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Ultimate Guides about Shutter Speed in 2024

Max Wales
Max Wales
Originally published Oct 29, 21, updated May 20, 24

Recognize the distinctive “click” sound when a camera takes a photo? It’s the sound of the camera shutter closing and capturing the image. Ever wondered about the meaning behind that “click” sound and what it can do for you?

A major term associated with the camera shutter that can strongly impact your images is the shutter speed. In the proceeding guide, you can learn all about the phenomenon, including what does shutter speed do and the different types of shutter speeds to make your photos pop. Let’s get started!

Part 1: What is Shutter Speed?

Before getting into the details, such as shutter speed definition, let us first see what a shutter is. A camera’s shutter is basically a small fragment that acts as a barricade for your camera’s sensor. When you click a picture, the shutter opens and exposes your sensor or film to light. When it closes back, it stops the light from hitting the sensor, and a picture is captured.

Shutter speed is the speed at which your shutter opens and closes to let light in. It is a measure of how long your sensor is exposed to light. Shutter speed is often measured in seconds. You can find shutter speed measurements in 1/2s, or 1/3000s, as seen in a shutter speed chart. It is an important determinant of the brightness of an image (aka the exposure), which we will get to in a while.

what is shutter speed

Part 2: Types of Shutter Speeds

You have learned the basics of what is shutter speed. Let's now take a look at the types of shutter speeds to understand the term and its importance better.

types of shutter speed

1. Fast Shutter Speed

A fast shutter speed is when a camera clicks in a fraction of a second, such as 1/500s. Fast shutter speeds are generally used for capturing fast-moving objects, freeze motion, and for reducing motion blur, such as racing cars and birds in flight. If you are using a fast shutter speed, you will also need a high ISO to make sure your image comes out crisp and bright.

2. Slow Shutter Speed

A slow shutter speed means you are letting light fall on your sensor for a longer period of time. Slow shutter speeds such as multiple seconds can often result in blurs. A slow shutter speed is great for capturing motion, and light blurs. If you want a sharp image in a natural setting using a slow shutter speed, make sure not to move your camera while capturing the shot.

3. Long Shutter Speed

Long shutter speeds are basically like slow shutter speeds. Any shutter speed that is more than 1s can be deemed as a long shutter speed. Similar to slow shutter speed, you will need long shutter speeds to capture intentional blurs in the direction of motion or during low-light photography. A high shutter speed value requires additional attention to stuff such as stability and ISO.

Part 3: How to Change Shutter Speed on Your Camera

Want to know how to change the shutter speed on your camera? Each camera is different in its own regard, but they are all pretty much the same at some basic level. Here is an overview of how to change the shutter speed depending on your camera brand.

change shutter speed on cameras

1. Changing Shutter Speed on a Sony Camera

If you want to change your Sony camera’s shutter speed, you can follow the steps given below to do that:

1. Rotate your mode dial to either "M" or "S" (Shutter priority), depending on the model.

2. Now turn the main dial to set the shutter speed. You can turn right to increase the speed and left to decrease it.

2. Changing Shutter Speed on a Nikon Camera

On a Nikon, you can set your shutter speed using the semi-automatic or the “S” mode. The following steps indicate how to change the shutter speed on Nikon:

1. Turn your dial to "M" or "S."

2. From the right, turn the dial to set the shutter speed to your desired value.

3. Changing Shutter Speed on a Canon Camera

Canon provides a Time Value Mode (TV for short), using which you can set the shutter speed individually, and the aperture and ISO will be set accordingly. Here is how to change the shutter speed on Canon:

1. Turn your mode dial until it reaches “M” (manual) or "TV."

2. Below the capture button, turn the black dial until you arrive at your required shutter speed.

Part 4: What’s the Difference between Shutter Speed and Exposure?

We have already discussed what does shutter speed do for an image. There is another term that often comes interlinked with shutter speed, and that is exposure. Let’s differentiate between the two.

The term exposure refers to the amount of light that your sensor captures and that forms your image. The overall brightness of an image is what exposure is all about. The longer your sensor is exposed to light, the more bright your picture will be, and the higher your exposure. The opposite happens in incidents of low exposures.

Correcting the exposure for your image is a balancing act. You do not want overexposed images or pictures that are too dark to see. To determine the right exposure, there is a term that is referred to as the "Exposure Triangle."

The exposure triangle is made up of three fundamental settings: the aperture, the shutter speed, and the ISO. All these things, when put together, collectively determine the brightness or the exposure of your photo. ISO is your camera’s sensitivity to light, while the aperture is an opening inside the lens that controls the amount of light that reaches the sensor.

As discussed earlier, shutter speed measures the time for which light enters the lens. Shutter speed is also a measurement of the length of exposure and can vary with the amount of light present in the surroundings. If you want to get the right exposure for your images, you want a perfect balance of all three key ingredients.

Wrapping Up

You now know sufficiently about shutter speed, what it does, and how to set the shutter speed settings on your camera to bring out the best in your photos. You can play with different speeds in different scenarios and see what works out best for you.

As long as shutter speed for video is concerned, the fundamental rules are all the same. For a video, shutter speed relates to the frame rate in some proportion. Nevertheless, you can compensate for a badly-chosen shutter speed up to some extent using a good video editing software like Wondershare Filmora.

Filmora is a prestigious resource tool when it comes to video editing. The esteemed software contains a range of useful features that can help bring the best out of your video. Try Wondershare Filmora’s easy-to-use features and create content that stands out from the crowd.

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