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Author Topic: Is a heavier lens more steady?  (Read 2446 times)

dirtcastle

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Is a heavier lens more steady?
« on: February 18, 2012, 06:13:09 PM »
Some people say a heavier lens makes it more steady in their hands.

For me, it always feels like extra weight increases camera shake.

Or maybe it's just that longer/heavier lenses have a longer focal length that makes the shaking more noticeable?

Any thoughts?

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Is a heavier lens more steady?
« on: February 18, 2012, 06:13:09 PM »

dr croubie

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Re: Is a heavier lens more steady?
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2012, 06:25:04 PM »
What I've heard more talked about is balance.

Ie, a 1Ds with a 50/1.8 attached feels too unbalanced, as does a 1100D with a 70-200/2.8L.
For the first, there's nowhere to put your left hand, you can't rest the lens on it, best you can do is hold the left side of the camera body.
For the second, I've heard a lot of reviews saying "adding a grip will make a long lens more balanced with a lighter body, and reduce hand/arm strain". The theory is that a heavy lens will produce more torque around your wrist, if you add a grip you're adding more downwards force, but it ends up as less torque rotating the lens around the axis point in your hand.

My 70-300L and 7D go nicely together, but sometimes I can definitely feel that extra torque rotating my right wrist around. I haven't got a battery grip to add to it, but i've heard from others that it makes a lot of difference to wrist-strain at the end of the day...

As for how that affects camera shake and image blur, longer focal length of course means you're going to need faster shutter speeds. It also depends on how strong you are, before you start getting the shakes from handholding too long. But a longer focal length (and thus heavier lens) on a really light body like the 1000D is going to put more strain on your left than right hand, balancing it out with a grip will mean that you're taking more weight (as a % of total weight) and shake will probably be less.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2012, 06:29:01 PM by dr croubie »
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Re: Is a heavier lens more steady?
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2012, 06:32:27 PM »
It is worse for me to have a unbalanced setup. 

The worst I've owned was a rebel with a 24-70 lens.  On a 1 series, it balances nicely.  I also find a 70-200mm f/2.8 balances best on a 1 series.

The 7D and 5D MK II balance pretty well with most of the under $3000 lenses.

archangelrichard

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Re: Is a heavier lens more steady?
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2012, 08:12:51 PM »
Yes a longer lens travels more in any movement so shake is exaggerated.

simple. Draw a line 50mm in length then draw a arc from that 10 degrees up and 10 down.

now draw a line 200mm and go 10 degrees up and down. See the difference?

Yes a heavier lens is more stable (it takes more energy to move / shake it) What some others here have spoken to is CONTROL - the more balanced the combination is the easier it is to control; which is a more practical answer to your question, and also explains why on longer lenses the mount is further away from the camera body - control

And it is control that keeps the camera shake down

Marsu42

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Re: Is a heavier lens more steady?
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2012, 05:20:01 PM »
Some people say a heavier lens makes it more steady in their hands. For me, it always feels like extra weight increases camera shake.

Well, I guess that's why IS more considered more important on tele lenses - even if for steadier framing alone.

And you'll have to adjust your technique to compensate for a heavier lens - either use a monopod or control the steadiness with your left hand instead of your right like with short, light primes. However, technique won't help you if you get muscle spasms after holding a 70-200/2.8 for a few hours :-) ... in addition to that, I agree it's about balance - I'll get a 70-300L for my 60D which feels very "natural" to me.

D_Rochat

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Re: Is a heavier lens more steady?
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2012, 05:41:48 PM »
The worst I've owned was a rebel with a 24-70 lens.

Adding a battery grip to that setup makes a huge difference. I highly recommend a grip with any heavy lens/Rebel combo. Add a Blackrapid style sling, and you're good to go.

bycostello

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Re: Is a heavier lens more steady?
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2012, 03:46:05 AM »
the heavier the lens the more time i spend straitening images in lightroom!!

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Re: Is a heavier lens more steady?
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2012, 03:46:05 AM »

optikus

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Re: Is a heavier lens more steady?
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2012, 04:31:27 AM »
Hi,

I think, the relevant item is, how the setup fits to your hand more than the mass as single kriterium. My 400D + battery-Grip fits to the kit-lens - with heavier lenses I prefer my 10D + battery-grip. After having bought the frist bg for my 10D the decision was, to fit all bodies with bg's to have better balance and control - then the relevance what lens is on the cam sunk significantly.

Jörg
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mb66energy

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Re: Is a heavier lens more steady?
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2012, 04:35:20 AM »
1 Some people say a heavier lens makes it more steady in their hands.

2 For me, it always feels like extra weight increases camera shake.

3 Or maybe it's just that longer/heavier lenses have a longer focal length that makes the shaking more noticeable?

Any thoughts?

If equipment is too heavy I suffer from some fatigue in my muscles and reduced control.

Control means to
  • stabilize cam and lens with your hands and your forehead,
  • not to place your arms near your heart or major blod vessels,
  • to get the right moment between two heart beats,
  • stopping breathing without cramping and
  • not to loose control above triggering due to concentration on points 1-4!

I have built a simple micro stand for my cameras consisting of a wooden
board of approx 10 x 15 cm with a very old dual ball head of Linhof -
this one can be used as a shoulder rest for my 5.6/400 - gives 2-3 stops
more stability! - Let's see that as increasing the mass of the camera/lens (2kg)
by a factor of 35!

I have attached a sketch (you understand from the sketch why I take photos
of people instead of drawing them ;)

Such devices are also available commercially.

Best - Michael
TOOLS: EF-S 10-22 | 60 || EF 2.8/24 | 2.8/40 | 2.8+2.0/100 | 4.0/70-200 | 5.6/400 || 2 x 40D || 2x TC ||| 600D for video ||| EOS M + bunch of FD chrome rings

SPG

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Re: Is a heavier lens more steady?
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2012, 05:15:24 PM »
There's definitely a sweet spot somewhere between the extremes of a camera phone and a pro body w/600mm that you can't even lift up for more than a few seconds. Too light and your movements are exaggerated, too heavy and you can't hold it for long before you start to shake. Get to the gym and you'll find that your sweet spot of weight gets a lot wider!
In the meantime you should practice some of the video guy's techniques to holding cameras steady. Elbows in, controlled breathing, comfortable stance, etc. Apply those techniques and you'll get more steady.

Minnesota Nice

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Re: Is a heavier lens more steady?
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2012, 05:56:14 PM »
I recently shot with the 100-400mm on my 60D and needless to say my 55-250 is much steadier simply because it weighs less.  I can see what you are getting at though, just from my experience a more balanced lens is easier to hold steady.

scottkinfw

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Re: Is a heavier lens more steady?
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2012, 07:00:55 PM »
For me, a heavy lens can lead to fatigue and a less steady hand.  Of course, a longer lens is more prone to show the effects of shake, and they tend to be heavier.
sek
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Re: Is a heavier lens more steady?
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2012, 07:00:55 PM »