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Old Sep 14, 2010, 12:50 PM   #1
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Default How slow of shutter speed can you hand hold on DSLR?

In taking some low light shots with my T1i, I was experimenting with different ISO speeds and seeing what the camera selects. In auto ISO, it was picking 1600 and the shutter speed would be at like 1/5 or 1/6. I tried the same shot with my old G2 at ISO 400 and it put it at 1/15. Ok so first of all, the pictures are pretty noisy on that old camera at 400 but I was just comparing. Was the shutter speed faster on that one at a lower ISO because the aperture on it is 2.0 and on the T1i it was 3.5?

The other question I have is just what the title says. I remember before that it was hard to hold something still at slower than about 1/40 or so but on this camera it goes into 1/4, 1/5, 1/6 or somewhere around there a lot and I don't seem to have any blur just by hand holding it. Is that because of the IS? How slow can you get before you should use a tripod? And is it better to lower the ISO down from 1600 and have a slower shutter speed if the conditions permit as opposed to keeping it at 1600 and possibly having more noise?
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Old Sep 14, 2010, 1:34 PM   #2
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i usually can get 1/20-1/25 ok, but with vr i can get 1/8 sometimes
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Old Sep 14, 2010, 2:34 PM   #3
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In general, without stabilization, the rule of thumb is that the shutter speed should be the inverse of the focal length times the crop factor. That is, at a focal length of 55mm on the T1i, the longest exposure should be 1/(55*1.6) or 1/88 second

Image stabilization can increase that by 2 or more stops, but 1/4 second is pushing it.
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Old Sep 14, 2010, 2:52 PM   #4
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it really depends on the person. I have handheld non stabilized at 1/2 to 1/16. And I know some that can not handhold past 1/80.
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Old Sep 14, 2010, 3:08 PM   #5
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So at full zoom, it should be 1/(18*1.6) = 1/29 x 2 with IS will give 1/15. This does seem to be a lot easier to hold still than a smaller camera, but then would you suggest using higher ISO rather than a slower shutter speed with a lower ISO? I guess I have to pay close attention to the shutter speed it selects since it doesn't give the shake warning like the P&S cams do.

So if I get that 50mm 1.8 lens someday, then is that going to make a huge difference in low light as far as shutter speed selected since it so much faster of a lens?
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Old Sep 14, 2010, 3:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dj76 View Post
So at full zoom, it should be 1/(18*1.6) = 1/29 x 2 with IS will give 1/15. This does seem to be a lot easier to hold still than a smaller camera, ...
Yes. An often overlooked factor is that the mass of a dSLR + lens actually dampens camera shake. (An object in motion tends to remain in motion, and an object at rest tends to remain at rest.) It takes a lot of energy to shake a big heavy camera.

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... but then would you suggest using higher ISO rather than a slower shutter speed with a lower ISO? I guess I have to pay close attention to the shutter speed it selects since it doesn't give the shake warning like the P&S cams do.
There are lots of ways to limit the amount of camera shake, like holding your breath, bracing yourself and the camera against some stationary object, and pressing the shutter button in between heartbeats (if the shutter speed wouldn't encompass a heartbeat. Uping the ISO would be the last thing I tried.

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So if I get that 50mm 1.8 lens someday, then is that going to make a huge difference in low light as far as shutter speed selected since it so much faster of a lens?
Yes. The larger aperture will admit more light, allowing you to use faster shutter speeds and/or lower ISOs. But be prepaired for a very limited depth of field.
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Old Sep 14, 2010, 3:59 PM   #7
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So for those of you who have this camera, what is the max ISO level you find acceptable, since you have been using it for awhile and have had a lot of experience with it.
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Old Sep 18, 2010, 2:50 AM   #8
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You can shoot well at 3200iso if you expose well, and 6400 is not bad with some pp noise reduction. I have used the t1i at 6400iso when shooting in a club with a 50 1.4 because the flash blinds the dancer. And have gotten acceptable results.
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Old Sep 18, 2010, 5:09 AM   #9
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i find that I am not the steadiest person in the world, never have been. so even with the advances in modern image stabilization i still try to stick to the 1/equiv focal length rule, or at least reasonably close to it, i find it really helps keep my images sharp.
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Old Sep 18, 2010, 5:13 AM   #10
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It depends on the person and also on the camera and also on what resolution you require from the image.

My personal view is that even with IS anything less than 1/10s at any focal length is going to be on very dodgy ground.

My personal rules of thumb for decent sharpness at 100% magnification in PS/LR:

1. 35mm (film) rangefinder (scanned), 50mm lens I can handhold to around 1/30s.
The lack of mirror-slap and the lower effective resolution I get from ISO400 films, and the extra difficulty of manual focus mean that 0.5 x (equivalent) focal length works for me with this system.

2. Canon 5D 12Mp, 50mm lens I can handhold to around 1/60s.
With this SLR I found that the standard 1/ (equivalent) focal length rule gave acceptable results.

3. Canon 5DMkII 22Mp, 50mm lens I can handhold to around 1/125s.
The increased resolution possible from this camera means that unless I down-res the images to 12Mp I am unhappy with the sharpness I get from handholding unless I use 2 x (equivalent) focal length as a rule.

4. Canon 5DMkII 22Mp + 24-105mm IS lens @ 50mm, I can handhold this down to around 1/15s and be pretty happy with the results. A 3-stop advantage over my unstabilized 50mm.


This can be endlessly debated. Some people think that because I'm not happy with 1/60s on my 5DMk2 there is something wrong with my technique. The other possibility is that I just have higher standards for what is acceptably sharp.

The real thing is to find the values that work for you and your systems.

Some interesting reading around the subject:

http://www.imx.nl/photo/technique/technique/page40.html

http://www.josephholmes.com/news-med...precision.html
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