Shutter Shock - Size DOES Matter!

Started Jan 22, 2014 | Discussions thread
WD Contributing Member • Posts: 520
Re: Since it is a vibration/resonance of course size matters.

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. 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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Slowly learning to use the Olympus OM-D E-M5.
Public pictures at

The shutter-shock discussion caused me to do a little investigation of my own.  I own, among other things, a Panasonic G6 and Nikon V1 with comparable kit lenses.

Bottom line: BOTH show loss of sharpness at comparable shutter speeds while using mechanical shutter versus their electronic shutter!

I hadn't noticed it with the V1 since I use the electronic shutter exclusively on that of the features I like so much about it.  After purchasing a G6 as an exploration into m4/3, I was initially disappointed with the G6 when comparing shots side-by-side with the V1.  (The first comparisons were done with the "default" mechanical shutter of the G6.)  After spending a lot of time setting up the G6, and setting the shutter to electronic mode, I did some more comparison shots and...Wow! the shots were actually slightly more detailed at 100% than the V1!  I didn't quite understand at the time why, now, the shots were "sharper" and seemingly "better focused".  (When many things are changed at once, there's no way to determine what caused what.)  I was just very pleased with the performance of the G6.

Tonight, after reading this thread, I did comparison tests with both cameras using mechanical and electronic shutters as the only variable.  There is no doubt about it.  The mechanical shutter in both cameras degrade sharpness at slower shutter speeds compared to the electronic shutter.  And, subjectively, the V1 shutter seems to degrade the image MORE than the mechanical shutter of the G6!  Am I surprised!

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