What is “Camera Shake”

When you hand hold your camera and depending on the shutter speed setting, you can cause unwanted “image blur” just from hand and body movement resulting in a “soft image“.

Looking at the image of the girl on the left, f/5.6, 1/60, ISO 200, @ 200mm, notice the image is sharp, versus the image on the right which is what we refer to as a “soft” image. If you were to magnify the image on the right to a 1:1 magnification you would see the blurry edges around the girls eyes, nose, mouth, and hair. Click on the images to view a larger size.

Check out this YouTube resource to help with how to properly hand hold a DSLR or bridge camera. SLR Lounge – 6 Ways to Hold a Camera for Slow Shutter Speeds and Sharp Images (10 min. 58 sec.)

The general rule of thumb when hand holding your camera is to choose a shutter speed equal to or greater than the focal length. For the above example image of the girl we used a shutter speed of 1/60 with a focal length of 200mm. Following the general rule the shutter speed should have been at a minimum of 1/200. By not using a fast enough shutter speed it resulted in a number of undesired soft images during the photo shoot. Lens image/optical stabilization or sometimes referred to as vibration reduction can help when using slower shutter speeds which will be discussed in a future article.

Choosing the shutter speed to minimize motion or freeze the subject will be covered in the next lesson.

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