What is your steadiness limit?

Who wants to use a tripod all the time? Sure it gets you blur-free shots, but how awkward carrying the thing around. Some places don’t even let you bring one (certain parks, monuments, busy areas, etc.). But how do you know if you’re going to get blur (camera shake) if you’re hand-holding your camera? You have to know your “steadiness limit.” Here’s how.

The objective is to determine how slow a shutter speed is acceptable for you when hand-holding for a shot.

  1. Set your camera for shutter priority (Tv) mode.
  2. Dial in a shutter speed of about 1/15th of a second.
  3. Hold the camera like you normally would, and take a shot of something.
  4. Now repeat it for decreasing shutter speeds down to 1/500th second.
  5. Look at the results. The 1/500th should be sharp with no blur, but somewhere above that speed will start to show signs of camera shake. Where it is just acceptable is your steadiness limit and you’ll want to be at a shutter speed faster than that if hand-holding.

You can always work to better your hand-held steadiness with some camera-holding techniques, but if you don’t know your current capability then its impossible to know how to improve it. Now you will know it!

Also,once you know your steadiness limit, you can know exactly when to use a tripod or not. Knowing this is half, if not all of the battle! Plus you’ll save time in post-processing by not having to correct for motion blur with Focus Magic (that works wonderfully but takes time)!