Shutter Shock - Size DOES Matter!

Started 11 months ago | Discussions
dickg1
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Shutter Shock - Size DOES Matter!
11 months ago

OK - for openers, I'm not going to throw more fuel on the fire by getting into this raging debate, "is it real or it imagined".  What I do hope to do is recount some recent experiences in an effort to at least clarify, if not provide some real insight into the phenomenon.

Despite the "disastrous" review of the new Panny 14-140 by SLR Gear, I went ahead and bought it anyway as a travel lens.  That review as well as subsequent "shutter shock" threads on this forum led me to do some testing for myself.  Sparing you the gory details, the test was done on my G5 body and again on a G6 body.  The only variable that changed was that each aperture/shutter speed/focal length combination was shot, first with the mechanical shutter and then with the electronic shutter. All images were taken on a tripod with stabilization turned off.

The difference in sharpness between the mechanical and electronic shutter images when viewed side by side at 100% magnification was substantial, particularly at the longer focal lengths.  Undeterred, I then resigned myself to taking most of my pictures with the electronic shutter set as the default.

Is there a point to this story? Yeah, there is - read on....

A couple of days ago, I had the opportunity to use a GH3 with a battery grip for the weekend.  I went out shooting with it using both the 14-140 as well as my 100-300.  I really enjoyed using the camera, and even though it was considerably heavier & larger than my other bodies, I was impressed with the sharpness results.

Before I had to return the camera, I decided to run a series of controlled tests to see if the mass and weight of this body had any meaningful effect on "shutter shock".  Using the same setup described above, I shot mechanical & electronic shutter exposures at 18, 25, 50, 70, 100 & 140mm.  At each focal length, I exposed for 1/30, 1/50, 1/80, 1/125, 1/250, & 1/500th.

With the exception of 1/30 & 1/50th at 100 & 140mm, There was virtually no difference in sharpness between the mechanical and electronic shutter exposures when viewed side by side at 100% magnification.  Even those four combinations at 100 & 140mm were almost "too close to call".

Being a "glutton for punishment", I repeated the entire series of tests with the battery grip removed.  For all intents and purposes, the results were pretty much the same.

I will leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions.

dickg1

BTW, I have just ordered a GH3 & battery grip

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sigala1
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Of course shutter shock matters
In reply to dickg1, 11 months ago

It's unfortunate that the subject causes cognitive dissonance in so many posters on this forum, who view their camera system more like a religion than a camera. The ire that's seen here when someone mentions shutter shock reminds me of the ire of fundamentalist Christians when someone mentions Darwin's theory of evolution.

I've never experienced REAL sharpness in a photo until I left my m43 equipment behind and bought a Ricoh GR. I was blown away by how much sharper my photos where than any photos I've taken with m43 gear, even when using supposedly good prime lenses.

I think that one of the secrets of the superiority of the GR is that it uses a leaf shutter instead of the vibration-inducing focal plane shutters in m43 cameras. Anyway, my technique can't possibly be better with the GR, I often hold it one-handed. I should have much better technique when I use a camera with a viewfinder to my eye and hold it with both hands, right?

I think that shutter shock blur is present in every single photo from every m43 camera and people just except this mediocre level of sharpness because they don't know any better, but of course shutter shock becomes randomly becomes worse in certain circumstances, especially when using the two-axis IBIS.

On my to-do list one day is to use my Panasonic G5 with  the e-shutter option on, and use the 17mm lens (I think it's the sharpest m43 lens i own) to see if this enables properly sharp photos that I can't get with other m43 cameras. I don't like the G5 very much, it's a very cheap-feeling camera, but I'm curious.

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brentbrent
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time to get the popcorn!
In reply to sigala1, 11 months ago

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ttan98
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Re: Of course shutter shock matters
In reply to sigala1, 11 months ago

sigala1 wrote:

I think that shutter shock blur is present in every single photo from every m43 camera and people just except this mediocre level of sharpness because they don't know any better, but of course shutter shock becomes randomly becomes worse in certain circumstances, especially when using the two-axis IBIS.

