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-   -   Any suggestions on keeping camera steady without a tripod? (http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/t258973-any-suggestions-on-keeping-camera-steady-without-a-tripod.html)

PaulaSims@me.here 06-29-2004 01:29 AM

Any suggestions on keeping camera steady without a tripod?
 
Hello all,
When it comes to photography, I'm am below a rank amateur but keep
practicing and am learning to use Photoshop quite well ;)!

My problem is my inability to keep the camera steady. I have the Rebel
300D and love the results but there is the "user operator" error that
can't be solved by taking back the user!

So any suggestions on how to keep steady when taking photos, especially
in low light situations? I have ordered the EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
and a friend said he'd lend me his EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM so I
hope that the IS might help.

Thanks for your help

Paula Sims
paulasims2004@hotmail.com

Alfred Molon 06-29-2004 01:36 AM

Re: Any suggestions on keeping camera steady without a tripod?
 
PaulaSims@me.here <PaulaSims@me.here> wrote:
>Hello all,
>When it comes to photography, I'm am below a rank amateur but keep
>practicing and am learning to use Photoshop quite well ;)!
>
>My problem is my inability to keep the camera steady. I have the Rebel
>300D and love the results but there is the "user operator" error that
>can't be solved by taking back the user!
>
>So any suggestions on how to keep steady when taking photos, especially
>in low light situations? I have ordered the EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
>and a friend said he'd lend me his EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM so I
>hope that the IS might help.


F3.5-5.6 is a very "dark" zoom lens. It may be cheaper than a brighter
one, but it certainly doesn't help you in low light. See if you can find
a zoom lens with an aperture larger than F3 at the tele end.
--

Alfred Molon
------------------------------
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Olympus_405080/
Olympus 5050 resource - http://www.molon.de/5050.html
Olympus 5060 resource - http://www.molon.de/5060.html
Olympus 8080 resource - http://www.molon.de/8080.html

David Dyer-Bennet 06-29-2004 02:12 AM

Re: Any suggestions on keeping camera steady without a tripod?
 
PaulaSims@me.here writes:

> When it comes to photography, I'm am below a rank amateur but keep
> practicing and am learning to use Photoshop quite well ;)!
>
> My problem is my inability to keep the camera steady. I have the Rebel
> 300D and love the results but there is the "user operator" error that
> can't be solved by taking back the user!
>
> So any suggestions on how to keep steady when taking photos,
> especially in low light situations? I have ordered the EF 28-135mm
> f/3.5-5.6 IS USM and a friend said he'd lend me his EF 28-300mm
> f/3.5-5.6L IS USM so I hope that the IS might help.


Something of a specialty of mine.

First, a tripod really is better than any of these. But sometimes
impossible (not allowed) or too much trouble (hauling the tripod miles
into the hills, say).

Fast lenses help a lot. Yours are really slow; I don't own any lenses
that slow except for a 500mm mirror lens. The IS makes up for that
somewhat, but why give up the actual optical brightness? (Yeah, I
know; money and weight). I use a 24mm f2, a 58mm f1.2, and a 135mm f2
quite a lot for low-light work, and a 300 f2.8 if I need extreme
reach.)

Learning to stand firmly, brace the camera well, and squeeze the
shutter release smoothly can make an amazing amount of difference.

Learning to creatively lean against things adds a lot more stability.

If there's a horizontal surface to rest your hands on at a useful
height, while holding the camera, you can steady yourself a LOT.

Taking many pictures and picking out the sharp ones to keep can help a
lot, too (and in digital isn't nearly as expensive as on film).

All of those techniques work without having to haul *anything* extra
around with you.

My favorite bit of kit for camera support is a "bean bag" (they're
also sold as "pillow pods" -- a fairly small fabric sack, sewn closed,
with pellets inside (in mine, plastic rather than actual beans; beans
would absorb water if given the chance to do so). This can be used
between the camera and a horizontal surface to provide a firm support
while letting you aim the camera precisely. Using the self-timer or a
remote release, I've taken multi-second exposures this way quite
successfully. It can also be used against a *vertical* surface --
I've taken 5-second exposures inside a cathedral, with the camera
supported by being pushed sideways against the pillowpod against a
stone column (that was with a wideangle lens). I've put the pillowpod
on top of the camera bag to get a little additional height when
needed.

