Introduction To Shutter Speed In Digital Photography Update 09/2022

Bird Photography Tips And Techniques-09

Photography is an art form that combines science with art. Even though it appears to be twice as difficult, once you grasp the fundamentals of these two aspects, you’ll be able to combine them in almost limitless ways to express your artistic vision. A good example is the camera’s shutter speed. In terms of shutter speed, you can get everything from crisp, freeze-frame sports photos to velvety, motion-filled waterfall shots by learning how to manipulate shutter speed.

1. What is Shutter Speed ?

The shutter speed of a camera determines how long the shutter is open and how much light is captured by the sensor. Basically, it refers to the amount of time spent taking a picture by your camera. This has a significant impact on the appearance of your images.

With a “slow” shutter speed, you expose your sensor for an extended period of time while using a long shutter speed. Motion blur is the most notable side effect. Using a slow shutter speed will cause subjects that are moving to appear blurry. This effect is frequently used in car and motorcycle commercials to give the viewer a sense of speed and movement by intentionally blurring the wheels.

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Motion blur

A tripod and slow shutter speeds are useful when photographing the Milky Way or other objects in low light. Long shutter speeds can be used by landscape photographers to capture the motion of rivers and waterfalls while still maintaining a razor-sharp image.

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Aperture ƒ/22 – Shutter Speed 2s – ISO 100

Shutter speed, on the other hand, can be used to stop the flow of time. Even fast-moving objects, such as birds in flight or passing cars, can be frozen in time if you use a fast shutter speed. When photographing water, use a fast shutter speed to capture each droplet as it flies through the air, even if we can’t see it with our own eyes.

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Shutter Speed 1/2000s

Controlling the shutter speed accomplishes all of the aforementioned tasks. A quick shutter speed freezes action, whereas a long one gives the illusion of motion when photographing moving objects.

2. How Shutter Speed is Measured

When shutter speeds are less than one second, they are typically measured in fractions of a second. 1/fourth is equal to one-fourth, while 1/250 is one-hundred and fifty-first of a second (or four milliseconds).

Modern DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are capable of shutter speeds as fast as 1/4000th of a second, with some going as fast as 1/8000th. The maximum shutter speed on most DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, on the other hand, is generally 30 seconds. If necessary, use external remote triggers to get away with a slower shutter speed.

3. Shutter Speed and Exposure

Exposure, which has to do with how bright an image is, is another important effect of shutter speed. When you use a long shutter speed, a lot of light is collected by your camera sensor, resulting in a bright photo. In other words, using a fast shutter speed exposes your camera sensor to less light, making your photos darker.

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However, shutter speed isn’t the only thing to consider when analyzing an image’s brightness. Aperture, ISO, and the actual brightness of the scene are also factors. So, when it comes to shutter speed, you have some leeway, but all of your other settings must be considered carefully.

In order to get the right amount of brightness in your photo, you’ll need to pay attention to your shutter speed. A fast shutter speed may be necessary on a sunny day to prevent your photograph from being overexposed. Long shutter speeds may be required to avoid a dark photo if it’s dark outside (which, in turn, could require a tripod, due to motion blur from handholding the camera). Many people use shutter speed adjustments primarily for this purpose: ensuring that their photos have the proper brightness. Even so, concerns about motion blur are critical and should not be ignored.

4. Fast, Slow and Long Shutter Speeds

In order to freeze movement, a fast shutter speed is usually required. Photographing birds requires shutter speeds of at least 1/1000th second. However, if your subject is moving slowly, you may be able to use shutter speeds of 1/200th or even 1/100th second without introducing motion blur to your images.

In order to get sharp images when using a long shutter speed, you’ll need to mount your camera on a tripod. Long shutter speeds are useful in low-light and night photography, as well as when you’re trying to capture movement. When shooting at slow shutter speeds, anything moving in your scene will appear blurry.

Shutter speeds ranging from 1/100th second to 1 second are still considered slow by most standards in between those two extremes. Your hands may introduce camera shake if you try to handle them without introducing camera shake into the shot.

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In addition, your lens choice has a significant impact. Lenses with built-in image stabilization (also known as “vibration reduction”), like the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8, make it possible for photographers to take pictures with very slow shutter speeds while hand-holding their cameras without getting blurry results. The reciprocal rule must be used instead to determine how long your shutter speed should be without introducing blur from camera shake when using other lenses without vibration reduction. You should also be able to hold a camera properly.

