electronic first curtain shutter - on or off?

Started Jun 5, 2013 | Discussions
edwardaneal
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electronic first curtain shutter - on or off?
Jun 5, 2013

are there any downsides to not using electronic first curtain?

I have an NEX-5 and an NEX-7. my NEX-7 has the electronic option the 5 does not. I normally keep the electronic first curtain turned on with the 7, but now I am wondering if it might be better to keep it turned off. I dont mind the little bit of extra noise, and I am not really worried about the extra shutter use, what I am thinking is that being fully mechanical might be more precise, and I have also read that the electronic first curtain can cause banding when shooting sweep panoramas. It just seems as if it might be better left off so that I dont have to remember to turn it off every time I shoot a pano.

seriously if electronic first curtain didnt have limitations why do they give us the option not to use it?

so tell me what you think

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Digital Nigel
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Re: electronic first curtain shutter - on or off?
In reply to edwardaneal, Jun 5, 2013

I now keep it turned off on my -7.  This is partly to avoid the panorama banding problem, and also to remind me if I have a very slow shutter speed. The extra noise isn't material.

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Ray Maines
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Re: electronic first curtain shutter - on or off?
In reply to edwardaneal, Jun 5, 2013

edwardaneal wrote:

are there any downsides to not using electronic first curtain?

I normally keep the electronic first curtain turned on with the 7, but now I am wondering if it might be better to keep it turned off. I dont mind the little bit of extra noise, and I am not really worried about the extra shutter use, what I am thinking is that being fully mechanical might be more precise, and I have also read that the electronic first curtain can cause banding when shooting sweep panoramas.

Extra noise and shutter use are two very good reasons to avoid the mechanical first curtain. Vibration caused by the mechanical first curtain hitting the stops while the exposure is open can be a minor issue as well. That's not the case with the second curtain as the exposure is closed when the trailing curtain comes to rest and it doesn't matter if the camera shakes.

Honestly, this is the first I've read about banding on pano pictures. The only thing I've read is that there are some wide aperture older, film era, lenses that can't move their aperture blades out of the way as fast as the electronic shutter can open. Maybe that's what causes pano banding?

I would think the electronic first curtain would be more precise than the mechanical first curtain, but that's just conjecture on my part.

seriously if electronic first curtain didn't have limitations why do they give us the option not to use it?

Because if Sony didn't give you that option there would be a hundred malcontents on photography blogs everywhere whining that the camera was somehow crippled.

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seachicken2000
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Re: electronic first curtain shutter - on or off?
In reply to edwardaneal, Jun 6, 2013

Mine's on all the time. I haven't noticed banding in panoramas.

For me it's a big deal. It eliminates shutter shock, and also reduces the lag from pushing the shutter to capturing the image down to effectively zero.

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random78
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Reduced shutter lag
In reply to edwardaneal, Jun 6, 2013

The biggest advantage of electronic first shutter for me is the substantially reduced shutter lag. The short shutter lag is very helpful when you are trying to capture a precise momment in time like a expression which might come up on my infant's face for an instant and then immediately goes away etc. On my 5N I always kept it on and never had any issues.

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edwardaneal
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Re: electronic first curtain shutter - on or off?
In reply to Ray Maines, Jun 6, 2013

The banding issue is easy to reproduce. Set your camera with the pano direction to down so that you shoot your pano with the camera in portrait orientation. Then shoot a pano of scene with water such as a pool or lake in the foreground . If you have electronic first curtain on you will get banding in the water. If electronic first curtain is off you will not.

With electronic first curtain rows of pixels are shut off one at a time and deenergized they are then reenergized for exposure. With mechanical first the entire sensor is covered by the shutter and deactivated prior to exposure. I am not an expert, but perhaps this banding is caused be the row by row nature if the electronic first curtain shutter as compared to the complete shut down of the sensor
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captura
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Re: BANISH IMAGE BLUR DUE TO SHUTTER SHOCK
In reply to edwardaneal, Jun 6, 2013

A major downside to not having electronic first curtain shutter can be a phenonenom called 'Shutter Shock.' This occurs commonly with some m43 cameras, often  It may or not be related to another phenonenom called 'rattlesnaking.' (when the wide Panasonic 14mm f2.5 lens is mounted on Olympus cameras.)

The downside to Shutter Shock is blurring. I believe it is a harmonic reverberation set up within the camera, immediately after a noisy shutter with no first electronic first curtain protection (such as on the NEX-3/5, is released. The reverberatiopn can affect the image quality. I was able to prove to my own satisfaction that my NEX-3 was doing this at times.

Here is a discussion about Shutter Shock on some m43 cameras, and a solution called eShutter.

I don't know if eShutter is available for Sony NEX cameras. But the answer to your question is to leave electronic first curtain shutter on, if you have it on your NEX model.

Camera Ergonomics This blog describes the author's independent, ongoing study of camera ergonomics.

