Need help for shutter speed & aperture

Started Mar 27, 2014 | Questions
Abby729 New Member • Posts: 3
Need help for shutter speed & aperture

I am a newbie. I would like to ask about relationship between shutter speed, aperture & ISO. I often can't get sharp image. I read that I will need to increase shutter speed to prevent blurred image. While taking picture handheld, the shutter speed shouldn't get lesser than 1/50s? I can use 1/50s only when I use f2.8. But sometime I want more objects to be in focus, so I increase aperture, but the shutter speed will then decrease to below 1/50s. I am trying to not using very high ISO as I would like if my photo can be as sharp as possible. If I insist to use more than 1/50s using S mode, then the photo will be lack of light. I am really confused, especially I usually taking indoor photos.

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all_digital Senior Member • Posts: 2,202
Re: Need help for shutter speed & aperture

If your subject is moving then a faster shutters speed is needed to stop motion. If the subject is not moving then you could use a slower shutter speed and if you have image stabilization you may be able to shoot as low as 1/25 sec.

If you are shooting in low light then the solution is either a tripod for long exposures of still subjects or use of flash,

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Art

JBurnett Contributing Member • Posts: 835
Re: Need help for shutter speed & aperture

Abby729 wrote:

I am a newbie. I would like to ask about relationship between shutter speed, aperture & ISO. I often can't get sharp image. I read that I will need to increase shutter speed to prevent blurred image. While taking picture handheld, the shutter speed shouldn't get lesser than 1/50s? I can use 1/50s only when I use f2.8. But sometime I want more objects to be in focus, so I increase aperture, but the shutter speed will then decrease to below 1/50s. I am trying to not using very high ISO as I would like if my photo can be as sharp as possible. If I insist to use more than 1/50s using S mode, then the photo will be lack of light. I am really confused, especially I usually taking indoor photos.

There are limits to what can be captured by your camera. Suppose you choose a small aperture for greater depth of field (eg. f/8), and you want to keep your ISO low (eg. ISO 200). But, for a correct exposure, your shutter speed would be too low (eg. 1/30 second). Here are some options:

  1. Use a tripod.
  2. Increase the amount of light falling on the subject (e.g. use flash)
  3. Increase the ISO. For each doubling of the ISO, you can cut your shutter speed in half.
    f/8.0, 1/30, ISO 200 is the same exposure as
    f/8.0, 1/60, ISO 400 and
    f/8.0, 1/125, ISO 800 and
    f/8.0, 1/250, ISO 1600
  4. Increase the aperture. For each "stop" more open, you can cut your shutter speed in half.
    f/8.0, 1/30, ISO 200 is the same exposure as
    f/5.6, 1/60, ISO 200 and
    f/4.0, 1/125, ISO 200 and
    f/2.8, 1/250, ISO 200
  5. Use a combination of larger aperture and higher ISO.
    f/8.0, 1/30, ISO 200 is the same exposure as
    f/5.6, 1/125, ISO 400

Other thoughts: The general rule of thumb about shutter speeds for hand-held photography is also related to the focal length of your lens. If you are shooting with a telephoto lens, for example, a shutter speed of 1/50 will not usually be adequate. I like to use a shutter speed of at least the inverse of the effective focal length, and this is with image stabilization. So if I'm using a 200mm lens, I try to use at least 1/250 second, for hand-held shooting.

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OP Abby729 New Member • Posts: 3
Re: Need help for shutter speed & aperture

all_digital wrote:

If your subject is moving then a faster shutters speed is needed to stop motion. If the subject is not moving then you could use a slower shutter speed and if you have image stabilization you may be able to shoot as low as 1/25 sec.

If you are shooting in low light then the solution is either a tripod for long exposures of still subjects or use of flash,

No, I am using nikon d5100 so don't have image stabilizer. What optimisation can I do if I'm shooting indoor and I would like to use smaller aperture for example f ~8 without have to increase ISO more than 800?

darklamp Senior Member • Posts: 3,567
Re: Need help for shutter speed & aperture
2

There are two sources of blur which shutter speed can help with.

The first is shake blur. This is when the camera moves during the exposure. To avoid this you would normally use a shutter speed faster than 1/( focal length x crop factor ). That's a rule of thumb, not a guarantee.

