Set a fast shut­ter speed

NPhoto - - Sharpen Up Your Slr Skills -

The faster the shut­ter speed, the shorter the amount of time the sen­sor is ex­posed to light. Very fast shut­ter speeds in the re­gion of 1/1000 sec to 1/8000 sec en­able you to stop the mo­tion of fast-mov­ing ob­jects, al­low­ing you to record de­tails that you aren’t able to dis­cern with the hu­man eye. This comes at a price: a re­duc­tion in light. To en­sure that enough light is recorded to cre­ate an ex­po­sure, you may be forced to choose a larger aper­ture or a higher ISO sen­si­tiv­ity – or both.

How fast a shut­ter speed do you need to guar­an­tee sharp re­sults? There are two things you need to weigh up: how fast the sub­ject of the photo will be mov­ing and how ac­com­plished you are at hold­ing a cam­era and lens still. The rule of thumb for coun­ter­act­ing the blur­ring ef­fects of cam­era shake is to en­sure that the shut­ter speed is equiv­a­lent to or faster than the fo­cal length of the lens, such as 1/200 sec for a 200mm lens and 1/50 sec for a 50mm lens. If you’re shoot­ing with a DX cam­era like the D500, then it’s also wise to fac­tor in the 1.5x crop fac­tor of the smaller sen­sor – so 1/300 sec for a 200mm lens.

Of course, a lens equipped with Vi­bra­tion Re­duc­tion can take the edge off cam­era shake, en­abling you to shoot at slower shut­ter speeds than the rec­om­mended ‘safe’ hand­held speed. But it won’t have any ef­fect on the speed of the sub­ject. As Andy high­lights (right), to freeze the mo­tion of a sprint cy­clist or a diver, you’re still go­ing to be look­ing at shut­ter speeds of 1/6401/2000 sec, and the only way you may be able to achieve that is by us­ing a large aper­ture or by in­creas­ing the ISO.

If the sharp­ness of an im­age rests on the choice of shut­ter speed, it makes sense to work in shut­ter-pri­or­ity mode. This al­lows you to set a spe­cific shut­ter speed, with the cam­era ad­just­ing the aper­ture to bal­ance the ex­po­sure. An al­ter­na­tive is to work in man­ual mode, set­ting your pre­ferred shut­ter speed and aper­ture com­bi­na­tion, then switch­ing the ISO to ‘Auto’.

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