This is OVER generalization, I own EPL1 and EPM1 where I experienced shuttle shock at certain speeds e.g 1/60 and 1/80 only, whereas my EP3, G2 and GF1 do not exhibit this phenomenon. I don't think you should make this kind of statement if you don't have the evidence.

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DonSC
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A little confused
In reply to dickg1, 11 months ago

dickg1 wrote:

Being a "glutton for punishment", I repeated the entire series of tests with the battery grip removed. For all intents and purposes, the results were pretty much the same.

Pretty much the same as when the grip was on or pretty much the same when the grip was off? Not quite clear what you're saying.

To some extent it doesn't matter. Seems like what you experienced was shake from hand holding. If you get blurring with the camera on a tripod or attached to your body then adding a tiny bit of mass in the form of a grip shouldn't matter. On the other hand, a grip lets you hold the camera much steadier. If the blur disappeared on the second set of tests that's just adjusting to holding the camera, which we've seen before.

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amtberg
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Re: Shutter Shock - Size DOES Matter!
In reply to dickg1, 11 months ago

I think the mass of the camera does matter, but in this case the difference may be more down to the GH3 having a different (possibly softer) shutter mechanism.  I shoot with a GH3 and have observed shutter shock with all of my lenses.  It's significant with a few of them (14-42x in particular) and insignificant in a few others (Oly 45mm, Voigt 25mm).  I do use the electronic shutter unless there's a good reason not to.

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sebiruns
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Re: Of course shutter shock matters
In reply to sigala1, 11 months ago

"I think that shutter shock blur is present in every single photo from every m43 camera and people just except this mediocre level of sharpness because they don't know any better, but of course shutter shock becomes randomly becomes worse in certain circumstances, especially when using the two-axis IBIS."

Awesome post. This is just laughable considering m43 has only been around a few years and most m43 photographers have used many other cameras before and during that time. How did this work in my case? I have been shooting Canon and Nikon DSLRs several point and shoots (Fuji, Panasonic, Canon) for years. I switched to m43 only two years ago (even shooting a Nikon D7000 alongside for a while) and suddenly I can live with mediocre sharpness without even realizing that sharp isn't sharp anymore?

People may experience shutter shock, okay. But to say that the small group that has this problem with their camera/lens combo has the ultimate knowledge of how it should be and the rest is just blind makes you the religiously fanatic. To go out and proclaim to have the truth about a whole system seems pretty narrow-minded to me. And your comparison to darwin is a joke. Darwins studies on evolution wer important. You are talking about blurred pictures. Get a grip.

At least it is good to hear that you found a camera that suits your needs. Have fun with it.

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Ontario Gone
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Re: Shutter Shock - Size DOES Matter!
In reply to dickg1, 11 months ago

dickg1 wrote:

The difference in sharpness between the mechanical and electronic shutter images when viewed side by side at 100% magnification was substantial, particularly at the longer focal lengths. Undeterred, I then resigned myself to taking most of my pictures with the electronic shutter set as the default.

Aaaaaaaaaaaand this is exactly why i have chosen Panasonic over the competition. I have said the same thing in my own head, E shutter will be my default and i will only stray when using it in fluorescent light, with flash, or during action. I don't use flash much, i don't shoot much action, which leaves only fluorescent light as the exception to my shooting. Huge bonus to have this feature and i will thoroughly enjoy making my shutter life last much longer. I guesstimate to make my 100k shots into about 400k, perhaps more.

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SamKnopf
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It's the shutter or the way the body transmits vibrations, not the grip/mass
In reply to amtberg, 11 months ago

I had a PZ 14-42, which exhibited terrible softness from shutter shock when used with the mechanical shutter on my G3. It was sharp on the G5 with the electronic shutter, and just about as sharp on my E-M5, due to its softer mechanical shutter action (which is also much quieter than the shutter on most Panasonic cameras). There is no substantial difference in mass between the E-M5 and the G3.