The second is motion blur. Motion blur is when the subject moves during the exposure. How fast a shutters peed you need depends on the subject, but for humans engaged in normal activities a reasonable guideline would be 1/200th or faster. Obviously if they're running fast or twirling about that requires more.

Image stabilization helps with shake blur, but not with motion blur. In fact careless use of image stabilization may mean that the shutter speed is far too low to avoid motion blur.

So it is important to keep an eye on shutter speed.

Note : Flash bursts are very, very short duration and they "freeze motion" due to the very intense lighting for that short period. A common technique with flash is dragging the shutter, which is explained here :

http://neilvn.com/tangents/flash-photography-techniques/dragging-the-shutter/

Tom_N Forum Pro • Posts: 14,090
Re: Need help for shutter speed & aperture

Abby729 wrote:

I am a newbie. I would like to ask about relationship between shutter speed, aperture & ISO. I often can't get sharp image. I read that I will need to increase shutter speed to prevent blurred image. While taking picture handheld, the shutter speed shouldn't get lesser than 1/50s? I can use 1/50s only when I use f2.8. But sometime I want more objects to be in focus, so I increase aperture, but the shutter speed will then decrease to below 1/50s. I am trying to not using very high ISO as I would like if my photo can be as sharp as possible. If I insist to use more than 1/50s using S mode, then the photo will be lack of light. I am really confused, especially I usually taking indoor photos.

Lighting, shutter speed, aperture, and ISO all affect exposure.

You start with a certain amount of light on the subject. This could be from a relatively stable source like the Sun or indoor lighting, or from flash, or from both. Let's ignore flash for now.  Your camera tries to estimate how well lit the subject is by measuring the light that it sees reflected from it.

Assuming that the meter reading is correct, you need to pick a combination of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO that will expose the picture correctly.  If the environment is very bright (outdoors, noon), your problem will be excluding enough light to get the correct exposure.  If it is very dim (indoors), your problem will be collecting it.

What's happening in your situation is that you are indoors (where there is very dim light) and, I would guess, you are not using flash.  Nor are you using high ISO.  So the options for a correct exposure are rather limited: open up the aperture (but then suffer low depth of field), or lose a bunch of light to stop down the aperture, then get hit with a slow shutter speed.

I don't see any way around more light, a tripod (if your subjects are non-living), moving your photo taking outdoors ("more light"), raising the ISO, or putting up with the current tradeoffs.

TH - NikonStrobist
TH - NikonStrobist Regular Member • Posts: 391
Re: Need help for shutter speed & aperture

Abby729 wrote:

No, I am using nikon d5100 so don't have image stabilizer. What optimisation can I do if I'm shooting indoor and I would like to use smaller aperture for example f ~8 without have to increase ISO more than 800?

The 5100 relies on lenses that may or may not have stabilization built in, known as VR for "Vibration Reduction" but when the combinations you're adjusting don't do the trick, and cranking up the ISO makes your images too grainy, a good flash is the answer.

In a pinch, with a short lens barrel, the pop-up commander flash will work for relatively close subjects. I'd say you want to step up a bit from that, but before you go out and spend money read this:

http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/03/lighting-101.html

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MarshallG
MarshallG Veteran Member • Posts: 6,114
Re: Need help for shutter speed & aperture

all_digital wrote:

If your subject is moving then a faster shutters speed is needed to stop motion. If the subject is not moving then you could use a slower shutter speed and if you have image stabilization you may be able to shoot as low as 1/25 sec.

If you are shooting in low light then the solution is either a tripod for long exposures of still subjects or use of flash,

No, I am using nikon d5100 so don't have image stabilizer. What optimisation can I do if I'm shooting indoor and I would like to use smaller aperture for example f ~8 without have to increase ISO more than 800?

So... obviously, a flash is the answer. The post mentioning the Strobist site is right on, although Strobist has so much info that it might scare you. On the other hand, it will show you how to take really amazing photos.

Your camera has a built-in flash, and first thing Strobist will tell you is: Don't use it. When you fire a flash directly into someone's face, it produces very poor photographs. With a separate flash unit, you can point the flash at the ceiling or use a diffuser to spread the flash, so it illuminates your subject with more natural-looking light.

