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05-03-2012, 05:51 AM   #16
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there is something to remember about shooting wild life, with respect to image blur and shutter speed etc.

Although there is a "golden rule" from film, of shutter speed = 1 / focal length this golden rule applies to 100% of the frame, blown up to 8 x 10, and considers where a point becomes a circle of a specific size in the final print.

As you crop in, and enlarge further, this golden rule needs to be modified by the crop factor, so, for example, with today's sensors, as an example, you need to multiply the focal length in the equation (as others have noted) by about 1.5 or 1.6 to represent the crop factor of the sensor.

So the digital "golden rule" becomes shutter speed = 1 / (focal lenght x 1.5)

But many times this is not enough for a few reasons.

1) in my case, I use a 22 inch (16 x 9 format) monitor, so my frame is actually 13 x 19 inches or close to double the magnification of an 8 x 10 print, so to display the image on my monitor, I need to again double toe focal length for the same definition of acceptably sharp.

2) many times in wild life, we have to crop in to get the image, as you crop in, and magnify the image even more, you need even more shutter speed to have an acceptably sharp image when enlarged,

therefore the golden rule, for a full frame image is completely worthless, when considering enlarging a small section of the image or viewing on a bigger monitor. What was sharp on a 4x6 print, or the 2 inch LCD is not acceptably sharp on the format we view today,

As a result, take every advantage you can, when shooting wild life. #1 is get as close as you can, #2 is shoot as fast a shutter speed as you can, #3 is some how, stabilize the camera. This can be a bean bag, monopod, tripod, brick wall, anything to remove as many degrees of freedom from the motion the camera has. SR helps, and I have done some hand held shots at 1/40th with a 500mm lens and had excellent results, but at that speed it also relies on the subject staying stationary. That is not always the case, and technique helps a lot, but It would be preferable to have additional support, like a monopod.

05-03-2012, 06:14 AM   #17
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As others have said, for snap shots in decent light, you shouldn't have any trouble with or without a tripod. I do think it is important to make certain your shutter speed is decent enough, not only to freeze camera shake, but to freeze motion (moving kids need a minimum of 1/150 second exposure to get sharp photos).

Tripods help with a number of situations -- long exposures, also if you want to do things like photo stacking or HDR.

I would say that 95 percent of the time I don't use a tripod or monopod -- certainly not when I am on family trips with my kids. I only really use one if I am going out shooting by myself and don't want everyone to be irritated by the amount of time I am taking to get one or two photos.
05-03-2012, 06:51 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
As others have said, for snap shots in decent light, you shouldn't have any trouble with or without a tripod. I do think it is important to make certain your shutter speed is decent enough, not only to freeze camera shake, but to freeze motion (moving kids need a minimum of 1/150 second exposure to get sharp photos).

Tripods help with a number of situations -- long exposures, also if you want to do things like photo stacking or HDR.

I would say that 95 percent of the time I don't use a tripod or monopod -- certainly not when I am on family trips with my kids. I only really use one if I am going out shooting by myself and don't want everyone to be irritated by the amount of time I am taking to get one or two photos.
I guess what we need to know is of the 95% of the shots the OP said are wild life and kids and the zoo or hiking, what is the real make up of this 95%. I agree for many points, a tripod is not needed, but for wild life as I said above, it can really help, only because we tend to blow these up so much more
05-03-2012, 08:05 AM   #19
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Simple answer it can help, yes, but when I'm shooting wildlife I rarely use one. Doing that usually means I need to move more. Tripods are something I mainly use for landscapes, some portraits, still life stuff. I do however use available objects all the time to balance and brace against. If there's a tree. I use it. If there's a wall. I use it. Sometimes I use the boobipods. (Yes, I'm totally being funny, but I'm only half kidding. There are advantages in being a lady photographer and in terms of being somewhat more well endowed than not. I can frame and support my arms better that way though, seriously, though it can also work to my disadvantage. It makes the lying down flat shots a bit tricky at times.) You use what you've got. Some of the best tripods aren't the ones you lug with you. Also it helps to breathe out just before you take a shot. Too often we forget to and it can really steady you out if you do, decrease shake. Lack of caffeine, meditation, that also helps me. If I can get in a calm zone to work I find my pics reflect that. They're sharper, better. When I take my time they're better. When I rush I get a lot more crap shots....

05-03-2012, 08:37 AM   #20
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The best thing about a tripod is that...if you do it right...it's a one-time investment. It'll work the same with film or digital...4/3, APS-C, FF/35mm, medium format.
05-03-2012, 08:58 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by TaoMaas Quote
The best thing about a tripod is that...if you do it right...it's a one-time investment. It'll work the same with film or digital...4/3, APS-C, FF/35mm, medium format.
...But it's more normal to buy a cheap one, then a light one, then an expensive one, then an even more expensive one.


I agree with most of the others here in this surprisingly undogmatic discussion of tripod use! If you're shooting with long lenses (200mm+) in light that requires you to drop your shutter speed below 1/FL sec then a tripod will help, and if you're doing long exposures with shorter lenses - landscape stuff -then a tripod will help too. So, it will almost never help you take photos of kids but might be handy with the wildlife depending on the lens you use.
05-03-2012, 09:22 AM   #22
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tons of great advice on this thread so I'll just share my experience... I have a love/hate relationship with my tripod, but once I learned to use my camera properly and once I learned to use my tripod properly I finally starting getting the pictures I'd always hoped for and I developed a healthy respect for the burdensome tripod .... when it matters to me (and it almost always matters) I carry and use a tripod, including on day long arduous hikes. If I find myself without it I will use other stabilizers like a tree branch, rock or bean bag.
05-03-2012, 09:24 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by timh Quote
...But it's more normal to buy a cheap one, then a light one, then an expensive one, then an even more expensive one.
Well...but I did say, "If you do it right". LOL

05-10-2012, 12:51 AM   #24
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Everyone here has some great points - here's my suggestion, go and buy a cheap tripod, you can get them for around $30, if your happy with the practicality and uses of it then buy a decent tripod. and even if you decide you don't like it, even a cheap tripod can be handy to have around.
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