RX100: Slow shutter speed without tripod - techniques and settings

Started Jan 28, 2013 | Discussions
2eyesee
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RX100: Slow shutter speed without tripod - techniques and settings
Jan 28, 2013

It has been noted in another couple of recent threads (Sony RX100 vs Fuji X100 vs Fuji X-Pro 1 indoors  and RX100 my experience) that image stabilisation on the RX100 is not particularly effective.

I did an initial test on my RX100 and concurred. I couldn't even reliably get a sharp image (pixel peeping at 100%) following the 1/(focal length) rule and using 1/30 sec at 28mm equivalent. I tended to need 1/60 sec to get a sharp image, which is more like 1/(2 x focal length).

The high megapixel count of the RX100 obviously shows up hand shake more than other compact cameras, but it also seems to suggest ineffective image stabilisation.

However, I did a follow up test and made a greater effort this time to keep the camera steady by locking my elbows against my ribs and holding my breath when I pressed the shutter button, and results were much better. I managed to get sharp shots this time in as little as 1/15 sec at 28mm equivalent.

I've never really concerned myself with image stabilisation before as usually I don't photograph static subjects, but now having a compact camera like the RX100 which I'm more likely to have on me I was looking forward to some street photography at night etc. So I'm a bit disappointed that image stabilisation on the RX100 doesn't appear to be as effective as other leading compact cameras like the Panasonic LX-7 and Canon G15.

There are options like using Multi-Frame Noise Reduction (MFNR), but I noticed this only seemed to give me a 1 stop improvement (e.g. I could use 1/8 sec instead of 1/15 sec). As you can't use RAW with MFNR, I think I'd rather use 1 stop higher ISO and get the latitude for recovery that RAW gives you.

I'm keen to get comments in the following areas:

1. Techniques to stabilise the RX100 better when hand-held.

2. How image stabilisation on the RX100 compares with the like of the LX-7 and G15 (preferably from users of those cameras).

3. Comments on camera settings that help with slow shutter speeds (MFNR, Hand-held Twilight, Anti Motion Blur).

Thanks for any feedback.

Canon PowerShot G15 Fujifilm FinePix X100 Sony RX100
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dule
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Re: RX100: Slow shutter speed without tripod - techniques and settings
In reply to 2eyesee, Jan 28, 2013

Try continuous shooting so you avoid shaking after you press the shutter button.

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Martin87
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Silly but effective technique for stabilising
In reply to 2eyesee, Jan 28, 2013

There is one silly technique that I use and it gives me acceptable results even at 1/4s exposures with my RX100. But I rarely use it because it will make you look like a lunatic
The technique is to put the LCD screen on your forehead, and when putting it make sure that the entire LCD screen is touching your skin so there will be no room for sliding and minimal room for camera movement. When you put the camera on your forehead press the shutter button as gentle as you possibly can, take 2-3 pictures for extra safety (one of them will be a keeper), also stop your breathing.
With this technique you lose the ability to correctly frame your shots and it will make you look silly but it helps. I use it when I'm in an extremely dark conditions and when there are no people around me
Here is an example of a picture I took with that technique at 1/5s exposure time

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Kind regards.
Martin

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dule
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Re: RX100: Slow shutter speed without tripod - techniques and settings
In reply to 2eyesee, Jan 28, 2013

I have RX100 and S95, but with S95 i don't have problems with blur at lower shutter speeds, even at 1/6 sec hand held.

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Veijo Vilva
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Re: RX100: Slow shutter speed without tripod - techniques and settings
In reply to 2eyesee, Jan 28, 2013

Use the 2 second self-timer. It will decouple the button press from the shutter release thus reducing shake

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Veijo

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Martin87
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Re: RX100: Slow shutter speed without tripod - techniques and settings
In reply to Veijo Vilva, Jan 28, 2013

Veijo Vilva wrote:

Use the 2 second self-timer. It will decouple the button press from the shutter release thus reducing shake

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Veijo

Also make sure to put some black tape on the self-timer/AF assist lamp. It's too bright and very distracting. I have used the 2 second self time and everyone was staring at me

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Kind regards.
Martin

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boninsegni
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Re: RX100: Slow shutter speed without tripod - techniques and settings
In reply to 2eyesee, Jan 28, 2013

You can also use a soft shutter release button. It will allow you to use lower speeds.

There is not allowed to give a link, but if you look on ebay you'll find several propositions.

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Christian

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elliottnewcomb
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Re: RX100: Slow shutter speed without tripod - techniques and settings
In reply to boninsegni, Jan 28, 2013

I keep forgetting, but I think because this camera is so light, it is harder to hold steady, I need to remember the need for getting steady, and I am a big fan of 2 sec delay, but forget to use it.

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MiamiDolphin
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Re: RX100: Slow shutter speed without tripod - techniques and settings
In reply to 2eyesee, Jan 28, 2013

2eyesee wrote:

It I'm keen to get comments in the following areas:

1. Techniques to stabilise the RX100 better when hand-held.

There's a grip available for the camera (Franiec grip) that should help you get a better grip on the camera and possibly hold it steadier.

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BertIverson
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Mighty fine shot for 1/5 sec -- I must try your forehead trick (NT)
In reply to Martin87, Jan 28, 2013
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Bert

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2eyesee
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Re: RX100: Slow shutter speed without tripod - techniques and settings
In reply to dule, Jan 28, 2013

dule wrote:

Try continuous shooting so you avoid shaking after you press the shutter button.

