X20 for shaky hands

Discussion in 'Fuji X10, X20, X30, XF1, and X-S1' started by Jimbo70, Apr 5, 2013.

  1. Jimbo70

    Jimbo70 FujiXspot Regular

    Feb 8, 2013
    Orange Park, FL.
    I am writing this for anyone that has hand tremors or shakes and doesn’t want to always have to shoot using a tripod. I have Essential Tremor which is hereditary and looks a lot like Parkinson’s. It has gotten to the point that changing lenses on a DSLR can be a problem on certain days. I wanted a camera that would allow me to have fun and produce decent photos. I began my search several years ago when the Fuji X100 was introduced, but ended up buying a Pany Gh2 because of my needs at the time. Anyway I knew I needed a zoom lens as Zooming with my feet was out of the question.
    Turning the X20 on and zooming, especially with the lens hood attached is, a little difficult for me but I have found myself holding the camera in my left hand with the lens facing my right hand, turning the camera on and selecting the approximate focal length I think I need. Surprisingly this works quite smoothly and I find that my chosen focal length is very close to the focal length I actually need. To clear the air I realize there is a problem with the X20 and smearing at higher ISO values when shooting jpegs, but I am hoping that Fuji will correct that with a Firmware update. More important, I would rather have a photo with some smearing than one that shows a lot of camera movement. Anyway I don’t want to get into a debate about IQ etc as there is plenty of that else ware in the various forums.
    I chose the X20 because it is small without being too small. I played with several small cameras like the Nikon 1 series and found them to be impossible to hold steady because they were so tiny. The X20 has enough manual controls that menu diving is not always necessary, it has a decent OVF and it does not have a touch screen. Touch screens are useless to someone with shaky hands. There are two things the camera can do that really make a difference for me. First the camera allows you to set the minimum and maximum ISO along with the minimum shutter speed in Auto mode. This is wonderful as my last camera always opted for the lowest ISO and thus the slowest shutter speed when in auto mode. With the X20 the camera will maintain the chosen minimum shutter speed and increase the ISO until the limit is reached and will then start choosing slower shutter speeds. Second the camera will lock the rear buttons by depressing the Menu/OK button and holding it for several seconds. Again this helps by deactivating the buttons so that shaky hands will not inadvertently hit them. On my last camera I was constantly changing ISO values and making other changes due to accidentally hitting the buttons.
    Improvements I made:
    I added this case which gives the camera a little more bulk for a better grip. I use it as a half case and when I want to button it up I slide the case over the hood first and then snap it closed. The case also gives the left hand something to hold onto so that you don’t press any of the buttons on the left side of the camera. Granted it doesn’t allow access to the Battery/Card compartment or tripod socket but it only takes a second to remove it completely.
    The small rubber thumb rest area on the camera is OK but I added this Lensmate Thumbrest which really improves stability.
    When you have tremors depressing the shutter button can become frustrating if your finger begins to twitch, so I added this MATCH TECHNICAL "BUG" which makes tripping the shutter easier and I am finding that there are a number of ways to use it. I have this manual Cable Release for those times when I’m using a tripod.
    I use a Tamrac Neoprene shoulder strap which I have adjusted so that when I use the LCD I can extend the camera out in front of me and create some tension in the strap which makes for a solid base. The soft Neoprene makes it comfortable on the back of the neck.
    All in all these improvements to an already good camera have made shooting fun again.I hope that any of you that have similar problems with shaking that I do will find this information helpful.
  2. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. FujiXspot Veteran

    Jan 31, 2013
    Albuquerque, NM
    I don't have shaky hands, but I can well imagine how important it would be to find a camera that worked for me if I did. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience on this.
  3. petach

    petach FujiXspot Top Veteran

    Feb 16, 2013
    Hi Jimbo. I have Parkinson's Disease but with an X100S. Like you, the way I have adapted is to have the camera strap around my neck, then I pull the camera forward....stretching the strap real, real tight. It is almost like bracing the camera. I manage to focus and whack off a shot or two before the tremor realises its been had for a fool.

    The other way ....and this is with my XE1..is to raise my left arm level with my shoulder, clamp my left hand on right shoulder, then with right hand rest camera lens on left bicep, or wedge bottom left of camera against left bicep.

    Now and again, I take the tremor by surprise by lifting and shooting in one fluid movement before the b***ard realises what I am doing!

    Frustrating for a 'tog eh? But managing to get by with enjoyment of the craft.


  4. jdub

    jdub FujiXspot Rookie

    Mar 30, 2013
    Wow! Thanks for sharing your experiences with the X20 from a somewhat unique perspective! I'm sorry you have to deal with the ailment but I enjoy hearing how you've managed to adapt a camera system to allow you to continue to make images.

    I don't shake much more than the average person my age but even than I do find that the X10/20 have enough mass to allow me to hold them steadier than smaller and lighter cameras. It's also another good reason to use the optical viewfinder--a third point of contact to steady the camera.

    Thanks again for sharing your solutions to a difficult situation.