Hand-Holding the Camera and Sharpness


This happens: I get back to the computer and find that the shot I took is not sharp. I was shaking while taking the photo. Arrrrgh! But why? I’ll tell you my problems so you can avoid them yourself.

The Number One Answer

I shot the photo at too low of a shutter speed. This is usually 1/30th of a second and longer.

I have found that I can successfully hand-hold my camera and shoot at 1/60th of a second. At longer shutter times than that, I have the potential for shake issues to show up in my photos. I can extend my abilities by doing any of these items:

  1. Use a strap to stabilize my camera.
  2. Set my camera on something to stabilize it.
  3. Raise my ISO. (I like to stay at 800 or less, so I set the maximum auto ISO ability to 800 so the camera does not choose something higher.)
  4. Use a tripod. (I hate using a tripod except at night.)
  5. Shoot only during the day.

The Number Two Answer

Vibration Reduction was set to “off” on the lens, or the lens did not have vibration reduction (image stabilization).

Not all lenses have image stabilization in them. But, these tend to be the lenses I like the most, so I find I must shoot at shorter shutter speeds such as 1/60th of a second and shorter with these lenses.

Sometimes I will shut off the image stabilization on a lens because I used a tripod just prior. I turn off the image stabilization when using a tripod because it introduces shake. I routinely forget to turn it back on.

What Can Be Done?

Besides what has already been mentioned above, what could be done to prevent blurry images due to camera shake?

  1. “Fix it in post.” Use deconvolution software to “un-shake” a blurry image.
  2.  Always make sure you have a maximum shutter open time (speed) of 1/60th of a second. Some cameras let you set this. Check your camera’s settings.
  3. Allow auto ISO to increase so you can have shorter shutter speeds. A bit of graininess from a higher ISO can be corrected in post-processing more easily than a blurry image.

Thank you for reading what I wrote — I hope you enjoyed it!
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