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Electronic Shutter and Mechanical Shutter

Photo Moment - May 31, 2016

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Interesting, I use a Panasonic FZ1000 and use the Electronic Shutter on wildlife filming and the photos surpass the Mechanical Shutter quality. The FZ1000 is only a "1" sensor Mirrorless but takes really nice photos for the size of the sensor. It is 20MP resolution and has a lens of F2.8 to F4.0 and 25mm to 400mm.
Thanks for the explanation, however, the benefit of the speed (E-shutter) translated into a distorted, when should we use the e-shutter, apart from the silence, when required?
It’s only distorted when you have extremely fast moving objects, like a propeller. In normal use you won’t see this effect. So, any time you need a higher shutter speed than mechanical will allow. For example, if you want to shoot in bright sunlight with a wide open aperture, you’ll possibly need a very fast shutter speed.
This is one of the best descriptions of the differences but it still doesn't fully explain it for me. Presumably, in your propeller shot, the mechanical shutter light slit travelled down the sensor as the 2nd curtain followed the 1st curtain which should result in a very similar distortion as we see when the sensor is read line by line as it is with the electronic shutter, yet we dont see that. Both shutters have the same sensor which is read out in the same way right? So why does the moving shutter slit not behave very similar to the sensor being read out line by line? It seems at any given moment the slit of exposed sensor will have the propeller in a different place since the propeller is moving while the shutter slit is travelling down the sensor.
because the mechanical shutter happens in 1/8000s. An electronic shutter is 1/8000s per line — so it’s actually a longer snapshot of time but still is a short exposure.
Very interesting. Exactly the Information i was looking for. Thank you🙌
Thanks for the video. But won't mechanical shutters do the same, in a way? A curtain goes down, and then another one following that one, leaving, in short exposures, just one tiny line of light passing through (like Jacques Henri Lartigue photo of the passing car)?
Do you mean how long does it take to scan the entire image? Gosh no, 1/15 would be forever. It's clearly longer than 1/12,000s (as indicated by the scan line "problem"), but it's a heck of a lot faster than that. The LUMIX G9 can shoot 60 frames per second stills, and the GH5S can shoot 240 fps video. So there's some absolute maximums that it could take (1/16 or 1/240) and that's not accounting for restarting the capture, writing the file, etc.
but whats the advantage of being able to shoot with a really high shutter speed if its going to come out distorted with the elec. shutter
It only does that if you have really fast moving subjects — and I don't mean "jumping in the air" fast, but "propeller" fast, as you see here. That super high shutter speed can be invaluable for any time you need that level of control over your exposure, i.e. shooting wide open with a fast lens in bright light. If you want to shoot at f/1.2 on a bright day, you can't lower your ISO lower than maybe 100 or 50, so a higher shutter speed is the way to go.
The theme approach is wrong. Because the CCD chip is just like what the gentleman calls a mechanical lock here. The CCD uses an electronic lock, but the image is the same as the mechanical one. So the suggestion is wrong. At the same time, it is a male lead. After all, what is called an electronic lock is the character of a CMOS sensor. The person does not understand what he is talking about. Please do a little more research and develop your skills to update it before posting such a video. Yours sincerely,
Ferenc Lázár from Hungary.
Mechanical… lock? Male… lead? What are you talking about? I can appreciate that English may not be your first language, so please do attempt to clarify yourself, but my video is NOT wrong. I absolutely DO understand what I’m talking about, so again, please, clarify your statement.
Looks like the Google Streetview car stitched those pictures together....
how about shooting a sunset with clouds...will you get distortions with that or no
Unless the clouds are moving at 1,000 miles per hour… no.
@PhotoJoseph I think I'm going to pass on silent mode for shooting sunsets because I just heard that when you use silent mode the Roz are only 12 bit not 14 bit like when you use the shutter I get enough color banding when I shoot 4K video because that video is only 8 bit so I wanted to start shooting sunsets the old-school away with time lapse but if I'm only going to get 12 bit by using silent and I think I'm going to have to use the regular shutter to get the 14 bit
Divinity Gate hm, which camera? There was a bit depth bug on one camera quite some time ago but I don’t recall the details now. It was fixed though, if I remember correctly.
