Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
11-12-2009, 12:07 PM   #1
Pentaxian
LeDave's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Minneapolis - St. Paul
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,895
Shaking lenses

I've been looking at many pictures with telephoto zooms and primes and the thing that amazes me is the many shots that are taken with these zooms that would possibly require fast movement of the hand and even feet when using primes to get the composure right then snap away.

I used to have a DA* 50-135 and although I can hold the lens still, at 135mm it's still shakier than when I am shooting at shorter focal lengths. I'm a young guy at only 20 years old and I can hold things pretty still but yet I'm still amazed by some things.

The thing is also with primes, how can one compose so quickly with a prime telephoto, is it just shoot away at anything and then crop? Because I've seen some pictures of things that will require fast composure before it's gone and yet at the same time, with the distance and the focal length of the lens itself, sometimes I think it would be impossible to hold it that still after composing. I would probably accidently add some motion blur to the picture by moving it that fast then trying to hold it dead still for a split second shutter button press.

Even at higher F-stops such as F8 and F11, yet it's so still. Do you guys run around with these big heavy lenses and a tripod with your feet to compose, then quickly set it down to snap the picture or something? I mean jeeze, here are some examples I speak of.




SOURCE: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/754863-post26.html


Last edited by Peter Zack; 11-13-2009 at 06:51 AM.
11-12-2009, 12:31 PM   #2
Veteran Member




Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: NJ, USA
Photos: Albums
Posts: 1,270
I might be misunderstanding your question, so please forgive me if my answer is off-base.

Often, capturing wildlife with a telephot is all about shutter speed. Unless the animal in question is fairly slow-moving, you'd like a shutter speed of no slower than 1/500s to get a sharp image. At this speed, even camera movement usually won't cause image blur, provided you can maintain focus.

I never use a tripod when shooting wildlife.
11-12-2009, 12:41 PM   #3
Veteran Member
keyser's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Tsawwassen, BC
Posts: 376
Yep, shutter speed is where it's at.

Maintaining a high shutter speed shouldn't be a problem on a sunny day, even with a slow telephoto zoom. Try to ensure that your shutter speed is at least 1.5x your focal length, so if you're shooting a 300mm lens, your shutter speed should be no slower than 1/500.

Remember that you should stop down a telephoto to about f/8 for best sharpness so I'd set my camera to that, then your ISO to maybe 400. That should ensure your shutter speed is plenty high enough.
11-12-2009, 12:45 PM   #4
Pentaxian
LeDave's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Minneapolis - St. Paul
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,895
Original Poster
Thanks I didn't know that even at 1/500 of a shutterspeed would not blur the hand movement moving at such speed. I can't recall that I've shot anything at that high of a shutterspeed before so I probably overexaggerated shutterspeeds of that speed. When I saw these pictures, I was amazed since I didn't know that 1/500 will freeze even hand movement, but how fast of your hand will it freeze at 1/500? I think I remembered trying to shoot something at 1/350 shutterspeed before and I remembered it blurred because of the slight flick of my wrist to quickly fix my composure; so based on my experience I thought 1/500 would still blur and especially at that length of 300mm, I used to own a 50-135 and I know how shaky 135 is although it's not too shaky. With 300mm being more than twice the length of 135mm, I thought it would shake more and even violently. I'm not a wild-life guy myself and have never attempted to shoot any animals before since I find no interest in shooting them whatsoever, but with these images, it really amazes me.

11-12-2009, 01:03 PM   #5
Veteran Member




Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: NJ, USA
Photos: Albums
Posts: 1,270
QuoteOriginally posted by LeDave Quote
Thanks I didn't know that even at 1/500 of a shutterspeed would not blur the hand movement moving at such speed. I can't recall that I've shot anything at that high of a shutterspeed before so I probably overexaggerated shutterspeeds of that speed. When I saw these pictures, I was amazed since I didn't know that 1/500 will freeze even hand movement, but how fast of your hand will it freeze at 1/500? I think I remembered trying to shoot something at 1/350 shutterspeed before and I remembered it blurred because of the slight flick of my wrist to quickly fix my composure; so based on my experience I thought 1/500 would still blur and especially at that length of 300mm, I used to own a 50-135 and I know how shaky 135 is although it's not too shaky. With 300mm being more than twice the length of 135mm, I thought it would shake more and even violently. I'm not a wild-life guy myself and have never attempted to shoot any animals before since I find no interest in shooting them whatsoever, but with these images, it really amazes me.
When you shot at 1/350s and got that blurry image, perhaps the camera missed focus at that point?

