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10-03-2007, 07:43 AM   #1
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Handholding a K10D

I recently got a K10D and I have a simple question.

Back when I was shooting film, the rule of thumb that I learned was that I shouldn't handhold the camera at a shutter speed slower than the reciprocal of the lens' focal length. IOW, a 50 mm lens shouldn't be handheld at a speed slower than 1/50 second; a 200mm lens should be on a tripod at speeds less than 1/200.

Is the rule the same for digital (APS-C size sensor) cameras, as well? The manual for the K10D says I shouldn't handhold it at less than 1 / (focal length x 1.5). Are they just being conservative, or is this real.

Of course, I'm referring to the speed without using SR. Its important, because, if I allow, say, 2 stops for SR, I need to know where the 2 stops starts from. If I've got my kit lens set at 55mm, w/o SR is it safe to handhold at 1/60 second, or 1/15 with SR? Or is it really 1/75 and about 1/20?

I realize that this is, to some extent, variable from person to person. One person may have a steadier hand than another.

Thanks for answering my stupid question...

Paul Noble

10-03-2007, 08:02 AM   #2
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I think the answer is in trying to handhold at lower shutter speeds. If YOU can do it, I guess it can be done.

I stay above 1/15th and most of my slowest handheld shots are at 1/20th or faster, regardless of lens. I shoot 200mm at 1/20th with very few problems. I can't say I do with 100% usable frames but, certainly 85% or better.
10-03-2007, 08:26 AM   #3
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To my knowledge, generally the statement still remains true. Without any stabilization aids (SR, tripod, bean bag ... whatever you may use for stabilization), to significantly reduce shake, you ought to set your shutter speed no lower than the effective focal length of the lens. Therefore with a 50mm and 1.5X crop your shutter speed should not be below 1/75 of a second.

However, with the K10D (or any other camera with hand shake reduction for that matter), the SR aids with that significantly. I must tell you I use a DS2 and the only experience I have with any kind of Vibration reduction is with a Canon S3IS. If the Pentax system on the K10D is anything like the Canon... I can tell you.. it really works. From the posts I've seen, the SR on the pentax is even better. The SR on these cams allow you to improve your chances of capturing a shake free image up to 4 stops below the effective focal length. From the many posts on this and other forums I gather the K10D easily reliably gets you 2 stops... many many others have managed to get the 4 stop as the system promises.

You therefore have a bit of a benefit in using the K10D, effectively the 'rule' may not apply to you 'all the time'. Of course, I do not know that any system is perfect, and I am not sure any camera manufacturer is gonna guarantee it... but.. the chances of getting a steady image is significantly increased. That said, nothing really beats a good sturdy tripod
10-03-2007, 10:29 AM   #4
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I started a thread https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/12635-im-impressed-sr-k10d.html about the effectiveness of the SR in the K10D. It is very effective! But I think you can increase your chances of a shake free image if you remember your good habits from your film shooting days, and don't rely on the SR. It's a crutch, not a wheelchair!

10-03-2007, 11:00 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Groundloop Quote
...But I think you can increase your chances of a shake free image if you remember your good habits from your film shooting days, and don't rely on the SR. It's a crutch, not a wheelchair!
Totally agree! Just because we have Shake Reduction does not mean that we can abandon traditional shooting techniques/stances. Such as...

1. Hold the body in the right hand, preferably with a hand strap.
2. Cradle the lens in the left hand, palm up, supporting the weight of the lens/body. Doesn't matter how small the lens.
3. Left elbow in, against the front side of your rib cage.
4. Left foot slightly forward, pointing to the subject.
5. Right foot slightly back and pointed outward.
6. Breath in, hold slightly, slowly exhale, and then click the shutter.
7. After exposure, maintain stance for the count of two (or one second).

These steps alone will give you one or two stops. (Sometimes it helps to visualize shooting a firearm. Same techniques.)
10-03-2007, 12:42 PM   #6
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Handholding

I fully agree that SR should not be relied upon too heavily. I definitely think that expecting four stops from it is wildly optimistic.

I asked the question in order to understand how far SR could/would take me. To do that, I need to know what I can realistically handhold without SR. As I said, and someone rephrased, a lot depends on just how steady my hands are, which may be signicantly different than yours.

The rule of thumb (ROT) worked well for me in 35mm film cameras. I'm just trying to determine the starting point for my new digital camera. I guess another way of asking the question is: does the 1.5 crop factor (I really hate that term) affect the ROT or should I simply use 1/focal length?

Thanks for the responses.

Paul Noble
10-03-2007, 01:16 PM   #7
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Well, Paul, since you want a 'starting point', the 1/focal length is as good as any. Remember, 'film' is cheap for these things. Take a half hour sometime after dinner and just run some tests. See how far you can go.

Four stops is not unreasonable, if I size the images for web posting or size to video resolution. But, I wouldn't want to make large blow-ups.

Something that might be worth a try is a modification of the old handheld formula. That was easy to figure in our heads. Try just dropping off a zero. For example, take a 200mm prime. The rule-of-thumb would say that the minimum shutter speed would be 1/200 seconds. Without doing the math to determine the exact number of stops, I'd try it at 1/20 seconds. That's pushing it, and you have to be real steady, but certainly doable.

For a 300mm lens, try 1/30s; a 50mm lens, 1/5s. The scheme breaks down after that. I wouldn't try a 40mm at a quarter of a second or any of the wide angle lenses slower than that. A fifth of a second is about the best I can do.
10-03-2007, 07:27 PM   #8
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volosong, well said!

