PIX 2015

Bye-bye camera shake

Started Mar 15, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Bye-bye camera shake
Mar 15, 2013

Handheld camera shake is unavoidable. No matter how calm you are, how slowly you breathe, or how you grip the camera -- you can't win. Even with shake reduction. Because our bodies naturally produce tremors -vibrations -- all the time. When you use telephoto lenses, camera shake becomes a real problem. This leads many of us to use tripods or monopods. But what if you just don't want to use one? Here's a three-part solution.

1. High shutter speed. Many of our cameras allow VERY high shutter speeds. 1/1000, 1/2000, even 1/4000 of a second. At 1/2000, that bird or plane you're tracking just can't move very far in that small amount of time. So, you've eliminated subject blur. And, that same 1/2000 ... and definitely 1/4000... will eliminate handheld camera shake.

2. High ISO setting. On many cameras, you can choose the shutter speed, as above... and select the aperture, like a telephoto's f/5.6 or so. But you can also put the Auto-ISO setting on a wide range... like 100 to 1600. And yes, if the camera chooses an ISO like 800 or 1600, there will be more noise in the picture than at ISO 100. But does it matter?

3. Reduce the image. We have very large images to work with. 10... 14... 16... 18 megapixels, and more. Which means that, for practical use for printing and web display, we can often REDUCE the image by 50%, or more. This reduction eliminates a LOT of the high-ISO digital noise that you see at 100%.

Look the pictures below at full size. Look at the sky in the first image below (a 100% unsharpened crop from a 16 MP original). Then compare the sky in the next two... one at 50%, the smallest only 25% of the original's size. I took the picture an hour before sunset, and a breeze was moving the leaves. Not so bad!

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Jonathon Donahue -- Olympus XZ-1 tips at http://jon404.com

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