Fighting shaking and blur

Started Nov 4, 2005 | Discussions
gglockner
Regular MemberPosts: 160Gear list
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Fighting shaking and blur
Nov 4, 2005

I upgraded about a month ago from the Digital Rebel/300D to the 20D. I'm generally happy with the upgrade, though I'm now noticing that my pictures are more blurry. After some investigation (parameters, shutter speed, etc.) I have noticed the problem is that I am not capable of holding the camera as steady as I thought. For example, with my 50/1.4 lens, I find that I need to use a shutter speed of 1/160 or faster to get a reliably steady image when hand-held. I believe that I noticed this problem when I upgraded to the 20D because of the higher pixel density, which makes shaking more apparent, and the heavier body, which is harder to hold steady.

OK, so I can make a habit of using a faster shutter speed for handheld photos. This is no problem when shooting outdoors in daylight. But what about the rest of the time? Moving to IS lenses is not a good option for me -- I'm quite happy with my collection of USM primes (28/1.8, 50/1.4, 85/1.8).

A few questions:

a) When I use my 420EX flash, I shoot in manual and let the E-TTL system adjust the flash output. Assuming there is insufficient ambient light, does the flash output change as a function of the shutter speed? For example, if I am shooting at f/2.8 at ISO 400, is there a change in the flash output when I go from 1/100 to 1/160? I believe the flash burst is short enough to stop motion and compensate for my shaking, but I would like to know whether I need to be careful about the shutter speed as well.

b) When I walk around outdoors, I am willing to start using a tripod or monopod. The problem is the rest of my family is impatient and won't stand around while I unpack a tripod, set it up, etc. Is there a tripod or monopod that is light enough to carry and extremely quick to setup? Most reviews focus on stability or weight; I have not found much info about tripods or monopods in terms of their speed of setup and packup.

 gglockner's gear list:gglockner's gear list
Canon PowerShot G1 X Canon EOS 40D Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM +1 more
latner
Senior MemberPosts: 1,470
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Stop Drinking.......
In reply to gglockner, Nov 4, 2005

SORRY couldn't resist!!

gglockner wrote:

I upgraded about a month ago from the Digital Rebel/300D to the
20D. I'm generally happy with the upgrade, though I'm now noticing
that my pictures are more blurry. After some investigation
(parameters, shutter speed, etc.) I have noticed the problem is
that I am not capable of holding the camera as steady as I thought.
For example, with my 50/1.4 lens, I find that I need to use a
shutter speed of 1/160 or faster to get a reliably steady image
when hand-held. I believe that I noticed this problem when I
upgraded to the 20D because of the higher pixel density, which
makes shaking more apparent, and the heavier body, which is harder
to hold steady.

OK, so I can make a habit of using a faster shutter speed for
handheld photos. This is no problem when shooting outdoors in
daylight. But what about the rest of the time? Moving to IS
lenses is not a good option for me -- I'm quite happy with my
collection of USM primes (28/1.8, 50/1.4, 85/1.8).

A few questions:

a) When I use my 420EX flash, I shoot in manual and let the E-TTL
system adjust the flash output. Assuming there is insufficient
ambient light, does the flash output change as a function of the
shutter speed? For example, if I am shooting at f/2.8 at ISO 400,
is there a change in the flash output when I go from 1/100 to
1/160? I believe the flash burst is short enough to stop motion
and compensate for my shaking, but I would like to know whether I
need to be careful about the shutter speed as well.

b) When I walk around outdoors, I am willing to start using a
tripod or monopod. The problem is the rest of my family is
impatient and won't stand around while I unpack a tripod, set it
up, etc. Is there a tripod or monopod that is light enough to
carry and extremely quick to setup? Most reviews focus on
stability or weight; I have not found much info about tripods or
monopods in terms of their speed of setup and packup.

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Steve_Nelson
Regular MemberPosts: 122
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Or better still start drinking again!!! (n/t)
In reply to latner, Nov 4, 2005

see!

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Craftyone
Junior MemberPosts: 38
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Re: Or better still start drinking again!!! (n/t)
In reply to Steve_Nelson, Nov 4, 2005

The new neotec monopod is fairly light and very quick to set up.

You can even use it as a walking stick.

