How do you choose between a slow shutter speed vs fast shutter speed? In our latest photography cheat sheet we break down all the numbers…
As the name suggests, shutter speed sets how quickly – or slowly – the shutter curtains open and close in front of the camera’s sensor. In order to make an exposure, the camera’s sensor needs to be exposed to light.
The size of the aperture (the hole in the lens) determines how much light is let into the camera, while shutter speed dictates how long the sensor is exposed to this light.
The shutter speed can be seen in the bottom of the camera viewfinder and on the LCD screens.
Fast shutter speeds have high numbers, such as 8000, which represent fractions of a second – so 500 means 1/500sec. Lower numbers indicate slower shutter speeds, such as 1.6 ̋ for 1.6 seconds.
To maintain a consistent level of exposure, the shutter speed needs to be balanced with the aperture, and as one is increased, the other needs to decrease.
For instance, smaller apertures (which let less light into the camera) require slower shutter speeds (to expose the sensor for longer).
Wide apertures (more light) need faster shutter speeds (less time) to produce the same exposure.
The camera will do this juggling for you when you’re shooting in one of its automatic or semi-automatic shooting modes, but you need to adjust it yourself in Manual mode.
Just bear in mind that the choice of shutter speed is limited by the maximum aperture of the lens.
In our latest photography cheat sheet we explain the difference between fast vs slow shutter speeds… and what all those numbers mean.
Click on the infographic to see the larger version, or drag and drop the cheat sheet to your desktop.
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