Shutter speed rule when shooting handheld

kat.hayes

EOS T7i
Nov 25, 2014
76
0
I am still new to all of this, and want to shoot handheld with a 5DM3. I have a 24-70mm, 100-400mm, and a 70-200mm.

To shoot without a tripod and without any handheld blur, can I always use the shutter speed rule of 1/70 for the 24-70mm, 1/400 for the 100-400mm, and 1/200 for the 70-200mm? OR is there anything else involved with this?

Thanks.
 

1251division

I'm New Here
Apr 28, 2016
13
0
Generally, I understand that to be correct as well. The best assessment will come from your own experience and trial and error. Pay attention to your settings and try to recall all the factors and "what-ifs" that went into your decision making process while reviewing. Use pixel peeping as a tool and learn to identify blur from subject motion and/or camera shake. Try to identify various exposure manipulations and their expected outcomes, and get out and keep shooting. Most importantly, have fun.
 

stevelee

FT-QL
Jul 6, 2017
1,252
285
Davidson, NC
Those settings certainly should be safe unless the subject is moving too fast. If you are using the lower end of the zoom, then you could apply the formula to the actual focal length. If the lens has image stabilization and you leave it turned on, you should safely be able to use much slower shutter speeds.

Try different things out and see what works for you and your equipment.
 

Mikehit

EOS 5D MK IV
Jul 28, 2015
3,227
415
As a starting point those are fine but it depends on so many factors including experience (some pros can hand hold successfully at far lower shutter speeds), whether you can brace yourself against a solid object, and whether you are tired or cold. The there is the IS - older IS systems will work only to 2 stops while newer ones for 4 stops (so the 100-400 can be handheld in theory to 1/25 sec at 400mm).

You can also do things to mitigate potential shake such as setting the camera on fastest drive and hammer a series of shots out, hoping one of them is at the 'peak'of the shake and will come out sharp (it is surprising how often this works).
Other devices you can try are a cheap shoulder-brace camera support
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Manfrotto-361-Shoulder-Brace-Monopod/dp/B001A1NZ0A

or a 'string tripod' - some sturdy string tied to a tripod plate on your camera, tread on the other end and apply enough tension to reduce vibration.
 

Valvebounce

EOS 5D SR
Apr 3, 2013
4,252
189
52
Isle of Wight
Hi Kat.
As others have said, in theory it should work, however one of my photography buddies has a sway (almost imperceptible until you really watch him) when he stands, he needs considerably higher speeds to even stand a chance of sharp shots, I often have to remind him to lean or rest on something or he uses a monopod to help steady the camera.
So you do need to experiment with the settings as minimum hand hold speeds are going to be a per person setting.
Good luck, have fun and don’t stress over the numbers.

Cheers, Graham.

kat.hayes said:
I am still new to all of this, and want to shoot handheld with a 5DM3. I have a 24-70mm, 100-400mm, and a 70-200mm.

To shoot without a tripod and without any handheld blur, can I always use the shutter speed rule of 1/70 for the 24-70mm, 1/400 for the 100-400mm, and 1/200 for the 70-200mm? OR is there anything else involved with this?

Thanks.
 

Arty

EOS T7i
Jun 5, 2014
62
1
A long and heavy lens might need higher shutter speeds, but this also depends on the person.
If you are photographing action, 1/500 may not do it for you on a 135, and smaller apertures might be needed to ensure focus. If you are photographing people in a race, 1/1000 might be a good starting point.
 

Besisika

How can you stand out, if you do like evrybdy else
Mar 25, 2014
638
26
Montreal
kat.hayes said:
I am still new to all of this, and want to shoot handheld with a 5DM3. I have a 24-70mm, 100-400mm, and a 70-200mm.

To shoot without a tripod and without any handheld blur, can I always use the shutter speed rule of 1/70 for the 24-70mm, 1/400 for the 100-400mm, and 1/200 for the 70-200mm? OR is there anything else involved with this?

Thanks.
Yes, you are good with that. It is known to be the handshake rule.
However, I strongly suggest to get away from that rule as soon as you are comfortable in breaking it.
Your lenses are stabilized (I am guessing) and you paid more for that IS. Following that rule and having IS lens you may end up sacrificing the quality of your photos.
My suggestion is to shoot, shoot, shoot until you know the values you are comfortable with.

