I like a lot of what Thom Hogan writes but I don't agree with his column today. Today's column is addressing complaints from users about the focus on the Nikon D800, Nikon D7000 and other high pixel density cameras. In Hogan's opinion, the reason for focus trouble on hand-held shots is two-fold:
- Users of the D7000 are not taking into account the crop multiplier of the D7000, which turns a 200mm lens into a 300mm equivalent, requiring faster shutter speeds.
- Users are older and their hands are less steady than back in the 1980's. He writes, "They've lost muscle mass and sometimes fine coordination, but that happened so slowly that they are probably wrong when they think they can still do what they did 30 years ago."
My hands weren't big enough to hold an SLR in the 1980's. I will say that I have noticed a dramatic difference in the quality of shots between photos taken with a film SLR and a digital camera at 1/30, to 1/125 second shutter speed, particularly with any shots containing subtle motion. Quite frankly, the blur on digital camera photos is ugly- and with the super high pixel density cameras such as the Canon 7D or the Nikon D800, it only gets uglier. Image stabilization may help, but I'm not sure how much- in my experience, it's often light motion blur that is causing the problem and image stabilization won't assist in that case.
The adjustment I've made in my own shooting is to be more cautious about shutter speeds. Whereas with film I wouldn't hesitate to shoot at 1/60 second (sports aside), on digital I find I have to make a concerted effort to try to keep the shutter speed up around 1/200 second if there's any possibility of movement in the picture whatsover.
That's what I do as a general principle anyway- occasionally, I will deliberately shoot action at around 1/15 second for a more artistic effect.
[Hogan hasn't introduced permalink to his blog yet but if you're looking for this article at a later date it will be with March 22, 2012 in the archives.]