Regarding shutter speed, there's 2 general rules of thumb. To reduce chances of image softness due to camera shake, your shutter should be 1/(focal length * 1.5) as keyser pointed out. This, of course, is also assuming you use good technique and have decently steady hands.

The 2nd "rule of thumb" applies to shooting critters. A shutter of 1/500s is generally recommended for getting a decently sharp photo of most animals. Of course, the type of animal is a huge variable. I've shot a deer at 240mm with a shutter of 1/125s and gotten a good result. But to "freeze" the motion of a bird's wings, you may need a shutter speed of 1/1000s or faster.

IIRC, you're a car guy, right? If so, you may find more benefit to shooting a car at a slower shutter speed, and panning along with the car to create a blurred background, conveying a sense of movement.

Here's a shot of a squirrel, taken at 300mm, 1/20s shutter, ISO800. Used my old K100D and Tamron 70-300.

11-12-2009, 01:13 PM   #6
Veteran Member




Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Victoria, BC
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 310
I always use a tripod + ballhead combo. I find that in order to get the optimal sharpness with a 300mm anything less than 1/1000 sec with a somewhat moving subject is challenging any otherwise. Getting such speed requires a wide aperture (at least f/5.6 where I live) if you want to keep the ISO at or below 400, and I often end up shooting wildlife at such speed as 1/60sec. Sometimes I may not have the time to setup the tripod, and I just hold the tripod + camera assembly, which is still very much more stable than hand-held alone, stablizing the tripod tightly against my body.
11-12-2009, 01:14 PM   #7
Loyal Site Supporter
Canada_Rockies's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Sparwood, BC, Canada
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 9,134
Technique

Although I usually use my overweight Manfrotto tripod and ball head with the M 400/5.6, I have used it successfully hand held at times. The answer here is a combination of correct camera settings and technique. The techniques for hand held shooting are basically the same for rifles and cameras. Here are some things to watch for:

  • Always hold your camera so that it is supported at the balance point by your left hand. This means with my M 400 that the tripod mount is sitting on my left hand. This also puts the fingers on the focusing ring.
  • The left elbow should be firmly against the body. You will find this awkward unless you
  • Shoot at an angle to the body so that if you close your eyes with the above two tips in use, get comfortable and open your eyes, the lens is pointed at the subject.
  • Both feet should be firmly on the ground, an a bit more than shoulder width apart to give you a stable platform.
  • You are using a Pentax, so turn on the shake reduction and set it to the appropriate focal length when you are hand holding.
  • Stop your telephoto down a stop at least, preferably two to help with focusing errors by giving a bit more depth of field. The depth of field with the 400 is not much.
  • This of course, requires you to increase the ISO to overcome the slow shutter speed, and even then you cannot keep it where you need it.
  • Do not jab the shutter release. Squeeze it gently, stroke it like your favourite cat. The more gently you press it, the less your camera moves when you take the picture.
This image is 1/60 at f/5.6 with the 400 at dusk. Tripod, of course, SR off. Image is not cropped. Very careful shutter press.
Attached Images
 
11-12-2009, 01:28 PM   #8
Veteran Member
Eruditass's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,206
What about the question was about how to get close without scaring the animal away? Or shooting and massive cropping?

11-12-2009, 01:46 PM   #9
Loyal Site Supporter
Canada_Rockies's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Sparwood, BC, Canada
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 9,134
QuoteOriginally posted by Eruditass Quote
What about the question was about how to get close without scaring the animal away? Or shooting and massive cropping?
I have done both. Massive cropping works better with Velvia 50 than with the K10, but I think that K-7 might come closer. Massive cropping limits the maximum size of any print. The single most popular print I had at a local show cannot be enlarged past 5x7 inches. It is just one of those shots, where the subject is perfect, but the photographer's location isn't.

In the case of moose, you don't want to get any closer than this. Honest. Particularly males during the rut, or females with young. I live in the world of grizzly bear, black bear, whitetail deer, mule deer, coyotes, cougars, etc. The scariest animal is the moose. Note her look. She is keeping a sharp eye on me, despite begin the other side of a ditch and bog. Baby comes first.

