28 February 2024

Table Mountain, Cape Town… Handheld at f/16

Our Majestic Mountain - Handheld at a Small Aperture

Table Mountain om Av Mode Vernon Chalmers Photography
Table Mountain om Av Mode Vernon Chalmers Photography

This image (in very good morning light) was a very rare small aperture (f/16) handheld capture for me – as most of my students will know I generally recommend only to go as small as f/11 when handholding a camera for architecture, landscape or street photography – with AF enabled. This technique is for getting most of the image sharp without using a tripod. The same will apply for high-end (professional) macro / food photography – at apertures around f/16 it is highly recommended to use a tripod.

This particular Table Mountain image was captured with a Canon EOS 700D / EF-S 18-135mm lens between Milnerton and Table View in Av Mode at 35mm / ISO 100 / f/16 / AF Mode enabled (handheld). The good light (@ ISO 100) was a major support factor for the pairing I have used at f/16.

I have experienced lately that with the modern Canon EOS R mirrorless cameras (with built-in Image Stabilisation) and paired with various RF lenses (specifically designed for the EOS R) that it is now less risky to shoot handheld in Manual / Av Mode - with AF enabled at f/16 / Auto-ISO in reasonable good quality light (for various different genres). The images I looked at / worked with where without any particular camera shake and it rendered a sharp image across the frame.

Important: For long exposure photography with a DSLR or mirrorless camera a tripod will still be a requirement as the photographer will be shooting for up to 30 seconds (or longer in Bulb Mode) at a low ISO (i.e. 100 to 200) at i.e f/16 - using Manual Focus as standard practice / and with hyperfocal distance estimations.

Without a tripod it is highly unlikely that any long exposure image will be useable due to the handheld shake / movement during the longer exposure in-camera processing at the same time. The camera should be kept as still as possible - I generify use a remote shutter cable release to minimise any additional / unnecessary movement. 

© Vernon Chalmers