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Thread: 1/focal length

  1. #1

    Default 1/focal length

    Not sure if this has been discussed before...
    Sort of came to my mind when I saw the 4.5mm release news by Sigma.

    We all know that to combat handshake you shoot at 1/focal length.
    But does this apply to the ultra-wides like the 4.5mm here as well? 1/5s... hmm... I'm thinking weight factor yeah...

    Then also the zooms like say 70-200mm. Be it 70 or 200, you're still holding the same weight throughout the focal length. I understand that with the longer focal length, the shake becomes more apparent (magnified) as well.

    So... how does the reciprocal rule apply in these contexts?

  2. #2

    Default Re: 1/focal length

    It applies for zooms but remember your effective focal length. For ultrawides, you have a greater problem, that of perspective.

  3. #3

    Default Re: 1/focal length

    Quote Originally Posted by waileong View Post
    It applies for zooms but remember your effective focal length. For ultrawides, you have a greater problem, that of perspective.
    So you're saying if I shoot on a 1.5x crop, I should be wary of say 1/80s instead of 1/50s on 50mm?
    I haven't really handled ultra-wides before... mind explaining more on the perspective thing?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 1/focal length

    they are just GUIDELINES.... not RULES that you have to follow strictly

  5. #5

    Default Re: 1/focal length

    Quote Originally Posted by ExplorerZ View Post
    they are just GUIDELINES.... not RULES that you have to follow strictly
    Yup I know.

    I've definitely heard of people going lower than 1/focal length and still get it sharp but let's just say I want to be sure. Maybe say... I don't have the luxury to take many same shots to make sure I just get one sharp copy. And sometimes zooming in on your LCD to check can't really give you a definite answer?

    Well, I just wanted to clear some doubts, no harm knowing yeah.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1/focal length

    You should know your own capability to handhold the camera and not work out of that comfort zone unnecessarily.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 1/focal length

    The 1/focal length is merely a guide. With experience on your own shooting, you should more or less know what is your personal capability to handle hand holdable shots
    Canon 5D mkII|24-105 F4 IS L|70-200 F4 IS L|135 F2 L|580EX|

  8. #8

    Default Re: 1/focal length

    if you're really not sure and dont have the time to find out. try 1/(focal length x 2)

  9. #9

    Default Re: 1/focal length

    Quote Originally Posted by Amekaze View Post
    Yup I know.

    I've definitely heard of people going lower than 1/focal length and still get it sharp but let's just say I want to be sure. Maybe say... I don't have the luxury to take many same shots to make sure I just get one sharp copy. And sometimes zooming in on your LCD to check can't really give you a definite answer?

    Well, I just wanted to clear some doubts, no harm knowing yeah.
    there is no way to be sure, but in any case you can be more relaxed for the rules for wide angle, because it won't matter AS MUCH (but it still matters), for telephoto then the rule will be less accurate, because it isn't as easy to hold a big lens steady handheld.

    shoot more, and you will know yourself.

  10. #10

    Default Re: 1/focal length

    Quote Originally Posted by Amekaze View Post
    But does this apply to the ultra-wides like the 4.5mm here as well? 1/5s... hmm... I'm thinking weight factor yeah...
    The rule breaks down, it's not a straight line extending towards infinity. Where it breaks down obviously depends on the camera and the person-- some people are more shaky than others. I doubt many people can hold an SLR still for 1/5 s. 1/60s seems a practical limit.

  11. #11

    Default Re: 1/focal length

    Quote Originally Posted by waileong View Post
    The rule breaks down, it's not a straight line extending towards infinity. Where it breaks down obviously depends on the camera and the person-- some people are more shaky than others. I doubt many people can hold an SLR still for 1/5 s. 1/60s seems a practical limit.
    yes, and also whether there is SR/VR/whatever silly new term they can coin just to be different

    but note that SR or no SR, nothing compares to a picture taken on a steady tripod.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: 1/focal length

    Some ppl can handhold up to 1/60s for a 200mm lens without IS/VR . Some cant even get a sharp image at 1/500s. And worst, some with tripod also cannot get sharp photos. You must know you own capability and pratice more to improve. The 1/focal is mearly a general rule for you to base on.

  13. #13

    Default Re: 1/focal length

    Cool cool...
    Just wanted to know how far this rule goes with regards to zooms and ultra-wides.
    Thanks for the comments!

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