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Photo Tip: Sharpness 1


Something all photographers worry about.

Most photographer’s solution to this perceived problem is to spend lots of money.

  • Always upgrade the camera, every year new models come out, I’ll get better results that way.
  • NO!
  • Better glass, my lens is not the latest, it is consumer glass not ‘Pro’ glass.
  • NO! (well at least not yet, this is a far better investment then in a digital body that will be worthless in 5 years).

Lets get back to the basics.

Camera Technique

First Hand Holding.
Support the camera with your left hand, cradle it and take the weight. Hold the grip with you right hand.

Firing the Shutter.
Don’t just jab at it, press gently, both the depress and the release should be gentle. Camera movement can be introduced at this point.
If necessary use your motor drive. Shoot a batch of three pictures using it. Your first shot might be blurred but the second is likely to be sharp. Release after the third shot.

What is your shutter speed? It should be at least the reciprocal of the focal length.

If your focal length is 50mm shoot at 1/60 of a second at least. If shooting with a 200mm lens use 1/250 etc.

If your hand holding technique is particularly bad double up, for a 50mm lens use 1/125.

Understand VR.
Use it at slow shutter speeds but once your speed climbs above 1/500 – 1/1000 of a second turn it off, above 1/1000 it can actually make your pictures worse.

Subject movement.

Don’t forget subject movement, use a fast enough shutter speed to freeze any movement in the scene.


Well i’ll mention those next month, but check out and

Lastly something that I am particularly bad at.  When you use a large aperture then focus is critical. I hate to think how many killer shots I have just missed because my model is out of focus, when using the f/1.4 Рf/2.8 range.