5. How to Set Shutter Speed

Shutter speeds are handled automatically by default in the majority of cameras. In “Auto” mode, the shutter speed is automatically selected by the camera (and so are aperture and ISO). However, if necessary, you can manually adjust the shutter speed.

+ Shutter priority mode allows you to choose the shutter speed while letting the camera decide on the aperture.

+ Manual mode allows you to control the shutter speed as well as the aperture.

You have the option of manually or automatically setting ISO in either of these modes.

To be on the safe side, it’s best to let your camera decide on the shutter speed. Keep an eye out for excessive motion blur in your photos, though! (or freezing motion that you want to be blurred). I go into more detail about this in an article about camera modes, but for the most part, I use the “Aperture Priority” mode and let the camera figure out the shutter speed on its own 95 percent of the time.

6. How to Find Shutter Speed

Find out what the shutter speed of your camera is by following these simple steps. It’s usually very simple to locate. As circled, the shutter speed is most commonly found in the top left corner of cameras with a top panel.

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For cameras without a top LCD, such as some entry-level DSLRs, you can use the viewfinder and see the shutter speed in the lower left corner on the bottom. You can also see your shutter speed by looking at your camera’s back screen if it doesn’t have a viewfinder or a top LCD.

Shutter speed is typically displayed as a regular number rather than a fraction of a second on most cameras. Using a shutter speed greater than or equal to one second results in images that are about one inch or five inches wide (with the quotation sign to indicate a full second).

Even if you can’t find it, try switching to “Aperture Priority” mode and making sure “AUTO ISO” isn’t turned on. Then, begin pointing your camera in a circle around your subject, moving from dark to light. Your shutter speed will fluctuate based on the new setting.

7. Mechanical Shutter Vs Electronic Shutter: Pros And Cons

Smartphone cameras, on the other hand, use an electronic shutter instead of a traditional mechanical one that moves up and down inside the camera. No real physical barrier exists when using electronic shutters. Instead, a spike in electrical current signals the sensor to begin recording when it is ready.

Some camera manufacturers now include both mechanical and electronic shutters in their models because electronic shutters allow for faster shooting speeds. Using electronic shutters, on the other hand, has the drawback of degrading image quality due to the introduction of noise, such as tiny dots, into the photograph. Electronic shutters drain the camera’s battery quickly, making them unsuitable for long exposures. An iPhone, for example, can only handle exposures of 1/4 second or less.

Below are some other related posts you might enjoy:

+ What is aperture?

+ What is ISO in photography?

+ What is depth of field?

8. Shutter Speed FAQ

Some frequently asked questions about shutter speed are listed below:

What is a Slow Shutter Speed ?

When referring to a slow shutter speed, this refers to anything longer than one second. In contrast, a slow shutter speed is equal to, say, a 1/2 or 1/4 second.

What is a Fast Shutter Speed ?

For this reason, shutter speeds that are fast enough to freeze action are also known as action shutter speeds. When referring to a fast shutter speed, photographers commonly use fractions of a second, such as 1/250th or faster.

How Do I Find My Shutter Speed ?

Shutter speed is frequently shown as a number or fraction on the top or rear LCD of your camera. When you move your camera to a brighter area while half-pressing the shutter release, the number that changes is usually your shutter speed.

Which Shutter Speed is the Slowest ?

The slowest shutter speed you can use without using a remote shutter release depends on your camera.

What is the Fastest Shutter Speed I can Use on My Camera ?

The camera’s capabilities are what determine this. The mechanical shutter on most DSLRs and mirrorless cameras can capture images at a speed of up to 1/4000 of a second when used properly. Cameras with mechanical shutters can shoot at 1/8000 of a second, while electronic shutters can shoot even faster.

How is Shutter Speed Written ?

Unless otherwise stated, shutter speeds are expressed in seconds or fps (framing time). Example: a shutter speed of one second may appear as 1′′ or as the letter “s” at the end of it, such as in the following: 1s. Whereas, on most cameras, a fraction of a second like 1/250 is shown as 1/250 or simply 250.

What is the Best Shutter Speed ?

There isn’t one, because your goals will dictate whether you succeed or fail.

How Do I Change Shutter Speed on My Phone ?

The shutter speed of some smartphones can be changed using the phone’s built-in app, but this is not the case for the majority of smartphones. Try out some of the apps like Camera+ on your iPhone if you have one.