@PhotoJoseph Sony a7r2
Divinity Gate oh, then I have no idea sorry. I’m a LUMIX guy. Yeah if it’s doing that then you definitely want to shoot mechanical!
When the mechanical shutter opens does the sensor scan or dump all of the pixel info at once? If it scans then you should still have the distortion problem. If all at once, then why not do that all the time with electronic only shutters???
It’s a processing power and cache issue. The solution is called a “global shutter” but they aren’t ready for mainstream yet at affordable prices. Matt actually discusses this in this Q&A on the S1H:
What’s the advantage of using a electric shutter than mechanical because won’t It be beneficial to always use the mechanic as it reduces wrapping
Speed. You can get much faster electronic shutter than mechanical.
Nice info and explanation. Thanks for sharing.
There were some questions about rolling shutter in the comment section and I would like to help to understand.
1. We want faster shutter speed, because the subject is very bright or moving very fast. Faster shutter speed is reducing the amount of time the sensor is exposed to the light hence it is darker, and less blurry.
2. Mechanical shutter involves moving parts thus it has limitations which are hard to come by. Usually you can achieve 1/4000 of a second as the fastest.
3. Electronic shutter excudes any moving parts, and so, the limiting factor is the sensor. nowadays you can achieve 1/32000 of a second with it.
4. Now here comes the interesting part. The 1/32000 value of the electronic shutter belongs to one pixel (or line of pixel). So one pixel (or line of pixel) will take 1/32000 of a second to expose.
But the whole sensor actually needs more time than 1/4000 of a second to move line by line to the end of the sensor.
5. This is why the propeller is blurry with mechanical shutter (because it moves faster than the shutter speed) and that's why it is crisp but distorted with electronic shutter (because one pixel can achieve high speed, but the whole sensor cannot currently)
6. Because of these points, the debut of global shutter on APS-C and Full frame is anticipated. It will eliminate the problem mentioned in the 4. point. Thus it will eliminate the need for a mechanical shutter.
You got it. Very much looking forward to global shutter.
My all doubt was in the 4th point.. i thought the whole sensor will scan the entire image ( like BOOM. done) at 1/whateverth of a second but its just a single pixel or a line of pixels that receives the light in that factor of second.. in simple words a MECHANICAL sensor would actually be faster than a sensor having an ELECTRONIC shutter.. is it correct
You mean mechanical shutter; the sensor has to be electronic. Problem is that shutters can’t move that fast. Fastest conventional shutter is 1/8000s.
So mechanical shutter records all information at once where E shutter doesn't?🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔
What's weird about it? In electronic shutter mode, the physical shutter opens, the sensor turns recording on and off, and the shutter closes. In mechanical shutter mode, the sensor turns recording on, the physical shutter opens and closes, and the sensor stops recording.
PhotoJoseph So it means eShutter's scan speed is actually lower than mShutter's moving speed😳that's the unbelievable part
No… I'm not sure how you're getting there. The SENSOR (calling it an electronic shutter is a misnomer… it's the sensor, and it behaves as an "electronic shutter" when it turns on and off to record, with no mechanical shutter in front of it, but there is no shutter) can turn on and off extremely quickly. But it can't turn all the photosites on and off at the same time. They turn on in progression, top to bottom. So when in mechanical shutter mode, the sensors turns on and starts recording, the mechanical shutter opens and closes, and then it stops recording. So it's like film in the sense that it is always recording light, which of course is why it has to stay in the dark until you want to expose it. When it's in e-shutter mode, the shutter opens, and THEN the sensor turns on and off. But since it can't turn on and off all at once, it does it row by row, and for very fast shutter speeds and very fast moving objects, you get the distortion/tearing.

