Hand held is the common practice for the vast majority of digital photographs taken today. Cameras have built-in stabilization technologies to minimize blur from camera shake. Depending on their type and effectiveness, these image stabilization electronics allow a slower shutter speed of two or three stops and still deliver sharp hand-held images. This technology, combined with a wide aperture lens and a high ISO setting can make hand held photography possible in almost any light.
The Tripod Isn’t Dead
Does this mean that camera supports like tripods and alternative devices are no longer necessary? Not by a long shot! Camera stabilization is still essential in low light conditions for a number of reasons. You may be able to crank up the ISO to the point where you can shoot hand held by candlelight. But what about the inevitable noise? For maximum quality keep the ISO setting low and use a reliable camera support.
Long exposure photography offers creative opportunities that are not available when the camera is hand held. Traffic trails on a busy street at night is one example that is impossible to shoot hand held. Billowy smooth water flowing over a cascade or through rapids is an effect that takes a long exposure that should be stabilized. Want to shoot star trails? Ditto. Time lapse video is another technique that is impossible to shoot hand held.
Most Cameras Can Use Stabilization
The need for stabilization is not limited to DSLRs, mirrorless or other high end cameras. Most cameras today, including some point-and-shoots, offer manual settings with exposures up to thirty seconds. This provides the opportunity to get out of “Auto” mode and experiment with longer exposures and greater creative control—provided you have dependable camera stabilization.
Tripod Alternative Easy to Carry and Use
The type of camera support you choose depends on what you are willing to carry. A sturdy tripod is always the best gear. But cameras have gotten smaller and lighter. If the camera weighs four ounces does it make sense to carry a three-pound tripod? Yet the smaller the camera, the harder it is to grip firmly and hold steady. This is especially true of smartphones that are taking over the point-and-shoot market. If a tripod is not in your kit, consider a light weight alternative like HandlePod—firm hand-held grip, reliable stabilization on any solid object and hands-free attachment to many supports.