Using the image stabilizer properly

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Here's how you can guarantee hand-held pictures with maximum sharpness - and when using a tripod

Using the image stabilizer properly

Verwacklungen sind der häufigste Grund für unscharfe Bilder. Ursache hierfür ist eine unerwünschte Bewegung der Kamera während der Belichtungszeit. Je länger die Belichtung, desto anfälliger ist eine Aufnahme für Verwacklungsunschärfe. Mit einigen Tricks und mit Hilfe des VC-Bildstabilisators lässt sich das Risiko einer Verwacklung jedoch effektiv minimieren.

Als Faustregel gegen Verwacklungsunschärfe gilt seit jeher: Die Verschlusszeit sollte mindestens dem Umkehrwert der effektiven Brennweite entsprechen. Fotografiert man zum Beispiel mit einem 50mm-Objektiv und APS-C-Sensor sollte die Zeit demnach mindestens 1/80 Sekunde entsprechen (z.B. 50mm x 1,5 Crop = 75mm = min. 1/75 s). Oder besser: noch kürzer!

Das war einmal. Zwar kann die Regel weiterhin zur Orientierung dienen. Doch dank immer besserer Bildstabilisatoren lassen sich aus der Hand inzwischen auch bei deutlich längeren Verschlusszeiten scharfe Aufnahmen machen.

Camera shake is the most common reason for blurry images. This is caused by an involuntary movement of the camera during the exposure time. The longer the exposure, the more susceptible a photo is to camera shake. However, with a few tricks, and using the VC image stabilization, the risk of camera shake can effectively be minimized.

The rule of thumb to avoid camera shake has always been: the shutter speed should be at least the reciprocal of the effective focal length. So if you are shooting with a 50mm lens and APS-C sensor, then the time should be at least 1/80 second (eg: 50mm x 1.5 crop = 75mm = minimum   1/75 sec). Or better: even shorter!

That was in the past. It is true that the rule continues to serve as a guide. But thanks to ever-better image stabilizers, now sharp pictures can be taken at even much longer shutter speeds, even with the camera hand-held.

So, even an exposure time that is one to three times ??longer is no problem, as our example shows. For a focal length of 127mm usually a shutter speed of at least 1/125 second would be required. With image stabilization, we can still manage a sufficiently sharp image at 1/15 second.

Maybe you have already looked it up in the Technical Glossary (1) on our website: the VC (Vibration Compensation) mechanism was developed by Tamron to ensure an effective compensation for camera shake. It contains a VC element that compensates for vibrations due to movements parallel to the image plane by means of three magnets. Here (1) you can read up again on exactly how it works.

Image stabilizer when using a tripod
When you shoot with a tripod, you should turn off the image stabilizer. On the tripod, the camera is already sufficiently firmly fixed to avoid camera shake. In this case, the image stabilizer may even be counterproductive if the VC element tries to compensate for a movement that does not exist.

If you value the absolute maximum degree of sharpness, you should photograph with a macro lens, tripod, remote release and mirror lock-up.
This is how to achieve the maximum image sharpness! All pictures: focal length 135mm at 1/4 second. Photos with the Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di VC USD MACRO 1:1. 100% section. Nikon D7000, 135mm (KB), 1/4 s, f/4, ISO 100

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