To get closer to animals or birds on foot, don't walk directly toward the subject. Zig and zag. Don't look the animal in the eye, ever. That's challenge to them. Move slowly, as if you are just looking around for a nice comfy log to sit on. Stop frequently. This emulates an animal grazing and reduces the threat. If you need to get to 2/3 the distance you are at, seriously consider putting your 1.4X extender on the lens instead. Animals are unpredictable, and just might run away, or worse, run at you.

In the case of birds during the mating season the best way to photograph birds is to watch from a distance with your binoculars. You will find that birds have stopping places, and they make the rounds, just like a city bus. I have a shot of a song sparrow in full song that I got in just this way. I only moved when he was somewhere else on his rounds, and only a few metres at a time. He got used to this strange creature (see my avatar) in his world, and it was not threatening. I got the image at the minimum focus distance of the M400 - 5 metres (16.5 feet), using the 1.4X to increase the image size.

Hope this helps you. The other thing is to study up on the creature you want to photograph. Then wait for the lady photoluck to land on your shoulder. It can take years of trying to get that particular bird shot you want.
11-12-2009, 02:41 PM   #10
Site Supporter




Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 565
QuoteOriginally posted by Canada_Rockies Quote
Although I usually use my overweight Manfrotto tripod and ball head with the M 400/5.6, I have used it successfully hand held at times. The answer here is a combination of correct camera settings and technique. The techniques for hand held shooting are basically the same for rifles and cameras. Here are some things to watch for:

  • Always hold your camera so that it is supported at the balance point by your left hand. This means with my M 400 that the tripod mount is sitting on my left hand. This also puts the fingers on the focusing ring.
  • The left elbow should be firmly against the body. You will find this awkward unless you
  • Shoot at an angle to the body so that if you close your eyes with the above two tips in use, get comfortable and open your eyes, the lens is pointed at the subject.
  • Both feet should be firmly on the ground, an a bit more than shoulder width apart to give you a stable platform.
  • You are using a Pentax, so turn on the shake reduction and set it to the appropriate focal length when you are hand holding.
  • Stop your telephoto down a stop at least, preferably two to help with focusing errors by giving a bit more depth of field. The depth of field with the 400 is not much.
  • This of course, requires you to increase the ISO to overcome the slow shutter speed, and even then you cannot keep it where you need it.
  • Do not jab the shutter release. Squeeze it gently, stroke it like your favourite cat. The more gently you press it, the less your camera moves when you take the picture.
This image is 1/60 at f/5.6 with the 400 at dusk. Tripod, of course, SR off. Image is not cropped. Very careful shutter press.
I would add breath control to this list. Shoot at the end of an exhale. I would not say hold your breath because that implies tension. Instead, anticipate a second or two before you need to shoot if you can. Then let your breath flow out, do not force it out. The goal is a very relaxed and very still state. With practice, most people can maintain this relaxed state between exhale and inhale for 10 seconds with no problem, some people much longer.

Then as mentioned above gently use only the minimum force required to trigger the shutter.
11-12-2009, 02:49 PM   #11
Veteran Member
Eruditass's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,206
QuoteOriginally posted by Canada_Rockies Quote
I have done both. Massive cropping works better with Velvia 50 than with the K10, but I think that K-7 might come closer. Massive cropping limits the maximum size of any print. The single most popular print I had at a local show cannot be enlarged past 5x7 inches. It is just one of those shots, where the subject is perfect, but the photographer's location isn't.

In the case of moose, you don't want to get any closer than this. Honest. Particularly males during the rut, or females with young. I live in the world of grizzly bear, black bear, whitetail deer, mule deer, coyotes, cougars, etc. The scariest animal is the moose. Note her look. She is keeping a sharp eye on me, despite begin the other side of a ditch and bog. Baby comes first.

To get closer to animals or birds on foot, don't walk directly toward the subject. Zig and zag. Don't look the animal in the eye, ever. That's challenge to them. Move slowly, as if you are just looking around for a nice comfy log to sit on. Stop frequently. This emulates an animal grazing and reduces the threat. If you need to get to 2/3 the distance you are at, seriously consider putting your 1.4X extender on the lens instead. Animals are unpredictable, and just might run away, or worse, run at you.

