Shutter shock test, if you will

Started Feb 2, 2014 | Discussions thread
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Ken Strain Regular Member • Posts: 448
Shutter shock test, if you will

I have recently been testing a method to make shutter shock as clear as possible, it is simple and quick and it would be possible to test a camera in a few minutes.

  • Choose an appropriate subject with high contrast lines, both horizontal and vertical, and some fine textures (e.g. printing dot screen).  (See various threads for ideas.)
  • Arrange ambient lighting so that exposure is -1EV from nominal, at 1/60s shutter speed (or any other test shutter speed) with low ISO (up to 800) and a reasonable f/no to allow a sharp image.
  • Set the flash for normal 1st curtain operation but -1EV exposure.
  • Take a few pictures, either hand-held or with the camera sitting on a soft support (cushion etc.), in the latter case with remote release or 2s delay. (The advantage is there is no chance of hand shake affecting the result.)

The flash exposure should take place just after the shutter opens when shutter shock is likely to be at its worst. The ambient exposure is the average of the whole time. The two images are equally bright with the suggested exposure settings. This makes any double-image or edge blur  easier to see. In a few hundred tests I carried out this recipe seems close to optimum to reveal even a small trace of shutter shock.

The clear signature of shutter shock is blur that stays aligned to the vertical of the camera, as the camera is rotated. Of course in almost any other circumstance the observed blur is less.

I use this method to refine my grip on the camera, and learn which lens-body combinations are most troublesome.

I suppose one could go further and filter the flash light to give it a strong colour, that way the blur on edges would be even clearer.  This is something I plan to try later, when I find a green filter.

Previously I was going to wait until I had uploaded example images, but why not try it if you are interested - it is rather easy to do.  If you try with a colour filter, let us know how it works.

The method emerged by accident when I was trying a new lens, and forgot to switch off the flash on a couple of shots testing OIS effectiveness - the double images were clear to see at x14 magnification on the rear screen of the E-PM2.

I've had 5 MFT cameras, all with different behaviour in this respect, if you are lucky you won't see much or any blur.


Leica X1 Olympus PEN E-PM2
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