it 1/125?) as being the slowest for handheld.
    The 1/fl rule of thumb is mentioned here. But, as others said, I seem to
    have trouble with my smaller than average Olympus OM2 and my larger hands.
    I've had shake at 1/60 and, I think, 1/125 because squeezing the shutter
    seems to make me turn the camera.
    drhowarddrfinedrhoward, Sep 20, 2003
  15. Brian

    Nick Zentena Guest

    Why F/16? You won't be gaining that much DOF over F/11. FWIW you won't
    gain a great deal over F/8. It's already been mentioned but if it's really
    cloudy you could be a lot lower then 1/90.

    Nick Zentena, Sep 20, 2003
  16. Brian

    Paul W. Ross Guest

    A good rule of thumb is a shutter speed greater than or equal to
    reciprocal of the lens length. E.g. -- for 100 mm lens, shoot at
    1/100 of a second. Also, it is often possible to brace yourself
    against something. Also, use the same technique as in shooting a
    firearm -- take a breath, let 1/2 of it out, stop breating, shoot.
    SQUEEZE the shutter button.

    I also find that TLR cameras are better in this regard, as they
    naturally fit against your chest.
    Paul W. Ross, Sep 20, 2003
  17. Brian

    Peter Irwin Guest

    You have already got lots of good advice on hand holding (1/f shutter
    speed or a stop or two slower), but it sounds to me as if you are going
    to be taking landscape shots. I think you will find that a tripod
    will improve sharpness even at a shutter speed of 1/125.

    If you need to take the shots handheld, then there's a pretty good chance
    that you can get away with 1/30 second, but it might be better to keep
    the immediate foreground out of the picture and shoot at f/8 and four
    times the speed. You could even let the foreground go a bit blurry,
    sometimes that works. A shot will generally look good if the most
    important bits are dead sharp.

    Peter Irwin, Sep 20, 2003
  18. No need for apologies. This happens all the time.
    Q.G. de Bakker, Sep 20, 2003
  19. The voice of reason!
    We can go looking for the slowest speed we can use handheld, but even at
    1/2000 using a tripod will produce better, i.e. sharper, images. The
    "slowest handholdable speed" depends in the first (and second, and third)
    place on how much quality you are willing to throw away. We must remember
    that when using 35 mm format, there isn't much of that to begin with...
    Q.G. de Bakker, Sep 20, 2003
  20. The vast majority of 35mm lens in use today, are sharpest at 2 or 3 stops
    below wide open, or by f:8, which ever comes first... Usually going to f:16
    only gets you into increased diffraction errors, etc...
    Dennis O'Connor, Sep 20, 2003
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