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First Post B&H and shutter speed
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Jan 11, 2019 14:52:46   #
johnblenko
 
Hello:

I have followed all of you for a while and finally hopped on board and have two questions.

1) I ordered some stuff today from B&H (used a gift card but not sure that that matters). They have been charging Pennsylvania sales tax all fall but they charged nothing today. Has this happened to anyone else?

2) I have looked over past postings on minimum shutter speed. I understand about VR lenses, and maybe bumping up the speed to give yourself a margin of safety. But it’s unclear to me if I pick up say a 70-200 mm lens why the minimum “recommended” speed changes based on the focal length. It’s the same lens. And in this case would that recommended speed be 1/80 or 1/200? Thanks.

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Jan 11, 2019 14:56:12   #
Linda From Maine (a regular here)
 
1. No business charges sales tax; they collect it based on state laws and turn that money over to the states. Did you use a different address? Or has the law been modified perhaps?

2. Best to do your own testing. Some of us are more "wobbly" and need the margin of safety. But that formula is based on the focal length at time of shot because the further out you zoom, the more blur from photographer's motion will be evident due to the narrower field of view. Imagine some of these super-zoom bridge cameras with equivalent views of 1,200 mm

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Jan 11, 2019 15:13:38   #
CHG_CANON (a regular here)
 
johnblenko wrote:
Hello:
2) I have looked over past postings on minimum shutter speed. I understand about VR lenses, and maybe bumping up the speed to give yourself a margin of safety. But it’s unclear to me if I pick up say a 70-200 mm lens why the minimum “recommended” speed changes based on the focal length. It’s the same lens. And in this case would that recommended speed be 1/80 or 1/200? Thanks.


With a traditional non VR lens (or VR turned off), the traditional minimum shutter speed was "one over the focal length" of the lens. For a zoom, it depends on the focal length within the zoom range being used, say 1/80 at 70mm and 1/100 at 100mm and so forth. If you have a cropped-sensor camera, you should multiple the focal length by 1.5x, so 200mm would be 1/320 rather than 1/200 at 200mm.

With VR (IS / IBIS, etc), you should both consult the vendor's advertising as well as your own skills. A lens claiming 2-stops VR support should be used / tested confidently at 1-stop and probably all the way to 2-stops. In the example above at 200mm for an example D7100 and starting at the 1/320 calculation, you might test your results first at 1-stop at 200mm at 1/160 and down to 2-stops at 1/80.

What do your hand-holding results look like? Typically, if you were 100% sharp in image after image with shutter 1/320, your VR-enabled lens might also yield 100% at 1/200 but you'll expect to see the percentage drop off the slower and slower you get, assuming you're employing good technique in your method / testing. And of course, this testing and declining acceptable results applies to more modern VR implementations where support has been extended to 4-stops.

And finally, VR / IS does not stop motion. If you need 1/800 to freeze the motion of a HS basketball player dribbling up the floor, shooting at 1/80 will just give you subject blur in the image, but there shouldn't be any camera / lens shake in the image.

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Jan 11, 2019 15:28:30   #
DWU2 (a regular here)
 
Linda From Maine wrote:
1. No business charges sales tax; they collect it based on state laws and turn that money over to the states. Did you use a different address? Or has the law been modified perhaps?

2. Best to do your own testing. Some of us are more "wobbly" and need the margin of safety. But that formula is based on the focal length at time of shot because the further out you zoom, the more motion blur will be evident due to the narrower field of view. Imagine some of these super-zoom bridge cameras with equivalent views of 1,200 mm
1. No business charges sales tax; they i collect ... (show quote)


I agree with Linda's advice. In addition, I would note that the old rule of thumb that minimum shutter speed = 1/focal length was based on 35mm cameras back in the film age. You need to take the crop factor into account in the digital age, so the new rule is, minimum shutter speed = 1/(focal length x crop factor). For example, if you have a 200 mm lens on a camera with a crop factor of 1.5, minimum shutter speed = 1/(200 x 1.5) = 1/300. In the case of a zoom, I'd base the calculation on the longest focal length to be safe.

Finally, there's the issue of vibration reduction. While camera makers sometimes make claims that their VR improves hand-holding by 2 or 3 or even 4 stops, there's some marketing exaggeration involved. That's where doing your own testing is particularly helpful.

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Jan 11, 2019 15:53:25   #
BebuLamar (a regular here)
 
I ordered something from B&H last week and they didn't charge me the Texas sales tax. Which actually is more a burden on me as I do have to file and pay the use tax by the same amount.

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Jan 11, 2019 16:02:21   #
PHRubin (a regular here)
 
Recommended shutteer speeds are made to reduce blur caused by camera motion. Tele lenses magnify this motion. How much is determined by the focal length. A 200mm lens magnifies twice as much as a 100mm lens and therefore needs twice the speed (1/2 the time) to reduce motion to the same acceptable level.

