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Thread started 13 Mar 2011 (Sunday) 17:02
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What are your techniques for stabilizing a zoom lens?

4 posts
Joined Mar 2011
Mar 14, 2011 22:05 |  #31

Quizzical_Squirrel wrote in post #12018437 (external link)
I thought I read that it was best to breathe out rather than hold your breath.

I've found this to be best. Exhale in a slow controlled motion, it stabilizes your whole chest, neck, and head a lot better than just holding your breath. I am not sure but I want to say that is a technique military snipers use. I wouldn't know.

holding the camera steady is the easy part, it's your upper body swaying that kills the shot. I bought a monopod (slik makes an inexpensive one you can practice with called the Pro 600 or something) and I also tend to back myself up on something like a light pole or a wall. Also I don't know if this has been said, but your shutter should be at least as long as your focal length and in many cases longer until you get a good technique down. i've gotten lucky with some 300mm 1/8 handheld shots, but generally I need to be at 1:1 in that respect.

Visit me on Flickr - Ryan, Ryan, Ryan (external link) | Equipment: Rebel T2i | 28-80 USM | 75-300 USM | 24mm f/2.8 / JEALOUS?

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Location: Kentucky
Mar 14, 2011 23:44 |  #32

Using a higher shutter speed is the easy way. I know there are times when that is not feasible but it is still the easy way to get sharper images.

Shutter speed should be the inverse of the focal length. Example: 200mm focal length needs 1/200 sec.

I think that is stated correctly. I am brain dead since the stupid time change.

Canon 7D Mark II w/Canon BG-E16 Battery Grip; Canon EOS 50D w/Canon Battery Grip; Canon SL1; Tokina 12mm - 24mm f/4 PRO DX II; Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS; Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS; Canon 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS; Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM; Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS; Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM; Canon Extender EF 1.4x II; Canon Extender EF 2x II; Canon Speedlite 430EX II Flash
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Mostly Lurking
16 posts
Joined Mar 2011
Mar 15, 2011 22:58 |  #33

rang wrote in post #12019152 (external link)
I've used this Bush Hawk rig for a couple years now shooting BIF, bears etc.
Found a Brit firm that makes a hotshoe mount for a heads up reticle rifle sight.
Once you dial in the rifle site with the center circle in the view finder you can just use the reticle and track your target and fire away.

Even figured out how to mount it on a Cotton Carrier so toting it around with a 100-400L is not tiring at all.

It just looks really menacing so I don't use it at stadiums or shooting people.

:lol: (external link)

I love it! I had thought about using a riflescope (I'm fairly steady with a rifle!) and now that I'm not the only one I think I'll do it! A pistol scope would give even more eye relief (but less mag), and if I put a remote trigger on one grip... The scope would be great for wildlife, as it's not lighting up like live view but offers similar versatility, but it would certainly make for some uncomfortable wedding shots!

Gripped 50D; Rebel T2I; Rebel 35mm; EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM; 50mm f/1.8 USM II; 70-200mm f/4.0L IS USM; 430EX II (and just for fun, Rokinon 500 f/6.3 mirror and 2x tube)​m/milliner.john?sk=pho​tos (external link)

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Mar 15, 2011 23:08 |  #34

Putting the left hand more forward on the lens also helps (see lever forces). You look like an idiot that way but it's not in the pic, sp...

You can sometimes get more stability by very slowing moving instead of trying holding still but getting more random jitter from it.

My imagine composition sucks. I need a heavier lens.

1,105 posts
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Location: 16801
Mar 16, 2011 01:45 |  #35

buy image stabilized lens, and crank the ISO..12800 looks fine to me.


Senior Member
855 posts
Joined Mar 2009
Location: Cornwall, UK
Mar 16, 2011 04:55 as a reply to  @ mansalim's post |  #36

If you cant support yourself against anything and you have to stand, you're going to move, period. The only options you have left are to control that movement. If you try and hold dead still, you'll end up with the jittery focus point that just wont keep still regardless of how well you breathe or what part of the breathing cycle you're in. As mentioned earlier the option I prefer is the soft touch, relax your shoulders and hips and just let the camera and lens "rest" in your hands. Now you will still be moving but hopefully it will be more of a relaxed sway (kind of like how IS makes the picture go). The only benefit to this swaying is that it should be fairly slow and predictable so now just time your shot when everything looks right.

If its windy then all this goes out the window.....

but seriously, get a tripod:D

to be OR NOT to be = 1 (which is "to be" so that one's cleared up at last ;-)a)​k (external link) (external link)
Sony Nex-5n (x2) / Metabones EF-NEX Smart Adapter / Canon 10-22mm / Canon 100mm Macro / Sigma 18-50mm

Sleepless in Hampshire
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Location: Hampshire UK
Mar 16, 2011 11:25 |  #37

Either a Tripod or Monopod is the best answer, a cheap alternative is a loop of string around the front of the lens, then stand on the other end and pull up against it, that will help steady your shots.

Art that takes you there.​uk (external link)
Canon 7D, 350D, 15-85, 18-55, 75-300, Cosina 100 Macro, Sigma 120-300

186 posts
Joined Jan 2009
Location: Maryland USA
Mar 16, 2011 13:18 |  #38

konfuzd1 wrote in post #12012871 (external link)
I just bought a 70-200 f4L last week, and I have to admit, whoever called it a "gateway drug" leading to an addiction to L lenses was absolutely correct! It puts my 28-135 kit lens to shame as far as sharpness, color, fringing, etc. The only drawback is that it is not the IS version. I'm looking for ideas on how to get better shots at slower shutter speeds. So far, I've figured out that if I grab my right arm with my left hand, the lens will rest perfectly on my left elbow and be much less shaky. I have it mounted on a 50D with a battery grip, so the extra weight helps also. The third factor I've noticed is that 6(ish) frames per second high speed continuous is almost as good as IS, but that one good shot of ten may not be the one I wanted. So that being said, I'm polling the audience for suggestions. Please let me know if you have a technique or contraption that can help reduce the shakiness of a non-stabilized zoom.

1) A tripod, it's the oldest form of "IS" there is and has been around for 100 years.
2) A mono pod, very good form of "IS" and very mobile.
3) A tree or other grounded solid things are good to use and help reduce camera shake.

Later, David
flickr (external link) | Gear List & Feedback

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What are your techniques for stabilizing a zoom lens?
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