It seems very unlikely that the shutter shock is powerful enough to shake your hand, which is where the grip or mass of the camera might make a difference. It might be that the build quality of the GH3 somewhat buffers the vibrations, so they are reduced before they reach the lens.

amtberg wrote:

I think the mass of the camera does matter, but in this case the difference may be more down to the GH3 having a different (possibly softer) shutter mechanism. I shoot with a GH3 and have observed shutter shock with all of my lenses. It's significant with a few of them (14-42x in particular) and insignificant in a few others (Oly 45mm, Voigt 25mm). I do use the electronic shutter unless there's a good reason not to.

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Joachim Gerstl
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Re: Shutter Shock - Size DOES Matter!
In reply to Ontario Gone, 11 months ago

Ontario Gone wrote:

dickg1 wrote:

The difference in sharpness between the mechanical and electronic shutter images when viewed side by side at 100% magnification was substantial, particularly at the longer focal lengths. Undeterred, I then resigned myself to taking most of my pictures with the electronic shutter set as the default.

Aaaaaaaaaaaand this is exactly why i have chosen Panasonic over the competition. I have said the same thing in my own head, E shutter will be my default and i will only stray when using it in fluorescent light, with flash, or during action. I don't use flash much, i don't shoot much action, which leaves only fluorescent light as the exception to my shooting. Huge bonus to have this feature and i will thoroughly enjoy making my shutter life last much longer. I guesstimate to make my 100k shots into about 400k, perhaps more.

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By the time you put 400.000 images on your camera we will be most likely in the year 2040. Do you really think you will be still using the same digital camera then?

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Ontario Gone
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Re: A little confused
In reply to DonSC, 11 months ago

DonSC wrote:

dickg1 wrote:

Being a "glutton for punishment", I repeated the entire series of tests with the battery grip removed. For all intents and purposes, the results were pretty much the same.

Pretty much the same as when the grip was on or pretty much the same when the grip was off? Not quite clear what you're saying.

He's saying one of two  things: either the mass of the GH3 was sufficient enough to dampen the vibrations already without the grip, therefore the grip did no help, or the shutter shock was so much that even the grip made no difference. Either way, the results were the same with or without the grip.

To some extent it doesn't matter. Seems like what you experienced was shake from hand holding. If you get blurring with the camera on a tripod or attached to your body then adding a tiny bit of mass in the form of a grip shouldn't matter. On the other hand, a grip lets you hold the camera much steadier. If the blur disappeared on the second set of tests that's just adjusting to holding the camera, which we've seen before.

I think the shutter shock issue is legit, it makes sense especially since we are discussing small light mirrorless cameras. Shutter shock is the same as mirror slap in DSLRs, it is an internal vibration that can soften the photo. Longer SS tend to be affected more, longer FL as well. Lighter cameras are more prone too. It's not rocket science, DSLR users have been delusional for a long time about mirror slap. More weight helps, less vibration helps. This is the concept behind E shutters, and mirrorless in general.

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Ontario Gone
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Re: Shutter Shock - Size DOES Matter!
In reply to Joachim Gerstl, 11 months ago

Joachim Gerstl wrote:

By the time you put 400.000 images on your camera we will be most likely in the year 2040. Do you really think you will be still using the same digital camera then?

Haha don't you know baby jesus will be here far before then . Ok seriously, i plan to do a lot of time lapse, something i always wanted to do but never wanted to spend so many actuations to do it. This plus the 4mp 40fps burst of the E shutter will be fun to play with but can rack up quite a few files.

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stinelise
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Size of tripod DOES Matter! :) (sorry but I had to)
In reply to dickg1, 11 months ago

we got 3 EM-5 and now two EM-1´s and I have yet not managed to replicate any shutter shock theory.

I have to admit I have talked with a person who did have "similar" problems with one of the first EM-5´s and it was replaced by Oly and problems gone.

Lets hope the people at lensrentals or dpreview will take a look at it.