A monopod helps a lot, and is lighter and less trouble than a tripod.

One of the cleverest ideas I've seen is a chain or bit of string
attached to a screw. The screw should be the right size for the
tripod socket, and should be turnable with your hands, so it needs a
wing head or something. Attach the chain to this, screw into your
camera, drop the chain, step on it, pull *up* on the camera, and
suddenly you've steadied it rather a lot.

I have a miniature tripod that incorporates a 4-inch clamp. I can
clamp this onto some kinds of supports, and it'll hold the camera
steadily enough for night photography (5-10 second exposures mostly).
--
David Dyer-Bennet, <mailto:dd-b@dd-b.net>, <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/>
RKBA: <http://noguns-nomoney.com/> <http://www.dd-b.net/carry/>
Pics: <http://dd-b.lighthunters.net/> <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/SnapshotAlbum/>
Dragaera/Steven Brust: <http://dragaera.info/>

Ed 06-29-2004 02:14 AM

Re: Any suggestions on keeping camera steady without a tripod?
 
One little trick I have learned is, if I'm using the lcd rather than the
viewfinder, have a neck strap on the camera and hold the camera out in front
of your face till the neck strap is pulled tight against the back of your
neck. That helps me a lot with my kind of shakey hands.

Good luck,
Ed

<PaulaSims@me.here> wrote in message
news:MPG.1b4a828f9deebb439896ba@news.det.sbcglobal .net...
> Hello all,
> When it comes to photography, I'm am below a rank amateur but keep
> practicing and am learning to use Photoshop quite well ;)!
>
> My problem is my inability to keep the camera steady. I have the Rebel
> 300D and love the results but there is the "user operator" error that
> can't be solved by taking back the user!
>
> So any suggestions on how to keep steady when taking photos, especially
> in low light situations? I have ordered the EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
> and a friend said he'd lend me his EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM so I
> hope that the IS might help.
>
> Thanks for your help
>
> Paula Sims
> paulasims2004@hotmail.com




Bill Hilton 06-29-2004 02:39 AM

Re: Any suggestions on keeping camera steady without a tripod?
 
>From: PaulaSims@me.here

>My problem is my inability to keep the camera steady.
>
>So any suggestions on how to keep steady when taking photos, especially
>in low light situations?


One thing not mentioned yet ... increase the ISO, one of the big advantages of
digital. Better to have a shake-free image at ISO 1600 than a blur at 100 ...
but then you'll need to learn Neat Image or similar noise reduction program :)


Phil Wheeler 06-29-2004 03:35 AM

Re: Any suggestions on keeping camera steady without a tripod?
 


PaulaSims@me.here wrote:
>
> So any suggestions on how to keep steady when taking photos, especially
> in low light situations?


Try a higher ISO. I use 400 most of the time. On interiors I get good
results at ISO 800. That gives you higher shutter speeds. And you can
get good results with the Digital Rebel.

> I have ordered the EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM


Good move. If I'm half careful I can shoot at 1/6 second with mine, my
walkaround lens. A friend is on his third 28-135 IS, not because they
are defective but because he has worn two of them out.

Phil


Skip M 06-29-2004 04:35 AM

Re: Any suggestions on keeping camera steady without a tripod?
 
"Alfred Molon" <alfred_molon@REMOVEyahoo.com> wrote in message
news:MPG.1b4ae604381714d998a6d8@news.supernews.com ...
> PaulaSims@me.here <PaulaSims@me.here> wrote:
> >Hello all,
> >When it comes to photography, I'm am below a rank amateur but keep
> >practicing and am learning to use Photoshop quite well ;)!
> >
> >My problem is my inability to keep the camera steady. I have the Rebel
> >300D and love the results but there is the "user operator" error that
> >can't be solved by taking back the user!
> >
> >So any suggestions on how to keep steady when taking photos, especially
> >in low light situations? I have ordered the EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
> >and a friend said he'd lend me his EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM so I
> >hope that the IS might help.

