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Do this NOT that for Sharp Images

A new Mini Series on Achieving Sharp Images and Better Consistency

You guys are in for a real treat! One of the things we hear over and over in our stores from the hundreds of customers who come in is "Sharpness;" "I'm just not getting sharp images." So Chris has decided to do a new mini-series about "How to Consistently Get Sharp Photos" with different tried and true techniques he uses every time he shoots.

Chris and the other camera store reps covered an ongoing rodeo up in West Yellowstone during the season. They experienced just about every element of weather while out photographing the arena. During one rodeo event, Chris shot over 4,300 images. Of those images, only 13 were out of focus or not exposed correctly.

So what does this mean? That Chris is an all mighty photo wiz? Nah, he does know how to utilize the camera's capabilities to get the images he wants consistency. It always boils down to how well you know your gear.

To kick things off, we'll start with two simple, quick tips when dealing with big lenses and sharp images. Chris uses a 100-400mm Z lens in this demo, but the same applies to any other large lens, such as a 500mm or 600mm F/4 lens. He can consistently hand-hold these lenses, which leads us to our first tip.

Fads, hear about them and run the other way. The last thing Chris does is chase all the different fads going around. He doesn't use motion tracking, eye tracking, or any of the other auto-focusing/ tracking systems. Instead, he uses single-point focus, but more on that a different time.

Fads drive Chris nuts! A big trend circulating lately has been to place your lens foot upside down on your lens ... For all that is good, please stop doing that. It's the dumbest thing to come out about hand-holding big lenses.

Here's why: When you're holding your lens upside down, look where your hand is. It's resting on the zoom and focus rings. Some people will claim this makes it easier to zoom in and out; however, even the slightest bump to any of these rings while shooting will contribute to blurry shots.

In archery, a standard instruction given to new students is never to grip the bow because it will create less stability. This is the same concept when hand-holding large lenses. You will shake more by holding your camera incorrectly.

So here's what you got to do,

  1. Make sure your lens foot is in the correct position. Always keep it down.

  2. When you lift your camera up, cradle the lens foot in your hand. You should be able to do this and use your viewfinder simultaneously.

Another fad is people holding their cameras out from in front of them. Please don't do that. Always cradle it (the lens foot), do not grip it. Hold it up and brace it against yourself. This is the best way to create stability while you shoot.

If you do that one thing alone with big lenses, you will consistently get sharper pictures more than you ever have before.

So give it a try. I think you guys are going to be really impressed. I encourage you to follow this series (there will be 3-4 videos) and let us know if you have any questions!

Until next time, C-ya!


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