How Can I Avoid Camera Shake?

  • Thread starter LukeLewis
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May 7, 2021
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I've been taking photos lately and have been noticing that there's some blur in a few of them. I would really like to avoid any type of camera shake in my images, so I'm wondering if anyone has any advice that may help. I know what's done is done and I can't get rid of the blur, but what can I do to avoid it in the first place?


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May 5, 2021
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Camera shake is caused by one thing; a shutter speed that's too slow for the movement the camera is experiencing. If you've got a shutter speed that's fast enough, you'd be able to take a crisp clear photograph while swinging the camera around on a rope. Obviously, that's an extreme example, but it's true.

Your Options​

To deal with the blur you're experiencing in your photos, you'll have to either hasten your camera's shutter speed or stop moving the camera while taking pictures. If you can, try using a tripod. This will allow you to keep as slow of a shutter speed as you want with no blur at all. If you're shooting handheld, you'll need to manually set your shutter speed so it's faster. How fast? Here's the rule:

What's the Slowest Shutter Speed for Handheld Photography?​

The best guideline that's currently available is to set your camera's shutter speed to at least a bare minimum of what would avoid the blur that's caused by camera shake. The minimum shutter speed is the reciprocal of the lens' focal length. For example, if you're lens' focal length is 100mm, then you'd want at least a 1/100th of a second for your shutter speed. If you're shooting at 40mm, then you'd want at least a 1/40th of a second for your shutter speed. This makes sense if you think about it. Shooting at 100mm means that you're pretty zoomed in. Any shake at that distance is going to be a lot more noticeable than at 40mm. Because of the sensitivity while zoomed in, a faster shutter speed will be necessary to avoid blur.

ISO + Aperture​

Obviously, if you alter your shutter speed, there will be a price to pay with either your ISO, aperture, or both. When you make a shutter speed faster, you'll have the choice of raising your ISO value or making your aperture size bigger (smaller number). You'll need to do these things in order to keep your photos properly exposed. You'll need to make that choice while shooting. Can your aperture go any bigger than it already is? No? Then you'll need to rely on either raising your ISO or using a different lens that offers a larger maximum aperture.

When Does Camera Shake Usually Occur?​

I find that most of the blur that's caused by camera shake occurs at night or in dark rooms indoors. The reason for this is because while the camera is actually exposing the photo correctly, it doesn't know my intentions. It doesn't know that I'm shooting handheld and that I need a faster shutter speed. If the scene is dark enough, the camera will likely set a very slow shutter speed automatically to compensate for that lack of light. To deal with this, I'll use shutter priority mode and set the shutter speed for something that's fast enough. I'll let the camera decide what it wants to do with the aperture and ISO.

I hope this helps.
How Can I Avoid Camera Shake? was posted on 05-29-2021 by LukeLewis in the Photography forum.

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