BANISH  IMAGE BLUR DUE TO SHUTTER SHOCK Panasonic G5 eShutter fixes the problem Author Andrew S  November 2012

http://cameraergonomics.blogspot.ca/2012/11/banish-shutter-shock-blur.html

Steve

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ijustloveshooting
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Re: electronic first curtain shutter - on or off?
In reply to edwardaneal, Jun 6, 2013

on my 5n, it's always ON and never had any banding problem with sweep panorama shots.

however if you turn it off at slow shutter speeds, mechanical fcs is causing vibration that affects my photos. Enabling EFCS reallly shows improvement on this area!

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blue_skies
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Re: electronic first curtain shutter - on or off?
In reply to edwardaneal, Jun 6, 2013

edwardaneal wrote:

are there any downsides to not using electronic first curtain?

I have an NEX-5 and an NEX-7. my NEX-7 has the electronic option the 5 does not. I normally keep the electronic first curtain turned on with the 7, but now I am wondering if it might be better to keep it turned off. I dont mind the little bit of extra noise, and I am not really worried about the extra shutter use, what I am thinking is that being fully mechanical might be more precise, and I have also read that the electronic first curtain can cause banding when shooting sweep panoramas. It just seems as if it might be better left off so that I dont have to remember to turn it off every time I shoot a pano.

seriously if electronic first curtain didnt have limitations why do they give us the option not to use it?

so tell me what you think

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And a spare black 18-55

The EFS is essentially a negation of the mechanical first curtain.

Turning EFS on, means that the mechanical first curtain is 'parked'.

Benefits: less noise, less vibration, longer lasting camera.

Drawbacks: high shutter speeds will be exposed unevenly.

To understand the latter: EFS turns the entire sensor on at once. A 1/2000th or so shutter is essentially a small 'slit' of the first and second curtain hunting each other, thereby getting very precise high shutter speeds.

At 1/160th (flash sync - I assume the time required by each curtain to cover full sensor) you already begin to get uneven lighting, and it progresses from there (one side of the curtain is exposed for 1/160th, the other side is for the shutter speed - e.g. 1/1000th).

Depending on the scene, it may or may not be noticable. If you shoot high shutter speeds often, you should turn the EFS off - if not, keeping it always on is probably the better way to go.

The processor can compensate for some exposure gradient, but it cannot compensate for motion effect - the side of the sensor that gets the full exposure (1/160th) will freeze-frame action different than the side of the sensor that gets the fastest exposure (e.g. 1/1000th).

Disclaimer: I may be wrong about the 1/160th - it sounds a bit low to me. But you get the idea of what I am hinting at.

I understand that the Nex-3N has no first mechanical shutter, it only uses the EFS.

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TimelordXYZ
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Re: electronic first curtain shutter - on or off?
In reply to seachicken2000, Jun 6, 2013

seachicken2000 wrote:

Mine's on all the time. I haven't noticed banding in panoramas.

For me it's a big deal. It eliminates shutter shock, and also reduces the lag from pushing the shutter to capturing the image down to effectively zero.

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Here is an example of Panorama Banding... Taken with Electronic First curtain shutter ON..

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Jefenator
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Re: electronic first curtain shutter - on or off?
In reply to edwardaneal, Jun 6, 2013

I was not aware that electronic first curtain may have a role to play with banding on sweep panoramas (I had always just assumed that had to do with pano shooting technique). I'll have to try changing settings next time I encounter that (though my intent for the future is to be doing my panos manually in RAW with a tripod).

I have seen examples of the electronic first curtain causing banding in a regular frame when the shutter is at 1/4000s. So when you plan to routinely use the maximum shutter speed, you might want to go ahead and turn EFC off. I never do, so I never do. (I love EFC - super fast response is totally badass. Kind of trippy on long exposures too - first "click" comes at the end!)

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nevercat
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Re: BANISH IMAGE BLUR DUE TO SHUTTER SHOCK
In reply to captura, Jun 6, 2013

You mention that shutterblur is there on your Nex 3 sometimes. Do you know under what conditions it is most likely to happen (shutter speed, etc.) Iown a Nex5 and want to revent it to happen.

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captura
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Re: BANISH IMAGE BLUR DUE TO SHUTTER SHOCK
In reply to nevercat, Jun 6, 2013

nevercat wrote:

You mention that shutterblur is there on your Nex 3 sometimes. Do you know under what conditions it is most likely to happen (shutter speed, etc.) Iown a Nex5 and want to revent it to happen.

It's been a couple of months since I investigated this, and was satisfied that it was going on with my NEX-3. Beyond that, I didn't try a serious investigation this into how to prevent it. I am on the m43 forum equally to the NEX forum and I must say that shuttershock is a well-recognized situation on that frum. But never before on this forum. The NEX-3 and 5 models have a very noisy shutter and it stands to reason that shutter shock would occur, as a harmonic sound reaction to all the noise going on.