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Joe-TN
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Re: Fighting shaking and blur
In reply to gglockner, Nov 4, 2005

Regarding the flash and shutter speed, question the flash output is unrelated to shutterspeed and is determined by ettl. Shutterspeed in the setup you describe determines the degree to which ambient light is apparent in the image.
--
Joe-TN

http://www.ridge-art.com
http://www.pbase.com/joe_tn

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webatl
Forum MemberPosts: 83
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Have to laugh a little.
In reply to gglockner, Nov 4, 2005

I always thought I was pretty steady but found the same to be true with my 20D.

I've got the Manfrotto 3245 monopod and added a quick release head. It makes a big difference and not the hassle of setting up the tripod for regular walk around kind of shooting.

But go quick release. I leave the QR plate on the camera all the time which shortens the set up. (an by the way my tripod uses the same QR plate so that helps setup).

I also find that in combination with something to lean up against helps.

One other suggestion that I ran into from someone on this forum was to rest my left hand on my right shoulder and place the camera on the bend in at my left elbow.

It surprising how much of a difference this made. The next step up is to do the same with your hand on your shoulder and the camera on the monopod inside your bent arm. This is about as stable as it can get before deploying the ol' tripod.

Won't be good enough for those long low light kind of things.

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BAK
BAK
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Re: Fighting shaking and blur
In reply to gglockner, Nov 4, 2005

Benbo tripods are weird, and really fast to set up once you have some experience.

BAK

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RichO
Veteran MemberPosts: 8,333
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Practice camera handholding techniques...
In reply to gglockner, Nov 4, 2005

See this thread I posted on camera handholding techniques.
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1019&message=10888675

I shoot with an IS (image stabilized) lens which helps to reduce camera shake. I combine that with techniques I picked up long ago (see post above) when I first learned to shoot a rifle.

I have also found that a monopod is much easier to lug around and setup than a tripod, but nothing beats a tripod with remote switch for steadiness.

-- hide signature --
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Alan 321
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Re: Fighting shaking and blur
In reply to gglockner, Nov 7, 2005

I use a monopod with a hand-grip ball-head (manfrotto/bogen 222) and a quick release plate on the camera or lens. The hand grip makes it very quick and easy to level the camera after I have stretched the monopod. Nearly always the monopod will not be vertical. I prefer to have the monopod a little too long and then have its foot further away from me so that the monopod is leaning towards me for extra stability. The hand grip makes this easy to manage.

Usually I'll have the camera off the monopod when walking unless it's just a short distance. Otherwise I risk spearing somebody with the spike at the foot of the monopod.

Setting up the monopod is quicker when I leave the thinner parts of it stretched and only close up the top part. then I don't have as many clamps to undo and re-do, and they are closer to hand for quick operation. Speed is not usually the problem, but getting the length right is. It's much easier if you don't have to bend down to reach the bottom clamp to make the adjustments.

For the benefit of other readers, I leave the image stabiliser on for monopod work. This works because the setup is not nearly as stable as a tripod with remote trigger. All a monopod does is reduce the wobbles to more manageable levels and also take the weight of the lens off your left arm.

Regarding hand-held shutter speed the rule of thumb is for 1/focal length but that assumes firstly that you are as steady as the rest of them (not "us" - I'm like you) and secondly that you are using a full-frame 35mm camera. With the 1.6x crop the effect of motion is magnified as if you had a more telephoto lens and so 1/(2f) is perhaps more appropriate than 1/f. That and the higher resolution of the 20D may account for why we need the faster shutter speeds than we used to.

  • Alan

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gasdive
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Re: Fighting shaking and blur
In reply to gglockner, Nov 11, 2005

I've been shooting a lot of sports on a 300d with a 300mm zoom on it. I've had good results hand holding down to 1/125 by leaving it connected to the tripod with the legs extended about half way and having the tripod braced against my body. A bit hard to describe but it does allow me to run up and down the sidelines and then still take shots. I have the legs open as well and that sort of increases the rotational inertia of the setup.

Two legs against my chest, left hand holding the front leg, camera pushed against my face, right hand releasing the shutter.

Just had a look through my stuff and I've actually got handheld shots at 1/60th 300mm that are sharp enough... As I had the iso up at full threre is more unsharpness from the very poor image quality and under exposure than hand held blur.

But my mum has the 17-85 IS and that's fantastic...

Cheers Jason =:)

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