Alley in Pisa, Italy

by Lars Kotthoff

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So, I've seem that some photographers are extremely sensitive about how to hold their camera. What's the best way to hold a DSLR? Or does it even matter at all.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Ah...da Grip. One option that Joe McNally advocates is using your shoulder as a brace and standing up straighter - or at least not leaning over. He claims to be able to shoot a couple of stops faster doing this.

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1  
I've been using this technique for a while now, after watching this very same video. It feels a bit weird at first, and takes come getting used to...but once you do, you definitely have more control over hand-held stability than when you hold it the "normal" way. It's helped me a fair bit when taking wildlife shots, and particularly bird shots. –  jrista Aug 14 '11 at 0:46
    
@jrista - Ya, I posted the same video in chat 6+ months ago - so that might have been where you saw it. I've found it helpful for birds as well. –  rfusca Aug 14 '11 at 3:29

It surely matters, and the best way is the one which allows you to control the shooting as precisely as possible to achieve your goal. So if you want to try a longish exposure you will usually try to reduce the hand shaking (so hold your breath, near your arms to your body, avoid shaking the camera when firing the button...), but this cannot be necessarily suitable for street photography (quick reaction to something which is happening right now). In the extreme case, the best way can be to let a tripod hold the camera for you and so on.

From this it follows that there cannot be a single best way suitable for everybody in every situation. This probably explains why there is a debate at all: I wonder why you cannot understand why MY way makes so much more sense than YOURS... ;-)

In any case, I would recommend against dropping the camera, so in the vast majority of cases a firm grasp on the camera body is a good idea... :-)

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If you use your right eye or your camera is too small for "da-grip" this is the traditional way to hold a camera:

  • Back strait, legs slightly apart
  • Right hand on the grip, where your fingers reach the shutter button and various dials
  • Left hand supporting the lens, the root of your hand in contact with camera body (or lens - for very long lenses)
  • Eye pressed against the viewfinder
  • Both elbows touching body
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+1, the position of the elbows is critical also when using a binocular (especially in those long, cold nights which you cannot miss because the sky is clear, at last) –  Francesco Aug 14 '11 at 9:14
    
@Francesco - the same basic rules apply to anything that you have to aim and keep steady, I actually learned this with an assault rifle (where the results of shake are a little more severe than with a camera or binocular) –  Nir Aug 14 '11 at 14:52
    
I understand. No experience with rifles, sorry. With binoculars it surely can become rapidly tiring because you can stay for long hours. I don't know if it's customary to hold a rifle for long hours without a support, but surely the weight is much more than a binocular or a camera. Well, almost always. –  Francesco Aug 14 '11 at 15:52
    
@Francesco - you don't hold a rifle for hours without support, but you do have to hit a small target that is a quite far away (and without electronic stabilization or vibration reduction) so you better learn to keep the rifle steady, also you don't have time to setup any support because the target is shooting at you. –  Nir Aug 14 '11 at 19:51

Like this

A friend, not me

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(A friend, not me) Like this kid, I hold the lens from the bottom and positions my hand on the grip so that I can jog the jog dial easily. –  enthdegree Aug 13 '11 at 23:33
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Every time I look at this picture, all I can see is the weird guy drawn in in the background.... –  mattdm Dec 28 '11 at 3:29

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