Ugh... living with a non-image-stabilized lens

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by lordfly, Apr 1, 2010.

  1. lordfly

    lordfly TPF Noob!

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    So my Canon XTi came with a single lens, the kit lens. an 18-55 non-IS lens.

    Either I have Parkinson's, the lens is crap, or I'm holding the camera wrong.

    I went to the zoo today. Lots of opportunities for shots of wildlife. Even taking into consideration the distance from the animals (can't zoom in terribly far with a 55mm lens), you'd think I'd be able to get at least... I dunno, a few shots that weren't completely blurry.

    You'd be wrong. Any shot of an animal is, essentially, a blurry mess.

    Perhaps my settings are messed up? If you're just shooting pictures of wildlife, what aperture setting should I be tooling around with? The camera was set on Aperture Priority mode, set around f/8.0 most of the day.

    Another thing; inside the exhibits, even with ISO 1600 on, exposure times ranged from 1/5 to half a second. I've found that if my camera is hand-held at those shutter speeds, the pictures are nigh-on worthless. And, sure enough, loading up the pics today confirm that.

    So, what's the correct way to hold the camera? Maybe I just need to learn to balance better or something. Or breathe less. Or both.

    I'm so frustrated right now. A nice day at the zoo, ruined because it looks like beer goggles got into my camera.
     
  2. white

    white TPF Noob!

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    You should be using, at the very least, a 1/60 shutter with that lens. There probably wasn't enough light to be shooting aperture-priority f/8 with a minimum 1/60 shutter, so your camera probably compensated for that with a 1/30, or 1/5 shutter or whatever. Not surprising that you got blur.

    Try shutter-priority next time. A general rule of thumb is to use a shutter that is greater than your lens focal length. So, a 1/125 shutter for 75mm, 100mm, etc.
     
  3. reznap

    reznap No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I always remember my military rifle training when I take pictures. Bone support, muscle relaxation, breathing control, trigger control (in this case shutter button control) lol. It sounds ridiculous but it works.

    f/8 is to small an aperture for low-light situations. I think the best that lens can do is 3.5? I'd put it on 3.5 then, high iso, maybe underexpose a little if you have to in order to keep the shutter speed up and have your image sharp. If you shoot in raw you can fix a little underexposure pretty easily, I think you can do ok even with just a jpeg.

    If you want to keep doing low-light stuff, get a faster lens like the cheapo 50mm 1.8. You'll be able to keep your shutter speed up with that.

    Don't get frustrated, you got some good practice and learned some lessons.
     
  4. JimmyO

    JimmyO TPF Noob!

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    Ive never owned an IS/VR lens. Check out my flickr, i dont think that effected anything...
     
  5. lordfly

    lordfly TPF Noob!

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    Ah, but if i set the shutter too fast, there won't be enough light coming into the sensor anyway, correct?
     
  6. lordfly

    lordfly TPF Noob!

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    Are you using a tripod most of the time? I'm usually out and about with my camera and look even more unwieldly with a tripod in tow.

    Another problem is that the picture looks somewhat decent in the LCD. Granted, that's a horrible reference, but if it looked fine in the viewfinder, and looked okay in the LCD...

    Oh also also, the suggestion to crank up the aperture. That will lead to a crazy low DoF, right? As in only part of the object is going to be in focus most of the time anyway?

    My knowledge of optics isn't what it should be, perhaps.
     
  7. white

    white TPF Noob!

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    Think of it like a game you have to play with your camera. One goes up and usually the other has to come down (excluding any desired special effects). So if the only way you're going to get a good exposure at f/8 is with a shutter of 1/30, then open your aperture to f/5.6 and you can shoot 1/60 to your heart's delight.

    Additionally, you might find it worthwhile to google Exposure Basics and/or Exposure Triangle.
     
  8. reznap

    reznap No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    f4 in this photo I took at the zoo recently. It's not a great photo (blown out areas, could be a bit sharper, other areas look underexposed, etc) but it's not horrible either. I have IS on this lens so 1/80th isn't horrible at 75mm but you get the idea. Could have used some fill flash here but there was a pane of glass. Also I don't like using flash around animals, seems like a dick thing to do.

    ISO 400, Av mode f4.
    [​IMG]
     
  9. JimmyO

    JimmyO TPF Noob!

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    Only reason ive ever used a tripod is for long exposure's at night, and self portraits to hold the camera.
     
  10. DerekSalem

    DerekSalem TPF Noob!

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    I do the same thing. I'm USAF and every time I move to take a picture that will contain some amount of difficulty I go back to my training lol it honestly works so well.

    And to the guy saying you've never owned an IS but your pictures come out fine...after looking through your Flickr I would definitely agree with you...except you have *very* few pictures in poorly-lit areas. The only one I found was one I'm assuming was from inside your car pointed straight ahead at the sky. If you have plenty of light, IS or a tripod aren't necessary...but I can honestly say IS is a *fantastic* thing to have if you have the money. With the exception of one Sigma lens, I've gotten IS/OS on every single lens I've bought.

    I have a very steady hand. I was trained as an expert marksman by the US military and at rest my heart beat lies around 55-60bpm (fairly low). Without using IS of any kind I can usually grab a picture at 100mm down to around 1/30 without seeing noticeable blur (unless zoomed in quite a bit). With normal IS (standard Canon or the Sigma OS) I can drop that to around 1/20 comfortably (I've taken 1/10 at 200mm). With the higher-quality new IS from Canon (on the new 70-200 I just bought is the new version) I've taken pictures at *FULL* 200mm zoom down to around 1/4 of a second with virtually no blur at all.

    I don't care how good you are...without a good IS there's no possibility of handholding a shot at 200mm and 1/4s shutter speed. It's not that I need IS...it's just that in some instances it allows me to get shots I would otherwise be unable to get. I *always* recommend getting lenses with IS, even if they cost more (the non-IS version of my lens costs almost half of the IS version at roughly $700). Completely worth it for anyone that doesn't always have a tripod with them
     
  11. lordfly

    lordfly TPF Noob!

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    Interesting. Good to know that with enough practice I might be actually able to finagle this stupid lens to do my bidding.

    After a few hours of culling and cropping I found about 30 pictures I'm moderately satisfied with. There's still a myriad of technical issues (forgot to turn down the ISO while outside, hurr), but they're not too horrible, I guess.

    Toledo Zoo, April 2010 - a set on Flickr

    I'm going to go to bed and try not to blow up my lens in the process. Thanks for the suggestions everyone... I've got Exposure Triangle queued up to be read tomorrow morning. :)
     
  12. AxelMoney

    AxelMoney TPF Noob!

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    I do the EXACT same thing lol.
     

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