Shutter speed?

Quick rule of thumb:

  • Stay roughly at 1/lens length or faster to be sure your pictures are not shaky. Roughly! So for a 100mm lens, stay faster than 1/100th.And so on.
  • Hold your lens at the end.
  • Take 5 or more pictures – one will be sharp.

Quick, as rules of thumb are. But useful!

0 thoughts on “Shutter speed?

  1. Does this general rule change for cameras with cropped sensors? For instance, I have a 36mm prime lens for my Nikon. On my camera, it behaves like a 50mm lens. Should I be roughly at > 1/36 or > 1/50 ?

    Great advice on ‘take five photos’. I really do need to stop shooting like I’m using film and have to pay for every frame. Digital shifts that to where I’m ‘paying’ if I don’t shoot enough frames.

  2. Good question. In fact the rule is about the “real” length. Meaning a 50mm lens on a crop camera behaves like an 80mm lens, so it should be kept at 1/80th or faster.

    The reason I did not even mention this is that it is a very rough rule. Some people get away with half; others need double. It’s more an “order of magnitude” rule, and a stochastic one: if you shoot at 1/10th sec on a 50mm lens you will need to shoot more pics to get a sharp one, while if you shoot at 1/250th second, you get a sharp one almost every time.

  3. In talking about people saying “cheese” and other slow moving objects, shutter speed faster than 1/lens length, and shutter slower than the flash sync speed, eh?

    Faster would give you less operator jiggles, but less ambient light fill beyond the flash, while slower would allow for more background fill, but risk more blur without using a tripod.

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