In the case of birds during the mating season the best way to photograph birds is to watch from a distance with your binoculars. You will find that birds have stopping places, and they make the rounds, just like a city bus. I have a shot of a song sparrow in full song that I got in just this way. I only moved when he was somewhere else on his rounds, and only a few metres at a time. He got used to this strange creature (see my avatar) in his world, and it was not threatening. I got the image at the minimum focus distance of the M400 - 5 metres (16.5 feet), using the 1.4X to increase the image size.

Hope this helps you. The other thing is to study up on the creature you want to photograph. Then wait for the lady photoluck to land on your shoulder. It can take years of trying to get that particular bird shot you want.
Great tips, thank you!
11-12-2009, 03:44 PM   #12
Veteran Member
pcarfan's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Dayton, Ohio
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,958
Even at F4 and with decent light it is difficult to get 1/500th shutter at iso 100 or 200. There are many limitations to shooting with telephoto. Consider hiking for hours and then hand holding........shutter speed is the essential element, but it is very difficult to achieve those.

In real life, my observations are, up to 300mm with good light will hold up to hand held shots at 100% resolution. If I stick a 1.4 TC, will have to boost iso, and shots don't look there ultimate, especially when cropped. Using telephotos is extremely difficult, and not every scene worthy of a photograph will result in a good photograph due to light, and limitations in equipment - more so with primes. SR and iso performance helps, but there is no substitute for a tripod and a fast lens.
11-12-2009, 04:27 PM   #13
Veteran Member
heliphoto's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: Region 5
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,540
QuoteOriginally posted by LeDave:
Do you guys run around with these big heavy lenses and a tripod with your feet to compose, then quickly set it down to snap the picture or something?
Yep ... tripod, head, 400mm, teleconverter, camera body - it only weighs around 11lbs. I just throw it over my shoulder and run around (and watch the animals run away from me - I need to work on those approach techniques that Canada_Rockies has been teaching us (great stuff)). I often shoot 680mm at 1/100 or less (i've gotten sharp photos at 1/8 with this combo) if needed and get clear shots - tripods and long lens technique are the thing!
11-12-2009, 05:45 PM   #14
Pentaxian
Marc Sabatella's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Denver, CO
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 10,686
QuoteOriginally posted by LeDave Quote
The thing is also with primes, how can one compose so quickly with a prime telephoto, is it just shoot away at anything and then crop?
If you mean with wildlife or something else that might move, sure, that's part of it. Although consider - that faster than what you'd do with a zoom, where you waste potentially valuable time zooming. Either that, or you'd just have the lens stuck at its maximum focal length, making no better than a prime, really.

But mostly likely, the best such pictures aren't rushed at all, but are taken when the subject gives you a bit more time.

QuoteQuote:
sometimes I think it would be impossible to hold it that still after composing
That's why the best such pictures are taken with a tripod or monopod. SR helps too, of course, when you don't use a tripod.
11-12-2009, 05:51 PM   #15
Loyal Site Supporter
dadipentak's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 10,073
Very helpful discussion. I'm just getting started down this road but it seems to me it's an iso/shutter speed/aperture balancing act and the right mix in a given situation depends on a variety of factors.

I'm learning, btw, that, while zoom-by-cropping has it's place, it really does take its toll in terms of resolution. A pixel is a terrible thing to waste and there's really no substitute for getting close (within the bounds of safety, of course.) To avoid really massive cropping, I've been working on getting an interesting composition with the critter in its habitat, which helps me resist the urge to crop down to the eyeballs.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
feet, k-mount, lens, lenses, pentax lens, picture, pictures, primes, slr lens, telephoto
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
SR And Shaking Shub Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 4 03-21-2010 04:10 PM
People The Sounds Live + Cat Shaking off Snow maximm Post Your Photos! 3 12-23-2009 06:32 PM
Lens Grading Help and Shaking parts sound... greenboy Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 15 02-17-2009 06:54 AM
k10d sensor shaking like mad occhicone98 Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 2 12-28-2008 08:58 AM
Strange shaking JFMichaud Pentax DSLR Discussion 3 11-13-2008 04:13 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:01 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top