If the problems really can be documented why not send your test report, and camera to Olympus?

//Stine Lise

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Paulmorgan
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Re: Of course shutter shock matters
In reply to sebiruns, 11 months ago

sebiruns wrote:

"I think that shutter shock blur is present in every single photo from every m43 camera and people just except this mediocre level of sharpness because they don't know any better, but of course shutter shock becomes randomly becomes worse in certain circumstances, especially when using the two-axis IBIS."

Awesome post. This is just laughable considering m43 has only been around a few years and most m43 photographers have used many other cameras before and during that time. How did this work in my case? I have been shooting Canon and Nikon DSLRs several point and shoots (Fuji, Panasonic, Canon) for years. I switched to m43 only two years ago (even shooting a Nikon D7000 alongside for a while) and suddenly I can live with mediocre sharpness without even realizing that sharp isn't sharp anymore?

People may experience shutter shock, okay. But to say that the small group that has this problem with their camera/lens combo has the ultimate knowledge of how it should be and the rest is just blind makes you the religiously fanatic. To go out and proclaim to have the truth about a whole system seems pretty narrow-minded to me. And your comparison to darwin is a joke. Darwins studies on evolution wer important. You are talking about blurred pictures. Get a grip.

At least it is good to hear that you found a camera that suits your needs. Have fun with it.

Well said

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Anders W
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Re: Of course shutter shock matters
In reply to sebiruns, 11 months ago

sebiruns wrote:

But to say that the small group that has this problem with their camera/lens combo has the ultimate knowledge of how it should be and the rest is just blind makes you the religiously fanatic.

So is such "religious fanatism" what you would say distinguished the small group who first insisted that mother earth is round rather than flat and that she is moving rather than stationary from all those who said that such couldn't be the case because they didn't "experience" it?

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Anders W
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Re: Size of tripod DOES Matter! :) (sorry but I had to)
In reply to stinelise, 11 months ago

stinelise wrote:

we got 3 EM-5 and now two EM-1´s and I have yet not managed to replicate any shutter shock theory.

I have to admit I have talked with a person who did have "similar" problems with one of the first EM-5´s and it was replaced by Oly and problems gone.

Lets hope the people at lensrentals or dpreview will take a look at it.

Those at DPR have taken a look at it in some cases. See for example here (bottom of page)

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicdmcgx1/16

and here

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicdmcgx1/16

So have Imaging Resource and SLR Gear. See for example here

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/EP1/EP1BLUR.HTM

and here

http://slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1611/cat/69

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Paul De Bra
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Since it is a vibration/resonance of course size matters.
In reply to dickg1, 11 months ago

It is not just the movement of the shutter and the relative weight of the shutter mechanism versus the rest of the camera that causes the visible effect in the pictures. In fact, shutter shock comes from the shutter closing before it opens, so its action is finished before the exposure starts. It is vibration and possibly resonance in the camera+lens setup that causes blurred images. Whether that is significant depends on the exact camera/lens combination and also on how the camera is held (possibly dampening the effect). That makes the visible effect of shutter shock so unpredictable, and some people who do look carefully will not have it while others do.

The general wisdom is that to eliminate the problem the camera should wait after closing the shutter until the vibration is gone. Recent Olympus cameras offer such anti-shock delay. So what really is the problem is manufacturers trying to make their camera too fast, taking a shot before everything is stable. Since the vibration is caused by the shutter mechanism another way to eliminate it is to make the camera/lens combination much much heavier so the shutter mechanism has negligible influence. On my dslr setup I had before shutter shock was never a problem. The camera was larger and heavier and so were the lenses and the vibrations from the mirror slap were much larger than those from the shutter could ever be.

In any case I believe that in the near future all new m43 cameras will have an electronic first curtain meaning there is no moving shutter before the exposure starts. The minute GM1 already shows that the electronic first curtain eliminates shutter shock. And the E-M1 has a similar feature but it is optional and uses power but it too eliminates shutter shock. So we are simply dealing with a design flaw that is being dealt with by manufacturers, albeit of course only in new models that come out.