If you still don't understand it, please watch the video again, or perhaps look for other videos. Maybe someone else's explanation will make more sense to you.
@PhotoJoseph Because Focal-plane shutter also moves from top to bottom with a tiny slip open when shutter speed is set very fast, but I never heard that'll cause distortion the same way.
So does high speed sync flash. I’m not familiar enough with the technicalities of focal plane shutter to engage though.
If electronic shutter is 1/12000 sec that is very short fraction of time so you maybe showing wrong information.
Nothing wrong here. This is all accurate.
@PhotoJoseph fastest the shutter speed small will be the shot taking time then why its happening?? While elc shutter is way faster.
Did you actually watch the video? It’s explained 100% in there. If you didn’t understand it, please watch it again.
Great explanation. Thanx for tarting that out. Subscribed.
You're welcome, and welcome!
Hey You Remind Me Of Andy Bernard From The TV Show The Office. Lol
Is that good or bad? 😂
The Nard Man
Interesting. I imagine in a few years the electronic shutters will scan from top to bottom much faster eliminating the odd distortion but who knows for sure?
Actually the next step is “global shutter”, exposing the entire sensor at once. Once those are mainstream, the shutter as we know it will have no more use.
When a mirrorless camera uses the mechanical shutter, the rolling electronic shutter is never in effect right? That would be crazy right... nevermind it would be incredibly difficult/impossible for a mirrorless camera to use a mechanical shutter at the same time as a rolling electronic shutter.... there would have to be some crazy synchronicity happening to make that work... and it would be stupid to do so even if you could. Are all my assumptions correct?
If you look at the operation of a mechanical shutter you see that it moves from top to bottom of a camera sensor. In fact it exposes tiny lines of a sensor to light (multiple rows). All that said I don't belive that a mechanical shutter with longer exposure time can take a picture with less wobble than a faster electronic shutter (which is supposed to expose all pixels faster but in similar fashion). I wonder if there is something going on with a partial operation of the sensor (increased crop factor, field of view gets smaller - common on speedcams with higer frame rate (high shutter speed)) and than some after processing "gluing" the picture together.
You forgot to mention that electronic shutters have almost infinite shutter actuations😜
But still those cameras have mechanical shutter.
Great explanation!! Thanks for the help :)
Thank you so much for this info.
that doesn't seem right... i mean i understand how the rolling shutter works, but comparing the exposure times, it just seems wrong. ill try to explain...
(im comparing these images btw 1:00)
so the electronic shutter sweeps for 1/12000 of a second and the propeller moves that much (you can see how far it moves in the bottom blade)
but the mechanical shutter opens, exposes for 1/3000 of a second, then closes. the sensor was exposed for 4 times as long yet there's no blur
so what i don't understand is how does the propeller move further in less time (looks like six blade lengths in 1/12000 of a second).
but move less in more time (almost still in 1/3000 of a second)??
the only possible explanation i have is the prop was just slower, and in that case this video is sort of flawed in comparing the two. but if i'm missing something please explain
Question, my fuji xt20 has manual, electronic or manual + electronic... What would the beneifts of that be? I was using it for astrophotography photos, and curious if that was messing up any lighting.
Manual + Electronic is probably an auto mode, but you’ll need to read your manual. I’m not familiar enough with Fuji to know for sure, sorry.
hi you have forgotten the Minolta 9xi has a shutter up to 12000 of a sec & is film
Awesome video! So interesting 🙌
This is the best explanatory video regarding ES vs MS.. been browsing around.. u nailed it mate!
I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around this electronic shutter issue [when shooting fast objects]. If the electronic shutter offers faster shutter speeds than the mechanical alternative, what is the benefit if it the reading of the sensor is so slow? Is it just me, or is this hard to comprehend? Why offer a VERY fast shutter speed, if the actual implementation of an electronic shutter is so slow. I just don't get it. Can anyone clarify this for me? Perhaps a simple explanation of what is actually happening.