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Jan 11, 2019 18:03:56   #
speters (a regular here)
 
johnblenko wrote:
Hello:

I have followed all of you for a while and finally hopped on board and have two questions.

1) I ordered some stuff today from B&H (used a gift card but not sure that that matters). They have been charging Pennsylvania sales tax all fall but they charged nothing today. Has this happened to anyone else?

2) I have looked over past postings on minimum shutter speed. I understand about VR lenses, and maybe bumping up the speed to give yourself a margin of safety. But it’s unclear to me if I pick up say a 70-200 mm lens why the minimum “recommended” speed changes based on the focal length. It’s the same lens. And in this case would that recommended speed be 1/80 or 1/200? Thanks.
Hello: br br I have followed all of you for a whi... (show quote)

1/80 at the short end and 1/200 at the long, but of course 1/200 will work for both, but it always depends on the picture and intend anyway!

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Jan 12, 2019 08:08:40   #
alby (a regular here)
 
maybe the sales tax was paid when "gift card" was purchased?? just a thought

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Jan 12, 2019 08:25:43   #
billnikon (a regular here)
 
johnblenko wrote:
Hello:

I have followed all of you for a while and finally hopped on board and have two questions.

1) I ordered some stuff today from B&H (used a gift card but not sure that that matters). They have been charging Pennsylvania sales tax all fall but they charged nothing today. Has this happened to anyone else?

2) I have looked over past postings on minimum shutter speed. I understand about VR lenses, and maybe bumping up the speed to give yourself a margin of safety. But it’s unclear to me if I pick up say a 70-200 mm lens why the minimum “recommended” speed changes based on the focal length. It’s the same lens. And in this case would that recommended speed be 1/80 or 1/200? Thanks.
Hello: br br I have followed all of you for a whi... (show quote)


1. Thank B&H for the savings and say nothing.
2. If I shoot above 1/500 sec. I turn my VR off, it takes extra power to run and on that lens any shutter speed over 1/500 sec. you no longer need VR.

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Jan 12, 2019 09:58:24   #
jerryc41 (a regular here)
 
johnblenko wrote:
Hello:

I have followed all of you for a while and finally hopped on board and have two questions.

1) I ordered some stuff today from B&H (used a gift card but not sure that that matters). They have been charging Pennsylvania sales tax all fall but they charged nothing today. Has this happened to anyone else?


Don't complain about it!

Some things I buy from Amazon do not have sales tax added on, probably because of the supplier - different state, or whatever.

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Jan 12, 2019 10:10:31   #
markngolf (a regular here)
 
B & H's warehouse moved from NYC to NJ, 2 - 3 years ago. I live in NJ. B & H now charges me sales tax. Prior to moving the warehouse, my purchases were free from NJ sales tax. B & H does not charge sales tax for purchases outside of NJ.
Mark

johnblenko wrote:
Hello:

I have followed all of you for a while and finally hopped on board and have two questions.

1) I ordered some stuff today from B&H (used a gift card but not sure that that matters). They have been charging Pennsylvania sales tax all fall but they charged nothing today. Has this happened to anyone else?

2) I have looked over past postings on minimum shutter speed. I understand about VR lenses, and maybe bumping up the speed to give yourself a margin of safety. But it’s unclear to me if I pick up say a 70-200 mm lens why the minimum “recommended” speed changes based on the focal length. It’s the same lens. And in this case would that recommended speed be 1/80 or 1/200? Thanks.
Hello: br br I have followed all of you for a whi... (show quote)

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Jan 12, 2019 10:27:35   #
David Kay
 
markngolf wrote:
B & H's warehouse moved from NYC to NJ, 2 - 3 years ago. I live in NJ. B & H now charges me sales tax. Prior to moving the warehouse, my purchases were free from NJ sales tax. B & H does not charge sales tax for purchases outside of NJ.
Mark


B&H COLLECTS sales tax for the states that request it.

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Jan 12, 2019 10:43:40   #
markngolf (a regular here)
 
Thanks for that info.
Mark
David Kay wrote:
B&H COLLECTS sales tax for the states that request it.

| Reply
Jan 12, 2019 13:21:26   #
chrisg-optical (a regular here)
 
johnblenko wrote:
Hello:

I have followed all of you for a while and finally hopped on board and have two questions.

1) I ordered some stuff today from B&H (used a gift card but not sure that that matters). They have been charging Pennsylvania sales tax all fall but they charged nothing today. Has this happened to anyone else?

2) I have looked over past postings on minimum shutter speed. I understand about VR lenses, and maybe bumping up the speed to give yourself a margin of safety. But it’s unclear to me if I pick up say a 70-200 mm lens why the minimum “recommended” speed changes based on the focal length. It’s the same lens. And in this case would that recommended speed be 1/80 or 1/200? Thanks.
Hello: br br I have followed all of you for a whi... (show quote)


1) Strange because once they start collecting the tax they usually don't stop, but I'm just guessing because the year just started it may reset the threshold before they have to start charging tax again - I am not familiar with PA tax laws (and am neither a CPA nor attorney). If true, this may be a loophole to avoid the tax at the start of the year for Pennsylvanians??

