1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Poll - Longest shutter speed holding a full-frame camera

Discussion in 'Weekly Poll' started by Damien_Demolder, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. Damien_Demolder

    Damien_Demolder Well-Known Member

    It isn’t only the young who let their imaginations run away with them. When I was a child, I used to dream I could fly. In my head I’d soar above the rooftops and swoop low across fields, relishing my supernatural powers. Teenagers often imagine they possess supernatural coolness and an ability to know far better than their parents when it is, and is not, ‘coat weather’. Grown men stand in pubs and clubs at the weekend convinced they are blessed with the looks and the voice of The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, their fantasy inflicting unbearable suffering on the other patrons. And while there are many good photographers who genuinely believe they are not, many others are positive their skills are greater than they are. It is normal to fool ourselves about some aspect of our abilities, and it’s fortunate the consequences are usually slight.

    The ability to hold a camera still is the arm-wrestling of photography; the boast, the special skill. Being able to shoot at 1/8sec without a tripod is certain to draw the admiration of one’s peers and the attentions of the opposite sex. Often this is a delusion that, on close inspection, unravels in a mess of blurred detail. Camera-shake superheroes are rare indeed.

    Head to the homepage to vote in this week's poll - What is the longest shutter speed you could manage handholding a full frame camera fitted with a 90mm lens?


  2. IvorETower

    IvorETower Little Buttercup

    Definitely a delusion as far as I am concerned.
    I don't have a 90mm prime; could try with a zoom, and presume that the answer means an acceptably sharp photo is the outcome, because I can certainly manage a shuter speed of several minutes when hand-holding a camera, but the result will be a blurred mess !
    There is also the "hit rate"; I have achieved a sharp photo at 1/8 second before now, but it was one of about a dozen taken at similar shutter speeds; in the "great outdoors", handholding speed also depends on the prevailing wind
  3. Fen

    Fen Well-Known Member

    Before my back/neck problems I used to be able to hold still for a one second exposure quite easily.
  4. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    Used to shoot with a 90mm lens hand held quite a lot - in film days, and without the benefit of image stabilisation.

    With care, down to 1/60 sec. 1/30 was rarely properly sharp but was worth trying (three or four frames shot to be reasonably sure of getting one OKish). 1/15 very much an emergency only, the results were rarely even approaching satistfactory.

    These days with IS I'd be happy to use 1/30 but I'd still rather go faster. In any case it's a lot less necessary due to the high sensitivity of digital sensors.

    If you really want a laugh, get a 300mm or longer lens, wait for it to go dark on a cloud free night (they do occur, but only very rarely), focus carefully, point at a bright star and shoot manually 5 sec at full aperture hand held whilst trying to keep the camera steady. You will end up with something that looks like partially unravelled spaghetti ...
  5. John_Black

    John_Black Member

    There are so many variables: As well as the wind, how much alcohol consumed the night before and how well the you can stand to get to the right position. If you are crouching to get a lower angle or framing with live view it is much more difficult to hold steady.

    Also sensor resolution is just as important as size. The D800 has identical absolute resolution to the D7000. The 5D mk2 or 3 has about the same absolute resolution as a 10Mpixel APS C. Of course resolution is not important if the picture will never be printed large enough to justify but good practice should assume a large print.

    I would suggest that the rule of thumb should, with today high resolution sensors, be to use a shutter speed faster than the inverse of twice the focal length. E.G. for a 90 mm at least 1/180. Then you apply the correction for image stabilisation which is usually three stops which takes us to 1/30 ( rounded up ).
  6. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    At what magnification?;) Handholding at 5:1 is a bit like trying to handhold a super-telephoto whatever focal length you use to get that close.

    What pixel density? ;);)

    Is in body IS allowed for the Sony users?;);)(or for those with zooms?)

