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Shutter intro
Selecting the speed

SONY DSR500 CAMERAPART 4: THE SHUTTER

by Christina Fox

When CCD imaging chips were first launched they had a problem. If the camera was pointed at a bright light, like a car head lamp, a red line (smear) would appear above and below the light source. The clever electronic boffins partially solved this problem by introducing a shutter. Today the red smear has (very nearly) been eliminated by redesigning the CCD chips but unfortunately the shutter has remained as a gimmicky extra.

The fixed shutter speeds available are: 1/60, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000, 1/2000, (of a second).

However, if you go into the MENU you are able to adjust the shutter speeds from fixed to variable (from 50.3Hz to 210.4Hz).

With the shutter on, the camera views the scene, the way your eyes would, if it was lit by a stroboscopic light such as at a disco (remember those!). Fast moving objects take on a juddery look. Professional camera operators use the shutter for three main reasons:

  • When shooting fast moving g sports matches. As the slow motion action replay is played a fast moving ball will appear in sharp(ish) focus rather than a blur.
  • To reduce flicker when recording a scene with computer screens. The vari-speed shutter called CLEAR SCAN (CLS) is dialled in to match the frequency of the computer screen.
  • For interesting visual effects - such as showing the individual water droplets in a fountain.

You will notice that as the shutter speed increases, the amount of light entering the camera effectively decreases, so if you do want to use the shutter ensure you have sufficient light. This will mean increasing the ambient light levels and/or opening the iris.

DARKER PICTURES <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> BRIGHTER PICTURES
1/2000..............1/1000..............1/500..............1/250.............. 1/120
INCREASED PICTURE JUDDER<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>DECREASED PICTURE JUDDER

TO SELECT THE SHUTTER SPEED

  1. Switch the shutter on (toggle switch under the lens)
  2. Press the MENU DIAL inwards and arrow down until level with the word SHUTTER
  3. Press the MENU DIAL inwards then turn the dial to select a shutter speed
  4. Once past Shutter 1/2000 the menu offers the CLS variable shutter speeds.
  5. Press the MENU DIAL inwards to select
  6. Flick toggle switch to MENU off.

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Christina Fox