Examples:
When deciding what shutter speed to use, my approach is below.
1 - is the subject moving? yes - walking human: 1/320th sec, running human: 1/400th sec, hockey player: 1/800th sec, flying volleyball 1/2000th sec. These are examples and approximate but shows you that the most important factor for your shutter speed is the speed of the photographed subject and that has nothing to do with focal length of the lens.
2 - non-moving subject: what is the acceptable highest ISO? at that ISO and requested F-stop what is the maximum shutter speed? That is how I determine my shutter speed.
If that shutter speed is very low, then I choose my lens according to its IS not sharpness. For example, 100mm focal length can be shot on an 85mm 1.2, 24-70mm, 24-105mm, 70-200mm, 100mm macro. I would grab the 24-70 (I have the F4 version which is a semi-macro) and then crop in post; or the 100mm macro. I would stay away from the 85 because it doesn't have IS.
What I am saying is that wanting to respect the handshake rule any time may force you to increase your ISO unnecessarily.

After I choose my lens and still not good enough then I apply different techniques to help the IS. Example (as someone stated above); you lean on a tree, shoot multiple times, add flash, etc.
On my 100-400mm II, I can shoot a non moving subject at 1/25th sec handheld, but I have to lean on something hold my breath and shoot multiple times then choose the best one.
 

ahsanford

Particular Member
Aug 16, 2012
7,972
502
A few thoughts:

1) If the subject/frame is not moving and you have IS, 1/FL may force you to use a higher ISO than you need. Why shoot a 24mm shot at 1/30s at ISO 6400 when you can you get an equally well exposed and non-blurry photo from a 1/4s shot at ISO 800? ISO 800 files have a lot more latitude to mess with in post and a lot less noise to manage.

2) Consider Auto ISO. Auto ISO on the 5D3 actually has a min shutter speed option of 'Auto', and (just checking on a zoom on my 5D3 right now) that shutter speed will automatically change depending on your FL. It's imperfect due to stop increments -- so on my 24-70 it hovered around 1/30 for the 24mm end and 1/60 for the 70mm end -- but it's workable. But even if you don't trust the auto min shutter algorithm, you can set the auto ISO min shutter to the long end of the zoom and be done with it. The upside of this? In wildly varying light conditions in which you don't have time to chimp and reshoot (think travel, candids, family, etc.), you are always getting the best ISO you can for the light you have on a frame by frame basis. Not using Auto ISO and simply setting the ISO higher than you need for an entire period of shooting (to be safe for shifting light) is throwing some file quality away in some cases.

3) But I echo the prior comments -- 1 / FL is hand-shake related, but that's a secondary consideration to the speed of your subject. If you want sharp shots of your subject, shutter speed should be appropriate for how fast they are moving. Auto ISO, 1/FL rules, etc. go out the window when I'm chasing our dogs around, for instance. There's no hard and fast rule for that -- so shoot, chimp at 100% and change speed as needed for the given subject / activity. (For instance, I've learned that resting dogs work at perhaps 1/ (2 X FL), but running/playing dogs could be 1/1000s or faster.)

4) 1 / FL is also a general rule but can vary based on your grip strength/technique, how quickly/patiently you frame and shoot, and if you are fatigued. For instance, when I hike and I'm shooting handheld, I'll often just default to 1 / (2 X FL) shutter speed as I will be sweaty & tired.

- A
 

SkynetTX

EOS 80D
Jul 29, 2016
149
6
42
Budapest, Hungary
The general rule is 1/[35 mm equivalent focal length]. So using the 24-70mm lens at 24 mm even 1/30 second should be sharp on a full frame and 1/45 on a crop camera.
Lately there was a Canon day at a local store and I could try the EF 24-70mm f/4L IS out. I took one picture with the kit lens (EF-S 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II) and one with the red ring lens at ISO400 55mm f/8. The kit lens had some blur because of the camera shake. The 24-70 was not only sharp at 1/16 sec. but somewhat brighter as well. (There was a little difference in the framing, though.)
If the subject moves you should use 1/1000 or faster shutter speeds regardless of the focal length. But new IS systems can help very much with camera shake and using a full frame camera you don't have to worry about noise even at ISO 1600 or higher.
 

