At what shutter speed is a tripod generally required?

Shutter speed is one of the major phases in photography along with focal length and aperture. When you are traveling with a camera and want to take a photo of a moving object, then you might have observed the blurriness. 

No matter what lenses and camera you are using. You should adjust the shutter speed and focal length for a clear image. So, let’s know at what shutter speed you need a tripod for better performance. 

But before that, let’s know what is ‘shutter speed’?

Shutter speed process

In real definition, shutter speed is the time of light that travels through the camera when taking a picture. During the shutter period, the lenses are exposed to the light. Imagine you are holding a camera to take some sun kissing shots of your friends. You don’t need any tripod, or you don’t have to care a damn about focal length and shutter speed, etc.

Now Imagine you are filming your sister or brother taking a roller coaster ride. Now that makes sense because the coaster is moving. But you need a good camera and ‘shutter speed.’ 

Now you are aware of shutter speed, right? Now let’s see when do you need a tripod?

Shutter speed and tripod

shutter speed at various sec

When we want to record a slow-motion video, the ideal shutter speed length is 1/15 sec (again, it depends on the focal length too). The moderate speed would be 1/30s to 1/250s is a good shutter speed to record natural speed video like walking casually.

If you are your friend is walking towards the camera and the cameraman is walking back, maintaining the same distance, then you need this shutter speed for a clear picture. Now it’s time to make you awe!

To record an ultra fast-moving object like a jet plane or a chopper, then you need 1/1000s to 1/8000s shutter speed. (Note that the maximum shutter speed in most of the DSLRs are 1/4000 sec). All these can be done with or without a tripod. When you have a tripod, you get better quality. 

At what shutter speed do you need a tripod?

At 1/15 sec or from 1/250 to 1/4000s shutter speed, you need a tripod. This is the ideal range to record in two cases. i) Slow-motion video. ii) Fast motion video. 

You need to adjust the focal length with the shutter speed. 

Imagine if you have an 18/104 lens, then you can focus from 18mm to 104mm focal length. Now, you are focusing an object 50mm object; then, you need to fix the shutter speed at 1/50. You should use the same or a little higher than the length of the focused object from your lens. Here is what professionals say;

A common rule often mentioned is that to get sharp images handheld, you need a shutter speed that is 1/focal length used. (You can neglect the slight change when you have a tripod).

If you care about sharpness and details, then you must use a tripod every time you get a chance. For recording a normal moving video, as we said, you can use 1/30sec to 1/250 sec shutter speed without a tripod. You can use any speed in between the range with or without the tripod.

You need a tripod when your camera is shuttering to film slow motion and fast motion videos. Slower than 1/250 sec shutter speed is the ideal length to use a tripod for perfect sharpness. 

What is the slowest shutter speed without a tripod?

The shutter speed should be equal or more to 1/“focal length.” For a 100mm lens camera, the slowest shutter speed you can frame is 1/100 sec. If you are using a 400mm lens, the minimum shutter speed recommended is 1/400s. 

Can you use a Monopod instead?

Since Monopods do very little stabilization to hold a camera, I wouldn’t recommend a monopod over a tripod. You will get unlikely sharp images at slower shutter speeds without a tripod. 

How much does a tripod cost that supports shutter speed?

A normal tripod with built-in features can cost you from $75 to $250. But you can get cheap tripods too (which I won’t recommend). For a detailed explanation, refer to this post where I wrote massive information on How much does a tripod cost and how each tripod performs at various prices.


This is everything about shutter speed and a tripod combination. It doesn’t matter when you use it for a family function unless you really care about sharpness. But I recommend using a good budget camera like Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 ( below $300 and 1/4000s Max. shutter speed) and a tripod for the best output. 

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