Were you able to watch the video? I thought I explained it pretty clearly here…
Hi Joseph. Yes, I watched the entire thing. I'll have to watch it again to see if it sinks in this time. I guess my brain cramp comes when I try to understand that if an electronic shutter in a camera can be extremely fast, why can't it freeze the image, even given the method that electronic shutters work... in other words if that line by line reading of the sensor is SUPER quick, why can't it freeze fast objects? btw: This question doesn't reflect the quality of your video info, I'm just having a hard time understanding the concepts. I've always associated very fast shutter speeds with freezing action.
Try this video. His explanation may make more sense to you:
I watched the whole video too, and I agree with you. I also don't understand why it can even be called 1/32,000 if the sensor readout takes much longer in reality. Then your final image is not a snapshot of 1/32,000th of a second, it's a longer exposure lasting however long the sensor takes to read out completely.
So... does it mean, that mechanical shutter actually is a "global shutter"? There is no skew in the image, that means all the pixels are exposed simultaneously while the shutter is open. But with electronic shutter there goes a progressive scan of the same sensor, line by line! WHY? What is the reason? Makes no sense to me, su I'll just leave with thoughts like "Uhm, technology. Deal with it."
Global shutter is when every pixel is exposed at once. We don’t have global (electronic) shutter in this case. Mechanical shutter is effectively global shutter but unfortunate I can’t explain why. I don’t actually understand it.
Best explanation I've seen. Thanks.
Glad to help!
Do you loose dynamic range or image quality with electronic shutter?
+Jan Garcia IIRC, there was a bug where dynamic range was limited when shooting electronic shutter, but that has been fixed. I honestly don't recall what model or firmware version that was, but it was a while ago. Image quality would be the same, other than the potential distortion from the skin line issue as displayed in this video.
Jan Garcia sane question here as I it would be so convenient to shoot time lapses with ES
Great info. One of my freind just bought a new sont a9 with 1/32000 electrical shutter.
Interesting, thanks, but man, you talk fast! Had to pause n flick back a few times lol ;-)
+Cris Janson Piers I know… that's just the way I talk :-)
what's the point of comparing two pictures taken at different speed?
Because electronic shutter allows MUCH higher speed than mechanical, and because the way electronic records the image is completely different. The point of this video isn't to compare shutter speeds, but to compare how the image is recorded, which is quite obvious when you see the photos.
Thanks for the explanation. What I still don't understand with ES is how it would benefit photography? What use does it have with extremly high shutter speeds when it creates this distortion disabling taking stills of fast moving objects. Even for videography makes it very questionable to using ES. Better use mechanical and not having the rolling shutter effect. Even if that means heavy wearing out of the shutter. Or does ES benefit long exposures?
+Redeye -/- Electronic shutter offers many benefits. The distortion issue isn't a problem for many things you'd shoot. The propeller is an extreme example. If you're panning with a car for example as long as no vertical objects intersect the scene it'd be fine.

In super bright light, if you shoot wide open you may need more than 1/8000 (mechanical max) so this gives you that (even if the subject isn't moving).

It's perfectly silent, which is phenomenal for wedding and event photographers.

No mechanical shutter in the world that I know of can open and close 30 times in a second, so you have to go electronic. (Film cinema cameras used a spinning disk as a shutter with a slice cut out, hence "shutter angle" instead of "shutter speed").

Hope that helps! There's a phenomenal video on this topic over at Smarter Every Day's channel. Definitely watch that next.
Redeye -/- good point. Same question here.
Great video. I found it because I was looking for an explanation for a similar problem I had last night shooting under fluorescent lighting. It was in a small kind of quiet classroom where I wanted to use e-shutter to avoid distracting with the noise of the mechanical shutter. However, I got severe banding that I assumed was from the e-shutter. So I went back to mechanical shutter and it went away. After seeing your explanation and knowing how fluorescent lights do flicker, I can see why that happened. It also happened in a different room with a different kind of lighting-sodium maybe? I know these lights take quite a while to power up and apparently must flicker rapidly also. It's good to understand what's really going on in both types of lighting. Thanks for posting!
