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The shutter controls exposure and picture quality

By Charles Hopkins Published 07/6/2006 | Arts and Culture

Shutters play an important role in capturing a quality image by keeping out unnecessary light from hitting the image sensor. The shutter speed also determines the nature of the photograph. If the shutter speed is slow, too much light will stream in. The picture will be overexposed. In contrast, a fast shutter speed will mean that less light will reach the image sensor. This will lead to an underexposed image.

The same thing used to happen in conventional cameras. The photographers had to learn to control shutter speed to produce a film of the right exposure. Besides, shutter speed they also had to worry about the sensitivity of the film. A more sensitive film required less light as compared to a less sensitive film.

The digital cameras use image sensors instead of films. However, unlike the conventional films, the sensors are not damaged on account of excessive light. But the image that they record will be very light and faded if the picture has been shot using low shutter speed.

The shutter speed also plays an important role in camera procedures. Most cameras have variable shutter speeds. Normally the slowest speed filters only half the light on the image sensor in comparison to the next slowest setting. It is reverse in the case of shutters that work at higher speeds. They are actually fractional quantities like 1/ 1000, 1/100 or 1/10. However, only the denominator is displayed in the cameras.

There are very high chances that the image will be hazy and blurred if the shutter speed is low and the shutter is kept open for a long time. There are also chances of camera shake if the camera is not kept on a tripod. Hence it is important to maintain a proper control of shutter speed.

Besides exposure, shutter speed is also used to capture motion. The object will appear blurred in the picture if you keep the shutter open for a longer time. If, however, you want to avoid the blur effect you will have to use a faster shutter speed. In this case, the moving object will appear sharper.

It has been observed that most photographers are dissatisfied with their pictures even after they have mastered the working of the shutter. This is because there is an inevitable time lapse between the opening of the shutter and clicking of the picture.

The time elapsed is usually used to set the camera in the function mode. The colour and white palette is set. In the case of auto focus cameras, the camera also automatically zooms in at the picture. The time delay is only for a few seconds. However, these few seconds can be a major cause of missing a significant moment.

So, do not take the shutter speed lightly. Experiment with different shutter speeds to understand the effect they have on object, both moving and stationary. You will find that the quality of the photographs improves once you master the shutter speed.