Once asked ...
A fellow student of photography asked me, a couple years ago, how I was able to acheive a very steady shot at 1/30 sec, handheld ... with a Canon EOS 20D and lens set to 200mm.
I had to kind of think about it, but basically I am pretty certain it was related to my many years of target sports ... and honing my archery and riflery skills. Learning how to breathe (or not to breathe, as the case might be) ... to relax my upper body and to cradle the camera ... rather than hold it. The "Bullseye-count" goes up tremendously, when you just relax and ease on the trigger ... or take that breath, let it half way out ... and relax your fingers, as the bowstring flies free.
Probably the worst thing was extended-arm pistol shooting ... because when you ease on that trigger, the weapon instantly reminds you that you had better hold on to it, or it will pop up and hit you right in the forehead. Let's face it, three pounds of steel to the forehead is a heck of a wake-up call.
So, once again, the best thing to do is practice ... with "Super SteadyShot" (SSS) off.
Once or twice a day ... set at 1/15 or 1/30 sec ... with the focal length set to 135mm or more. It will make you appreciate SSS more when you do "live fire" shots and they have to count. The idea is to make this practice a "natural" habit and not forced.
Good luck, folks. SSS is a special gift, if used properly.
Oh yeah, don't forget to turn it back on!
yeah, I've finished shooting on a tripod only to have forgotten to turn it back on the next time, lol....
or sometimes I forget to turn it off when using a tripod (I've gotten better about this though).
That's a good idea to practice with it off and to relax your body.
I also shoot hand gun and need to fire for qualifaction. I used to be re griping the weapon, adjsuting grip etc. then the concept of firm grip with all of the hand, all parts of the fingers, like many i was "squeezing" hard with thimb and forfinger not the whole hand. may work well with camera also, a bit different maybe. also more you hold it you develop muscle memory so it become more natural so if you hold the camera like your going to use it all the time that will be the natural hold, should be fairly steady I would think. I know I have lots of work to do on holding steady yet. Any thought about or use grip developers like the hand squeeze things, rubber balls, sand bags? any thoughts or comments on that?
There are "hand straps" that you can add to ease some of the tension/apprehension you might feel using the DSLR with a heavier lens. I tried it out with the Canon EOS 20D, but found it more in the way than useful, when I went back and forth between Landscape & Portrait-orientations.
When using the 200-500 (it is lengthy when extended), handheld, I find that cradling it across my forearm, once I have the range set, provides a decent perch. Again, a good monopod w/ the grip-ball always seems to be the best decision. It's about $180 worth of support, but then ... what are your images and your time worth?