The camera matrix is shielded from the outside world by a shutter. All of the photography’s magic occurs when it is briefly opened and light strikes the sensor.
But some contemporary mirrorless cameras don’t have it, and some don’t even use it. This article explains what an electronic shutter is, how to use one, and how to take pictures without it.
You can take images using the electronic shutter’s technology without really using the mechanical one. The camera matrix goes on and off at the exact moment the picture is taken, which is the fundamental feature of the technology.
The two curtains that make up the mechanical shutter are placed in front of the matrix and physically close and open during the shooting process.
The electronic shutter is a relatively new technology. It first appeared in mirrorless cameras a few years ago since they lack a mirror. This method is also challenging because of the mirror that covers the camera.
Later, some DSLRs started to include the electronic shutter. The dropped mirror conceals the matrix, and it automatically raises when you use the camera. You also need an open matrix for the electronic shutter.
The first models using an electronic shutter had a number of problems that camera manufacturers are gradually solving. There are also cameras on the market right now without the typical mechanical shutter at all.
Pros of an electronic shutter
The electronic shutter offers a number of undeniable advantages, which is why the technology has gained popularity despite the issues that will be discussed later.
An electronic shutter extends the life of the camera and costs less
This sentence may have been written in all capitals. Aging is the main issue with mechanical shutters. Shutters are constructed of thin plastic and become damaged over several uses.
Shutter damage is a severe issue. First off, you can’t use a camera with a broken shutter. In this situation, the camera often simply rejects to shot. That is to say, if a control button breaks in the middle of photographing a wedding, you will probably be able to continue the session even though it will be inconvenient. If the shutter is damaged, you need simply purchase a new camera (or start looking for the new one if you do not practice shooting with two cameras).
The expense of repairs is another significant issue with shutter breakdowns. Depending on the camera’s brand, age, type of problem, and service level, replacing the shutter could cost up to $300. Particularly outside of big cities, inexpensive models frequently don’t replace the shutter at all because it’s simpler to purchase a new one.
The electronic shutter is like a divine gift in this regard. It doesn’t click, so it can’t be that easily damaged. As a result, you can considerably increase the camera’s lifespan and reduce repair costs.
Electronic shutters provide very quick shutter rates
There are typically two values of exceptionally fast shutter speeds listed in the specs of mirrorless cameras. For instance, the Fujifilm X-T30 has mechanical shutter speeds of 1/4000 and electronic shutter speeds of 1/32000.
Once again, the technology itself is the key here. The shutter speed of a mechanical shutter is set by the rate of movement of the shutter curtains. They can’t move more quickly. It turns out that shorter shutter speeds can be achieved with electrical technology.
This is helpful, for instance, when using a fast lens outside in the sun. Even at the lowest ISO settings and the fastest shutter speeds, overexposure can still happen under bright light levels. Normally, you have to cover the diaphragm in this situation. However, this carries the risk of losing the gorgeous background blur.
Simply because it enables you to use noticeably quicker shutter speeds, this issue does not present on cameras with an electronic shutter.
Additionally, you can boost the frame rate in some models by using the electronic shutter. For instance, the Nikon 1 V3 can shoot with a mechanical shutter at 6 fps and an electronic shutter at 20 fps.
Cons of an electronic shutter
Despite all the benefits of the electronic shutter, there are a few distinct drawbacks. They typically stand out more in older cameras. Many more recent models perform far better.
An electronic shutter may give you a specific smudge
When shooting moving subjects or panning quickly, the so-called rolling shutter distortion happens.
The CMOS sensor reads the image line by line, which causes this issue. When an object is moving quickly, it has time to make a small adjustment between these lines.
Newer cameras essentially don’t have this problem. For instance, the Sony Alpha 9, Nikon Z 9 (which lacks any sort of mechanical shutter), and the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III. However, electronic shutter blurs are still present in the older Olympus models.
Electronic shutter sometimes causes flicker
The parallel stripes that show up in a photograph when using artificial light to take the photo are known as flickers. And typically it happens when the bulbs are of poor quality.
Nevertheless, you can solve this issue by selecting the appropriate shutter speed. Select shutter speeds that are multiples of 50, such as 1/50 or 1/100, if you are shooting indoors under artificial steady light.
There won’t be any flicker while setting these options. Shorter shutter speeds, such as multiples of 50 to 1/150, 1/200, and so forth, depend entirely on the lamp itself. Here, you never know if there will be a flicker. You must attempt to verify.
In most current cameras, there is an electronic shutter, which is a very helpful feature. It is worthwhile to check if you have it and learn how to use it.
Since it extends shutter life and enables you to work with quick shutter speeds, the electronic shutter is especially helpful while shooting in natural light. When using artificial light, though, you should take precautions because this feature can malfunction.
There are fewer issues with newer cameras. However, before taking any serious photos with the camera, it is a good idea to test how it operates, for example, with lights and an electronic shutter together.