Do you often take photos with your camera and the photos are not sharp enough and blurry? Especially in low-light indoors, or shooting at night, the situation is more serious. At this time, you are likely to blur the photo due to hand shake. The solution is to learn to apply a very important concept of “safe shutter speed” It’s up!


“Safe shutter speed” calculation method

Safe shutter speed = 1 / focal length

Note that the “focal length” refers to the size of the lens in mm, such as wide-angle 18mm, telephoto 200mm, etc. Many students will also be confused with “focus”, please be careful!

The above is the secret of “safe shutter speed”. Is it simple? As long as your shutter speed can meet the safe shutter speed or faster, under normal circumstances, there will be no blurry photos in handheld shooting, you can rest assured.

1 / 60s rule

According to the simple theory above, we can use different safe shutter speeds at different focal lengths. But a normal human body will have a limit when it is held in hand, which is 1 / 60s, which means that regardless of your focal length, the slowest safe shutter speed should not be slower than 1 / 60s, otherwise the photo will appear blurred, see the list For reference (click to enlarge):


Pay attention to the holding limit of 1 / 60s. Even if the focal length is below 50mm, the slowest shutter must be maintained at 1 / 60s to avoid blurring of the photo due to camera shake.

Ways to Surpass the “Safe Shutter Speed”

Nowadays, with the advanced technology, various manufacturers have launched cameras or lenses with anti-shake function (such as Canon’s IS, Nikon’s VR, etc.), which allows you to take clear photos at shutter speeds slower than the safe shutter speed. In addition to relying on technology, we can actually use the following methods to exceed the safe shutter speed:

  1. Shoot against stable things such as door frames, tree trunks, railings, etc. while holding it;
  2. Correct holding posture
  3. Hold your breath before pressing the shutter to make your hand as stable as possible;
  4. Using a tripod

The concept of a safe shutter speed is a very important part of photography, and you must keep it in mind!


Author: Alex Tam