10-03-2007, 11:59 PM   #9
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best I have managed

Best I have managed hand held with getting a decent result is 1/15th at 5.6 using an Sigma 70-300 @ 80mm...but I think I was lucky....and this is a very low res file.
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10-04-2007, 04:58 AM   #10
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Remember that the handheld rule is the MINIMUM. If you want a decent photo or intend to enlarge, fast is better. SR buys an extra 2 stops; a Monopod buys an extra 2 stops; a cable release, even hand-held, buys an extra stop. Pressing camera to a hard surface (tree wall) buys an extra 2 stops, maybe more. If you can accept the noise, set the sensitivity up from 100 to 400, which buys an extra 2 stops. Use a tripod and get a sharp photo.
10-04-2007, 02:24 PM   #11
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The rule of thumb (ROT) worked well for me in 35mm film cameras. I'm just trying to determine the starting point for my new digital camera. I guess another way of asking the question is: does the 1.5 crop factor (I really hate that term) affect the ROT or should I simply use 1/focal length?

Thanks for the responses.

Paul Noble[/QUOTE]

YES! The crop factor does affect the ROT. For my Sigma 70-300mm I set the shutter speed on 1/250 with SR on. I can get away with a little less, but my tests show that my hands are not steady enough for consistently sharp shots below that speed.

Sure, it's a bit of overkill when I'm not zooming all the way, but hey, better sure than sorry

Rusty
10-04-2007, 06:24 PM   #12
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[/QUOTE]
YES! The crop factor does affect the ROT.[/QUOTE]

I have to disagree with you here. Let me set you this example: You're shooting with a 1.5-crop sensor and a 100mm lens, but you also have a full-frame camera with the same lens to take the same picture of a dog, from the exact same distance. With the full frame camera your ROT says to shoot faster than 1/100 sec.

Now think of the image on the sensor. let's say with your 1.5-crop camera the dog fills the frame; with the full-frame camera the dog will have more space around it and won't fill the frame, but the physical size of the dog's image inside each camera is the same, irrespective of sensor size. If your ROT is a way to ensure that the image stays as fixed as possible on the sensor, then the actual size of the sensor doesn't matter, the only thing that matters in the focal length of the lens.

I hope that made sense.

Now, if your camera has SR, and it gives you N stops, then your SRROT is (2^N)/FL.

If N = 2, which we can all agree is a realistic number, then you have SRROT = 4/FL. So, for a focal length of 100mm, you should not shoot any slower than 4/100 = 1/25.
10-04-2007, 08:00 PM   #13
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Handholding K10D

Thanks, Miserere and all the others who responded. Miserere's example was sort of what I was thinking.

I guess I'll just have to go out and experiment to determine a good ROT for my hands and my lenses.

Paul Noble
10-04-2007, 08:57 PM   #14
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Volosong,
It's quite funny how muscle memory works in these situations! Back then with my Canon AE-1P, it took me a long while to get these rules into my skin.

With my K10D, I didn't even think about how I stood, held the camera, braced myself for a photo... until today while at an all day shoot. I was suddenly aware of it. A couple of decades after those first few days with my AE-1P and here I was, still following the basic principles.

Hey Dad, look! No Tripod!
10-05-2007, 01:49 AM   #15
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YES! The crop factor does affect the ROT.[/QUOTE]

I have to disagree with you here. Let me set you this example: You're shooting with a 1.5-crop sensor and a 100mm lens, but you also have a full-frame camera with the same lens to take the same picture of a dog, from the exact same distance. With the full frame camera your ROT says to shoot faster than 1/100 sec.

Now think of the image on the sensor. let's say with your 1.5-crop camera the dog fills the frame; with the full-frame camera the dog will have more space around it and won't fill the frame, but the physical size of the dog's image inside each camera is the same, irrespective of sensor size. If your ROT is a way to ensure that the image stays as fixed as possible on the sensor, then the actual size of the sensor doesn't matter, the only thing that matters in the focal length of the lens.

I hope that made sense.

Now, if your camera has SR, and it gives you N stops, then your SRROT is (2^N)/FL.

If N = 2, which we can all agree is a realistic number, then you have SRROT = 4/FL. So, for a focal length of 100mm, you should not shoot any slower than 4/100 = 1/25.[/QUOTE]

Check out this article to refute your logic

DPanswer: Crop factor

Hers' an extract:
Hand Holding
The so-called “focal length reciprocal rule” is an old rule of thumb that is known by almost every photographer using 135-format film. The “rule” says that to avoid blur from camera shake, you should use a shutter speed equal to the reciprocal of the focal length (or faster). For example, if you are shooting with a 100 mm lens, for hand held shots you should use a shutter speed of at least 1/100th of a second.

For digital, this rule of thumb only apply if you use a camera with an FX-sized sensor. For other digital formats, the rule need to take the crop factor into account. In other words, you need to multiply the focal length with the camera's crop factor, and this becomes the minimum shutter speed to use for hand held shots, i.e.:
min. shutter speed = 1/(focal length x crop factor)

Example: Let's say we are using a 100 mm lens on a camera with a DX-sized sensor. Our slowest stutter speed for hand held shots is 1/(100 x 1.5) = 1/150th second.

The reason you need to figure in the crop factor is that the image from the DX-sized sensor need to be magnified more than the image from a FX-sized sensor for any given print size. Camera shake blur is also magnified, and the increased magnification must be compensated for by using a faster shutter speed.

Rusty
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