I Gots the Jitters 2

Hello again everybody, I'm still Derek and this is still Coffee Addicts Anonymous. Last session we talked about using tripods to eliminate shake from my jitters. This time, we're going to explore some other options for keeping those shots steady.

1. Trekpods. Last time I complained that tripods are too awkward for someone trying to remain flexible in their composition (ie, me). Monopods are more flexible, or at least easier to move around with, but don't quite cut it like a tripod does. Fortunately, since this is The Future we no longer have to compromise. The Trekpod is the interesting cross-breed of a monopod and a tripod. Functionally, it's a monopod until you unlatch a strap at the bottom and then, WHAM, it's got three little legs lending it more of a tripod stability. But, don't take my word for it, watch their surprisingly infomercial-like video for yourself:

http://www.trek-tech.com/content/movies/lossless/TrekPod_nature_photography.mpg

2. Optical Image Stabilization. Ok, sure, not as good for night shooting, but OIS in any form is nice. I shoot Olympus digital cameras, and they use in-body stabilization turning any lens I mount into a mean, precision-ground jitter fighting machine. I can't speak for the effectiveness of Canon or Nikon's lens-based systems, but I know combining f3.5 with my in-body OIS has allowed me to pull crisp shots off at dusk at a focal length equivalent to 800mm, so if you're waffling about paying more for real (optical) IS, don't. Unless you only shoot at high noon (you photo cowboy, you), or in a studio, you'll find use for IS.

3. The DIY solution. This went around all the DIY photo blogs for a while, so if you've seen it before you'll just nod knowingly. If you need flexible, portable stabilization, this'll help in a pinch, but it won't save those long lens night-time shots from getting a bit soft. It is pretty darn neat, though:


$1 Image Stabilizer For Any Camera - Lose The Tripod