When ’s it safe to hand­hold AN SLR?

Sub­ject move­ment is just one cause of blur; the other is cam­era move­ment

NPhoto - - Nikopedia -

Sub­ject move­ment and cam­era move­ment are two com­pletely dif­fer­ent things. You can of­ten achieve strik­ing cre­ative ef­fects with sub­ject move­ment, but cam­era move­ment (or ‘cam­era shake’) just pro­duces an unattrac­tive all-over blur where noth­ing in the pic­ture is sharp.

There is an easy way to work out the min­i­mum shut­ter speed for hand­held pho­tog­ra­phy, based sim­ply on the fo­cal length you’re us­ing (or ef­fec­tive fo­cal length, if you’re us­ing a DX-for­mat Nikon). For ex­am­ple, if you’re shoot­ing at a fo­cal length of 30mm, 1/30 sec is the slow­est ‘safe’ speed for hand­held pho­tog­ra­phy. If you’re shoot­ing with a 500mm lens, it’s 1/500 sec.

Of course, many Nikon lenses have VR, or ‘Vi­bra­tion Re­duc­tion’ sys­tems. These re­duce the ef­fects of shake and al­low you to use shut­ter speeds two to four steps slower than nor­mal. You have to re­mem­ber that al­though this will stop cam­era move­ment, it has no ef­fect on sub­ject move­ment. If you want to freeze a fast-mov­ing sub­ject, you’ll still need a fast shut­ter speed, with or with­out VR.

You can use our ta­ble, above, to work out the min­i­mum ‘safe’ speeds for dif­fer­ent lenses. We al­low an ex­tra two steps for lenses with VR – you may get more, but it’s best to be con­ser­va­tive.

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