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Shutter Speed - Image Exposure

When you are taking pictures [using either a film or a digital camera, the image gets captured based on light coming through the opening when you press the button (the shutter release). There are 2 things that determine how much light gets through the opening. The second is the amount of time that the shutter is open (shutter speed).

The camera adjustment is actually the first one that I played around with, not so much for the light settings, but for motion settings. I wanted to capture an image that was moving fast, like in sports photography. I actually never thought that changing the shutter speed to alter the light was something that i wanted to do.

The other day, I did a little experiment with my Nikon 995 camera and took the 8 pictures below. I set my camera to a an f-stop of 6.5 and manually changed the shutter speed of the camera to change the amount of light allowed through the opening. On each image I allowed the shutter to be open 1 setting longer. My camera allows me to open the shutter for as little as 1/2000th and 1/1000th of a second, but i did not include those images (they were essentially black blobs). There are additional settings of 1/2 second, 1, 2, 4 and 8 seconds plus 'bulb' which can be 'up to 30 seconds'. These images were not included because the images were all blurry because of camera shake and there was so much light that the image was not really there, it was a haze of bright light. The images below are all hand-held images, so the by the last couple of images it's obvious that i didn't keep the camera steady.


1/500th second


1/250th second


1/125th second


1/60th second


1/30th second


1/15th second


1/8th second


1/4 second

Notes:
1 - All of the exposures above can be considered 'correct', depending on what you want to accomplish.

2 - All photos were taken with the camera hand-held, not on a tripod so please forgive any camera shake.

3 - For more information on image control, please refer to the f-stop page.

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