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04-22-2017, 02:32 PM   #1
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hand-held shutter speed

I have a question. Can someone shoot below the focal length of the lens and still come out with a sharp image? The reason I ask is I got away with an image that is sharp at 1/160 @ 200mm. I know I screwed up because I should be at least equal or 1.5 equiv. was it luck? and I wouldn't recommend it. Is the rule for a 200mm 1/200 min and pref. 1/310 and up

it was handheld

04-22-2017, 02:41 PM   #2
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Yes one can get lucky. It is really a probability function. Were you using a camera with SR or other image stabilization? If so, the reciprocal rule does not apply. If you take a number of shots some may be fairly sharp, while others will not. The "rule" is just a guideline to increase the probability of getting a good shot.
04-22-2017, 02:43 PM   #3
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oh, no I didn't turn the sr on should I? When does it need to go on what mm? 100 and up? The lens doesn't have built in sr/is

and thank you
04-22-2017, 02:47 PM   #4
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I leave it on all the time when handholding. On a SOLID tripod, switch it off. On many cameras, if you use the two second timer, it will be switched off automatically.

04-22-2017, 02:52 PM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by enyaw Quote
I have a question. Can someone shoot below the focal length of the lens and still come out with a sharp image? The reason I ask is I got away with an image that is sharp at 1/160 @ 200mm. I know I screwed up because I should be at least equal or 1.5 equiv. was it luck? and I wouldn't recommend it. Is the rule for a 200mm 1/200 min and pref. 1/310 and up

it was handheld
With SR, you can as long as you hold the camera "steady enough". It will depend on your technique and camera.

I've been able to get sharp shots at 1/8s with a FA 31mm on the K-3, for example. Longer lenses probably have less tolerance.

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04-22-2017, 02:52 PM - 2 Likes   #6
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Of course! At the very least, you were lucky. But it can also be a skill that you can cultivate by:

1) good posture in holding the camera in the most stable way
2) learning how to calm your body and hit the shutter button between heart beats and breaths.
3) bracing the body or camera against any convenient object (car, lamppost, wall, etc.)

Pentax SR helps a lot, too. Some people find that with SR, they can readily shoot at 1/10 the focal length (e.g., 1/20 sec with a 200 mm lens) or slower and still get sharp shots of stationary objects.
04-22-2017, 02:52 PM   #7
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something I forgot again... thanks and I'm still working on my technique. I think people can't rely on the lcd playback screen because it's not indicative of the actual output until the image is reviewed at home. Sorry for the run on sent...

Like a sniper, range shooter or archer got it

at my age better get out the monopod at least
04-22-2017, 04:02 PM - 1 Like   #8
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I believe there's an article somewhere on PF by resident active soldier and sometime PF reviewer @Heie in which he carried over everything he'd learned from accurate rifle shooting (stable posture, breathing control, smooth trigger release etc) to the fine art of steady shooting with a camera. As someone who's done a fair bit of both kinds of shooting myself (although not in a military context), it's pleasantly surprising to find some of the skills carrying over between them.

04-22-2017, 04:10 PM   #9
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it all makes sense, related field. I was only wondering if I got lucky and as it turns out, I did. Out of 20 maybe 3 shots were sharp so those are odds. Accuracy is all tied into technique, breathing, positioning etc. After going through most of my shots at 1/160 @ 200mm the laws of physics play out. I've turned the in camera sr on now though because none of my lens allow that function. Thanks all
04-22-2017, 04:25 PM - 1 Like   #10
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Basically the probability of getting a sharp shot increases as the shutter speed decreases. For example, if your focal length is 50mm, you might get 2/10 sharp shots at 1/20th of a second, 5/10 sharp shots at 1/60th of a second, and 8/10 sharp shots at 1/125 of a second.
04-22-2017, 04:37 PM - 2 Likes   #11
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Everyone is different so it helps to take some test shots to decide where your lower limit is. I like to find a scene with city lights or some other small bright highlights. If the points of light are streaks, you know it's because the camera moved.

I am pretty steady and often shoot two stops slower than 1/focal length. I often take two or three shots just to be sure one is OK. I have to add one stop of shutter speed per beer consumed.
04-22-2017, 04:50 PM   #12
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lol, got it and how long have you been using this method? LOLZ
04-22-2017, 05:13 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
I often take two or three shots just to be sure one is OK. I have to add one stop of shutter speed per beer consumed.
"In bright light, set the shutter speed to the numerical value of your blood alcohol concentration and the f/stop to 16 minus the number of cans consumed. By the time you finish the entire case, the aperture will be wide enough that any blurring can be explained as 'soft focus technique'. If drinking microbrewery or imported beer, use of the term 'Lomography' might be considered."
04-22-2017, 05:15 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
I believe there's an article somewhere on PF by resident active soldier and sometime PF reviewer @Heie
Link in the signature.

And glad to see it's still relevant

-Heie
04-22-2017, 05:36 PM   #15
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If I slept well and didn't have coffee, I might get acceptable results at 1/60 or 1/30 at max.

On a normal day, my best is 1/125 at 200mm. But to get SHARP images i need to shoot above 1/300
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