Q&A: How does shutter speed impact photo sharpness?

20151107- Magnolia Gardens flowers-175The photo above was shot at 1/125 of a second, F/5 and ISO 100 at 200mm non image stabilization lens.  (70-200 f2.8 L non IS canon lens)

First, what is shutter speed?

In photography, shutter speed or exposure time is the length of time when the film or digital sensor inside the camera is exposed to light, also when a camera’s shutter is open when taking a photograph. The amount of light that reaches the film or image sensor is proportional to the exposure time.  

Read here to find out more about the exposure triangle and shutter speed and camera shake.

With the longer focal lengths, the shorter the shutter speed the more likely you will be able to achieve a sharp image.   The rule of thumb for a 35mm lens is 2 x focal length x Crop factor = min shutter speed to hand hold lens.

The image above was shot at 1/125 a second when based on the formula above it should have been at 1/320 a second or higher.  So how did I get a sharp image?  Why did I want to shoot at 1/125 a second?  I was at f/5.0 and I could have gone down to f 2.8  from f 5.0 with my lens or raised my ISO and easily used a faster shutter speed.

A few reasons.

  • ISO 100 on a properly exposed image has the least amount of digital noise for the cleanest possible image.
  • At f/5 and 200mm and 180 inches from the subject the DOF was just over 3 inches.
  • I spend countless hours practicing holding a camera still for just such an occasion by improving my handheld technique.
  • Using a slow shutter speed allows for the proper exposure in early low light situations and also allows for creative exposures as well.

Creative exposures allow for images to show movement or blurred parts within an image making them more unique or giving a more intimate image.  I took about 40 images trying to capture the image below with the little blue heron shaking the water out of it’s breakfast.

Knowing how to break the rules on purpose is one of the many challenges of photography.

Happy shooting.
20151107- Magnolia Gardens flowers-152
#photography #shutterspeed #sharpimages #cary_mcdonald @cary_mcdonald

 

 

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