By Stokley Wilson
One of the most talked about subjects in photography is sharpness. Most photographers spend a lot of time concerning themselves with image sharpness. When choosing equipment, this is probably the area of greatest concern. They purchase more expensive lenses. They buy the latest, sharpest film. Then they go out and shoot their cameras handheld.
Photographers will generally find any excuse to leave the tripod at home. It's too heavy, too bulky, or any other reason you can think of.
We have all heard "the rule of thumb" about how slow we can hand-hold a camera, 1/60 of a second or 1 over the focal length of the lens you are using, i.e. 200mm lens = 1/250, 400mm lens = 1/500, etc.Some photographers honestly believe they can hold their cameras at even slower shutter speeds, and get good sharpness. Some will even brag about how slow they can hold their cameras. They actually believe they can hold their camera as still as a tripod during the exposure.
But, alas, this is not true! Any photographer can increase the sharpness of their photographs if they would use a tripod.
If you were to take a very close look at some of your hand-held images, you will see evidence of camera movement. You may have to enlarge 20X or even 30X to see it on some images. But rest assured, no one can hold a camera as still as a good sturdy tripod.
So the bottom line here is when the shot really counts, or when you want the best image quality, you MUST use a tripod!