+John Packard That same flicker can show up in video too. Super annoying.
Ah, yes I remember about 6 years ago when I was shooting video in South Africa with my GH2 in a building with those same sodium lights (?), I got some really nasty strobing/banding kind of thing. It was also real yellow as I recall. Can't remember how my white balance was set, but a custom white balance should avoid the yellow anyway I would think. I needed that footage but only left it up for a few seconds.
so what are the benefits of electronic shutter? I know you said fast speed but it warped the picture.
+Yoko Kurama Faster shutter than possible with mechanical and silent.
So when do you recommend to use it if not for fast-moving objects?
+framedheart Depends on the subject and the environment around it. You really have to try to see what you get.
Something still isn't connecting with me - if the electronic shutter was 1/12,000 of a second, and the mechanical one is 1/3200 of a second, doesn't that assist in improved motion freeze somehow?
+Ken Williams Yes but because the frame isn't recorded all at once, but instead recorded line by line, top to bottom, even over the course of 1/12,000s the blades still moved considerably. So you end up where a piece of the propeller that was at the top of the frame shows up again at the bottom.
Ah, gotcha - that makes perfect sense - thanks!
Can you change the mechanical shutter to the electronic shutter on the G85?
Yes, absolutely. You can do it manually, or put it in automatic mode. Automatic is recommended as there is a very specific shutter range (I think around 1/125 but I could be off) where something called "shutter shock" can happen, which is a phenomenon unique to mirrorless cameras in mechanical shutter mode. The newer LUMIX cameras will automatically switch from mechanical to shutter not only when it needs the super high speed shutter, but also when it hits that specific shutter-shock range.
Thanks for the reply, I'll try to figure it out manually but thanks for the great info.
is mechanical shutter the same thing as rolling shutter?
No… electronic shutter causes rolling shutter, and the artifacts you're seeing here are the same as rolling shutter. But mechanic shutter would NOT give you the rolling shutter effect.
That distortion is uncanny, almost terrifying for some reason
I'm here after finding out the DJI phantom 4 pro has an Mechanical shutter. Thanks
Does it? That's quite cool!
yeah it's insane
Very good description, thank you. BTW, the top end Fujifilm cameras (X Pro, XT) go to 1/32000 using the electronic shutter, which means that, using a combination of mechanical and electronic, you have 30" to 1/32000 available.
That's awesome!
Great explanation, thanks!
+Joshua F glad it helped!
hi im using sony a7.
im curious if using electronic shutter consumes more power than using the mechanical shutter? im also curious if using mechanical shutter on mirrorless does worn out my shutter faster than using electronic shutter.
Hi Jeremiah. Great questions. I don't have hard data to back this up but I would assume that using electronic shutter on a mirrorless camera instead of mechanical would make the battery last LONGER because it takes more power for the camera to move the shutter than to not move it. And it's safe to say that the mechanical shutter will last longer if it's not used; shutters are rated by how many times they can fire, not how many years they'll last. Although honestly this isn't something I'd ever worry about. I've never had a shutter wear out on any camera and I've been shooting for decades. Unless you're a professional sports shooter firing thousands of frames per day, it should never be an issue.
wow you reply fast! thanks joseph! so i assume you're using electronic shutter most of the time? i tried shooting earlier using mechanical and electronic and i notice that the photo from electronic shutter is quite underexposed compared to mechanical on fast shutters. ive been shooting dslr for quite sometime and im quite new to mirrorless and electronic shutter.
Hmm, I probably use mechanical vs electronic 50/50. Just depends on the situation. Can't have electronic shutter when using strobe. Can't have electronic if subjects are moving too fast. And I go electronic when I want to be quiet!
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