That's a great idea. I thought taking several shots will leave you with a much better chance of getting a keeper, but continuous shooting to avoid the shake pressing the shutter button is much better.

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2eyesee
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Re: RX100: Slow shutter speed without tripod - techniques and settings
In reply to dule, Jan 28, 2013

dule wrote:

I have RX100 and S95, but with S95 i don't have problems with blur at lower shutter speeds, even at 1/6 sec hand held.

Just curious if you can quantify this. How does this compare with the slowest shutter speed you can use on the RX100?

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dule
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Re: RX100: Slow shutter speed without tripod - techniques and settings
In reply to 2eyesee, Jan 28, 2013

Two examples, first S95 second RX100

-hand held

-same shutter speed

-same ISO speed

-RX100 fail

I tried 10 times with RX100 and always blurry...S95 has better optical stabilization.

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Robbbbert
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Re: RX100: Slow shutter speed without tripod - techniques and settings
In reply to dule, Jan 29, 2013

A camera on your forehead may look silly to some but if it helps, who cares.

It does help, but requires practice to frame and several backup shots.

If you don't mind even more silly, gripping the wrist strap with your teeth and extending till its taut is about the same but allows framing.

2 second delay helps but about the same too, several shots required.

Most effective in my trials, continuous shooting.

Requires lots of patience.

If choosing the best shot in camera as opposed to later in computer, you need to constantly zoom in and out and delete the losers, but results after 8 shots, in a tack sharp winner even at 1/10 shutter speed.

Thanks for the input.

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Nexu1
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Re: RX100: Slow shutter speed without tripod - techniques and settings
In reply to dule, Jan 29, 2013

1.  What was the RX100 focused on when you took that pic?

2.  Is shooting at that low of ISO necessary?  The RX100 shines in it's ability to shoot in higher ISO without noise issues, use that advantage!

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Digital Nigel
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Re: RX100: Slow shutter speed without tripod - techniques and settings
In reply to Nexu1, Jan 29, 2013

Nexu1 wrote:

1. What was the RX100 focused on when you took that pic?

2. Is shooting at that low of ISO necessary? The RX100 shines in it's ability to shoot in higher ISO without noise issues, use that advantage!

Indeed, isn't the lowest true ISO speed 125?  Anything lower is just reducing shutter speed without benefit.

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2eyesee
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Re: RX100: Slow shutter speed without tripod - techniques and settings
In reply to Nexu1, Jan 29, 2013

Nexu1 wrote:

1. What was the RX100 focused on when you took that pic?

2. Is shooting at that low of ISO necessary? The RX100 shines in it's ability to shoot in higher ISO without noise issues, use that advantage!

This was just in response to my original question comparing the stabilisation of the RX100 lens to other camera. The RX100 was clearly unable to capture a sharp 1/4 sec image, whereas the S95 had no such trouble.

It demonstrates that in such situations the RX100 loses the advantage of its big sensor as it would have to use a much higher shutter speed, and there for much higher ISO, to get a sharp image.

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Digital Nigel
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Re: RX100: Slow shutter speed without tripod - techniques and settings
In reply to 2eyesee, Jan 29, 2013

2eyesee wrote:

Nexu1 wrote:

1. What was the RX100 focused on when you took that pic?

2. Is shooting at that low of ISO necessary? The RX100 shines in it's ability to shoot in higher ISO without noise issues, use that advantage!

This was just in response to my original question comparing the stabilisation of the RX100 lens to other camera. The RX100 was clearly unable to capture a sharp 1/4 sec image, whereas the S95 had no such trouble.

It demonstrates that in such situations the RX100 loses the advantage of its big sensor as it would have to use a much higher shutter speed, and there for much higher ISO, to get a sharp image.

Although in this case, raising the ISO to 125 would not actually degrade the image, as this is the ISO. In practice, you can certainly go to 200 without loss, and probably to 400 before noticing any noise.

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dule
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Re: RX100: Slow shutter speed without tripod - techniques and settings
In reply to 2eyesee, Jan 29, 2013

I just wanted to show how the S95 is better when we have a slower shutter speed.Photos look better if you take pictures with the S95 at ISO 80 1/5 sec f/2 than the RX100 ISO 400/800 1/40 sec and f/1.8...RX100 have very bad image stabilization ... interesting on video stabilization works well.

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Keith Lommel
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Re: RX100: Slow shutter speed without tripod - techniques and settings
In reply to 2eyesee, Jan 29, 2013

I just got an RX100 and took it out for an evening stroll and some test shots yesterday evening. At one point, I forgot that I had taken the camera off of auto ISO and left it at ISO 200, so I had a string of fairly low-light evening sky-glow photos with less than ideal shutter speeds. Camera shake is a little difficult to judge in this sort of photo because the lights tend to bloom a bit even if the camera is rock steady, so it's difficult to distinguish between lights that are fuzzy due to bloom and those that are fuzzy due to camera shake. But I found that I was getting acceptable to good results at roughly 1/13s and above when shooting at 28mm equivalent focal length, which did not improve appreciably when I reset the ISO and started shooting at faster shutter speeds. But shots at 1/8s were not usable. So yeah, in my case, maybe the IS is good for one stop beyond the 1/focal length rule. My technique with LCD framing is generally to hold the camera with both hands, tuck in the elbows, and hold my breath.

Here's an example at 1/15s:

Evening Skyline at Minatomirai - Yokohama, Japan

And another at 1/13s:

Evening Skyline at Minatomirai - Yokohama, Japan

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