Ichimusai

Photos and other rants

Meny Stäng

Shooting handheld with long exposure

As everyone knows the trick is to keep the camera steady and this is easier said then done. When the exposure times goes up to 1/30s and more most people run into problem. There is a simple formula you can use to calculate the slowest exposure for a given focal length and it goes like this:

t = 1/f

t is your exposure time (shutter speed) and f is the focal length you are currently shooting with.

Some people also say there should be a 1.5 factor here because of the crop factor of the APS-C sensor in most digital cameras. That’s not my experience and I believe the explanation is that the smaller the sensor, the less the camera shake is noticeable. Anyway, I have never had a problem shooting handheld with this formula.

This means that for a 200 mm lens you need 1/200s in order to shoot sharply handheld. This is a good aim but sometimes you can not get that because the light is not goot enough and you don’t want to bump that ISO setting because it produces far more noise in your pictures.

On a 50mm it says you should be able to take sharp pictures handheld down to about 1/50s which is a pretty low shutter speed. This is definitely possible but for the best result you can practice the McNally Grip, also known simply as ”Da Grip”. This requires you to be a left-eye shooter and is easier for right-handed people.

It’s not always practical to carry or even use a tripod. If you are doing street photography with a tripod in certain places you know the police may take an active interest in what about you are up to. Basically this is the same technique as when firing a rifle, you keep it well tucked in, steady and squeeze the trigger as you slowly exhale. Same thing here, just a camera trigger.

Ubuntu ColaUsing this technique most people can shoot about 1-2 EV lower than they would otherwise. This means that if you can just about do 1/50s with a 50 mm you may be able to get tack sharp pictures down to 1/25s or even 1/10s which is really really good!

This is handheld only in lamp light in the metro line of stockholm city (focus is deliberately on the Ubunty cola poster to the right hand side):

The reason I took this is because Ubuntu is also a Linux distribution.

I happen to be both so I love this.

McNallys blog post here >>>

Or you can watch his video here directly if you like.