Beginners Guide to Shutter Speed


Nikon D800 Shutter Unit

Shutter speed refers to the time duration for which the camera shutter remains open while capturing an image. Sometimes it is also called as “exposure time”. Fast shutter speed allows the user to capture sharp stills as it freezes actions completely. On the other hand slow shutter speed creates an effect that is known as “motion blur” that causes a sense of speed and motion in subjects.

Image courtesy: Luke Peterson

Image courtesy: Luke Peterson

Image courtesy: Vinoth Chandar

Image courtesy: Vinoth Chandar

Measurement of shutter speed is usually done in fractions of a second but in some cases where shutter speed is less it is measured in seconds. For example ¼ means a quarter of a second 1/500 means five hundredth of a second. Higher the range of denominator faster the shutter (i.e.1/1000 is much faster than 1/30). Blurred images are often produced with slower shutter speed as while shooting at slow shutter speed the camera attains motion while the shutter is capturing the image. Due to this reason most of the cameras feature shutter speed of more than 1/60 sec and more can be obtain through optional remote control / “Bulb” mode that means the shutter will remain open until the capture button is released.. at the end if you are using slower shutter speed it is advised to use a tripod stand.

While choosing the appropriate shutter speed, one must check that what is the focal length of the lens that he is using. Higher focal length will result in camera shake effect if proper shutter is not selected. If your camera does not features Image Stabilization you must select your shutter speed according to the focal length of your lens. For example if your focal length is 50mm the suitable shutter speed would be 1/60th or more. Hence the denominator of the shutter speed must be more than your focal length in order to exclude blurry images.

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