    ....but to answer the question I don't know because I don't think I've ever tried. I got my 90mm to use on a tripod.
  7. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    never had a 90 mm lens except in LF.
    In my young working days I had no difficulty holding a rolleiflex still at 1/10 with a 50% successs rate, to be able to print to 10x8.
    Today I need stabilisation and a daily pill to compensate for my shaky hands, to shoot at all.
  8. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    I can use 1/6 second at 135mm (200mm equiv for 'full-frame') thanks to my Pentax's in-body SR. One still has to brace/hold the camera effectively though.
  9. Fen

    Fen Well-Known Member

    Two from Trafalgar Square. Both hand held 1 second exposures with the D3


  10. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    I used to shoot rifle and pistol. Still helps a lot today. :)
  11. LargeFormat

    LargeFormat Well-Known Member

    I don't know about easily and I only had a 50mm when my hand was that steady but I could hold one second fifty years ago, which means I didn't have Super Steady Shot :D
  12. mrganderson

    mrganderson Well-Known Member

    This is really basic stuff and I can't believe the replies so far, has no one ever read a book on photography. every photographer should know this stuff. I fully understand that beginners need to start somewhere. But some people have been taking photographs for some time and still haven't got a clue. The problem is they don't realise it. So rant over with. Here is the answer. I'm sure one or two of you will claim to be able to shoot at slower speeds, but you are probably wrong.

    For hand held shooting, Slowest shutter speed used should be equal to the focal length of lens. With a minimum of 1/125 sec.
    Ie. if your shooting at 500 mm then the minimum shutter speed should be 1/500 sec. 200 mm = 1/200 sec. And 50mm =1/125sec.

    Finally, it was a simple question but for some reason people try to be clever and show off by asking if it's outdoors or indoors. Is the wind blowing from the east etc etc. and does it make a difference if I'm wearing a hat. if you really want to improve your photography stop talking b-----ks and get out your camera and take some photographs.
    Phew that feels better. Now deep breaths and relax.
  13. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the confirmation... I knew I shouldn't be in here. Still, it was only a couple of weeks of my time...
  14. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    There speaks the voice of utter ignorance. I would think everyone is aware of that rule of thumb, but unlike you, they seem to know that it is precisely that - a guideline, not a fact. There are an awful lot of factors involved in how steadily you can hold a camera at any given shutter speed, and in some cases, this rule of thumb won't give a fast enough shutter speed, whereas some people with good technique can do a lot better. Which you would know if you followed your own advice and took some photos, rather than parrot something you clearly don't quite understand...
    Do you really think the Editor of Amateur Photographer would ask the question if it was as simple as the answer from every beginner's book on photography? :rolleyes:
  15. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

  16. rjbell

    rjbell Well-Known Member

    I know you asked hand held on a FF which would be more difficult, but after reading this i though i would have ago with my nex and 16mm pancake. I was getting surprisingly good shots at 1/3. Not sure they're usuable but makes me think i will defo try and shoot at lower speeds than i used to.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2012
  17. Atavar

    Atavar Well-Known Member

    I'm wibbly wobbly rubbish and have no doubts as to my inability to hold a camera steady. 250th or a tripod for me, i have a Gorillapod Zoom strapped to the side of my bag permanently.
  18. PhilW

    PhilW Well-Known Member

    I just did a test out my back door FF with my 85mm prime.

    In summary:

    Viewing the whole picture on my monitor 1/15th is sharp enough.

    Looking at 100% the 1/30th looks good enough, and the 1/50th is perfect.
  19. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    I have said this in previous threads. It is worth practicing your low shutter speed technique on a regular basis.

    First to find your limit with your camera and second to try and improve.

    Fen I am very impressed you was able to get it down to 1 second! :cool:

    Best I been able to do on calm day is around 1/4 at 28mm (35mm equiv). Try 1/3 the other day end up with slight shake again at 28mm. I am using IS as well.

    But still in my film days (granted on a MTL) anything below 1/15 was a no no.

    I believe 35mm film cameras not using focal plane shutter and mirrors you can get quite low as well.

    Benchista might know.
  20. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Well I can tell you what worked and works for me, for sure. With a rangefinder, and a 50mm, I would work at 1/8 and know I would be shake free, and 1/4 would be OK more often than not. With an MTL, I would tend to agree with you, although 1/8 with a wideangle would generally be OK for me. With my 5D II and 85mm, which was pretty much the original question, 1/60 is absolutely fine - I've not actually had to go any lower.

Share This Page