Electronic shutter: advantages and disadvantages

Started Sep 6, 2015 | Discussions thread
Martin Ocando
MOD Martin Ocando Veteran Member • Posts: 5,878
Re: E-Shutter and Problems with Handheld Architectural Photography - Samples

Anders W wrote:

texinwien wrote:

rurikw wrote:

Could imagine problems with handheld architectural photography: vertical lines becoming slightly wobbly or skewed. Anybody noticed anything like that?

Yes, I do believe you're correct here.

Out of several thousand photos I took with my E-M5 II on a trip to Tuscany earlier this summer, most with the E-Shutter, I have noticed a very small number of degraded results that I think are explained by the phenomenon you suggested.

Here are a couple of 100% crops from the first such example photo I came across, marked up to make it easier to see the issue:

E-M5 II and 12-40mm PRO using E-Shutter @ 1/1000, f/2.8 and ISO 200.

E-M5 II and 12-40mm PRO using E-Shutter @ 12mm, 1/1000, f/2.8 and ISO 200.

Those are both 100% crops from the same photo. To the left of the red line, everything is sharp. Between the red and yellow lines, everything is very blurry, and everything to the right of the yellow line seems to be in the middle - less sharp than the left side of the image, but sharper than the section in the middle.

The only editing I did on the image was to adjust the exposure (+1.00), contrast (-50), highlights (-100) and shadows (+100, then crop (all in Lightroom). I then added the guide lines to the exported crops using the freeware paint.net application (recommended).

I was holding the camera in portrait orientation in a slightly awkward position when I took these, with the top of the camera pointed to my left. I believe the sensor scans horizontal lines from top to bottom, so it seems I was very still for the first 40% of the photo, jerked a bit right in the middle and only settled down a little after that. It's also possible that IBIS played a role here, with the sensor possibly reaching the end of its maximum travel in one direction at the 40% mark, IBIS 'resetting the sensor' away from that point (blurriest part in the center) and some leftover movement for the last part of the exposure.

Honestly, I wasn't paying too close attention to good technique on this. I figured that with IBIS, a 12mm focal length and a 1/1000 second shutter speed, I didn't need to be too careful, and I'm always balancing my desire to take photos with my wife's desire to move along and see something else, although she is pretty patient with me

I took a second picture of the same scene - same settings, etc. I didn't notice any transition zones in that one, but it was (uniformly) less sharp than the left 40% of the example image above.

I've only seen clear evidence of this phenomenon in a small handful of photos I took with the E-Shutter during this trip, but the phenomenon concerns me, because it may be difficult to notice the transition in sharpness where that transition is less pronounced than in the above example, without applying close scrutiny. It may be that if I took a much closer, more critical look at the photos from this trip, that I'd find a number of other examples of the same phenomenon.

This tells me that, for this type of photo, I either need to rely on EFCS or, when using the E-Shutter, steady myself as though I'm about to use a 1/25 second shutter speed, no matter what shutter speed I've chosen.

Hi tex,

You are right that the e-shutter could result in different amounts of handshake-induced blur in different parts of the image since exposure is not simultaneous (or even quasisimultaneous as it is with a mechanical curtain shutter) across the frame. On the other hand, it seems very unlikely that you'd be able to produce that much blur due to handshake anywhere at 12 mm and 1/1000 s. So I am inclined to think that what we see in your sample image is the result of something else, for example accidental change of focus during the exposure as already discussed.

Interesting phenomenon. I wasn't really aware of it. Is good to know, to avoid it as much as possible.

I agree with Anders that it looks like the focus point was changed during the exposure. Blurry portion of the image doesn't look like motion blur, but more like out of focus.

Pretty weird stuff.

I think manufacturers must do some tweaking to their firmware for E-shutter, and lock all settings in the camera during exposure, no possibility of AF or IBIS moving while the image is being captured.

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"One of the biggest mistakes a photographer can make is to look at the real world and cling to the vain hope that next time his film will somehow bear a closer resemblance to it" - Galen Rowell

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