Shutter Speed - Taking Better Pictures Tutorial 1b

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Shutter Speed - Taking Better Pictures Tutorial 1b

Post by travis_cooper on Mon Feb 25, 2008 4:38 pm

The next important element to exposure is your shutter speed. A good way to compare your shutter is to a door, you are controlling how long that door is open. If it is open for a long time then you let in more light, if it is open for a short time then you are letting in less light.

The other thing shutter speed controls is motion. If you want to freeze motion, so a kid running around, then you want a fast shutter speed, since the shutter, door, is open only for a short time the movement isn't noticeable. If you want to show the motion though you want to leave it open longer, a good example of this is if you are shooting a moving stream. Leaving your shutter open longer means the ripples, and movement of the water starts to blur and turns really silky and we can feel that motion.

One thing to keep in mind when looking at these values is they are all fractions unless the " is with them. This is how you will see it on your camera, so that is how I'm going to list the values. So if you see 4 on your camera it is really 1/4 of a second. If you see .5" that is half a second.

2" Long shutter speed - lets in more light will blur motion
.5" or 2
4000 Fast shutter speed - lets in less light will stop motion

So at 2", 2 seconds, your shutter is open for a long time and any motion will be blurred. This also lets in a lot of light. At 4000, 1/4000 of a second, your shutter is open for a very short amount of time and any motion will be frozen in time. This also lets in very little light.

Here is an example of a long shutter speed to capture the motion rather than freezing it. This was exposed for 6", 6 seconds.

Now here is the same shot but the shutter speed was quicker. This was taken at 20, 1/20 of a second, which froze the motion, although not all the way you can tell a difference between these two shots.

You notice in the first shot the water is more silky due to the blurred motion compared to the second which you can see some of the water stopped. So as a recap the shutter speed controls the amount of light hitting the sensor by controlling the amount of time it is open, if it is open for a long time we get more light, a short time gives us less light. Also it controls movement in the frame, if there is a slow shutter speed the movement blurs, with a fast shutter speed the movement is stopped.

So how do we set our shutter speed? Well, the shutter speed can be set using the Tv, or T, or S, mode on your dial. This stands for time value, and is known as shutter speed priority mode. In this mode, similar Av mode, you set your shutter speed and the camera sets the aperture value for you. Again, if it can't set the aperture where it needs to in order to get correct exposure you will see the aperture value blinking letting you know it can't set it right, that is the closest it can get. Also the ISO will just be set to the value you set it to in your ISO menu.

Play with your camera in Tv mode with a moving object, water a child, etc. And see how fast shutter speeds can freeze the motion, whereas slow shutter speeds will blur the motion. Again if you have any questions, or pictures you want us to look at, post them here so all can benefit from the answers.

Go to next tutorial - ISO
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