Monday, October 25, 2010

How to Hold Your DSLR

This is a just a gentle reminder about how to hold your DSLR properly. For most camera's, it's pretty obvious what you should be doing with your right hand because that is the side of the camera that has the grip. For whatever reason, the proper positioning of the left hand is not obvious, as so many new photographers invariably pick up their camera the wrong way.

The proper position of the left hand is:
  • Palm up with the fingers cradling the lens near the lens mount and the left side of the camera body resting in your left palm
  • Left elbow tucked into the chest
  • While we're at it, the right elbow is also tucked into the chest as well
Most new photographers pick up a camera and hold the lens with an overhand grip. This has some rationale from a bio-mechanical point of view, as the elbow will naturally pivot inward somewhat when you raise your arm, thereby turning your hand palm down. This is categorically the wrong way to hold a lens, because it is not stable. If your hand is on top of the lens, that means it is exerting a downward force on it. If your hand is under the lens, your fingers are not doing as much work, and the lens rests passively in your hand. By the same token, if your elbow is not tucked into your chest and is out in space in a chicken-wing position, you are are relying on your shoulder muscles to keep your arm steady as it fights against gravity. By tucking your elbow in, your body is performing less work and is able to hold the camera much steadier. The key principal is to form a stable base that requires the least amount of muscle tension.

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