>
> F3.5-5.6 is a very "dark" zoom lens. It may be cheaper than a brighter
> one, but it certainly doesn't help you in low light. See if you can find
> a zoom lens with an aperture larger than F3 at the tele end.
> --
>
> Alfred Molon
> ------------------------------
> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Olympus_405080/
> Olympus 5050 resource - http://www.molon.de/5050.html
> Olympus 5060 resource - http://www.molon.de/5060.html
> Olympus 8080 resource - http://www.molon.de/8080.html


You've never used a lens with IS, have you? True, it won't help if you are
photographing moving objects, but it gives you 2-3 useable stops if what
you're shooting has the consideration to hold still...

--
Skip Middleton
http://www.shadowcatcherimagery.com



Bay Area Dave 06-29-2004 05:25 AM

Re: Any suggestions on keeping camera steady without a tripod?
 
PaulaSims@me.here wrote:

> Hello all,
> When it comes to photography, I'm am below a rank amateur but keep
> practicing and am learning to use Photoshop quite well ;)!
>
> My problem is my inability to keep the camera steady. I have the Rebel
> 300D and love the results but there is the "user operator" error that
> can't be solved by taking back the user!
>
> So any suggestions on how to keep steady when taking photos, especially
> in low light situations? I have ordered the EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
> and a friend said he'd lend me his EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM so I
> hope that the IS might help.
>
> Thanks for your help
>
> Paula Sims
> paulasims2004@hotmail.com

Use a monopod or lean against something solid. I've gotten
some good results leaning against light poles or bracing
myself against a fence or wall. If there are no structures
to brace against, then the only other suggestion would be
taking many exposures of static subjects whenever possible
in the hopes of getting a least one sharp image from the
bunch. I've never been able to assess the sharpness of a
photo on the diminutive 1.8" LCD screen used on most
digicams. Try digging your elbows into your sides tightly
and slowly exhale while pressing the shutter button.
Practice, practice, practice.

BTW, after 2 cervical fusions I sometimes am unable to quell
a tremor in my right hand, making picture taking very iffy.
Most of the time it's not so bad that it interferes with
picture taking.

Good luck!

dave


wendeebee 06-29-2004 07:13 AM

Re: Any suggestions on keeping camera steady without a tripod?
 
<PaulaSims@me.here> wrote in message
news:MPG.1b4a828f9deebb439896ba@news.det.sbcglobal .net...
> Hello all,
> When it comes to photography, I'm am below a rank amateur but keep
> practicing and am learning to use Photoshop quite well ;)!
>
> My problem is my inability to keep the camera steady. I have the Rebel
> 300D and love the results but there is the "user operator" error that
> can't be solved by taking back the user!
>
> So any suggestions on how to keep steady when taking photos, especially
> in low light situations? I have ordered the EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
> and a friend said he'd lend me his EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM so I
> hope that the IS might help.
>
> Thanks for your help
>
> Paula Sims
> paulasims2004@hotmail.com




I use a monopod, with a swivel ball head and a quick release head (I can pop
it off the monopod with a flick of the lock rather than screwing it on and
off). Here's a picture from the zoo last weekend, with a Canon 75-300mm IS
lens; 400 ISO so you can see a bit of noise (and I have also compressed this
picture for the web). I would normally sharpen this a bit, and play with the
levels, but this pic is unretouched. Obviously, the ball head came into play
as I had to swivel up to get Ms. Giraffe. I find when I have a long lens
hanging off the camera, it gets heavy, and it's much easier to lug around
when it's attached to the monopod, always with the camera strap loosely
around my neck.

http://168.144.202.123/images/w_giraffe.jpg

--
wendeebee
@sympatico
..ca



Ron Hunter 06-29-2004 08:54 AM

Re: Any suggestions on keeping camera steady without a tripod?
 
Ed wrote:
> One little trick I have learned is, if I'm using the lcd rather than the
> viewfinder, have a neck strap on the camera and hold the camera out in front
> of your face till the neck strap is pulled tight against the back of your
> neck. That helps me a lot with my kind of shakey hands.
>
> Good luck,
> Ed
>
> <PaulaSims@me.here> wrote in message
> news:MPG.1b4a828f9deebb439896ba@news.det.sbcglobal .net...
>

And if possible, avoid using the LCD this way. Just holding the camera
firmly against the head adds about a 10 lb. mass and its inertia to the
system, providing a LOT of steadiness.



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