Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Gerard, Oct 7, 2016.

  1. Gerard

    Gerard Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 12, 2015
    Vleuten, Utrecht
    The shutter in a camera opens in order to let light in. It does so in varying amounts of time, depending on the amount of light needed.
    These amounts of time can be shorter or longer.
    As far as I have understood the shutter is like a curtain that moves. That movement has a speed. But this speed has nothing to do with the amount of time the shutter is open (to let in light).
    Using the term shutterspeed (emphasis on speed) one gets the impression that the speed by which the shutter moves at an aperture of 1/4 seconds is 1000 times faster (FASTER) than at an aperture of 1/4000. I am not a qualified mathematician or engineer, but this strikes me as highly unlikely.
    Still in the photographic world it is quite common to utter this nonsense.
    It always confuses me when i read about faster speeds....

    In my native language we speak of 'sluitertijd'. 'Sluiter' is shutter and 'tijd' translates as time.
    That makes sense. The shutter is open for a while, longer or shorter periods of time.

    My question is to all of you - here on mu-43 - if you are not a native english speaker.
    What form does your native tongue choose: the speed or the time (or any other way to describe aperture).
    • Funny Funny x 1
  2. excman

    excman Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 16, 2012
    Odsherred, Denmark,
    Real Name:
    In Danish we use interchangeably shutter time (lukkertid) and shutter speed (lukkerhastighed).
    My age do that I remember that the shutter previously was a "Central shutter".
    In the years after the introduction of the curtain shutter the discussions was hard - what was the best shutter.
    Perhaps that is the reason for two different words for the same function.
  3. VinceVK

    VinceVK Mu-43 Rookie

    Jun 2, 2015
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 21, 2013
    N Essex, UK
    Real Name:
    As a native English speaker I can't comment on other languages, but I can perhaps explain things a little.

    Not all shutters are the same.
    Early models built into the lens work exactly as described opening, holding then closing again, with the time being directly relevant. Top speeds on these are typically slower than modern cameras.

    With focal plane shutters (which are now the vast majority) there are 2 curtains moving in parallel, at high speeds the second curtain starts closing the exposure before the first one has finished opening. This effectively gives a narrow gap moving across the frame.
    Below the camera's flash sinc. speed the first curtain has fully opened before the second one starts moving.

    These days there are also 'electronic shutters' where the image it created by sequential reading of the sensor. Many (such as phone cameras) do not have a mechanical shutter at all. The effect of this is similar to the moving gap on focal plane shutters but the process takes longer than a typical sync speed.

    In all cases the exposure time for any part of the sensor is the same as set for shutter speed even if its from a narrow section scanning the sensor at slow speed. I think 'exposure time' is a more accurate description than 'shutter speed' especially as the units are in time. The nomenclature has come out of the early cameras & stuck. I doubt it will ever change.
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Informative Informative x 2