In my younger years, working as a photojournalist; I often encountered situations where I need to shoot at slow speed.
I learn early how to hold my camera steady when shooting slow speed, how to stand; holding my breath, leaning on wall for support; to ensure my shots are sharp.
With practice I was able to hand held shots as low as 1/8 of a second.
On the left, the majestic corridor of the Assumption University of Thailand was shot at a slowish 1/15 second.
The trick to a sharp picture at slower speed is NOT to jab your shutter release!
SQUEEZE the release down smoothly and only let loose your trigger finger AFTER you heard the shutter gone off.
After 1/8 of a second, the longer exposures are impossible to achieve sharp, hand held pictures; you need a tripod or a monopod.
Manhattan, New York was shot from the top deck of the Empire State Building with my Leica M4-P mounted on a tripod. The exposure on the Kodak colour negative film was half a second (I think).
While visiting the majestic Dom in Cologne, Germany; I saw her bright red parka against the towering medieval columns. The light in the cathedral was really dim, so I rest my Canon EOS1n SLR on the pew for a "long" half second exposure.
This published front page picture on a New Zealand paper was shot with a Leica M4-P, available candle light; at 1/15 second.
Many years ago I was told the rule of thumb to determine the slowest shutter speed possible for hand-holding without noticeable blur due to camera shake is to take the reciprocal of the 35mm equivalent focal length of the lens.
For example, at a focal length of 135 mm on a 35mm camera, vibration or camera shake could affect sharpness if the shutter speed was slower than 1/125 second.
Now you know that is not exactly true, with a little practice and care you can go much slower, how slow can you go?
All those pictures shown above were taken with cameras and lenses that DO NOT have IMAGE STABILIZERS!
According to Wikipedia...
Image stabilization (IS) is a family of techniques used to reduce blurring associated with the motion of a camera during exposure. Specifically, it compensates for pan and tilt (angular movement, equivalent to yaw and pitch) of a camera or other imaging device.
In this day and age, you will be hard press to find a camera or lens without some form of stabilization built-in!
Since we are talking about the micro four thirds system (M4/3), lets just look at Panasonic and Olympus because I use both brand of lenses.
You should also realise that Panasonic prefer their IS in their lenses, but not all their optics have IS built in.
As for Olympus, they put their IS mechanism in the camera body; thus in practice, ALL lenses; Olympus or others, in theory; should benefit from the in body IS!
My first hand experience of how effective the Olympus in-body-image-stabilizer (IBIS) was when we were on our Europe trip two years ago.
My travel camera was my new Olympus E-P2 and the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14 mm F4.0 ASPH ultra wide zoom.
I was ecstatic the Olympus IBIS did wonder for the Panasonic lens! I was able to hand-held really slow for interior shots with hardly any camera shake!
|St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City|
World famous Sistine Chapel shot hand-held at 1/3 second, go to show how good the IBIS of the E-P2 is!
That was more than TWO YEARS ago and the E-P2 IS only compensate for the yaw and pitch, the 2 axis of camera movement; the new OM-D E-M5 boasts their brand new 5-axis image stabilization technology.
This system compensates for both vertical and horizontal movement, while at the same time adjusting for rotational movements, along with pitch and yaw!!
|Movement the new IBIS in the OM-D able to compensate.|
I included the G-12 out of curiosity to see how good the IS on this point and shoot perform :)
All the shots on the OM-D were done with setting of IS-1 marked "Auto", I try out some shots on IS-3 which is specifically for HORIZONTAL shots and discovered I can get MORE sharper shots. Good tip to keep in mind if you are shooting landscape.
Also, your OM-D by default is set to TURN OFF the stabilizer when you shoot CONTINUOUS! You will have to reset that if you want the IS to work while you spray-and-pray ;)
Let me share with you a trick that I used years ago to hold the camera steadier, I call it the "Neck Strap Assist" (NSA) method. Take a look at the two pictures below taken by Nigel where I demonstrate the technique. Thanks Nigel!
I did try out this technique on my OM-D and found it actually DEGRADE the IS performance! So practice at your peril ;)
Image stabilizers are a marvelous invention for cameras and Olympus is leading the way to a better anti shake system for compact camera! Way to go Oly!
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