Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How To Get Sharper Photos | Photography Quiz Answers

Getting sharper photos takes more than one simple answer or setting, but many of you identified THE BIG culprit behind less than sharp images.

Shutter Speed.

Yep. Shutter speed. We so often focus on aperture and ISO, shutter speed becomes the forgotten step child of photography.

In fact, when you view a photo on your camera's LCD screen you may think you've nailed it, only to be disappointed later.

But first, why is Aperture NOT the answer?

You were correct about the sharpest point of a lens typically being one stop up from the widest aperture. So yes, that may be a small contributor but not as big as THE BIGGEE. Also, distance to the subject can effect sharpness. At 2.8 I was a fair distance away from him (more than 10 feet) so at a wide aperture I get more in focus.

Shutter speed, when hand holding your camera, needs to be equivalent to or greater than the reciprocal of your focal length to get a sharp photo.

Shall I show you what that means in English?

If you are shooting at 50mm your shutter speed needs to be 1/50 or faster to avoid camera shake. The 1/50 will show up as 50 in your viewfinder.

Another way of looking at it:
50mm=1/50 of a second
70mm=1/70 of a second
100mm=1/100 of a second
200mm=1/200 of a second
300mm= 1/300 of a second

So, the longer my lens, the faster my shutter speed needs to be. You can then get your light for a correct exposure from either opening up your aperture (I was as wide as I could go) or bumping your ISO up (my best choice).

If you are using Aperture Priority Mode watch your shutter speed since your camera will find a correct exposure, but not a shutter speed fast enough to avoid camera shake or to stop motion.

And yes, it was a bit underexposed. I grabbed another one and fixed it up a little better.

But still with that bit unsharp, shutter to slow issue. I'll use the photo, but once again, be reminded to slow down and think through my shots!

I hope this was helpful. Any questions?


Anonymous said...

I sort of understand :) You're brilliant K.

esther_a said...

Ahh. I vaguely remembered something like that but it had confused me and not made its way into my regular photography thought process. I will watch this! Thanks SO much!

Christi said...

I'm horrible with camera shake I pay more attention to shutter speed. Yeah!

The Grounds Family said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I do have a question though....Say I am using my 28-77mm and I have it set to say 40mm (trying to "fill the frame"), my shutter speed should be no less than 1/40 or if I am using my 70-200 and have it about 100, my shutter speed should be faster than 1/100. Am I gettting this right? Or since the max distance is 200 should I have my shutter speed faster than 1/200? Thanks for clarifying this.


Joey said...

I appreciate you! :)

Anonymous said...

I have this rule stamped in my brain but often times forget it. I have often wondered how much below the lens focal length you can go, safely, if you have your camera on a tripod. I recently tried snapping a few shots of an eerie moon. My camera was on a tripod, I set the focus, via back button (Yeah Katrina's class for that awesome tip) and set the shot up in manual mode. Had my 28-270 lens fully extended. Shutter speed was at like 8 and I used my camera's timer instead of pushing the shutter myself. Sti1l got a soft moon. Why?

Kathleen said...

Loving the posts and tweets about focus. Need to work on it as I am not liking my focus. Wondering if it is enough for a class. I think I is. I bet I know a great instructor who could teach it. :0)


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