KeithBreazeal

EOS 6D MK II
Jan 16, 2014
1,261
47
www.kbvp.com
Plenty of good comments here, so far. Yes, there are so many variables to this, but it also comes down to the question as to what is acceptable sharpness for you.
To really get a method that works, turn off the IS and try different postures/methods. Everybody is different, so find the way that is most comfortable for you.
There is always YouTube for ideas. In the search window for YouTube, copy & paste this: techniques for slow shutter speed handheld photography
 

ahsanford

Particular Member
Aug 16, 2012
7,972
502
So my general workflow for 'enthusiast shooting his daily life/travels/family with available light that is constantly changing' is as follows on my 5D3:

1) Shoot in Av -- that's just how I see things, the first independent variable I want to control, etc. (it's 95% of the time on Evaluative metering unless I have very odd backlighting to manage)

2) Set Auto ISO to 1/FL min shutter for non IS lens, or 3*(1/FL) for IS lens. The 3x is a rough rule, read TDP for how effective each IS system really is for a given lens. For my 16-35 f/4L IS, I go with 2x, for some lenses, 4x can work.

3) Adjust that min shutter to taste depending on what my subject is (or if I'm tired from hiking). If that needs to be tweaked too often and I don't want to keep drilling down into menus to do that, I just kill Auto ISO and raise ISO to a level that will crush any concerns of too slow a shutter speed. Be gentle with this as (again) you'll be taking all shots from that point forward at an ISO that might be higher than you need.

Not remotely bold prediction: we all do the shutter speed dance above very differently depending on our personal photographic sensibilities, our patience, our subject's patience, what we're shooting, if we're using speedlites, etc. There is no one way to do this. Find the way that works best for you and the type of photography you are doing.

- A
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,526
755
The out of date rule, 1/shutter speed was updated by Canon to suggest that 1 / 2 X shutter speed be used for modern high MP sensors and non-IS lenses. For a 24 mp APS-C or 5DS, I'd use 1 / 3 X shutter speed when possible.

I always tried to use the fastest shutter speed possible with my 5D MK III, at least 1/125 for the 24-70 when light was low, otherwise faster.

If the subject is moving, it depends on the speed of the motion, birds in flight should usually be 1/2000 sec, but it varies even there.

This is something that is refined by experience with your type of shots, but start with higher shutter speeds and try lowering them a step at a time. IS will greatly reduce the shutter speed needed for a stationary target, but if its moving, IS does not help.
 

LDS

EOR R
Sep 14, 2012
1,578
152
Arty said:
A long and heavy lens might need higher shutter speeds, but this also depends on the person.
Yes, the gear weight, size, and our own physical strength matters. A longer lens will also apply a larger lever force to the camera - depending on how the camera is held. Keeping one hand at the camera-lens barycenter will help to minimize shake.

Shooting, say at 100mm with a 70-200/2.8 L II IS (1,5 Kg) is different than using say, a 100/2 (0,5 KG) - albeit the former has IS, of course.

Having good strength and resistance to fatigue will also help in reaching the slowest speed - as long as the subject is static enough. Keeping arms close and against the body also helps.
 

stevelee

FT-QL
Jul 6, 2017
1,252
285
Davidson, NC
As I was getting used to my 6D2 with 24-105mm STM lens, I found that just setting everything on auto and not paying attention to the whether there was any light to speak of worked rather well. Sure, pixel peeping on an ISO 40,000 shot showed noise, but the IS seemed to allow handheld shots at relatively slow shutter speeds.

Obviously I am going to pay more attention on important shots, but pushing limits while just messing around has given me a start at knowing what I can get away with, and that is a lot more than I would have tried without doing the casual shooting.
 

ahsanford

Particular Member
Aug 16, 2012
7,972
502
stevelee said:
As I was getting used to my 6D2 with 24-105mm STM lens, I found that just setting everything on auto and not paying attention to the whether there was any light to speak of worked rather well. Sure, pixel peeping on an ISO 40,000 shot showed noise, but the IS seemed to allow handheld shots at relatively slow shutter speeds.

