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Understand Shutter Speed in your DSLR Camera - How to freeze a motion in your camera

Biju Mathew
19/11/2016 0 0

What is Shutter Speed? :

Shutter speed is a mechanism to control light entering the image sensor of camera. Shutter speed basically control the duration of light hitting the camera image sensor. When you press the 'Shutter Release Button' light passes through the lens and hit the image sensor and that's how images get recorded in your camera. 

1. How can I capture a fast moving subject?

2. Why do my images get blurred when I shoot in low light?

3. How do I get a soft milky effect in flowing water? 

Shutter Speed controls two elements:

1. Exposure

2. Subject movement 

Dark Image: 

In low light situation, slow down the shutter speed to 1/20 to get the better picture. Shutter opens for a longer duration, allows more light to pass. Hence the slow shutter speed is good for low lighting situations.  

Eg: 1/20, 1/10, etc. 


Low Lighting Situations – Use slow shutter speed Eg: 1/10, 1/20 

High Lighting Situations – Use high Shutter Speed Eg: 1/500 

Shutter speed opens shutter duration, allows lesser light to pass. Hence fast shutter speed is good for brightly lit situations. 

How does the Shutter Controls the subject's movement? 

Fast shutter speed can freeze fast moving subject. So fast shutter speed is good for action, sports etc 

  Eg: 1/1200 

If you need to freeze the subject, you need to increase the shutter speed, depending on the speed of the subject. Slow shutter: 

If you shoot the moving subject in a slow shutter speed (eg: 1/40), we can show motion in our image. 

(Slow shutter spedd can record the movement of subject as trails or motion blurs, so slow shutter speed is good for showing motion. This simply means when you shoot with slow shutter speed, this would show you that there is a movement which is very visible in your image) 

How to identify slow and fast shutter speed? 

Shutter speed is normally denoted in terms of seconds or fraction of a second. 

Slow shutter speed means, shutter will open for a longer duration of a time, that means more light will enter in the image sensor. 

Faster shutter speed means, shutter will open for a lesser duration, so less light will hit the image sensor. 

Examples of Slow shutter Speed: 

30, 15, 8, 4, 2, 1, ½, ¼, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60 (Better in low lighting situations).

Examples for Faster Shutter 

1/125, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000, 1/2000, 1/4000, 1/8000.

 > Good for Freezing the motion 

 > Better at Brightly lit sitauions 

Suggested Shutter Speed for various situations: 

1. To create motion effect/ milky effect in flowing water:  - Use Slow shutter speed  - 30, 15, 8, 4, 2, 1 

2. Daily kind of activity:  Eg: Somebody walks, Talking, etc. 

– here you should use standard shutter speed – Eg: ½, ¼, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125.

3. Very fast moving subjects: - Ega; Fast moving car - You need to use 1/250 – 1/4000.

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