Camera Shake. What Is It and How Do I Prevent It?


As I sat gripping my camera waiting for the Cardinal to land. The rush I got from seeing the Cardinal made my hands shake. This had happened before. So it made me wonder, “how does the camera and lens prevent camera shake”. So I did some research.

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Cardinal

Have you ever been so frustrated with yourself and your camera because your images are slightly blurred and you don’t remember shaking? I have felt like that, so I did more research on ”camera shake” and how to prevent it. Here is what I found.

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Chipmunk

While I was researching “camera shake,” I found that camera manufacturers have developed lens-based and in-body based image stabilization technology that may help with this.

What is Camera Shake?

So what is camera shake? After my research, I understand it to mean this, ”camera shake” is a phrase used in photography to define when the photographer accidentally shakes the camera while taking a picture due to unsteady hands, this can cause unwanted blurry images.

Before I jump into available camera technologies that may help you resolve the issue of camera shake, I would like to change your focus to blurry photos.

What are Three Types of Common Blurs?

I wrote a brief explanation of the three types of blurry photos.

Background Blur

Nikon D7500 AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED iso 100 210mm 1/50s f/6
Day Lily

Background Blur is a type of BOKEH, the most popular among photographers. BOKEH  (Bo-Kay) is derived from the Japanese word BOKE which means blur or haze and out of focus.

Blur does not have to be in the background to be BOKEH, the blur can be found anywhere on the image where you concentrate on your subject, while blurring the rest of the image.

This is created by the shallow depth of field, the more out of focus your background will be.

The topic of BOKEH is a little bit off scope for this blog post, but definitely worth reading further information on it.

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Motion Blur
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American Yellow Finch

Motion Blur occurs when the cameras shutter stays open for long periods of time. During the period in which the shutter is open to the time it closes, this sensor will record all movement.

Movement that is recorded on the camera’s Sensor which will show as a blurred motion streaks or trails of light in your image, this is called the ”ghosting” effect.

I continue to work on my motion blur, I like to use the birds and wildlife in my backyard as my artist canvas.

Learning the concept of Motion Blur is hard, I am still learning. There is a lot of interesting information on Motion Blur, perhaps too much for this blog post.

Motion blur should not be confused with camera shake.

Nikon D5300
Water Splashing from Rain
Camera Shake
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American Yellow Gold Finch

“Camera shake” is a phrase used in photography to define when the photographer accidentally shakes the camera while taking a picture due to unsteady hands, this can cause unwanted blurry images.

“Camera Shake” can happen to photographers without realizing it until he/she glimpses at the final image on the LCD screen.

You might be able to hold the camera very steady, but it is natural to involuntarily shake the camera. The length of time you are able to hold the camera or the shutter speed matches the Effective Focal Length determines the time you have before “camera shake“ happens.

Knowing the Effective Focal Length (EFL) of your lens should help you to avoid ”camera shake.” This means Focal Length (as marked on your lens) multiplied by the crop factor (sensor value) equals Effective Focal Length (see example below.)

100 mm x 1.6 (asp-c) =

EFL = 160mm

-> 1/160th shutter speed

The above answer represents the shutter speed at which ”camera shake” should not occur.

Three Ideas You Can Do To Prevent Camera Shake

  • To help with “camera shake” use a tripod. If you do not own one, it is worth the investment to buy one.

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Female Cardinal

When I do not have my tripod near me and I want to capture a specific image, I will do one of the following:

  • If I am standing, I will hold my camera with both hands. Then, I’ll bend my elbows while raising the camera to my eyes. Next, squeezing my elbows together (resembling an upside-down tripod), focus on the subject in view, and finally, I will click the shutter button.
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Blue Birds
  • If I’m sitting, I will hold my camera with two hands and bent knees. I place my elbows on my knees then raise the camera to my eyes (in the form of a tripod.) I then focus on my subject in view and click on the shutter to create my final image.
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Hummingbird

Image Stabilization

Image stabilization is the way camera manufacturing help photographers create clear images. They add technology to camera lenses and camera body to help with ”camera shake.”

Optical Image Stabilizer

Optical Image Stabilizer is found only on camera lens. The Optical Image Stabilizer or also known by the abbreviation of OIS are manufactured right in the lens. This is a type of technology that exists in camera lenses to help with ”camera shake.” This technology helps with the motion of the camera and lens to produce sharper, clearer photos.

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House Finches

Companies have different names for their own Optical Image Stabilization System (OIS).

Examples include are:

  • Nikon – VR – Vibration Reduction
  • Canon – IS – Image Stabilizer
  • Sony – OSS – Optical SteadyShot
  • Minolta – AS – Anti-Shake

Those companies listed above are only a few examples of camera manufactures that have technology that will help you with “camera shake,“ but does not help with Motion Blur.

Nikon D5300 105.0 mm f/2.8 iso 12800 105mm 1/4000s f/5.6
Water Ripples

Optical Image Stabilizer technology by counteracting ”camera shake” to create a sharper image. The technology in the lens has two tiny gyros (short for gyroscope).

These tiny gyros works with the camera movements which send a signal to the lens element to move direction. This process illuminates “camera shake”.

Optical Image Stabilizer Lens, although they are costly, they are invaluable and worth the money.

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Day Moon

In-Body Imagine Stabilization


In-Body Image Stabilization also known as I.B.I.S. and in-camera stabilizer has a type of technology in the camera body to help with ”camera shake”. This technology helps with the motion of the camera to produce sharper, clearer photos.

The technology that is used in I.B.I.S. is similar to the same technology used in lens-based lenses, except in this case it uses an actual cameras sensor.

The camera’s sensor rotates with the movement of the camera. It rotates with the help from the mechanism for the gyroscope.

In-Body Image Stabilizer works best with a shorter focal length lens. The longer focal length lens , a telephoto lens, the sensor has a tendency not move sufficiently enough to overcome the magnified ”camera shake.”
Fortunately, all lenses that are capable of sending the focal length and the focal distance lens will work with In-Body Image Stabilizer camera,

Including:

  • Older lens
  • Third-Party lens
  • Optical Image Stabilizer lens
  • Non-Optical Image Stabilizer lens
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Squirrel


In-Body Image Stabilizer cameras are expensive, but you can use the above listed lenses and it is a one time expense. You will gain the advantage of Optical Image Stabilizer lens without having to buy multiple lenses.

Conclusion

My research into ”how does a camera and lens prevent camera shake” revealed a plethora of information and I certainly learned plenty.

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Cardinal

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