Introduction of Shutter Speed

Together with ISO and aperture, shutter speed is pillar of the photography. Without knowledge about usage of shutter speed it is impossible to take qualitative pictures, because it is the way how to manage the motion.

Let’s start with understanding what the shutter of camera is and how it works. Most of people think that shutter is the button photographer pushes to take a picture, but there is more than that. Broadly speaking the shutter is the cover of the sensor. It is closed, when the pictures are not being taken and opens when they are, by pushing the button. So when the shutter opens, camera sensor is being exposed to the light that comes through the lens. When this process is over, shutter closes again, so the sensor won’t get the light anymore.

The shutter speed or also known as exposure time is the period of time when the shutter is opened and the sensor is being exposed to the light. So if the shutter speed is fast, picture is sharp and it is possible to stop the motion of moving objects. If the shutter speed is low, it is possible to blur the motion, so there is given an impression of movement in picture.

The measurement of shutter speed is very simple. It is expressed in seconds or fractions of seconds. For example, 1, 1/4, 1/100, 1/1000 etc. Usually the fastest possible shutter speed of a camera is 1/4000 and the longest is 30 seconds. 1/500 is normal shutter speed when taking pictures of moving objects and around 1/100 is normal for steady objects, but each situation has to be evaluated by many aspects.

Lens, shutter speed and ISO are connected, so when you set them, you need to pick a priority. Usually the aperture is set as a priority, so the camera sets the shutter speed automatically. There is also fully auto mode, when everything is automatically set by the camera, but it is better to set them manually. So you can choose the shutter speed if you set it as a priority and then camera adjusts the aperture or set the manual mode and put everything manually, but usually that is not needed. Camera can adjust to the setting very well is one of them is set. Most of the photographers set the aperture as a priority and then camera choose the appropriate shutter speed.

The necessity of specific shutter speed depends on many factors such as light, movement of objects, zoom etc, but usually fast shutter speed is chosen for objects and subjects in movement such us animals, birds, sport events etc., to freeze the motion. The long shutter speed is usually used to take pictures of waterfalls, lightening etc., to blur the image. If you are taking simple pictures of steady objects at daytime, you can use auto shutter speed.

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