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Exposure : Aperture : Shutter Speed : ISO : Composition : White Balance : Flash : Mega pixels


The shutter speed determines how long the shutter is open, allowing light through to expose the sensor / film.

Shutter speeds range from a 2000
th of a second to minutes or even hours.

2000 - 1000 - 500 - 250 - 125 - 60 - 30 - 15 - 8 - 4 - 2 - 1” - 2”

The shutter speed not only effects the amount of light entering the camera, it also determines how movement is captured.

1/800 sec F16 Skateboarder
Shutter Speed 1/800

These are fractions of a second...

  • 1000 This will capture even the fastest car with no blur

  • 250 This will freeze most human action, except the faster sports

  • 125 Is a good general setting, this will capture most every day scenes with no blur

  • 60 This is as slow as you can go hand held, people will be sharp, but cars and sports activities will be blurred

  • 30 For a speed of 30 and below you will need to use a tripod . Almost anything moving will be blurred and the whole image is likely to suffer from camera shake unless it is completely motionless

Examples of different shutter speeds 800 to 4

4 1/800 sec shutter speed waterfall1/250 sec shutter speed waterfall15
1/60 sec shutter speed waterfall1/30 sec shutter speed waterfall60
2501/15 sec shutter speed waterfall1/4 sec shutter speed waterfall 800

To take these examples, I rested my camera on a rock and used the ‘self timer’ setting, so that I didn’t move the camera by pressing the button. The shutter speeds used are next to each image.

For each ‘stop’ you adjust the Shutter Speed you will need to compensated with the aperture to maintain the correct amount of light reaching the sensor / film. For a reminder how this works see the exposure page.

camera mode dial
Alternatively to setting the shutter speed and aperture manually, try setting the mode of your camera to S (some makes T) mode, make sure you are in a bright place and turn the control dial until the shutter speed number changes, notice how it automatically changes the aperture for you to maintain the right amount of light entering the camera.

© Nigel Watts 2011-2016 Contact/About