Medium Format

Camera shape can have a considerable effect on sharpness. The Alpa 12 can be fitted with exactly :he same 38mm Zeiss Biogon as is fixed in the Hasselblad Superwide, but because of the shape of the Alpa, most people find it much easier to hold steady, and resolution can be 20 percent higher. Other "giant 35" cameras, such as the Mamiya 7, again give a sharpness bonus as compared with harder-to-hold cameras. Wrh many cameras, fitting a side grip can significantly improve the sharpness of hand-held shots. Rollei and similar TLRs, with the camera on a short neck-strap at chest level, often allow quite long exposures to be hand-held with more success than seems reasonable: as long as Ho second. Reportedly, Junoesque ladies can even get away with A second on a fairly regular basis, provided they are not short of breath.

An MF SLR is rarely the best choice for hand-holding. Not only can there be an impressive delay between pressing the shutter release and taking the picture - as much as 'Ao second - but the big, heavy mirror moving around does nothing for sharpness. This is why a pre-release is so good: it closes the front shutter (on a leaf-shutter camera), stops down the diaphragm, raises the mirror, and opens the auxiliary shutter (if fitted). When you press the release, all that is left is for the shutter to fire, which it does, promptly, quietly, and with the minimum of vibration. Of course, you are left with little more than a crude box camera, with scale focusing and (at best) an accessory frame finder.

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