How can I determine the minimum shutter speed to avoid blur from camera shake?

  • How can I determine the minimum shutter speed at which I can effectively avoid camera shake while hand-holding the camera?

  • chills42

    chills42 Correct answer

    11 years ago

    General Rule

    The general rule of thumb for 35mm (full frame) has been the reciprocal of the focal length.

    This means that for a 50mm lens, the minimum shutter speed when hand-holding is 1/50 sec.

    1/(focal length) = 1/50
    

    Since this is usually not an option, 1/60 sec is the next option.

    Since the move to digital and multiple sensor sizes, the generally agreed upon rule is that the effective focal length is the number to keep in mind.

    So, on a APS-C cropped sensor, a 50mm lens would need a 1/(50 * 1.6) = 1/80 sec.

    On a longer telephoto, say a 300mm on a full-frame (35mm) you would need 1/300 sec.

    Image stabilization

    Camera (and lens) makers are now adding image-stabilization to their lenses, which lowers the shutter speed needed. Generally the makers will rate the level of stabilization in stops. Keep in mind these ratings are used for marketing and may be a bit inflated, but I am going to do my calculations based on the numbers being correct to keep it simple.

    If you are using a 100mm lens with a 2 stop image stabilization system on a APS-C cropped sensor then:

     (1/(effective focal length)) * (2 ^ image-stabilization-stops)
    
     (1/(100*1.6)) * (2^2)
    
     (1/160)*4 = 1/40 sec
    

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM