The old rules for shake-free photography simply don't work in this new age of high-resolution cameras

Always select a shutter speed of at least 1/125sec for the sharpest portraits and avoid subject blur, even if the ISO has to be raised (Image credit: Brian Worley)

Ever since reading my first photography book, there’s been one rule for sharper photos, and that’s to keep everything stationary. When hand-holding the camera, the traditional wisdom for shake-free shots was to use the reciprocal of the focal length. For a 500mm lens that means 1/500 sec, or for a camera with a crop sensor work with effective focal length – as 500mm becomes 800mm then use 1/800 sec.

But with high-resolution digital sensors and larger viewing screens means that sharpness or lack of it is much more readily seen. A 24-inch monitor with 1920 pixels across is commonplace and if you zoom in to 100% on a 24MP image it’s like looking at a 1.5 metre print. It should be no surprise that you see more faults looking at digital images at full-size on a monitor. 

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Brian Worley

Brian is a freelance photographer and photo tutor, based in Oxfordshire. He has unrivaled EOS DSLR knowledge, after working for Canon for over 15 years, and is on hand to answer all the EOS and photographic queries in Canon-centric magazine PhotoPlus.