JDB Creativity | Shutter Priority Mode - I’ve Got the Need for Speed!

Shutter Priority Mode - I’ve Got the Need for Speed!

December 16, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Natural BridgesNatural Bridges Beach

Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz, Ca Shot at 1/400th of a second at f/10.
 

What is a shutter you may wonder, and why should I care how fast it goes? A very good question! Essentially a shutter as it relates to photography and your camera is a device that allows light to pass through a lens and strike a film negative or light sensor to create a photo. The type of shutter depends on what kind of camera one is using. A typical DSLR utilizes a diaphram shutter which is made up of a number of thin blades in a way that creates a circular aperture. This shutter can open quickly to uncover the whole lens, stay open for a period of time letting in the light, then close again. This period of time is known as the shutter speed.

 

Shutter speeds are mostly measured in fractions of a second, and sometimes in seconds. Typical speeds range from:

 

1/1000th of a second

1/500th of a second

1/250th of a second

1/60th of a second

1/30th of a second

1/15th of a second

1/8th of a second

1/4th of a second

1/2 of a second

1 second +

 diaphragm-1350

As you increase the duration by each increment in the table above, double the amount of light is allowed to pass through the lens. Faster shutter speeds are useful when you want to freeze a subject in motion. While a slower shutter speed not only gives the suggestion of motion through blur in the photo, but also is very useful for allowing in more light when shooting in lowlight environments. When using lower shutter speeds, you must be very steady when handholding the camera, or use a tripod, otherwise you may introduce blur into the photos. However, even if your camera is rock steady, and you are using a slow shutter speed, you may still experience blur if your subjects is in motion.  A good rule of thumb to avoid camera shake is to use a shutter speed that is equivalent to the reciprocal of whatever focal length you are shooting. For example if you are shooting with a 50mm lens, your shutter speed should be 1/60th of second or faster. If you are using a telephoto lens at 200mm, then your shutter speed should be 1/250th of a second, and so forth.

 

When utilizing shutter priority mode on your camera, you decide what shutter to use, and your camera will give you an appropriate aperture. I admittedly don’t use shutter priority all that much, preferring instead to use aperture priority about 80% of the time and use manual control the other 20%. The only time I use shutter priority is when I want to intentionally freeze action like shooting a bird in flight or showing the motion of a waterfall. I encourage you out there to go out and try it yourselves!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Multnomah FallsMultnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls, Oregon - shot at 1/40th of a second at f/9.0

 


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