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Guy Parsons
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Re: Of course shutter shock matters
In reply to Anders W, 11 months ago

Anders W wrote:

So is such "religious fanatism" what you would say distinguished the small group who first insisted that mother earth is round rather than flat and that she is moving rather than stationary from all those who said that such couldn't be the case because they didn't "experience" it?

Heh, heh. Just watched some doco about the universe and not only is the universe infinite in size, it seems that infinity is getting bigger as the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate. Next move they want prove is the theory that there are an infinite number of infinite universes within or surrounding this infinite universe. I think my ideas of infinity just got a bit bigger.

We don't experience any of this but the tech heads have the proof. Believe it.

Meanwhile has anybody with a camera with a focal plane shutter ever felt the vibration in their hands? I thought that was bleeding obvious and must be the cause of some image mischief if some certain conditions are met.

Regards..... Guy

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Pete2
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Re: Since it is a vibration/resonance of course size matters.
In reply to Paul De Bra, 11 months ago

I bought Pana GX7 and the new 14-140mm lens. I tried to find out what this shutter shock is all about and made some test with tele using mech shutter and e-shutter. I did'nt see any difference no matter how hard I looked and tried. This is just to comment. It is best to make a test yourself and find out the result and then decide. Maybe GX7 being heavier a non-plastic frame matters I don't know.

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Anders W
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Re: Since it is a vibration/resonance of course size matters.
In reply to Paul De Bra, 11 months ago

Paul De Bra wrote:

It is not just the movement of the shutter and the relative weight of the shutter mechanism versus the rest of the camera that causes the visible effect in the pictures. In fact, shutter shock comes from the shutter closing before it opens, so its action is finished before the exposure starts.

That's certainly not the whole story. The shutter opening for exposure (and coming to a halt in open position) has an impact too.

It is vibration and possibly resonance in the camera+lens setup that causes blurred images.

Vibration/resonance is just one possibility. Shock, pure and simple, is another. In my own tests, I have only found evidence of the latter so far. But I am open to the possibility that there are other mechanisms involved with gear combinations (or specific copies of gear combinations) that I don't have access to.

Whether that is significant depends on the exact camera/lens combination and also on how the camera is held (possibly dampening the effect). That makes the visible effect of shutter shock so unpredictable, and some people who do look carefully will not have it while others do.

The general wisdom is that to eliminate the problem the camera should wait after closing the shutter until the vibration is gone. Recent Olympus cameras offer such anti-shock delay. So what really is the problem is manufacturers trying to make their camera too fast, taking a shot before everything is stable.

Again, that's not the whole story. See above.

Since the vibration is caused by the shutter mechanism another way to eliminate it is to make the camera/lens combination much much heavier so the shutter mechanism has negligible influence. On my dslr setup I had before shutter shock was never a problem. The camera was larger and heavier and so were the lenses and the vibrations from the mirror slap were much larger than those from the shutter could ever be.

One problem with weight as the explanation in this case is that the blades of an APS-C or FF shutter are presumably heavier than those of an MFT shutter (since they have to cover a bigger area, four times bigger on FF). Furthermore, the blades on an APS-C or FF shutter have to move faster in order to reach the same flash sync speed (since they have to move a larger distance in the same time). The implication is that there is more kinetic energy and momentum involved in the shutter action of a DSLR than in an MFT camera and that the difference in this regard may well be larger than the difference in body weight that serves to "absorb" the impact.

In any case I believe that in the near future all new m43 cameras will have an electronic first curtain meaning there is no moving shutter before the exposure starts.

Yes, let's hope so.

The minute GM1 already shows that the electronic first curtain eliminates shutter shock. And the E-M1 has a similar feature but it is optional and uses power but it too eliminates shutter shock. So we are simply dealing with a design flaw that is being dealt with by manufacturers, albeit of course only in new models that come out.

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