NUTCAAL, “Not using the camera at arms length”


Maybe this is posted elsewhere, maybe it isn’t, but I’d like to call attention to the “I have a screen so I’ll use it at arms length to compose my photo”, or IHASSIUIAALTCMP. I’d recommend, NUTCAAL, “Not using the camera at arms length”, and, at least I can pronounce NUTCAAL. OK, silly new acronyms aside, what I’m talking about is folks who insist on using their cameras while holding it with arms fully extended.

With so many P&S cameras leaving out the optical viewfinder, providing less than full coverage in the viewfinder, or DSLR’s with “live-view”, it seems that this practice has become an epidemic.

Why shouldn’t you shoot like this? Let’s have a small lesson in physics. Specifically, a simple machine called a lever, has a pivot point, or a fulcrum, like a playground see-saw. Now, unless you are at some twisted playground, the fulcrum is in the center, and one person sits at each end.  If both people weigh the same, the board will be level.

Now, if we move that fulcrum towards one end, the end that we move the fulcrum away from, will have a greater “throw”, with less movement on the other end.

Applying this principal to holding your camera, you can easily understand why we NUTCAAL makes sense.  You should hold your elbows in, and look at the LCD close to your face, in a tight position.  If you hold your camera at arms length, your camera is on the right side of the diagram above, and the slightest movement in your body, translates to more movement in the camera.  We want to make that “board” (your arm) as short as possible, minimizing this effect.

So, for the sharpest possible shots, I recommend NUTCAAL!