Steady hold for a P&S

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Alan Meyer, Apr 19, 2013.

  1. Alan Meyer

    Alan Meyer Guest

    I've got one of those very small P&S "travel zoom" cameras (Panasonic
    ZS-9) with up to 16:1 optical zoom. The big challenge in getting sharp
    photos with high zoom is holding the camera steady. It doesn't help
    that the camera is small and light with little weight to damp
    vibrations, or that it has a strap attachment point on only one side, or
    that its only viewing mechanism is the LCD display on the back that must
    be held a foot or more from your eyes to see the picture. And of course
    being an old guy with shaky hands is probably worst of all.

    I'm thinking about buying a walking stick monopod (any suggestions?) but
    I also believe that good hand holding technique makes a big difference
    in cutting down the vibrations.

    The best thing I've come up with so far is to hold up my left hand
    limply in front of my face with the palm facing me. Instead of grasping
    the camera with my left hand, I rest it on the top. By not actually
    holding the camera with my fingers and thumb the small muscles in
    fingers and thumb are relaxed and not involved in supporting the camera.
    Then I use as little pressure as I can with the right hand to press
    the shutter release. The camera is secured from falling by the neck
    strap, so there won't be any serious accidents this way and I've gotten
    much better results than I did when I tried to hold it tight.

    Does anyone have any other suggestions?

    Does anyone particularly recommend a monopod that can double as a
    walking stick and fold for airline travel?


    Alan Meyer, Apr 19, 2013
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  2. Alan Meyer

    Irwell Guest

    I use an upward pressing with the left hand and a downward
    press with right hand on the shutter, seem to have very little
    camera shake this way.

    I think some hiking sticks are made like that, the secret to using a
    monopod is to use it as a third leg of a triangle, your two feet
    being the other legs.
    Irwell, Apr 19, 2013
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  3. Alan Meyer

    Mort Guest


    If you are shooting a still object, then try setting the selftimer for
    ca. 10 seconds. Then you can steady the camera with 2 hands without any
    shake due to your releasing the shutter manually.

    Mort Linder
    Mort, Apr 19, 2013
  4. Alan Meyer

    Alan Meyer Guest

    That's an interesting idea. I'll experiment with it.
    Makes sense. Getting a monopod isn't the end of the story. I guess
    you've got to practice and experiment with it to get the best stability
    you can.


    Alan Meyer, Apr 20, 2013
  5. Alan Meyer

    Alan Meyer Guest

    I see your point about making the muscles work more. If the camera is
    too heavy the muscles are going to twitch.

    Technically, of course, I should have used the term "mass" rather than
    weight. Mass really does damp vibrations. The amount of energy
    required to overcome the inertia of an object with very little mass is
    very little, and proportionally more for an object with a lot of mass.
    Similarly, the same amount of energy put into a massive object and a
    lighter object results in more rapid movement in the light object. It's
    a directly inverse relationship based on E = (mv^2)/2.

    This is a factor in the solidity of heavy tripods over light ones -
    though it's not the only one.

    But, as you point out, there is a limit to what can be gained by
    increasing the weight.


    Yes. Trading off higher noise and lower depth for less camera shake can
    often produce a superior image.


    Alan Meyer, Apr 20, 2013
  6. Alan Meyer

    gregz Guest

    Some people seem to be in tele mode. I don't use tele much, but regardless,
    when necessary I try to lean up against something, or rest my arms on
    something, mostly for low light. I sometimes use a mini pod.

    gregz, Apr 20, 2013
  7. Alan Meyer

    Guest Guest

    monopods and tripods are not prohibited for carry on.

    however, the tsa can always change their mind on a whim, 'out of an
    abundance of caution.'
    Guest, Apr 20, 2013
  8. Alan Meyer

    Peter Jason Guest

    In physics class I learned that heavy objects have
    large inertia.

    Mount the camera on a lead slab.
    Peter Jason, Apr 20, 2013
  9. Alan Meyer

    RichA Guest

    Do like a gun-shooter. Slowly squeeze the shutter and allow it to
    "surprise you" don't anticipate tripping it. It works very well.
    RichA, Apr 21, 2013
  10. Alan Meyer

    Alan Meyer Guest

    That's not a bad idea, though I might prefer the shortest possible
    selftimer, which I believe is two seconds on my camera. One second
    would probably be ideal, reducing the vibration while still giving me
    some hope that the scene that I capture is the same as the scene I saw
    when I pressed the shutter release.


    Alan Meyer, Apr 22, 2013
  11. Alan Meyer

    Alan Meyer Guest

    On 04/19/2013 10:20 PM, Savageduck wrote:
    A lot of good ideas there. Thanks.

    I'll probably buy a monopod just because I like having a walking stick
    and it doesn't cost much more or detract from its usefulness as a
    walking stick to have a camera mount on it.

    However I particularly like some of the suggestions that don't involve
    any extra gear. It's always an advantage if you can take a camera out
    of your pocket with no extra gear and no setup, and get a steady shot.

    Thanks again.

