Anybody ever use a camera stabilizer ?

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Fish Chris
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Anybody ever use a camera stabilizer ?
6 months ago

I saw a guy using one the other day, I presume, for video.

But I've thought about these for a long time for photography.... especially, every time I dream about having a "big" heavy lens.... like a 500 or 600F4, or a Sigma 300-800.

Personally speaking, I don't think the problem with hand holding these lenses ^ for hours at a time, walking 10 miles with them, or, most importantly, holding them steady enough for a good shot, is a problem of "strength", but rather, from not working out a good support / stabilizer system.

You can find all different "cheap, easy" DIY designs. Most use PVC, ride over your shoulders, and have counter weights behind you......

People act like a big, heavy lens is hard to hand hold, and keep steady, but in reality, all that extra mass, should in fact make for a steadier, less shaky shot {which is part of why using counter weights makes it even more stable} ..... but again, only if you have the right set up to support the weight.

These things are SO cheap and easy to make, I'll probably try one, just for the heck of it....

Will post results here, if I do.

But I really just wish I had a huge, heavy lens, to use it with.....

Your thoughts / experiences please.

Thank you,

Fish

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Mark B.
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Re: Anybody ever use a camera stabilizer ?
In reply to Fish Chris, 6 months ago

Fish Chris wrote:

I saw a guy using one the other day, I presume, for video.

But I've thought about these for a long time for photography.... especially, every time I dream about having a "big" heavy lens.... like a 500 or 600F4, or a Sigma 300-800.

Personally speaking, I don't think the problem with hand holding these lenses ^ for hours at a time, walking 10 miles with them, or, most importantly, holding them steady enough for a good shot, is a problem of "strength", but rather, from not working out a good support / stabilizer system.

For me, a good solid tripod & head.

You can find all different "cheap, easy" DIY designs. Most use PVC, ride over your shoulders, and have counter weights behind you......

People act like a big, heavy lens is hard to hand hold, and keep steady, but in reality, all that extra mass, should in fact make for a steadier, less shaky shot {which is part of why using counter weights makes it even more stable} ..... but again, only if you have the right set up to support the weight.

In reality, because the center of mass is further out toward the larger end of the lens, it's not as easy to handhold steady as you might think.  I have a 500 f/4, and it's probably the largest I would want to shoot handheld for any length of time.  I've shot with a borrowed 600 f/4, it's a monster of a lens and wasn't really easy to shoot handheld at all.  But it was a non-IS version.

For my 500 I use a Bogen 3221 tripod and a gimbal head if I want to shoot from a stable platform.

Mark

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TimR32225
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Re: Anybody ever use a camera stabilizer ?
In reply to Fish Chris, 6 months ago

I'm not sure what kind of camera stabilizer you are referring to. Can you post a link to something like what you are trying to describe?

I can tell you from experience that while you can do it for a short time, it's difficult to hand hold a camera and long lens for very long without fatigue. And sooner or later your image quality and/or composition will suffer a little from camera shake.

I shot breaching whales from a 35 foot boat in Alaska a few months ago and was hand-holding my 1DX with 500L f4 IS lens attached. That lens and camera combination weighs around 12.5 lbs.

Some of the time I was sitting and resting the rig on my left knee, but some of the time I was standing. I did this for nearly an hour, shooting constantly because the whales were breaching over and over. After a while my arms were shaking from holding that rig out in front of me and trying to keep it steady. In that situation, there is no room for a tripod and a monopod is not even practical because you are constantly pointing the lens in a different direction.

I'm not sure if there is anything available that would have made this type of shooting any easier.

If you care to, you can see more of the whale images on my photo blog here:

http://timrucciphotography.blogspot.com/

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Fish Chris
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Re: Anybody ever use a camera stabilizer ?
In reply to TimR32225, 6 months ago

I can tell you from experience that while you can do it for a short time, it's difficult to hand hold a camera and long lens for very long without fatigue. And sooner or later your image quality and/or composition will suffer a little from camera shake.

Tim, well exactly ! Hence the whole reason for a stabilizer in the first place !

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOVswSEXsYk#aid=P8-BBLVOv6A

Okay, the stabilizer in this vid is being touted for video... But I'm sure that it would greatly reduce camera shake for photography as well, and the heavier the entire rig, including counter balancing, the less shake you would have.

One could also experiment with shorter arms behind you, and heavier counter weights or longer arms and less weight out on the ends. But the fact is, balanced correctly, you could let go of the camera and stabilizer handles altogether, and the camera should just float out in front of your face.

Anyway, this thing is so cheap and easy, I might just have to experiment with one.

Of course what I'm hoping to achieve, is to stabilize my 400 5.6 so well, that I can drop down to 1/1000, or even slower for BIF, which would mean I could probably shoot at ISO 200, and maybe keep my F's a little above 5.6 too...

Of course I'd rather show off, by hand holding an 800mm lens, and carrying it for 15 miles

Anyway, I can easily afford the $20 DIY stabilizer, but $10K or more for a lens, poses a bit of a problem for me

Oh hey, that whale shot is awesome ! Will go check the rest now

Peace,

Fish

edit: Unbelievably fantastic bombastic whale shots ! The BG's, the water spray, the PQ ! Coolest creatures on the Earth Thank you

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skanter
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Re: Anybody ever use a camera stabilizer ?
In reply to Fish Chris, 6 months ago

These types of stabilizers (like pro Steadicam you see in movie production) are meant to get smooth camera movement for film and video. They are NOT meant for still cameras, and are totally inapprorpriate for that use.

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Fish Chris
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Re: Anybody ever use a camera stabilizer ?
In reply to skanter, 6 months ago

Skanter, really ? And why is this ?

Your saying that not just "any device" which stabilizes / balances a camera {and drastically reduces the amount of "shake"} will work ?

I'm sorry to disagree.

Heck, in fact, a semi-pro showed me a little trick a few years ago, where he attached, and fully extended a mono-pod to his camera / lens, but rarely did he even set the foot on the ground. Instead, he locked it straight back from the camera, and let it extend back over his shoulder.

Even this ^ little bit of extra "sprung weight" helped reduce camera shake considerably. I was doing this for a while.... but it was a bit awkward, and not near so balanced as a simple device, built just for the purpose would be......

Anyway Skanter, if you are right, and a hand held stabilizing device has no positive effect, I'll only be out about $20. If it works, I'll report that too.

Peace,

Fish

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