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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> Camera shake - tips and tricks to get rid of it?
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02/14/2005 08:40:53 PM · #1
Sorry if this topic has already been posted recently, I was browsing through here and couldn't find anything on it.

I always seem to have a lot of trouble with camera shake and most of my photos turn out soft-focused because of it. I was wondering if anyone had any techniques, tips, or tricks on how to hold the camera steadier while shooting. I have a tripod, but I need to be able to do hand-held shots better.

Does anyone think they could help?
02/14/2005 08:43:29 PM · #2
use 2 hands to hold the camera, and use the viewfinder, pressing the camera against your eye tends to reduce camera shake.
02/14/2005 08:48:18 PM · #3
I do all of that naturally but it doesn't reduce shaking.
02/14/2005 08:50:37 PM · #4
Pull the camera strap around your neck and pull the camera forward. This should also brace it.
02/14/2005 08:53:12 PM · #5
I found smoking more cigarettes reduced my shakes! ;)
02/14/2005 08:56:20 PM · #6

Drinking helps.
02/14/2005 08:57:36 PM · #7
Originally posted by nsbca7:

Drinking helps.
i was just about to say that. lol
02/14/2005 08:59:14 PM · #8
The brighter the light the better the shutter speed the less noticable the camera shake will be. If you have low light and/or slow shutter speeds then you'll either have to use a tripod, monopod, brace strap, or you'll see softer images.
02/14/2005 09:00:49 PM · #9
what settings are you using? and what are you drinking/smoking?
02/14/2005 09:03:14 PM · #10
Actually it is much the same principle as shooting a firearm. Hold the camera with your arms in close to your chest, compose your shot, take a deep breath and let out half of that. Press the shutter button. Practice this technique and after a while it comes natural. Sometimes, like in fireing a rifle, it helps to steady yourself against something such as a tree or a doorjam.
02/14/2005 09:04:04 PM · #11
I always try to lean on something or place my elbows on something. If nothing around lock your elbows into your side.

I always cradle the lens in my left hand like a gun barrel with my thumb to left fingers to the right in the shape of a U. Relax and don't clutch it.

Compose the shot and fire it off, the longer you stand looking through the view finder the shakier you get.

Breath.

Do your half trigger squeeze to focus but slowly with a soft finger take the shot, let the actual shutter release suprise you.

Dat's the way I do it...

02/14/2005 09:04:06 PM · #12
I got a vibration reduction lens, it helps a little, but you still have to hold it steady. Of course a tripod is indespensable, but what helps the most with a shot that has to be steady is leaning up against a post or wall or tree. That is if you can find one.
02/14/2005 09:06:44 PM · #13
Practice, practice and more practice. It really does help. Though some of are steadier than others, we can all improve.
As far as technique, try keeping your elbows in, cradling the lens in your left hand, with your left elbow against your abdomen. Don't hold the camera too tightly. Breathe in, then hold your breath momentarily. Squeeze the shutter slowly and gently. If you are pretty steady-handed, you just might find that you can eventually beat the "1/focal length" rule by a stop or two on a regular basis.
You also might try a string tripod. Basically just a piece of light rope that you can step on and pull up against. Google it. Or brace the camera against any convenient object, such as a wall, light pole, tree, etc.; you get the picture. I recently got a pretty darn sharp 1.3-second shot of a waterfall using a fence post as a brace.

http://www.pbase.com/kirbic/image/39687554

OK, not the best-composed shot, but whatcha expect for a fencepost-braced attempt, LOL.

Edit: this shot was taken in bright overcast conditions using an ND-8 filter and C-polarizer filter stacked, to cut down on light (about 4.5 stops of reduction).

Message edited by author 2005-02-14 21:09:52.
02/14/2005 09:09:17 PM · #14
You need to pay close attention to your shutter speed. When it is slow, under 1/60 of a second or so then you need to be careful. It is very tough to handhold a camera at less then 1/30 and guarentee no movement. I usually exhale, squeeze the shutter gently and then remain still for another moment. Most camera shake occurs while pressing the shutter release and the moments immediately after. Also make sure you are using the appropriate ISO settings (higher for less light) and try to use lenses that are fast (between f1.8 to f3.?) I hope this helps.

T
02/14/2005 09:21:02 PM · #15
Wow, thanks everybody. These are some really great suggestions. I'll have to try the string trick. Maybe the drinking trick as well ;) , haha jk.

Also, thanks nsbca7 for the detailing reference to using the camera like a firearm - I've heard of that analogy before, but having never actually used a firearm, I wasn't sure how to put it to much use. Holding my breath doesn't help stop shaking, so I'll see what happens if I let half of it out before hand, like you said.

Thanks again everyone. :)
02/14/2005 09:23:02 PM · #16
Originally posted by longlivenyhc:

use 2 hands to hold the camera, and use the viewfinder, pressing the camera against your eye tends to reduce camera shake.


That is one thing I don't like about my Canon Powershot A80 The viewfinder is not lined up with the lens so I get totally different shots. This is part of the reason I am purchasing a 300D in the next few days.
02/15/2005 07:01:13 AM · #17
Surprised nobody's mentioned the relation between shutter speed and the focal length of your lens... you generally want a shutter speed at least one faster than the focal length of your lens in millimetres for handholding to avoid shake.

