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Electronic vs Mechanical Shutter

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Chick N., Dec 19, 2018.

  1. Chick N.

    Chick N. Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 8, 2018
    I would like to know why I would prefer to use a noisy mechanical shutter vs a silent electronic shutter on my Olympus OM D E-M1 MKII camera. When is one or the other more appropriate to use and why?

    Thank you.

  2. Christop82

    Christop82 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 10, 2016
    Fluorescent lighting , fast action and when using a flash are the primary times when NOT to use electronic shutter.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  3. My LED down lights are also prone to inducing banding with electronic shutter.

    I'll also add that on some cameras the bit depth is reduced, and at least on my E-M1 Mk1 at higher ISO (say 3200) I notice a slight purple cast band at one edge of the frame.
    • Informative Informative x 3
  4. Chick N.

    Chick N. Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 8, 2018
    Thank you!. I bought a book dealing with my camera...over 400 pages....and the rationale for mechanical vs electronic shutter was never discussed anywhere. Now I have useful guidelines.

  5. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    The Bassman
    I agree with wjiang. That being said, I rarely use the mechanical shutter. I just shot the Big Apple Circus using the electronic shutter. No problems noted.
  6. ralf-11

    ralf-11 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 16, 2017
    I just have the Panny bodies I own set up to let the camera choose - been ok so far...
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Johnny The Greek

    Johnny The Greek Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 19, 2015
    I shot pictures at a memorial two nights ago and you'd never know I had a camera due to the electronic shutter. When you need to be more inconspicuous, it's a must.
  8. Drdul

    Drdul Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    May 16, 2015
    Vancouver, BC
    I recently tried the silent shutter for street photography. The sound of the mechanical shutter on my Pen-F is quiet enough (with anti-shock electronic first curtain) that no-one has ever reacted to it, even when I'm just a couple of feet away, so I didn't need to switch to silent shutter for that reason. I was just curious, plus I thought it would help extend the life of my camera as I'm already over 50,000 mechanical shutter activations.

    Long story short, I'll be sticking with the mechanical shutter as my default setting (I use custom settings so the camera will always revert to the mechanical shutter). On sunny days when I can use fast shutter speeds (1/1000 or faster) I may switch to silent shutter, but if I'm in a situation where people or vehicles are moving quickly across the frame from side-to-side, I will stick with the mechanical shutter to avoid rolling shutter distortion. Given that the mechanical shutter is not loud enough to be a problem, the only penalty in using it is that I will eventually kill the shutter, but that is hopefully another 50,000+ photos away.

    I shot about 4,000 images with silent shutter, including a bunch where I deliberately tested it with bicycles, cars and fast-moving pedestrians. I noticed distortion in a few images, but in most cases the distortion wasn't bad enough or the shape of the person being distorted meant that it didn't detract from the image. However, in a couple of cases it was obvious, and even though those weren't good photos my concern is that a potentially good photo could be ruined by the silent shutter. In the example below the front of the bus is distorted, which is particularly noticeable with the windows and doors (the reflection of the bus that's distorted in the opposite direction amplifies the overall effect). Some people might not be bothered by the distortion, but for me once I noticed it I can't unsee it.

    Rolling shutter.jpg
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. Drdave944

    Drdave944 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Feb 2, 2012
    I let the camera choose,so I miss less shots if light values change drastically. You get something at 1/20000 sec.if you forgot to lower your ISO. But you can hear that and change setting.Also less shutter shock. I really don't care one way or the other most of the time. Rolling shutter can be fun. Just enjoy your camera.
  10. That's a common human thing; once you see it... luckily, The Doctor still loves us humans and makes sure we are safe from Daleks, Cybermen and other nuisances.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    When I had the GX7, I was using eShutter because of shutter shock. Sometimes I would take a series of pictures by accident, like if I forgot to shut off burst mode. I noticed that even with static images, when using eShutter, the background would slightly waggle back and forth (that is, the image would lean a little bit in one direction or the other, different from each picture). After some other work in comparing DR, I decided the GX7 eShutter degraded IQ. That's when I tried my move to all Sony (ugh) but ultimately came back to m43. The GX85 and G85 shutters are redesigned, so eShutter is not longer required, though my new GX850 uses eShutter for anything over 1/500. I guess I should test how that eShutter behaves, just to be sure.
    Last edited: May 17, 2019 at 1:12 PM
  12. Reflector

    Reflector Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 31, 2013
    Unless you need to have as little distortion as possible, the E-M1II has a great electronic shutter. I use it by default for everything.

    For reference:
    The E-M1II's electronic shutter is equivalent to a 1/60s shutter for the amount of distortion it causes on the readout. You can consider it comparable to older 35mm SLRs with cloth shutters.

    I've posted some examples of how well the electronic shutter performs in another topic before, helicopter rotorblades and hummingbird wings is faster than most subjects.
    Fixed lens compact and then a new MFT body?
    • Informative Informative x 1
  13. Drdul

    Drdul Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    May 16, 2015
    Vancouver, BC
    Thanks for that information. I assume that means that the readout time is constant regardless of the shutter speed, so the distortion effect will be equivalent to a 1/60s shutter even if the shutter speed is 1/8000s. I was incorrectly under the impression that the distortion would be reduced at higher shutter speeds. I expect that the electronic shutter in my Pen-F doesn't have as fast a readout as in the E-M1II, so I'll only use it on static or slow-moving subjects.
  14. Reflector

    Reflector Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 31, 2013
    The PEN-F is somewhere closer to half of the E-M1II's electronic shutter in readout speed.
  15. barry13

    barry13 Mu-43.com Editor Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Hi, Is that possible on Oly?
  16. archaeopteryx

    archaeopteryx Gambian sidling bush Subscribing Member

    Feb 25, 2017
    Actually, that's a correct impression. You've just encountered diminishing returns. With a focal plane shutter, the total amount of time available for motion to cause distortion in an image is the shutter speed plus the curtain speed. Making the shutter speed more than a stop or two faster than the 1/30 - 1/60 electronic curtain of most present bodies (or 1/160 on the A9 and rather longer with scanning backs) therefore isn't going to do a whole lot. With mechanical shutters curtain speeds are around 1/250.

    If one's wanting to be precise, there's a more complex version of this considering differences in speed between first and second curtains and variations in curtain speed due to acceleration of mechanical shutters. Leaf shutters have somewhat different behavior but similar concepts apply.
    • Informative Informative x 3
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. panamike

    panamike Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 5, 2016
    Lincolnshire UK
    I think that option first came out to avoid shutter shock on certain Panasonic cameras
    • Useful Useful x 1
  18. speedy

    speedy Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 27, 2015
    Both my GX8 & G9 have an auto setting in the shutter type menu. The G9 also includes an electronic first curtain option as well. Only 2 m4/3 cameras I've owned, so can't comment on any other models
    • Useful Useful x 1
  19. Drdave944

    Drdave944 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Feb 2, 2012
    Can't find it on OLY
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
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