Camera shake or out-of-focus?

R9R Photography

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Jan 17, 2009
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Reynoldsburg, OH
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I can't tell if this shot is out of focus, or if the blur is due to camera shake. I'm leaning toward camera shake, but I'm going for a second opinion :)

Info I can remember: Olympus OM-2n, Vivitar 70-210mm zoom @ 210mm, 2X Tele converter, f/4.6, 1/250s (?). That's why I'm guessing shake, I know that's a pretty slow shutter for hand-holding at that focal length, but I was hoping the tree I was leaning on would counteract that :(

Sure looks like camera shake to me. Bracing on a tree is a good idea, but I would also hold my breath and gently squeeze the shutter button, not punch it down.

If you are leaning your whole body against a tree, maybe that's not enough. Sometimes I press my head up against the tree/wall/etc to make sure even my breathing is not shaking the camera. Or maybe you can press the camera up against the tree?
It actually looks to me like you just missed the focus.

Wouldn't surprise me, either since you are focusing through all those branches at what appears to be an extended range.
Camera shake is there, but it's mostly becuase you're shooting with a crappy 2x converter on a crappy 70-200 lens, and you're really shooting more towards f/8-11, at 420mm.
Since there is nothing that seems in focus, I'll have to go with shake. Is that a full frame so we are seeing the whole shot, or is it cropped?
I'm still going to go with camera shake being the worst culprit here. I have to admit I wasn't paying attention to the lens you were using and the 2x converter like Sw1tchFX mentioned.

All of things mentioned above combined - not the greatest lens to begin with, using a 2x converter, shooting through small branches that can confuse the focus, plus 420mm handheld are all contributing.

I know lenses are very expensive if you get up into the range where the quality is better, but that's why - the quality is better. Once you use a better lens you will see the difference and not want to go back to the cheaper ones. And no matter what lens you've got, a 2x converter is going to downgrade it's quality somewhat.

The issue with the long telephoto is that any tiny movement you make is magnified that much more as the lens gets longer and longer. So what might be acceptable camera movement at 80mm becomes horrible camera shake at 400mm.

Unfortunately, this little hobby of ours can get very expensive if you want to let the equipment get you carried away. But, technique, practice and knowing the equipment you have very well can make a huge difference in the quality of pictures you take. Reading instruction manuals, forums like this and practice, practice, practice will help a lot in getting the most out of the camera and accessories you own.

Good luck!

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