The best solution is the electronic first curtain shutter, but you can't  retrofit that on an older model. Failing that, would the selection of faster shutter speeds help? I don't know.

Earlier in this thread I posted about a software fix for shuttershock in m43 cameras. Did you follow up to see if that Blog offers something for NEX cameras, as suggested?

Steve

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D Cox
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Re: electronic first curtain shutter - on or off?
In reply to TimelordXYZ, Jun 6, 2013

TimelordXYZ wrote:

seachicken2000 wrote:

Mine's on all the time. I haven't noticed banding in panoramas.

For me it's a big deal. It eliminates shutter shock, and also reduces the lag from pushing the shutter to capturing the image down to effectively zero.

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Here is an example of Panorama Banding... Taken with Electronic First curtain shutter ON..

I see no banding here. I suspect you have a monitor problem.

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dannytang
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Re: electronic first curtain shutter - on or off?
In reply to D Cox, Jun 6, 2013

D Cox wrote:

TimelordXYZ wrote:

seachicken2000 wrote:

Mine's on all the time. I haven't noticed banding in panoramas.

For me it's a big deal. It eliminates shutter shock, and also reduces the lag from pushing the shutter to capturing the image down to effectively zero.

-- hide signature --

"The only thing that gets in the way of a really good photograph, is the camera"
Norman Parkinson

Here is an example of Panorama Banding... Taken with Electronic First curtain shutter ON..

I see no banding here. I suspect you have a monitor problem.

If you look closely at the bottom right, you'll see the banding.

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viking79
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EFC Always Enabled
In reply to edwardaneal, Jun 6, 2013

edwardaneal wrote:

are there any downsides to not using electronic first curtain?

Not in most cases, I leave mine enabled all the time on my camera, and actually many cameras are doing away with front curtain entirely.  I have never noticed artifacts from my Samsung NX300 or NX20 with the electronic front curtain, and I haven't owned a NEX with one yet, unless the 3N uses one too.  The NX300 is forced on, no option to disable (I imagine the camera doesn't have the leading curtain).

It is huge not having the shutter vibration from the first curtain around 1/160th or 1/100 of a second I think is where I notice it in my NEX 3.  This shutter vibration will cause blur in your pictures.  You can usually identify it as a few pixel up-down blur in landscape shots or left-right in portrait shots.

Again, artifacts are most likely at high shutter speeds and large apertures where the shutter is a small slit.  The leading e curtain is very consistent, turning on rows of pixels as it progresses, but the trailing mechanical curtain can stutter and vary in speed so the lead curtain might not track perfectly with the trailing curtain leaving bands.

Eric

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RGBaker
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Re: electronic first curtain shutter - on or off?
In reply to D Cox, Jun 6, 2013

D Cox wrote:

TimelordXYZ wrote:

seachicken2000 wrote:

Mine's on all the time. I haven't noticed banding in panoramas.

For me it's a big deal. It eliminates shutter shock, and also reduces the lag from pushing the shutter to capturing the image down to effectively zero.

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Norman Parkinson

Here is an example of Panorama Banding... Taken with Electronic First curtain shutter ON..

I see no banding here. I suspect you have a monitor problem.

The banding is clear and evident on the lower right in particular, and exactly the same as I get in Pano mode with 'Front Curtain Shutter' on ...
Cheers,
GB

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edwardaneal
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Re: electronic first curtain shutter - on or off?
In reply to RGBaker, Jun 6, 2013

RGBaker wrote:

Here is an example of Panorama Banding... Taken with Electronic First curtain shutter ON..

I see no banding here. I suspect you have a monitor problem.

The banding is clear and evident on the lower right in particular, and exactly the same as I get in Pano mode with 'Front Curtain Shutter' on ...
Cheers,
GB

There is no doubt that banding is problem with electronic first curtain - On my last vacation I didnt think about it because it was my first with the NEX-7. as such I left the electronic first curtain turned on. Virtually all of my panos with water in the foreground had banding to the point where I consider them to be almost unusable. I had never encountered that problem with my NEX-5 which doesnt have the electronic option and I have never encountered it again with the 7 when I remember to turn of the electronic first curtain

here is an example - look at it full size and look ant the water

I know that some might say it is because of the water movement, but I easily take shots like this with much more water movement without any banding when the electronic first curtain is turned off

here is an example with moving water without electronic first curtain

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Jim Funston
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Re: electronic first curtain shutter - on or off?
In reply to edwardaneal, Jun 6, 2013

Ed, I think they are both great and I'd be proud of either one...... maybe I need younger eye's

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edwardaneal
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Re: electronic first curtain shutter - on or off?
In reply to Jim Funston, Jun 6, 2013

Jim Funston wrote:

Ed, I think they are both great and I'd be proud of either one...... maybe I need younger eye's

thank you Jim, but i suggest you click on them so you can see the full size images - the banding is very distracting

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