Digital cameras do a good job of managing blur, and now days they all come with some form of Image Stabilization, either Digital Image Stabilization or Mechanical Image Stabilization – and, in some models, both forms.
The first line of defense in combating blur is higher sensitivities or high ISO, which is commonly referred to as Digital Image Stabilization: because high ISO gets more light in the shot and facilitates faster shutter speeds, it actually manages blur caused by subject movement. It makes sense that faster shutter speeds freeze action. Better still, this type of Image Stabilization is good in low light settings where blur is quite common.
A second line of defense is Mechanical Image Stabilization: it manages blur caused by camera movement or photographer’s hand shake. Think about shooting scenery from a moving car or trying to take pictures from a boat on the water – the ground underneath isn’t stable and, as a result, neither is the photographer or the camera. Mechanical Image Stabilization is simply a balancing mechanism that ‘shifts’ the movement in the opposite direction and counteracts it. It’s correcting the blurry effect caused by the movement. There are actually two kinds of Mechanical Image Stabilization: Optical, where the balancing mechanism resides in the lens to counteract the blur; and Sensor Shift, where the balancing mechanism resides on the camera’s sensor to counteract the blur.
It’s always great to have both Digital Image Stabilization and Mechanical Image Stabilization – what Fujifilm calls Dual Image Stabilization – because blur is managed two ways to ensure the most crisp image possible.
But there is a third line of defense: the photographer! She is the most important part of the equation because she is the base, the solid footing – better known as “the human tripod”.
By holding the camera at face height and standing with arms held firmly at the sides, with legs about shoulder-width apart, the photographer has a firm placement and better grip on the camera rather than holding the camera at arms length. Think about this placement when shooting and ‘be the tripod’!
The final, most important element in avoiding blurry pictures is ‘the half-press’, or autofocus lock. By pressing the shutter button down halfway and holding steady, the photographer locks the subject or scene in focus. Then, by fully pressing the shutter, the subject or scene is shot with all elements in place for a nice, well-focused image.
Get to know your camera’s specific features, take lots of images to see which features which ones give you the results you’re looking for. Remember, you can always delete later. And always remember: beauty is in the eye of the beholder so trust your instincts and have fun with it!