The folks at Camera Technica have a great post and video illustrating the effects of shake on slower shutter speed captures.


DSLR Mirror Vibration from Camera Technica on Vimeo.


My tips for avoiding camera shake, repeating some of what they discuss-

  • Avoid shutters speeds below 1/20 of a second – not only are you going to get camera shake but if any of your subjects are moving they will be blurry as well.- Avoid the slower shutter speeds by adding more light through larger aperture or increasing the ISO or physically adding more light to the room/situation.
  • If you need to shoot below 1/20 of a second you should
    • Be using a tripod ($40 for an excellent Dolica- no excuses not to have one) If you find yourself without a tripod look around for something to set or brace the camera on, last resort- brace your elbows against your chest and slowly exhale as you gently and smoothly press the shutter. You may want to try live view, the focus will be slower but the mirror will already be up and out of the way.
    • On a tripod use mirror lockup and the 2-second timer built in to most DSLR or a remote. The 2 second timer gives the mirror vibration a chance to settle out before snapping the shutter.
    • Take multiple photos, you are more likely to get one that is acceptably sharp- this is especially important if you are handholding and you may want to try switching your camera to burst and snapping several in succession as your slowly exhale.

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