Why is there so much shutter noise with all 4/3s?

Started Sep 8, 2009 | Discussions thread
BigBarney Senior Member • Posts: 2,722
MFT cameras shutter noise

Karsten Meyer wrote:

Can somebody explain WHY these shutters are so loud? Or WHY these cameras need such a type of shutter?

This is how I understand it. With the micro four thirds (MFT) camera systems, one of the key benefits is the ability to change lenses to accomplish different photographic tasks. It logically follows that the shutter must be sited in the camera body and not in the lens mechanism.

Typically the shutter in MFT cameras is still a mechanical one rather than an electronic one for two good reasons:

  • they cost much less to manufacture.

  • they are today's most reliable technology.

Electronic shutters, which would be completely silent, do exist but they tend to be very expensive. Fixed lens digital cameras mostly still use mechanical shutters, but they are not necessarily at the focal plane as they are in MFT cameras. Focal plane shutters usually have two metal 'curtains' that move to cover and uncover the sensor behind them, and it is the noise of these two curtains moving that you hear. Here is a link to a video of this shutter in action on a Panasonic G1:


Although the MFT shutters are indeed much louder than those in most fixed lens cameras,in mitigation they are much quieter than the noise from digital SLR cameras where there is a very loud thump as the mirror moves up and down.

Not the most technical explanation but I think the principles are more or less correct. If not someone else will correct me.

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