Shutter Speed

Shutter Speed Demonstration

Here is an example of how the shutter speed affects the results when photographing a moving object and can be used deliberately to create different effects. The same waterfall was photographed several times with the camera set to Shutter Priority (Tv) mode, increasing the shutter speed after each shot and allowing the camera to adjust the aperture and ISO values.


Shutter 1/15, Aperture f/6.7, ISO 200
The water is blurred, giving a pleasing effect of movement and producing a reasonable quality image.

Shutter 1/30, Aperture f/5.6, ISO 200
The water is less blurred, although still showing movement. The quality of the image is still reasonable.

Shutter 1/60, Aperture f/5.6, ISO 400
The water is starting to become sharp. Note the camera has now increased the ISO to 400.

Shutter 1/125, Aperture f/5.6, ISO 800
The water is a little sharper, but the image is starting to deteriorate as the camera sets the ISO value up to 800.

Shutter 1/250, Aperture f/5.6, ISO 1600
The water is much sharper. The camera has reached its maximum ISO and the image now has a lot of digital noise.

Shutter 1/1000, Aperture f/4.5, ISO 1600
The movement of the water has now been frozen by the shutter speed, but the noise in the image is much worse.

Shutter 1/3000, Aperture f/4.5, ISO 1600
In this and the following example, the water is very little sharper than before and the noise is now affecting the colour and completely spoiling the image.

Shutter 1/4000, Aperture f/4.5, ISO 1600
After further increasing the shutter speed, noise can clearly be seen as streaks of mottled colour across the image.

It was a dull day, the subject was overshadowed by trees and light levels were quite low. The experiment showed that it was possible to freeze the movement of the water by increasing the shutter speed, but only at the expense of quality as the camera pushed the ISO values beyond the limits of acceptability. Lesson to be learnt - some shots are just not possible without sufficient light.