controlling your camera shutter

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  • Controlling Your Cameras Shutter SpeedDigital Photography

  • 3 factors control how your camera takes a photograph: Shutter SpeedApertureFocal-Length of Lens

  • A slow shutter speed keeps the shutter open longer and shows motion blur.

  • A fast shutter speed captures the motion without blurring because the shutter is open only briefly.

  • A large aperture opening produces photographs with a shallow depth of field. Less of the photo is in focus.

  • A smaller aperture produces a greater depth of field making more of the scene in focus.

  • A short focal length lens captures more of the scene. It does not allow you to zoom in on your subject.

  • A long focal length lens allows you to get in closer to your subject.

  • Your viewfinder or LCD monitor shows both the shutter speed and the aperture used.

  • Your viewfinder or LCD monitor shows both the shutter speed and the aperture used.

  • Here the viewfinder shows that the shutter speed is 1/250th of a second and the aperture is f16.

  • Two controls adjust the amount of light that reaches the sensor:1. the shutter

  • Two controls adjust the amount of light that reaches the sensor:1. the shutter2. and the aperture

  • The combination of the shutter speed and the aperture is called the EXPOSURE.

  • Shutter

  • Adjusting the length of time the shutter remains open controls the amount of light that reaches the light-sensitive surface.

  • There are two main types of shutters: Leaf shutters...

    Leaf shutters are usually located within the lens itself.

    The leaves open and close to let in light.

  • ...and Focal-plane shutters.

    Focal-plane shutters are built into the camera body. The curtains move across the sensor exposing it to light in equal amounts.

    Image in viewfinder

    Image in viewfinder

    Image in viewfinder

    Image in viewfinder

    Image in viewfinder

    Image in viewfinder

  • The amount of time the shutter is open is measured in stops.

  • Doubling the amount of time the shutter is open gives one stop more exposure or twice the amount of light.

  • Halving the amount of time the shutter is open gives one stop less exposure orhalf the amount of light.

  • Older, analog (non-digital) cameras usually can only adjust shutter speeds in increments of full stops.

    This chart shows actual times the shutter is open and the designations shown on the camera.

    Office 2004 Test Drive User

    Here you can see that the stops are double or half the stop above or below them.

    Office 2004 Test Drive User

    These are the actual numbers that the analog camera displays for each of these full stops.

    Office 2004 Test Drive User

  • With analog cameras, shutter speeds are adjusted manually with the speed dial on top of the camera.

  • Newer analog cameras and most digital cameras can make many more shutter speed adjustments than the older cameras.

  • Dont confuse 2 meaning 1/2 second with -2 meaning 2 seconds!

  • On a digital camera, you can see your shutter speed in the viewfinder.

  • On a digital camera, you can see your shutter speed in the viewfinder...

  • You can also see your shutter speed in the data panel readout.

    The faster the shutter speed,the sharper a moving subject will be.

    1/30 second1/500 second

    The direction of a moving object affectsthe amount of blur.

    When an object is moving directly toward or away from the camera, no sideways movement is recorded so a minimum of blur is produced, even at a relatively slow shutter speed.

    1/30 second

    Panning keeps a moving subject sharpwhile blurring the background

    During panning, the camera is movedin the same direction as the subject.

    The result is a sharp subjectand a blurred background.

    1/30 secondcamera panned

    When planning to pan,decide where you want the subject to be at the moment of exposure, start moving the camera a few moments before the object reaches that point, and continue that motion after the exposure (follow through) as you would with a golf or tennis stroke.

    Generally, the amount of motion blur will double if you increase the shutter speed by one stop (toward a longer time).Say change shutter speed from 1/60 to 1/30 of a second.

    Here are some general shutter speed guidelines for taking photos with action parallel to the image plane.

    Notice that the closer you are to the subject, the faster your shutter speed must be.

  • Motion slows at the peak of an action that reverses.

  • Here the boy jumps from an overturned garbage can for a slam dunk. Because the photo was taken at the peak of the action where it slows down, the shutter speed does not have to be as fast.

  • Clifford Oto, Slam Dunk, 1990

  • Here the camera moves against a stationary subject.

  • Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Untitled, c. 1941

  • Camera and subject are both in motion.

  • Simon Bruty, World Swimming Championships, Spain, 2003

  • Camera is held still while part of the subject moves.

  • Oliver Follmi, Pilgrimage to Bodghaya, India, 2002

    Other factors contribute (like ISO and White Balance), but these three are the most important to understand in order to get the most out of your photography.Here the viewfinder shows that the shutter speed is 1/250th of a second and the aperture is at f16.Here the viewfinder shows that the shutter speed is 1/250th of a second and the aperture is at f16.Here the viewfinder shows that the shutter speed is 1/250th of a second and the aperture is at f16.Generally, leaf shutters are located inside the lens.Generally, leaf shutters are located inside the lens.The leaves open and close to let in light.Focal-plane shutters are built into the camera body. The curtains move across the sensor exposing it to light in equal amounts.Focal-plane shutters are built into the camera body. The curtains move across the sensor exposing it to light in equal amounts.Here you can see that the stops are double or half the stop above or below them.Here you can see that the stops are double or half the stop above or below them.Here you can see that the stops are double or half the stop above or below them.(Ask students how fast some of the numbers are: ie.: 30 = 1/30th of a second. Explain that the B setting means bulb and the shutter stays open as long as the shutter button is depressed.)

    Numbers in white dial window are ISO speeds. We will talk about ISO later.The more sophisticated the camera, the more adjustments are possible. These are some common stop adjustments.pannedpannedWhen planning to pan,decide where you want the subject to be at the moment of exposure, start moving the camera a few moments before the object reaches that point, and continue that motion after the exposure (follow through) as you would with a golf or tennis stroke.Generally, the amount of motion blur will double if you increase the shutter speed by one stop (toward a longer time).Say change shutter speed from 1/60 to 1/30 of a second.Here are some general shutter speed guidelines for taking photos with action parallel to the image plane.Notice that the closer you are to the subject, the faster your shutter speed must be. Here the boy jumps from an overturned garbage can for a slam dunk. Because the photo was taken at the peak of the action where it slows down, the shutter speed does not have to be as fast.Here the boy jumps from an overturned garbage can for a slam dunk. Because the photo was taken at the peak of the action where it slows down, the shutter speed does not have to be as fast.