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WHAT IS THE REVERSE RULE IN PHOTO?

Do you know how to take clear photos without using a tripod? Many get blurry images, often associated with camera shake when you release the shutter. Unfortunately, this can occur due to improper hand position on the camera, and from shutter vibrations, which can cause serious difficulties or even become an insoluble problem.

What is the opposite rule in photography?

This article will discuss the most common cause of camera shake: shutter speed is lower than that allowed when manually holding the camera. Photographer Nazim Mansurov explains in simple words the empirical inverse rule, which can significantly increase the chances of taking clear photos if you don’t have a tripod on hand.

What is the opposite rule in photography?
A picture taken while holding the camera with your hands, according to the opposite rule. Sony A7R + FE 35 mm f / 2.8 ZA @ 35 mm, ISO 100, 1/40, f / 11

What is the opposite rule?

Due to the fact that we humans cannot physically be absolutely motionless, especially when we are holding something weighty in our hands, our movements can cause camera shake and ultimately lead to blurring of images. The basic premise of the inverse rule is that your camera shutter speed should be at least inversely proportional to the effective focal length of the lens. This is easy to figure out with an example.

Let’s say you shoot using a zoom lens on a full-frame camera. The rule says: if you take pictures at 80 mm, your shutter speed must be set to at least 1/80 second, while if you use the zoom, say, 400 mm, your shutter speed must be at least 1/400 second. Using such fast shutter speeds should prevent blur when the camera shakes. Why so?

Since there is a direct correlation between the focal length and camera shake – the longer the focal length, the greater the likelihood of camera shake. If you are using a telephoto lens, you have probably already noticed how the viewfinder shakes when you increase the focal length compared to the smallest. This is because the movement of the camera increases at large focal lengths.

What is the opposite rule in photography?
The red dashed lines, representing the potential limit of how the camera can shake when held in hands, have a much smaller span at 80 mm than at 400 mm. This is because camera shake increases with increasing focal length.

Blur due to camera shake – This is NOT a blur due to movement of an object

It is important to note that the blur caused by camera shake is very different from blur from motion (when the subject is faster than the set shutter speed) – usually this is the blur of the WHOLE image, while motion blur has only the object or part of it, the rest is the image looks sharp. It is also important to note that the opposite rule applies only when the camera is held by hands – if it is mounted on a stable support, then such fast exposures are not required.

Effective Focal Length

If you have a camera with a sensor smaller than 35 mm / full frame (and most entry-level SLR cameras and mirrorless sensors smaller), you must first calculate the effective focal length, also known as the “equivalent field of view,” by multiplying the focal length on the crop factor. Therefore, if you use, for example, an 80-400 mm lens on a camera with a framing factor of 1.5x and shoot at 400 mm, the minimum shutter speed should be at least 1/600 second (400×1.5 = 600).

Notes and exceptions

Although this rule is usually called the “reverse” rule, it is not a rule in itself – it is simply an indication of the minimum shutter speed to avoid blurring due to camera shake.

Keep in mind that shutter speeds affect camera shake from a number of different variables.

The effectiveness of how you hold your hands on the camera: if you have a poor technique, the reciprocity rule may not work, and you may still need to use higher shutter speeds. Equipment and lenses vary in size, weight and size, so you may need to use special techniques, depending on what you are shooting.
Camera resolution: whether we like it or not, the resolution of digital cameras increases, and an increase in the number of pixels placed in the same physical space can greatly affect how sharp images are obtained at 100% magnification. Higher resolution cameras will tolerate significantly less camera shake than their lower resolution counterparts. Therefore, if you are dealing with a high-resolution camera, you may need to increase the shutter speed to a higher value than this rule suggests.

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