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03-03-2016, 09:39 PM   #1
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How to Hold SLR Still...

I have the Pentax K-50 and just purchased a Tamron 18-200MM lens.So far it seems superior in clarity to my kit lenses but I am having trouble holding the camera still / steady with the somewhat larger and heavier lens; the camera is moving all over the place. So, what is the technique for holding the camera steady?

Thanks
Jack


Last edited by jackloganbill; 03-03-2016 at 09:45 PM.
03-03-2016, 09:54 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Possibly the best article on the subject I've read: Making the Most of Long Exposure Handhelds - Introduction - In-Depth Articles
03-03-2016, 10:04 PM - 1 Like   #3
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I've found some of the ideas in Heie's article useful,
Making the Most of Long Exposure Handhelds - Introduction - In-Depth Articles
I don't use them all, but he does a good job of offering options and explaining why.

Keep your shutter speed up, no less than 1/200th if you're at the long end, faster if light conditions will allow
You may also want to consider physical support, a monopod, or chest pod,

great minds think alike

Last edited by K-Three; 03-03-2016 at 10:05 PM. Reason: jatrax beat me to it
03-03-2016, 10:05 PM   #4
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if you're comparing it at 200 to the kit lens at 55, well, the longer the focal length, the more greatly camera movement is magnified.

And just to be sure you're aware - half press on shutter release button to focus, then squeeze the rest of the way to take a picture. Makes a pretty big difference vs just pushing the button.

03-03-2016, 10:19 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by narual Quote
if you're comparing it at 200 to the kit lens at 55, well, the longer the focal length, the more greatly camera movement is magnified.

And just to be sure you're aware - half press on shutter release button to focus, then squeeze the rest of the way to take a picture. Makes a pretty big difference vs just pushing the button.
a dumbish request for clarification - when you say "Makes a pretty big difference vs just pushing the button", would that mean that the risk of camera movement is less when using back-button focus and front button shutter release?
03-03-2016, 10:32 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by vrphoto Quote
would that mean that the risk of camera movement is less when using back-button focus and front button shutter release?
The proponents of that technique sometimes make that claim, though I was unable to confirm any difference when I evaluated back button focus for my own use. I think it depends on how you hold the camera and how you address the shutter release.

I use a technique similar to what narual suggests. I treat the half-press as a separate action from the shutter release with the final release being more of a stroke than a press. Yes, you can push full down and wait, but there is risk of the SR function not being active (no "hand" in the viewfinder). SR will initiate on half-press. Think of an intentional three step process for general shooting: 1) Attain focus, 2) confirm SR is engaged, 3) make exposure. If you need greater immediacy, back button focus technique or manual focus (zone or prefocus)* or AF-C buys the ability to snap at will without worrying about the AF system lag.


Steve

* I have two lenses (28mm and 35mm) that actually have the aperture and focus rings marked in orange for hyperfocal in orange. For street shooting, simply set aperture and focus rings to the marks and forget about it. Unfortunately those marks are only valid for 35mm FF.

Last edited by stevebrot; 03-03-2016 at 10:48 PM.
03-04-2016, 01:02 AM   #7
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Good question Jack.

@Heie's article says it all, but I'd just emphasise a few points.
1. Stance matters. I hadn't appreciated how much until I read the article.
2. Grip matters. I do find it harder to get a steady position when shooting with the camera held vertically because, unless there is something to lean against, my right arm isn't braced.
3. Breathing matters. I try to press the shutter at the end of an exhale because I tend to press the shutter more smoothly (rather than stab at it) then.
4. Finding something to lean against makes a big difference. Alex (Heie) gives some practical examples. A tree trunk or branch, a door jamb, a car door or bonnet, a seat, a rock, a post or a rail can all help. If I can lock the fingers of my left hand on a door jamb I can drop the shutter speed quite a lot.

Of course a tripod or monopod is a big help, but I'm assuming we're talking about pure handheld.

One other point. I'd underline what @K-Three says. With your lens at 200mm, keep your shutter speed at 1/200th second or faster until you find you can reliably get steady shots at that speed.

Last edited by Des; 03-04-2016 at 02:33 PM.
03-04-2016, 08:42 AM   #8
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Thank you for the detailed replies and links. I will try these suggestions and get back to you all! THANKS AGAIN!!!!!!!

03-04-2016, 08:56 AM   #9
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One thing was not covered here- adjusting to a new lens. It really works for me, I need to shot at least half an hour hand held with heavy new lens, so the body can adjust to it first. Don't be disappointed right away, practice longer using all that advice you got. Practice matters.
03-04-2016, 09:15 AM - 3 Likes   #10
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Heie's article doesn't quite say it all. There needs to be some tutorial on how to get out of some of those body contortions he illustrates. Or at very least a Surgeon General's warning that some of the positions can cause great pain in older photographers.
03-04-2016, 10:36 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by vrphoto Quote
a dumbish request for clarification - when you say "Makes a pretty big difference vs just pushing the button", would that mean that the risk of camera movement is less when using back-button focus and front button shutter release?
I suppose it might be, and I prefer back button focus, but no, I meant that if you just push the shutter release down before it has a chance to lock focus in , you're probably:
  1. Not getting perfect focus (though there's a function you can enable or disable that prevents the shutter if *nothing* is in focus)
  2. Not engaging shake resistance
  3. actively shaking the camera slightly, vs leading with a half press. I see this a lot with friends & family. They'll jam down on the button hard, which moves the camera. I notice it myself when I take photos with my phone, too.


---------- Post added 03-04-16 at 12:38 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by AggieDad Quote
Heie's article doesn't quite say it all. There needs to be some tutorial on how to get out of some of those body contortions he illustrates. Or at very least a Surgeon General's warning that some of the positions can cause great pain in older photographers.
Hah. Not even just for older people. Not everyone is that flexible. A couple of those hurt just to look at.
03-04-2016, 10:45 AM   #12
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Here's a good vid by Moose Peterson on shooting sharp images. Yeah, I know he's a Nikonian but he knows how to shoot.

03-04-2016, 02:45 PM - 2 Likes   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by AggieDad Quote
Heie's article doesn't quite say it all. There needs to be some tutorial on how to get out of some of those body contortions he illustrates. Or at very least a Surgeon General's warning that some of the positions can cause great pain in older photographers.


Always take your physiotherapist with you. In fact it's a good idea to marry a physiotherapist or a yoga instructor.
03-14-2016, 07:45 PM   #14
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Being an old metallic silhouette target shooter taught me a great deal about "pulling the trigger" smoothly. I've found my experience with that discipline of shooting a rifle carries over a great deal to shooting with a camera. A monopod is one of the most useful tools next to a tripod for reducing camera movement. Like shooting targets with a rifle, squeeze the trigger (shutter release button) gently, not with a jerk.... and try to time it when you're exhaling. As already mentioned, keeping your shutter speed as high as practical is also extremely important. That's just my two cents worth, but it works for me and my 70-year-old shaky hands!. And, I'm still a pretty good off-hand shot with a .308 Winchester target rifle at 500 meters, too.

Last edited by Dewman; 03-14-2016 at 07:50 PM.
03-15-2016, 07:34 AM   #15
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Thanks again for the great comments. I am still working on it, but one thing that helped so far is bumping the shutter speed...that made a huge difference. I also purchased a monopod, but that is not working out. I feel like a drunken sailor with it!
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