Shutter Speed..

Kopisanangan do dongotuong toinsanan (good nite all),

Ok.. lets talk about photography technicality again tonite and it is about the shutter. What is a shutter? Well…the textbook explanation will be :-

Inside your camera the sensor is covered by the shutter blades. The shutter blades open when you press the shutter release button to take a picture. While the shutter is open light is reaching the sensor and an image is recorded. The amount of time the shutter blades are open is called the shutter speed. Light is coming into the camera whenever the lens cap is off, but it can’t reach the sensor until you press the shutter release button and the shutter blades open.”

Here are the example of shutter speed..

1/4000 | 1/2000 | 1/1000 | 1/500 | 1/250 | 1/125 | 1/60 | 1/30 |1/15 | 1/8 | 1/4 | 1/2 | 1| 2 | 4 | 8 |15 |30

The way to read is is 1/value “in unit second” or 1sec ~ 30sec . The row of shutter speed above is arranged from “faster to slower time” and those are the speed which are available for you when you turn the shutter dial on you DSLR (value may varies depends on camera model). If the above shutter speed is not enough for you to get the exposure as you wanted, most DSLR offer BULB setting (additional accessories like cable release or remote may needed) where you can customize your time to expose your sensor to light and some latest DSLR offer more faster time up to 1/8000 (please check on your DSLR manual book.. What?? You lost your manual? No worries..just Google it 🙂 )

Ok lets forget about the text book story… so, practically and assuming that you know how to control others variable in the exposure triangle.. (APERTURE, SHUTTER & ISO) What does shutter speed do to your photo? (Ohh.. will blog about the exposure triangle in my very own way of explaining in my future write-up 🙂 )

Ok the rule of thumb for shutter speed is.. FASTER speed (please do not get confused ok. Do try to understand the text book definition as above. It is not about how fast the blade move.. going up and down 🙂 ) will FREEZE MOTION.. SLOWER speed will allow MOTION.  And here is another textbook fact for you to digest ;-D

When the shutter speed is slow it is harder to hold the camera still for the entire exposure. Your subject may not be moving, but if your hands are moving slightly (called hand shake) then your picture will be blurry. If you find yourself having to use shutter speeds where you can’t hold the camera still, it may be necessary to use a tripod. A tripod will hold the camera absolutely still no matter how slow the shutter speed.”

I hope you get the rough idea of how the SHUTTER SPEED will effect to your photo so the next part of my mumbling is an example of how I made judgment either to FREEZE MOTION or ALLOW MOTION


FREEZE - 1/4000 | f/8 | ISO 640 | 200 mm - my judgement - I purposely increase the ISO to 640 to get shutter speed as fast as 1/4000 to capture the water splash to show drama - and since I'm using non-VR lens (Nikor 80-200mm 2.8) + considering that I take this photo on boat ride.. I guess 1/4000s can counter my hand shake too - taken near Mengkabung Cove Tuaran Sabah


ALLOW MOTION - 5 s | f/22 | ISO 100 | 18mm - I set my camera at the most less sensitive ISO and smallest aperture to get the speed at 5 Sec to create a sense of flowing water - Logub Waterfall, Kiulu Sabah

FREEZE + MOTION - 1/400 s | f/5.6 | ISO 400 | 200 mm - as for this subject my main consideration is to freeze the bee & at 200mm I want my shutter speed to counter my hand shake too, by the way the 1/400 s doesn't freeze the bee's wings.. that give a sense of the bee is alive - Taken Near Kionsom Waterfall, Inanam Sabah

FREEZE - 1/2000 s | f/8 | ISO 800 | 145 mm - I purposely increase the ISO to 800 in-order for me to get the speed as fast as 1/2000 s because 1st I want to freeze the rafter, 2nd to counter my hand shake because the fact is I took this photo while I am in the semi-rapid water 🙂 - Kiulu 4M 2009 taken near Kg. Ponohuon, Kiulu Sabah

FREEZE + MOTION - 1/125 s | f/20 | 200 mm | ISO 100 - with correct shutter speed (judgement depends on subject speed) this is what call panning shot where the subject is sharp in focus yet the background give a sense of moving subject - U.I.M F2000 World Cup Race Sabah GP 2008, Kota Kinabalu Sabah -

HAND SHAKE - 1/160 | f/3.2 | ISO 200 | 170 mm - as Aiman walk I think 1/160 is fast enough to freeze him but I guess using Non-VR lens (Nikkor 80-200mm 2.8) I should use higher ISO in order for me to get a speed that can counter my hand shake - taken near Kiulu, Sabah

So what is the ideal shutter speed?  well I guess it is the matter of mind set of what you have in mind of getting… or what the shutter speed will effect to your photo..  just a basic understanding from me and there is a lot of others effect by your shutter speed.. do experiment with it.. and as usual thanks for your time browsing tru my one cents tips.. till then.. kopisanangan do dongotuong (good nite) 🙂


About lano lan

A freelance photographer with 5 years experience in photography. Familiar with local culture in Malaysia and has vast experience in capturing moments in any local event particularly in Sabah. As a full time photographer, I am also familiar and able to take advantage of the local climate condition. In other words, rain or shine, there is always a chance of capturing lights in action.
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16 Responses to Shutter Speed..

  1. Anat says:

    Thanks for the explanation Sir… good point to share with us. Do write again soon and hopefully you can give us more tips in future…

  2. Sapphire says:

    Stunning frozen shots!
    The boat and waterfall is amazing.

  3. Rem says:

    Thank you Sifu. Very useful!

  4. tembadau says:

    Ndada ka button Like utk blog hehe.. anyway useful info

  5. Ponsikou Sifu..sangat bermanfaat untuk mengisi masa terluang di depan laptop. Sambil2 mengulangkaji tu tips2 yg diperolehi hehehe…menunggu nukilan karya seterusnya..

  6. Slyverinus Malanjun says:

    Serba sedikit saya dapat belajar dari penjelasan dari sifu tentang shutter speed di mana berkaitan di antara penggunaan setting Shutter,Arpeture dan ISO untuk mengambil gambar yang betul…terima kasih sifu dan seterusnya mahu belajar dengan realiti bersama dengan sifu bilamana ada kesempatan nanti.

  7. thanks very much for this great info tompinai … totally avasi montok zou ti 😉

  8. Floyd says:

    While understanding the technicality of shutter speed is easy, getting the right picture for what we have in mind is an ART in itself.
    Stunning shots, I like the silky waterfall and the frozen movement of the boat rowers.

    Thanks for sharing!

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