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DWEverett Contributing Member • Posts: 588
Re: Need help for shutter speed & aperture

It actually sounds like you already have a basic understanding of the relationship of the three.  You are correctly using aperture to increase the depth of field and know that it's going to cause shutter speed to drop if you keep the iso the same.

It's all about what compromises you are willing to make.  In general though, I would let the iso increase to where you need it.  A grainy picture is almost always going to be a better outcome that one that's blurry due to motion blur or under exposed (which will get grainy if you try to fix it in post processing.

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TTMartin
TTMartin Veteran Member • Posts: 7,304
Re: Need help for shutter speed & aperture
1

Abby729 wrote:

I am a newbie. I would like to ask about relationship between shutter speed, aperture & ISO. I often can't get sharp image. I read that I will need to increase shutter speed to prevent blurred image. While taking picture handheld, the shutter speed shouldn't get lesser than 1/50s? I can use 1/50s only when I use f2.8. But sometime I want more objects to be in focus, so I increase aperture, but the shutter speed will then decrease to below 1/50s. I am trying to not using very high ISO as I would like if my photo can be as sharp as possible. If I insist to use more than 1/50s using S mode, then the photo will be lack of light. I am really confused, especially I usually taking indoor photos.

By not using a high ISO your photos aren't sharp because of motion blur. Motion blur is difficult to impossible to fix in post processing.

Noise from using a higher ISO is easily dealt with in post processing, or even by the in camera JPG engine.

By using a low ISO to 'keep your photos sharp' you are making them blurry.

To start for handheld photos.

Set shutter speed as needed a minimum of 1/60 or 1/(focal length x 2) which ever is faster.

Set aperture as needed to give you the desired depth of field.

Set ISO as high as needed to give you a proper exposure.

That will give you the sharpest photos.

edit: I agree with the posters recommending an external flash. However, for near subjects a flash diffuser for your popup flash like the Gary Fong Puffer can be effective.

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WryCuda Veteran Member • Posts: 8,160
Re: Need help for shutter speed & aperture

Abby729 wrote:

No, I am using nikon d5100 so don't have image stabilizer. What optimisation can I do if I'm shooting indoor and I would like to use smaller aperture for example f/8 without have to increase ISO more than 800?

What lens are you using? If 18-55mm VR, that means you have stabilisation.

Don't be frightened to try bumping up the ISO is that's what you need to get the photo. Just give it a try, you might be surprised.

Some recent High ISO shots:

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Terry Geig
Terry Geig Regular Member • Posts: 391
Use you pop up flash, but,

There should be the option to set the flash power. My D50 I can set the power all the way down to 1\8 power. You can also buy a very cheap flash diffuser that slides into the hot shoe and does a reasonable job, for the money. Best bet would be to invest in a flash with remote triggers, like Pocket Wizards...

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D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 21,099
Re: Need help for shutter speed & aperture

Abby729 wrote:

all_digital wrote:

If your subject is moving then a faster shutters speed is needed to stop motion. If the subject is not moving then you could use a slower shutter speed and if you have image stabilization you may be able to shoot as low as 1/25 sec.

If you are shooting in low light then the solution is either a tripod for long exposures of still subjects or use of flash,

No, I am using nikon d5100 so don't have image stabilizer. What optimisation can I do if I'm shooting indoor and I would like to use smaller aperture for example f ~8 without have to increase ISO more than 800?

If shooting still subjects indoors (by the available light), use a tripod. If the subjects are moving around, try to rest you elbows on a table, or tilt the LCD out and hold the camera at waist level with elbows to your sides -- anything you can do to reduce camera movement. Squeeze the shutter release gently, don't push or stab at it.

If all else fails, buy a tungsten halogen site light.

juvx
juvx Senior Member • Posts: 1,536
More info

Abby729 wrote:

I am a newbie. I would like to ask about relationship between shutter speed, aperture & ISO. I often can't get sharp image. I read that I will need to increase shutter speed to prevent blurred image. While taking picture handheld, the shutter speed shouldn't get lesser than 1/50s? I can use 1/50s only when I use f2.8. But sometime I want more objects to be in focus, so I increase aperture, but the shutter speed will then decrease to below 1/50s. I am trying to not using very high ISO as I would like if my photo can be as sharp as possible. If I insist to use more than 1/50s using S mode, then the photo will be lack of light. I am really confused, especially I usually taking indoor photos.

