Silent shutter - take care or be creative

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Robert Watcher, Sep 13, 2016.

  1. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran

    A photo that I took yesterday, reminded me of a situation that I came across this summer that I wasn't aware of. It is related to shooting with my Olympus E-M1 (I don't use it often with my street work) in Silent Shutter Mode.

    I was sitting in a McDonalds here in Guatemala and grabbed a few natural light frames of people sitting there. Immediately I recognized the dark banding on the LCD screen - - - but it actually looked really cool. Like I was firing through blinds of some sort or the subject being lit by light streaming through blinds.

    What I experienced earlier in the year when using the same camera at a concert in Ontario, is that one of the artifacts of using an electronic shutter (Silent Mode) in certain types of lighting - is this phenomena of dark lines going across the frame and interfering with the image. Of course when this happened at that time, I wasn't too happy and thought that I had a defective camera.

    I soon came to the conclusion that it may be the electronic shutter and so when I went back to the normal shutter, the lines disappeared and the images were fine. I knew about issues with fluorescent and certain other artificial lights from shooting taking pics in hockey arenas in the past. So presumed that was causing the issue with the electronic shutter. SIMPLE SOLUTION - don't use it.

    Here is the image that I took yesterday using the Silent Shutter - that reminded me of my previous experience - - - but that actually worked well creatively:

    • Like Like x 3
    • Informative Informative x 1
  2. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran

    A second shot taken yesterday, revealed what I suspected. The fluorescent lights were playing havoc. After taking the first capture using the Electronic Shutter, I changed to the Mechanical Shutter and the image cleaned up:

    Electronic Shutter Exposure 1/640'th second

    Mechanical Shutter Exposure 1/640'th second
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2016
    • Informative Informative x 2
  3. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran

    SO NOW I WAS CURIOUS. I had to revisit the photos I took at the Folk Festival this past summer, and see if I could recognize patterns that would help me better understand how to make best use of the Silent Shutter - - - which I love using. At 9fps second it is crazy rattling off a ton of images in a few seconds without knowing you are even shooting.

    Analyzing pics taken at different shutter speeds (because of the crazy light intensity changes that take place at concerts), I soon realized that faster shutter speeds intensified the problem. Slow shutter speeds of 1/40'th second and the like, did not exhibit any issues other than motion blur.

    Where issues cropped up was with shutter speeds of 1/400'th of a second and higher. Pics taken at 1/160'th to 1/200'th may have some banding, but very subtle if there. Here are some examples:

    1/800'th second with Electronic Shutter

    1/200'th second with Electronic Shutter

    An interesting find that I will have to test out if I ever feel the notion to - - - is that a few of the images show shutter speeds of 1,000'th to 1/2500'th second and there arrear to be no banding on them. It is hard for me to tell if those were taken after I went back to normal shutter, but I suspect they are also Silent Shutter.

    One amazing feature with the Silent Shutter of the Olympus, is it's ability to extend the highest possible shutter speed to 1/16,000'th of a second from the normal high of 1/8,000'th of a second.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2016
  4. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Now I would have to be really out there to consider these Silent Shutter artifacts to be cool and creative - but you never know. Interestingly when the camera is held vertically, the stripes now appear top to bottom.

    1/400'th second with Electronic Shutter

    1/200'th second with Electronic Shutter

    Well lucky for me and my purchase of the Olympus E-M1 used this summer - this is not a problem to be concerned about. Just aware of. Checking online, it doesn't matter whether the brand is Sony, Panasonic or any other using Electronic Shutters - - - at higher shutter speeds under fluorescent lighting and maybe a few other fluctuating types of light, we can expect the banding.

    But I'm glad I came across this yesterday and looked deeper into it. The issue is another tool that I have in my bag of Creative Options.

    Last edited: Sep 13, 2016
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • Useful Useful x 1
  5. Hypilein

    Hypilein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 18, 2015
    Noticed the same thing. I've used the electronic shutter a lot in concerts. A lot of the jazz concerts I go to have a very intimate atmosphere and I don't value my pictures higher than other people's listening experiences. That said, I have just recently printed one shot from a concert for my wall that exibited banding (vertical on a portrait shot). It was only in the highlights and just like they used a very fancy lighting setup.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. robcee

    robcee Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 10, 2016
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Rob Campbell
    you may be able to minimize by locking your shutter speed to multiples of 50/60 depending on what part of the world you're in.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. sesser

    sesser Zen Master Subscribing Member

    Mar 10, 2015
    Portland, OR
    • Like Like x 1
  8. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    I admit, I find that the tennis player examples all over the net of rubber arms and tennis rackets because of the electronic first-curtain are amusing and worthy of keeping. Maybe not for a photojournalist covering an event, but there's always room for humour in photography.