Hand holding.

I’m not refering to actually holding your hand and walking you through step by step on how to do something… not this week anyway… I’m refering to holding your camera in hand to get your images.

I was asked this week “When should I use a tripod?”.

So this week I’ll answer that question with my opinion.

Your image will always be better with a tripod, therefore always use a tripod. There how simple was that, best tip you will ever get.

You can shoot in lower light situations, your images will be sharper, your arms won’t be tired at the end of the day.

Ok ok.. over simplifying, but for most situations a tripod is the best option. I like tripods, but my photographic accomplice would rather throw the tripod out a window than use it. So it really comes down to preferance and your style of photography.

Now back to the topic, hand holding. There is a general rule for when hand holding. Use a tripod if you need to shoot slower than the inverse of the lens length. What this means is if you are shooting a 300mm lens you should not be shooting slower than 1/300th of a second. An 85mm lens, 1/85th and so on. This is a general rule for the average person. If you are shakey you’ll have to shoot faster, and if super steady then you may be able to shoot a touch slower. Note: if shooting a crop sensor camera you will need to convert to full frame equivalent. Eg. 50mm on Canon 7D (crop factor 1.6), equivalent to 80mm , so 1/80th would be needed.

what about image stabilization? Well if you have it Great! Lenses now have up to 4 full stops of stabilization so that 300mm that required 1/300th could theoretically be held at about 1/20th and still result in decent image. If you are on a tripod you should actually turn off the stabilizer for better results.

Still want to handhold? Not a problem, just add light(s). If you add a couple stops of light you gain those stops with your shutter speed. Refer to the post on the exposure triangle.

Not much info to absorb this week, keep shutter speed faster than inverse of lense length or use a tripod. As always if you have something you want clarified or have a question on gear, drop me line.