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Lens Rule of Thumb

Blog: #32 of 33 by Frank Feliciano

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February 27th, 2013 - 08:42 AM

Many photographers buy very expensive lenses and in particular ones with vibration reduction or whatever you camera brand calls it; then they are surprized when they capture a spectacular image only to get it on the computer and the image is blurry. This is particularly true with telephoto lenses. The next thing they say is that they purchased a "soft" lens. That probably is not the case.

There is a simple rule to remember if you are using a lens with an "X" millimeter rating then in order to avoid lens blur you must set the shutter speed to 1/X or the reciprocal of the mm rating for that lens. If you are shooting with a 180mm lens set the shutter speed to 1/180 or faster. You can go to 1/200 or 1/320, or faster. But if you go slower, the slower you go the more likely you are to end up with a blurry image. 1/160 may not blur too much but 1/60 would disappoint you.

Keep this rule in mind when you are metering to capture an image, if the meter sets you up for a blurry image adjust your ISO, aperture (f/stop), and shutter speed so that X = 1/X or faster. Didn't know you would ever use basic algebra ever again did you.

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Lens Rule of Thumb

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12:03 PM


Great information! Thank you for sharing :-)


02:43 PM

Cape Coral, FL

Good to keep in mind. Thanks. Rosalie


03:07 PM

Jenison, MI

Yes, a very important detail that should always be at the forefront of your mind with telephoto's and when switching to a different lens.


05:05 PM

Murphy, NC

I did not know this Frank and really appreciate reading it! Thanks and have a great day! Celebrate life, Debra


06:42 PM

Weymouth, MA

Thank you for that bit of info will use it and yes I do have the problem of not taking home what I see and i can be disappointing.


11:34 PM

Waldo, FL

What a great reminder of a basic rule many may have forgotten!


07:26 AM

Tallahassee, FL

Thanks all, I appreciate you participation in the groups and your comments on the blog. I enjoy providing useful information and the blog is the perfect forum for sharing.


08:50 AM

Tallahassee, FL

One other thing I should have mentioned here is that if you use a sturdy tripod you don't have to worry and you can go to much slower shutter speeds. For the real heavy lenses, I would recommend using at least a mono-pod if you hiking and want to travel light.