    Alan Meyer, Apr 22, 2013
  12. Alan Meyer

    PeterN Guest

    PeterN, Apr 24, 2013
  13. Alan Meyer

    Robert Coe Guest

    On 2013.04.20 11:50 , Jennifer Murphy wrote:
    : > On Fri, 19 Apr 2013 16:52:04 -0400, Alan Browne
    : >
    : >> On 2013.04.19 15:19 , Alan Meyer wrote:
    : >>> I've got one of those very small P&S "travel zoom" cameras (Panasonic
    : >>> ZS-9) with up to 16:1 optical zoom. The big challenge in getting sharp
    : >>> photos with high zoom is holding the camera steady. It doesn't help
    : >>> that the camera is small and light with little weight to damp
    : >>> vibrations,
    : >>
    : >> It's a myth that weight dampens vibrations for hand holding. Weight
    : >> means your muscles have to work more. And the more you have to hold the
    : >> weight away from your body, the more work you have to do to keep it
    : >> steady. Lighter is better.
    : >
    : > Hardly a myth. Every body has inertia proportional to its mass (Newton's
    : > first law). Inertia resists any change in motion. A one-pound camera has
    : > more mass and, hence, more inertia than a one-ouuce camera.
    : That's fine for pool balls and astronauts. (And it's resistance to
    : change in velocity, BTW).

    Indeed it is. And every object at rest in space is moving, with a speed we
    call c, in the direction (in its inertial frame) of increasing time. To give
    motion (in space) to a stationary object, you must deflect its velocity vector
    (in spacetime) so as to give it a component in a spatial direction. It's
    comparatively easy (assuming you know vector calculus) to show that the energy
    required to do that is proportional to the mass of the object. (It's also
    proportional to the tangent of the angle of deflection, which means that the
    energy requirement goes up rapidly as the imparted spatial speed is increased.
    But that's hardly relevant to this discussion, where the imparted speeds are
    very low.)

    Bottom line: Jennifer's argument is correct.

    : But an object held out is continuously subject to the force of gravity
    : (here on the planet) and so you have to apply an equal and opposite
    : force to stop it from moving. That force is proportional to the mass
    : (F=ma).
    : More mass = more force.
    : So of course, once something is moving you need to apply a force to stop
    : it and continue that force to move back to the first position.
    : As the force is larger with mass, more force is required for a heavier
    : object.
    : Holding anything away from your body, unbraced, requires continuous work
    : to prevent the object from falling. Every little correction is work.
    : (Why the preferred hand holding technique for an SLR works well with a
    : viewfinder but not so well with the LCD display).
    : More force=more work = more energy = more tired = less control = blurry
    : images.

    I've never lifted a camera so heavy that the corrections my muscles had to
    make to keep it in place outweighed the damping effect of its mass. Unless you
    tell me that you've hand-held a view camera, I'll bet you haven't either.

    Robert Coe, Apr 28, 2013
  14. Alan Meyer

    MaxD Guest

    and take a deep breath and hold it until the shutter releases.

    Max (ex-infantry)
    MaxD, Apr 28, 2013
    Chris Malcolm, Apr 28, 2013
  16. Unless of course it's weight is being taken by a monopod. Then all
    your muscles have to do is to provide the residual balancing, aiming,
    and steadying. The worst remaining source of shake with a heavy camera
    on a monopod is twisting about the axis of the monopod, because that's
    where there's least rotational inertia and least frictional resistance.

    Some monopods offer tiny pull-out tripod feet at the end, or a small
    flip-out foot plate to stand on, either of which does a good job of
    reducing that horizontal rotational movement.
    My camera with my usual walk-about zoom weighs roughly 2lbs. So does
    my heaviest monopod (with little legs). I usually use that monopod
    with the camera directly attached with no head, so for taking shots in
    portrait mode I have to hold the monopod plus camera horizontally in
    the air, which is pretty heavy. Nevertheless for short duration holds
    I find the extra mass of the monopod helps to keep the camera quite
    definitely steadier than if I was just holding the camera alone. I
    also have a two handed grip with hands much further apart than
    possible just on a camera body.

    For which reasons I often use the camera with the monopod attached but
    folded up and not resting on anything. The extra mass and well spaced
    double handed grip gives useful extra stability.

    No, I'm not big & strong. I'm 70 years old and weigh about 120
    pounds. But I do practice heavy camera carrying on a regular basis :)
    To the extent that, much as I enjoy that kind of mathematical
    modelling, I think the best approach is to postpone the analysis and
    go out & try stuff. Doing the analyis after the field experiments
    instead of before is always a good idea :)
    Chris Malcolm, Apr 28, 2013
  17. I certainly haven't. The older I've got the bigger and heavier my
    cameras and lenses have got, and the fussier I've got about the
    increasibgly high levels of detail resolution they're capable of. So
    far the heaviest camera & lens I've got gets more stable handheld when
    I bolt 2lbs of unsupported monopod to it -- I've tested it.

    If my gear ever gets so heavy that it would shake less handheld if it
    was lighter I'll just use extra weight bearing props, such as a
    shoulder pad, a chest prop, or a monopod foot on the ground.
    Chris Malcolm, Apr 28, 2013
  18. I often use a radio remote trigger simply to avoid the instability of
    having to push a button on the camera to shoot. That way I can also
    follow action and fire with fast reactions without fear of moving the
    Chris Malcolm, Apr 28, 2013
  19. Alan Meyer

    Alan Meyer Guest

    If we're checking baggage, it looks like it would be smart to put the
    monopod in the checked luggage, not the carryon.

    I'll remember that.

    Alan Meyer, Apr 29, 2013
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