Need more info like what camera and lens are you using?

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leno Senior Member • Posts: 1,257
Re: More info

juvx wrote:

Abby729 wrote:

I am a newbie. I would like to ask about relationship between shutter speed, aperture & ISO. I often can't get sharp image. I read that I will need to increase shutter speed to prevent blurred image. While taking picture handheld, the shutter speed shouldn't get lesser than 1/50s? I can use 1/50s only when I use f2.8. But sometime I want more objects to be in focus, so I increase aperture, but the shutter speed will then decrease to below 1/50s. I am trying to not using very high ISO as I would like if my photo can be as sharp as possible. If I insist to use more than 1/50s using S mode, then the photo will be lack of light. I am really confused, especially I usually taking indoor photos.

Need more info like what camera and lens are you using?

The information is avalibe if you read the whole discourse.

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peterharvey Contributing Member • Posts: 920
Re: Need help for shutter speed & aperture

Abby729 wrote:

I am a newbie. I would like to ask about relationship between shutter speed, aperture & ISO. I often can't get sharp image. I read that I will need to increase shutter speed to prevent blurred image. While taking picture handheld, the shutter speed shouldn't get lesser than 1/50s? I can use 1/50s only when I use f2.8.

f2.8 is the short cut.

The full term is f/2.8.

In other words, it is the actual focal length f, divided by 2.8.

For example, if the focal length is actually 18 mm, after dividing by 2.8, we have 6.43 millimeters, which is the actual diameter of you aperture opening.

But sometime I want more objects to be in focus, so I increase aperture, but the shutter speed will then decrease to below 1/50s.

Here, I think you mean to say "decreasing" the aperture, to give you more depth of field DOF.

The aperture, is the opening diameter of the leaf diaphragm.

Therefore, opening the aperture, or increasing the aperture opening, actually decreases the depth of field DOF.

I am trying to not using very high ISO as I would like if my photo can be as sharp as possible.

If I insist to use more than 1/50s using S mode, then the photo will be lack of light.

So, to keep the aperture small [for a deeper depth of field DOF], and to also keep the exposure time short to prevent blur:

(1)

You can use a higher ISO's, for a grainier image, provided you don't pixel peep, or make very large prints, like poster size or billboard size etc. Or use computer software to reduce noise etc.

(2)

Alternatively, if the subject is stationary, you can use a tripod to stabilize the camera from shake, so that a longer exposure time, ie a slower shutter speed can be used to gather more light and brightness.

However, the tripod won't help if the subject is moving.

(3)

If the subject is moving, use a flash, especially a hot shoe mounted external flash, which is powerful enough to bounce the light off the ceiling, to diffuse the light.

The built-in flash is only small, so it is not powerful enough to bounce off the ceiling, and furthermore, it directly illuminates the subject leading often to a very harsh light, and shadows.

If there is no ceiling, or if the ceiling is too high, a photographer can use a flash mounted on an umbrella, which is in turn mounted on a tripod. Often two external flashes and two external umbrellas can be used to fire from 45 degrees to the left, and 45 degrees to the right of the subject respectively, to minimize shadows. Shadows can also be minimized by keeping the subject away from the back wall.

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ARShutterbug
ARShutterbug Veteran Member • Posts: 8,973
Turn on the lights

You need to use a tripod or a flash, turn on the lights, or change your noise expectations and increase to ISO Speed 3200.  Photography is about collecting light; without light, you can have no photography.  There's nothing confusing about it, and there's no way around it.  The laws of physics won't change just because you don't want to use ISO Speed 3200, or turn on the lights.

ARShutterbug
ARShutterbug Veteran Member • Posts: 8,973
No other reasonable options

Your Nikon D5100 has an image stabiliser, when you attach a lens with the image stabiliser to it.  What you really need is a tripod, since there aren't many wide-angle lenses with an image stabiliser.

If you want to use an f/8 aperture with a low ISO Speed, you need to:

  • Use a tripod and do a long exposure
  • Turn on the lights
  • Use a flash
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