Obviously I am going to pay more attention on important shots, but pushing limits while just messing around has given me a start at knowing what I can get away with, and that is a lot more than I would have tried without doing the casual shooting.
Sure, but you can also set an acceptable-to-your-tastes ISO cap to your personal preferences with Auto ISO. My 5D3 is set to cap at ISO 6400 but I'll push that at concerts, super dim rooms, if I see an Elk after dark on the South Rim of the GC, etc.

- A
 

stevelee

FT-QL
Jul 6, 2017
1,252
285
Davidson, NC
ahsanford said:
Sure, but you can also set an acceptable-to-your-tastes ISO cap to your personal preferences with Auto ISO. My 5D3 is set to cap at ISO 6400 but I'll push that at concerts, super dim rooms, if I see an Elk after dark on the South Rim of the GC, etc.
- A
Yes, I know. I had to change the setting to allow auto ISO to go up to 40,000. I decided to give the camera a long leash and try out various situations, and then look at the data for any shots from which I thought I might learn something. I'm somebody who used to dare push Tri-X to ASA 800, so the higher numbers look scary until I see what the modern results are.
 

FTb-n

Canonet QL17 GIII
Sep 22, 2012
532
8
St. Paul, MN
Assuming a FF body, 2/focal length is a good starting point. But this varies with the photographer, the lens, and the situation.

It always helps to develop good habits for holding a camera steady -- keep your elbows in, squeeze the shutter instead of hitting it, brace against a wall, etc. I kneeling is appropriate for the shot, brace an elbow on a knee. If tracking a moving subject, pan with the subject while shooting. Some situations lend themselves to slower shutter speeds better than others.

Lens choice plays a factor here. With a 24-70 f2.8L II on a 5D3 or a 1Dx, I generally shoot at 1/125 or faster at 70mm. But, I recently tried an 85 f1.8 on these bodies and couldn't hold it steady consistently at anything slower 1/250. I suspect that the weight and mass of the 24-70 had better dampening affect than the small, lightweight 85.

I strongly recommend shooting a test pattern (or a cereal box with sharp printed text) with each non-IS lens to get a feel for what your slow shutter speed limit is.
 
Mt Spokane Photography said:
The out of date rule, 1/shutter speed was updated by Canon to suggest that 1 / 2 X shutter speed be used for modern high MP sensors and non-IS lenses. For a 24 mp APS-C or 5DS, I'd use 1 / 3 X shutter speed when possible.

I always tried to use the fastest shutter speed possible with my 5D MK III, at least 1/125 for the 24-70 when light was low, otherwise faster.

If the subject is moving, it depends on the speed of the motion, birds in flight should usually be 1/2000 sec, but it varies even there.

This is something that is refined by experience with your type of shots, but start with higher shutter speeds and try lowering them a step at a time. IS will greatly reduce the shutter speed needed for a stationary target, but if its moving, IS does not help.
This (1/2xFL) is the advice I got from a pro friend of mine, and it seems to work brilliantly for her. She does a LOT of wedding photography and gets fantastic results, all handheld. (BTW I'm assuming you wrote 'shutter speed' when you meant to use 'focal length'?)

I tend to shoot in aperture priority mode with auto ISO for the most part, and all I do is make a quick check that the auto-selected shutter speed is equal to or faster than (1/2xFL) and I'm good to go. If it's trying to go slower and using IS to compensate, I just force the ISO a bit higher to get the shutter speed up. Generally I don't have to though, it seems to work things out itself fairly well. (5D MkIV and 24-105 f4L ISII or 70-200 f2.8L ISII)
 

neuroanatomist

I post too Much on Here!!
Jul 21, 2010
24,610
2,072
Mt Spokane Photography said:
The out of date rule, 1/shutter speed was updated by Canon to suggest that 1 / 2 X shutter speed be used for modern high MP sensors and non-IS lenses. For a 24 mp APS-C or 5DS, I'd use 1 / 3 X shutter speed when possible.
Interesting that Canon changed their recommendation. I wonder if they have/will alter the firmware for newer cameras accordingly, to use faster shutter speeds in Av than 1/FL for FF and 1/(1.6xFL) for APS-C. I've always found it interesting that Canon ignores IS when selecting a shutter speed in Av.