2) Best to experiment here...I've taken sharp, high ISO images at 1/15 with the Tammy 150-600 @ 600 - with the camera braced against my body and VC on (Tamron's term for VR) ...But I would not normally shoot at this speed with that lens! You have to experiment with different speeds/focal lengths and pixel peep the images to see what the threshold is. Remember also shutter speed is dictated by the subject you are shooting and what effect you want (e.g., motion blur of a race car).

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Jan 12, 2019 14:42:19   #
amfoto1 (a regular here)
 
Every manufacturer's image stabilization system is patented, so there is bound to be some variation in their function and effectiveness from brand to brand. It's also been an evolving technology, with some notable improvements over time.

For example, many Nikon shooters think that VR slows autofocus slightly and there seems to be some evidence to support this, so some folks choose to turn it off at times for that reason. Personally I use Canon gear and after fifteen or more years using a variety of lenses with it (nine currently), I think their IS system actually helps autofocus perform better... but I don't have any way of measuring this or any evidence supporting it.

Some systems also draw more power than others, so someone might choose to turn it off for that reason, too.... to conserve their batteries. I really don't see very much power used by Canon IS, in particular... using two cameras alongside each other, one with an IS lens and the other with a non-IS lens, I get almost exactly the same number of shots with them.

Also, some forms of stabilization react poorly when there's no movement to correct, going into sort of a feedback loop where they actually cause image shake blur. This is usually limited to certain earlier systems used in particular lenses. For example, out of around 3 or more Canon IS lenses, I know of five where the IS needs to be manually turned off if using the lens on a tripod and fully locked down, eliminating any and all movement. Other Canon lenses "self detect" and turn it off themselves, when there's no movement to correct. (This also conserves battery power, of course.)

Other folks simply turn off image stabilization when they don't feel its needed... when shutter speeds are adequately fast. Maybe they do that because of the slight noise it makes. Some feel that "locking" the lens elements may make for sharper shots. But some of us like that it also may help stabilize what's seen in the viewfinder and that can be helpful when using long focal lengths and trying to photograph distant, moving subjects.

How much "assistance" image stabilization gives varies from user to user. Older systems typically claimed two to three stops of assistance. Newer ones are claiming three to four stops... a few even five stops. But the user's skills and abilities, camera settings, local conditions such as wind or vibrations from a running motor or the rolling deck of a ship and other factors come into play. Basically, you have to determine how much help you get from it yourself. Do a series of test shots.

The longer the lens focal length, the harder it is to hold steady... Hence zooms will rely less upon stabilization or just be hand-holdable at slower shutter speeds at shorter focal lengths, but will require higher shutter speeds at longer ones.

Also, higher magnification such as macro lenses is more susceptible to shake blur, so stabilization is less effective. Most systems give little to no help at full 1:1 (life size) magnification or higher. They can be more effective at less extreme magnifications and give their maximum potential at greater distances.

Finally, it's important to keep in mind that while image stabilization, good technique and a steady hand can allow amazingly slow shutter speeds to be hand held... It does nothing to stop subject motion blur effects. You still need a fast enough shutter speed to freeze subject movement, if that's your intention. Exactly how fast shutter is needed varies depending upon the speed of the subject, the direction it's moving in relation to the photographer and the distance from the photographer. For example, a subject that's relatively close and moving quickly from right to left (or vice versa) across your field of view requires a faster shutter than one that's heading directly toward you from some distance.

To better understand what's happening with sales tax collections for online purchases, see: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/50-state-guide-internet-sales-tax-laws.html

But, basically in June(?) 2018 the US Supreme Court reversed it's earlier decision regarding out-of-state sellers being required to collect sales tax. Used to be prohibited, but now it can now be required. The Supreme Court stated that each state has to pass specific laws regarding the process and there's a great deal of variation from state-to-state. The amounts to be collected and the implementation of the taxes of online sales differ by state. It's a mess and has got to be driving online retailers crazy!

In the past, out-of-state retailers had an advantage over local brick & mortar... being able to offer products to people slightly cheaper by not charging sales tax, while the local retailer was required to collect it. Actually, most states with sales tax have laws that require people making purchases online from "remote sellers" are supposed to self-report and remit the appropriate amount to the state sales tax collection agency voluntarily. However, I bet a lot of people fail to do so (not that anyone would or should ever admit this in writing in a public place like an online forum). There also appear to be some challenges to the recent court decision, so things may change again. We'll just have to wait and see.

Sales tax is not something to be messed with. A friend here in California has owned a busy photo studio for many years. Turned out he got some incorrect advice and wasn't collecting sales tax at times when the state felt he should.... Ended up with a bill for $600,000 for accumulated back taxes plus interest and penalties for failing to collect them! Took him years to clear up the problem.

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