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  1. #1
    David R Munson's Avatar
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    Exercises/drills to improve hand steadiness?

    I have noticed that over the course of the last twelve years, my ability to handhold my camera steadily at slower speeds has come and gone in cycles, without any apparent logic behind the changes. Sometimes I can handhold at 1/4s with a 50mm lens no prob, and other times I'll find bad camera movement at 1/30s when I was actually trying to hold the camera still. Hell, I used to shoot an RB67 handheld at 1/8-1/2s regularly with good results.

    So what I'm wondering is if anyone knows of any exercises or drills one can do to help maintain more consistently steady hands. Please don't suggest a tripod or monopod, as that's not what I'm asking. Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Bill Mobbs's Avatar
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    Quit drinking whiskey, quit drinking coffee, quit smoking, get enough sleep. Try holding your breath while pressing the shutter release, all come to mind.
    When all this fails, then get the tripod. Then you can take up the bad habits again.

    Best regards,

    Bill
    "Nobody is perfect! But even among those that are perfect, some are more perfect than others." Walt Sewell 1947

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Mobbs View Post
    Quit drinking whiskey, quit drinking coffee, quit smoking, get enough sleep.
    Talk about a life not worth living . . . .

  4. #4
    jd callow's Avatar
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    When I'm in good physical condition I am able to still my chest and body enough to hold the camera much longer and with less shake as I use the front and side of my chest as a brace. My hands seem to have less importance. When I'm in crap contdition (like now) I notice my heart beating under my arm and it is somewhat more dificult to hold perfectly still.

    I can generally handhold a RF down into the 1/4 range and if I have a wall nearby 1/2 is also doable.

    Its nice to see you posting again.
    Last edited by jd callow; 09-09-2007 at 03:04 PM. Click to view previous post history.

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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Mobbs View Post
    Try holding your breath while pressing the shutter release

    Bill
    What I find is most effective is to slowly exhale and press the shutter at the point where my lungs empty and I'm about to inhale. Actually trying to hold my breath tends to make my chest/stomach muscles tense up and cause vibrations.

  6. #6

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    I also keep both arms in to my chest and slouch slightly - the goal here is to try and support yourself on locked joints as much as possible instead of relying on your muscles to hold you up.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by dslater View Post
    What I find is most effective is to slowly exhale and press the shutter at the point where my lungs empty and I'm about to inhale. Actually trying to hold my breath tends to make my chest/stomach muscles tense up and cause vibrations.
    Both this and your other post seconded wholeheartedly.
    Free Photography Information on My Website
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  8. #8

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    And if I can find something to lean on or against all the better.
    Even so, my steadiness definitely varies from day to day - being tired makes things much worse.
    Worrying too much about how steady I am seems to have a very negative effect. Waiting too long to take the pic makes things worse as well.

  9. #9
    Sparky's Avatar
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    it's sort of a jedi zen mind-trick thing for me. I imagine the camera is absoulutely fixed in space - as though attached to a massive block of concrete - completely immovable - as though there's nothing I can even do to shake or vibrate the camera - and so I just give up even trying. I've had surprisingly great results this way. I don't know why.. it just works. I guess we all find our own tricks...!

  10. #10
    keithwms's Avatar
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    Leaning helps a lot. Two other things that help-

    1) set the timer on your camera and then concentrate only on the camera itself rather than the shutter.

    2) if you don't use the timer then depress the shutter button not with your fingertip but rather the more fleshy part of your finger, that reduces the finger impulse.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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