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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 4:44 pm 
Some of the people coming to the fora asking for advice on buying a new camera, ask about the need for vibration reduction / image stabilisation. While we all want to help, there is little one can say without a broad knowledge of the different camera bodies and lenses available from the different brands. And then of course, there is the human factor to consider. Some people may be able to take steady shots with a shutter speed of n, while other may only be able to do so at speeds of n - m.

Now, one way we could at least try to address the question, would be to gather an image bank featuring our own cameras without vibration reduction / image stabilisation activated. That is to say, given a broad array of people with their different cameras, can we find a value for which can be said: "ok, from this shutter speed downwards, and at this focal length, it's no longer possible to take a shot without vibration reduction / image stabilisation, for the average person".

I'm really not sure what settings should be used. My guess would be to use some shutter speed that would make camera shake at least visible and a common image, placed at a common distance, with an aperture that isn't problematic and a focal length that is available on most lenses.

The resulting photo would then be cropped (100% crop) to show only the target image, hosted where each one of us usually hosts his/her photos, and linked from here. With enough samples, maybe a consensus could be reached.

I'd guess an A4 (210mm x 297mm or 8.3in x 11.7in) print of a siemens-star set at a 5m (16.4ft) distance. This would be shot at a shutter speed of 1/10 sec and an aperture of f/8, and a focal length of 70mm. Of course, each voluntary would have to either set adequate lighting conditions, or wait for the correct time of day to obtain those.

A siemens-star for non-commercial use is available. A4 seems to be the most common paper size for printers. A shutter speed of 1/10 sec should (although this is my main doubt) be problematic for most people. 70mm is a common focal length for zooms, where vibration reduction / image stabilisation is marketed.

Don't start shooting yet, share your thoughts on how this should go.

Or if your think it's not worth it, just say so, no problem. :)

PS: The title came from a thought I had when reading about VR at 50mm: you're holding a camera, not shaking a martini!


Last edited by luis on Sun Nov 25, 2007 7:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 10:11 pm 
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Hi Luis, I think that's a good idea... perhaps we could represent the result as a poll for each popular lens. For example you could have a range of shutter speeds one stop apart and vote for the slowest one where your result was absolutely (and consistently) sharp.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 10:15 pm 
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Hmmm, is there anything "absolute" and "consistent" with shake?
Me, I'm quite stable, sitting in a chair and supporting my cam/lens with my knees. But send me up the molehill I'll be panting like a hungry wolf and all the stability will be gone for good...

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 7:20 am 
Great idea Luis. Is the 70mm in 35mm equivalent focal length?

Perhaps those with shake-free shots could share their technique? :D


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 8:00 am 
Hi.
It's a good idea, but you have to set some rules.
For example, I managed to take a good picture with 22mm and 1/2 sec exposure. I was sitting and put my elbows on my knees, I also used the timer, so I won't move while pressing the shutter release.

Liron.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 5:39 pm 
This is meant as a way to gather information of how well the average person is able to take a photo at "slow" shutter speeds. It's not a professional test.

Volunteers should do as follows.

First, download a siemens-star here. Then print it in A4 (8.3in x 11.7in) size.

Now, place the siemens-star at a distance of 5m (16.4ft) from you. It should be at about the same height as your head.

Set you camera mode to manual. For all the photos, use an aperture of f/8. If you do this indoors, you can adjust lighting conditions by opening/closing windows and/or changing the ISO setting.

Set your lens to a focal length of 70mm. There should be a focal length scale on the lens.

The shutter speeds we will use for this test are, in seconds: 1/60, 1/30, 1/15, 1/8 and 1/4.

If your lens has vibration reduction / image stabilisation, turn it off. If the camera body has it, turn it off also.

As there have been questions as to how you should position yourself, please see this video. It's in spanish, but don't panic. At 1'40" it shows how to place your face next to the camera. At 1'58", it shows how to place your finger on the shutter release. Finally, at 2'10", it shows how to place your feet. These techniques will minimise camera shake and they seem a common way to take photos.

Take one photo of the siemens-star, for each of the shutter speeds I mentioned.

Now crop it so that each photo shows only the siemens-star itself and don't resize that crop (100% crop). Upload the photos to your preferred hosting service.

Post the photos on this thread, stating:
- Lens model;
- Camera model;
- Shutter speed for each photo.

Obviously, don't apply any post-processing.

The only way for this test to have any meaningful result is to have as many people as possible to take part. Thank you for your cooperation. :)


Last edited by luis on Sun Nov 25, 2007 6:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 6:03 pm 
Lens model: Nikkor VR 18-200mm (VR was turned off)
Camera model: Nikon D40

Target is of A4 size, placed at 5m distance. Lens focal length set to 70mm. Aperture set to f/8. ISO setting changes from photo to photo. All photos are 100% crops.

The next photo was taken with a shutter speed of 1/60 sec.

Image

The next photo was taken with a shutter speed of 1/30 sec.

Image

The next photo was taken with a shutter speed of 1/15 sec.

Image

The next photo was taken with a shutter speed of 1/8 sec.

Image

The next photo was taken with a shutter speed of 1/4 sec.

Image


Last edited by luis on Sun Nov 25, 2007 6:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 6:14 pm 
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Hi Luis, nice test. I'd declare the 1/30 sec perfect and the 1/15th not acceptable.
Nice psychedelic effects that you can produce on the Siemens-star :wink:

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 9:51 am 
Nice test Luis. If we were to use the focal length indicator on the lens itself, the actual focal length(35mm equiv.) would differ between camera manufacturers wouldn't they?

EDIT: Is flash allowed? I don't see why not but they may be a reason I don't know about.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 10:49 am 
grahamnp wrote:
Nice test Luis. If we were to use the focal length indicator on the lens itself, the actual focal length(35mm equiv.) would differ between camera manufacturers wouldn't they?

EDIT: Is flash allowed? I don't see why not but they may be a reason I don't know about.


You're supposed to use the focal scale on the lens itself to set it to 70mm. :-)

It will give you 70mm focal length, regardless of manufacturer. The actual focal length is given by the lens, not the size of the sensor or camera configuration.

EDIT: Please don't use the flash, due to technical considerations.


Last edited by luis on Sun Dec 02, 2007 7:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 11:26 am 
Ahh ok! I didn't know that. So are lenses like the 4/3rds ones less susceptible to shake because of their shorter actual focal length?


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 11:54 am 
Here are my shots. I used the flash at maximum power(+1 on the D80) for all but the 1/4s shot because the lighting was quite poor. ISO 800, 640, 500, 400 and back to 800 in the order they are shown.

1/60
Image

1/30
Image

1/15
Image
Look carefully at this one, the siemens star looks reasonably sharp at first glance but you can see two colours on each black area on the chart due the shake. I have somehow managed to shake the camera in only one axis.

1/8
Image
Again the star looks fine at first glance but the edges of the paper show shake.

1/4
Image
Urgh....


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 5:52 pm 
Again, we need as much people as possible to take part, if the results are to have any meaning.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 6:59 pm 
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Hey Graham, using flash is not allowed :wink: as the ultra-short flash freezes (almost) everything :oops:
You should repeat this with "normal" light, if you can...

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 5:44 am 
Yea I was wondering about that Thomas. Although if you look carefully, the flash lets you see how the shake has affected the image by showing you an initial and final image. I do get what you're saying though and I'll repeat it without flash when I have the time.


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