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An Introduction to Tripods

An Introduction to TripodsDo you have a tripod? Do you use it?

I suspect that many digital photographers could improve the results that they get out of their cameras simply by attaching it to a tripod.

Over the next week or so here at DPS we’ll take a look at the humble tripod and will cover why they’re useful (read on in this post for more on that), how to shop for a tripod, the case for monopods and alternatives when you need a tripod but don’t have one handy. I hope you enjoy this series.

A ‘Rule’ for Hand Held Shooting

I’m not a big fan of rules when it comes to photography (I’m a much more intuitive guy) but sometimes it’s good to have them in the back of your mind as you shoot.

The ‘rule’ for whether it’s ok to hand hold a camera when shooting has to do with two main factors, the shutter speed you’re shooting at and the focal length of the lens you’re using. Here it is:

Choose a shutter speed with a denominator that is larger than the focal length of the lens.

  • if you have a lens that is 50mm in length don’t shoot any slower than 1/60th of a second
  • if you have a lens with a 100mm focal length shoot at 1/125th of a second or faster
  • if you are shooting with a lens of 200mm shoot at 1/250th of a second or faster

Shooting at these speeds means that the effect of camera shake that you have while taking the shot should be minimized in image you end up with.

Keep in mind that this is just a guide – a starting point if you will – to keep in mind as you shoot. It’s a rule that was devised back in the days of film and these days most of us shoot with digital cameras that often have image stabilization which means you can use slower shutter speeds and that (unless you have a DSLR) don’t have focal lengths measured in mm’s which makes using it difficult. So take it with a grain of salt if you like.


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Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse

is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals.

He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

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