Shutter Speed (Shutter Speed Priority) Setting on the camera

Shutter speed is the amount of time the shutter remains open to allow light to reach a digital camera sensor. Shutter speed is measured in seconds, or fractions of seconds.

Using very fast shutter speeds “freeze” fast-moving subjects, such as birds in flight. Slow shutter speeds are used to intentionally capture the movement of a subject.

How an image is exposed is determined by the combination of the lens aperture and shutter speed. A fast shutter speed will use a larger aperture (small F-stop number) to avoid an under-exposed image. A slow shutter speed requires a small aperture (large F-stop number) to avoid over-exposure.

Typical shutter speeds are: 1/2000 sec, 1/500 sec, 1/250 sec, 1/125 sec, 1/60 sec, 1/30 sec, 1/15 sec, 1/8 sec, 1/4 sec, 1/2 sec and 1 second.

When taking long exposures, you should use a tripod to prevent camera shake. Also, when using shutter speeds below 1/60th of a second without image stabilization, use of a camera support is recommended.

Shutter Priority Mode

Shutter Priority mode is a semi-automatic exposure mode. You select the shutter speed and the camera automatically sets the aperture for a proper exposure.

For digital cameras without Shutter Priority, use Sports or Fast Shutter mode.
Shutter priority mode is a camera feature that allows you to manually choose the shutter speed you wish to use and leave the camera to select the appropriate aperture size so that the image is exposed correctly.

This camera mode is usually used in one of two cases.

  • Either when you wish to freeze very fast movement, perhaps in sports photography (in which case you would want to select a short shutter speed, usually 1/125s or below (a higher number)
  • or if you wish to create special effects, such as flowing water., use speeds below 1/15 of a second.

Speeds that need a tripod, to be placed on a steady surface with self-timer used or, in some cases, the use of a flash:
15”, 13”, 10”, 8”, 6”, 5”, 4”, 3”2, 2”5, 2” 1”6, 1”3, 1” (seconds)
“.8, “.6, “.5, “.4, “.3, 1/4, 1/5, 1/6, 1/8, 1/10, 1/13 (of a second)

Steady hands can hold still at these speeds (not recommended)
1/15, 1/20, 1/25, 1/30, 1/40, 1/50 (of a second)

OK to hand hold with faster speeds below
1/60, 1/80, 1/100, 1/125, 1/160, 1/200, 1/250, 1/320, 1/400, 1/500, 1/640, 1/800, 1/1000, 1/1250, 1/1600, 1/2000, 1/2500, 1/3200 (of a second)
(the higher the number the faster the speed)

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