For instance, if you're using a 24mm lens, you want at least 1/30th of a second shutter speed, and ideally 1/60th... similarly for a 300mm telephoto you'd use at least 1/300th of a second, ideally 1/600th.
02/15/2005 07:48:51 AM · #18
Originally posted by riot:

Surprised nobody's mentioned the relation between shutter speed and the focal length of your lens... you generally want a shutter speed at least one faster than the focal length of your lens in millimetres for handholding to avoid shake.

For instance, if you're using a 24mm lens, you want at least 1/30th of a second shutter speed, and ideally 1/60th... similarly for a 300mm telephoto you'd use at least 1/300th of a second, ideally 1/600th.


But we don't always have that option is the point of the thread.
02/15/2005 08:58:21 AM · #19
Bracing yourself against a wall/ post/ tree etc can help steady things a bit. As can switching to multi-shot mode and firing a burst of 3 - the first may be shaky due to shutter press, but the second or third might be sharper (some of the digicams turn this in to an auto feature, such as the nikon 'best shot' mode)

A gentle slow squeeze of the shutter also helps, rather than stabbing it down. Hold the camera with one hand under the lens, supporting it, pulled tight in to your body with your arms against your sides, to be as stable as you can, with your eye looking through the viewfinder and it resting against your face/ head. Stand properly - one foot in front of the other can be more stable than your feet side by side, bend your knees slightly if that helps too!

Generally try to keep the shutter speed up faster than 1/focal length if you can - vary the ISO appropriately to help this. It is a whole lot easier to get sharp, non-blurry shots with a wide angle lens than with a telephoto lens as a result too.

Tripod, monopod, mini-tripod as a brace against a wall, ceiling etc are also useful. None of them have to be used on/ against the the ground.

Message edited by author 2005-02-15 08:59:24.
02/15/2005 10:38:01 AM · #20
If you're a shakey guy, I'd suggest 1/(2*focal length) for shutter, wide open aperture, and set ISO accordingly. There should be an AutoISO mode on DSLR's, would be handy, I never like using higher than necessary ISO's...

Message edited by author 2005-02-15 10:39:35.
02/15/2005 10:51:43 AM · #21
i havn't got the steadiest hands in the world, in fact they shake quite a bit (i don't drink or smoke or do drugs, i just have shakey hands lol)... anyway, mostly i go down the beach to shoot my dog (not with a 12 bore, with my camera) and 99% of the time i crouch down for a better perspective of the dog at his level but i find it keeps the camera steady even at longer shutter speeds when i'm practicing my panning.

basically i crouch down, left leg in from of the right, arms tucked in although i keep my left arm resting on my left leg, looking through the viewfinder and left hand under the lense. I find keeping my right knee off the ground saves me getting dirty, but also provides me with more rotation!

That might help you, depending on what you're shooting.
02/15/2005 11:03:31 AM · #22
One rule I was taught at a young age was, "if your shooting with say a 135 mm lens then the slowest shutter speen to hand hold would be 125th. A 500mm lens would be 500th sec. A 35mm lens, a 30th." Of course the higher the ISO the easier to hand hold also., But like nabca7 siad take your deep breaths and shoot slowly.
02/15/2005 11:06:32 AM · #23
Originally posted by rex07734:

That is one thing I don't like about my Canon Powershot A80 The viewfinder is not lined up with the lens so I get totally different shots.


That's what most point-and-shoot cameras do - it's also why they have the LCD screens so you can see what you'll actually get. And as for camera shake, yea, higher shutter speeds whenever possible will help a thousand times over. On my 10D with a telephoto in low light it's nearly impossible to get a clear shot under 1/90 (with ISO 100 or 200). It's better to sacrifice a little clarity by upping your ISO to 400+ and increasing your shutter speed, then to just have blurry shots.

Message edited by author 2005-02-15 11:09:18.
02/15/2005 11:10:24 AM · #24
The other two things to mention is
a) Try a monopod for the times you can't use a tripod. I find a monopod give a lot more stability, then hand-holding and is much easier to adjust, move, turn, twist etc... then a tripod.

b) Fire off several shots while leaving the camera shutter button pressed. (rapid fire, so your first shot is pressing the button, the next is held in the shoot position, and the last shot removing your finger from the button) You will find the middle shots sometimes have less camera shake. (advantage of digital since wastes a lot of shots, but if it helps....)

I guess it helps to read, Gordon already mentioned all of this.

Message edited by author 2005-02-15 11:13:38.
02/15/2005 11:11:49 AM · #25
Originally posted by kirbic:

Practice, practice and more practice. It really does help. Though some of are steadier than others, we can all improve.
As far as technique, try keeping your elbows in, cradling the lens in your left hand, with your left elbow against your abdomen. Don't hold the camera too tightly. Breathe in, then hold your breath momentarily. Squeeze the shutter slowly and gently. If you are pretty steady-handed, you just might find that you can eventually beat the "1/focal length" rule by a stop or two on a regular basis.
You also might try a string tripod. Basically just a piece of light rope that you can step on and pull up against. Google it. Or brace the camera against any convenient object, such as a wall, light pole, tree, etc.; you get the picture. I recently got a pretty darn sharp 1.3-second shot of a waterfall using a fence post as a brace.

http://www.pbase.com/kirbic/image/39687554

OK, not the best-composed shot, but whatcha expect for a fencepost-braced attempt, LOL.

Edit: this shot was taken in bright overcast conditions using an ND-8 filter and C-polarizer filter stacked, to cut down on light (about 4.5 stops of reduction).


OH! I will have to try that string idea.
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