- Camera Settings for Maximum Image Quality
- Prepping Your Camera for the Long Haul
- Steadier Camera, Better Photos
- Prepping Your Computer for Better Photo Management
Steadier Camera, Better Photos
It doesn’t matter how much you spend on your camera if you come back with a bunch of fuzzy photographs. While the autofocus feature helps cut down on fuzzy photographs caused by incorrect focus, camera shake is a threat, especially when you're shooting with a long lens or in dim light. Here’s how to make sure your vacation photos are sharp and crisp.
Image Stabilization and Vibration Reduction
Camera shake becomes a big threat to sharp photos when you use a 6X or longer zoom or take pictures in dim light. While built-in image stabilization (IS) or vibration reduction (VR) is common on many recent point-and-shoot cameras, digital SLR vendors use two approaches to adding this shake-reduction feature.
Digital SLR vendors such as Sony, Pentax, and Olympus incorporate image stabilization into some camera models. In-camera stabilization enables you to use shutter speeds that are one to three steps slower than normal without a tripod. For example, if you normally have problems holding the camera steady at shutter speeds longer than 1/125 second, in-camera image stabilization helps you shoot sharp photos at shutter speeds from 1/60 second (one step slower) to 1/15 second (three steps slower), depending upon the camera, zoom settings, and how steady your hands are.
Canon and Nikon prefer to use image stabilization and vibration reduction technologies built into some camera lenses. Camera lenses made by Canon with image stabilization have IS on/off switches on the side of the lens barrel, while Nikon also uses the side of the lens barrel for its comparable vibration reduction (VR) feature. In-lens stabilization enables you to use shutter speeds that are as much as four steps slower without a tripod.
if you don't have any stabilization or vibration reduction features, or if you're planning to shoot a lot of landscapes, consider a tripod. Low-cost tripods are usually made of aluminum, but many tripods above $150 use carbon fiber to provide better vibration damping and reduce weight. Keep in mind that you should not use a tripod when you are using image stabilization.
A tabletop tripod is a good choice if you are pointing shoot primarily indoors or if you need to take pictures in situations where full-size tripods are not allowed. Some tabletop tripods are strong enough to handle a digital SLR with a standard lens, while others are designed mainly for compact point-and-shoot cameras.
Need easier-to-pack alternatives to a tripod? A beanbag that you can lay down on a car hood, open car window, the ground, or a porch rail does a good job of supporting a camera and lens. If you need to move quickly and you’re not trying to take time exposures, a monopod (which looks like one leg of a tripod plus a camera mount) is a suitable alternative.