Zoom Blurs and Spin Blurs

Thread starter #1


Senior Member
I made a comment about a flower shot, and was asked to explain a bit more, so I am.

Zoom Blurs and Spin Blurs are two different in camera techniques for taking artsy kinds of shots. I don't have any cool shots on this hard drive to illustrate it with, but I bet some of the folks on here will come up with some over the next little bit! You can do a google image search for either of those terms and see some. They are most often done with flowers, but birds, elk, deer, abstracts, all work...

In general, it will require a single lens reflex camera (not a point & shoot) to do Zoom Blurs and Spin Blurs, though a really creative shooter could do it some degree by moving the whole camera or making a cool mount of some type.


Set your camera options to where you have a 1/4 to 1/2 second (or slower) shutter speed. This may mean low ISOs, neutral density filters, shooting closer to dark, or whatever.

Focus on your main subject while zoomed all the way out with your lens (making the subject as big as possible).

Then lock the autofocus so that it won't be trying to focus.

Then zoom back out to final framing for the image (which may involve some lens movement to get the composition you want.

Using that final lens position, zoom back in on the subject.

Press the shutter release and zoom back out to the final composition while the shutter is open.

This will take some practice and doing it again, and again, and again to get a decent shot. It sure isn't a technique that I would have wasted film on trying to get the good shot.


Spin blurs are similar in that they involve a longer shutter speed and moving the camera during exposure.

Spin blurs require a lens with a tripod collar and sturdily set up tripod.

For spin blurs, you want a shutter speed of around 1 second. Too much longer results in too MUCH camera movement and a blurry subject. Do what you got to do to get a long shutter speed.

Focus on the main subject in the exact center of the frame.

Turn off your autofocus.

Loosen your tripod collar.

Press the shutter release and rotate the camera & lens inside the collar during exposure. One to two revolutions seems to work best.

Again, this technique often requires lots of exposures to get a "good" shot. Experimentation is the key.

I'll try to get out & shoot a couple of blur shots sometime soon to illustrate this technique (or go dig through an old hard drive one...but I had rather shoot something new).


Retired Woody's Mod 7/01-12/09
very good info rip, thanks for posting these neat techniques for us.:biggrin3: