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Shutter speed limitation—why?

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I am not sure I understand why you would need to use ES rather than mechanical shutter for long exposures. What am I missing?

Two possible advantages to electronic shutter, either of which could be relevant to long exposures. The first is that mechanical shutters can sometimes introduce vibration into the camera that is visible as motion blur in the images. Some cameras suffer from this badly, others not so badly (or only at longer shutter speeds), and still other cameras have no problems at all. There are a few cameras, none made by Leica, as it happens, that are famous for not being able to achieve close to all the resolution of the chip because of shutter induced vibration. This is called “shutter shock”. It’s akin to “mirror slap” from years gone by in the film SLR world. The solution with SLR’s was to lock up the mirror prior to taking the exposure. The equivalent solution for shutter shock is either electronic shutter or electronic first curtain shutter. In either case, the shutter can not induce vibration into the camera during the exposure.

 

The second advantage to electronic shutter during a long exposure is silence. If you are taking pictures of wildlife under low light conditions, a silent shutter is potentially beneficial.

 

This second advantage is pretty minor, especially for a camera like the CL which is unlikely to be used much as a wildlife camera, but I can certainly see using the CL as a lightweight, hike anywhere landscape camera and would want to minimize vibration when mounted on a tripod to maximize resolution. I often do nightscapes or dawn/dusk exposures of more than a second. Would have liked the ability to use electronic shutter under these circumstances to eliminate the possibility of motion blur. Honestly, I haven’t tested my CL yet to see whether I can induce any shutter shock, but it’s such a light camera I can imagine it being an issue. Hopefully my fears are misplaced. For me, one of the main uses for the CL will be as a lightweight landscape camera.

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Aside from vibration issues, silence is a major advantage when shooting at people, especially indoor, in churches, law courts, etc.

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I'm not sure whether shooting at people is greatly appreciated, especially in law courts, even with a silencer. 

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Shooting people and wildlife with long, silent exposures is a bit of a niche activity, I'd guess, but I expect there are some people in that niche.

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Wildlife and long exposures do not mix well. Wildlife tends to move around; long lenses like short exposures.

I cannot really visualize a situation where it would be a viable option.

Even this one needed flash to avoid motion blur...

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I'm not sure whether shooting at people is greatly appreciated, especially in law courts, even with a silencer. 

 

Haha my English is worse and worse i'm afraid...

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....

 

The second advantage to electronic shutter during a long exposure is silence. If you are taking pictures of wildlife under low light conditions, a silent shutter is potentially beneficial.

Silence for long exposures really comes into play when shooting in churches.  I would think that will be a more frequent application than shooting critters from concealment, and could easily require exposures longer than 1 sec. 

 

At the other extreme, to determine the speed at which the electronic shutter clears, I looked a wall illuminated by a single coiled fluorescent bulb.  With 50 Hz power, the bulb pulses at 100 Hz.  At 1/125 sec, I don't see bands of light, but at 1/250 and 1/500, there were 6 bands of light and dark, suggesting that the image clears in about 1/16 sec.  The SL behaves similarly. 

Edited by scott kirkpatrick

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Two possible advantages to electronic shutter, either of which could be relevant to long exposures. The first is that mechanical shutters can sometimes introduce vibration into the camera that is visible as motion blur in the images. Some cameras suffer from this badly, others not so badly (or only at longer shutter speeds), and still other cameras have no problems at all. There are a few cameras, none made by Leica, as it happens, that are famous for not being able to achieve close to all the resolution of the chip because of shutter induced vibration. This is called “shutter shock”. It’s akin to “mirror slap” from years gone by in the film SLR world. The solution with SLR’s was to lock up the mirror prior to taking the exposure. The equivalent solution for shutter shock is either electronic shutter or electronic first curtain shutter. In either case, the shutter can not induce vibration into the camera during the exposure.

 

The second advantage to electronic shutter during a long exposure is silence. If you are taking pictures of wildlife under low light conditions, a silent shutter is potentially beneficial.

 

This second advantage is pretty minor, especially for a camera like the CL which is unlikely to be used much as a wildlife camera, but I can certainly see using the CL as a lightweight, hike anywhere landscape camera and would want to minimize vibration when mounted on a tripod to maximize resolution. I often do nightscapes or dawn/dusk exposures of more than a second. Would have liked the ability to use electronic shutter under these circumstances to eliminate the possibility of motion blur. Honestly, I haven’t tested my CL yet to see whether I can induce any shutter shock, but it’s such a light camera I can imagine it being an issue. Hopefully my fears are misplaced. For me, one of the main uses for the CL will be as a lightweight landscape camera.

My experience is that shutter shock is an issue in "intermediate" speeds (between 1 and 1/30). If the shutter opens for multi seconds then small vibration becomes less significant. I have several shots to prove that with M240.

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With Panasonic, the factory has determined that the shutter shock is at 1/125, and has provided a menu setting that the camera will select the electronic shutter at that speed only.

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Shooting people and wildlife with long, silent exposures is a bit of a niche activity, I'd guess, but I expect there are some people in that niche.

 

 

A silent shutter can be very handy, indeed...

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A great experience and a wonderful shot, but with the ground vibrating by his passing, would the minuscule click of the shutter have made a difference?

 

But you are right, sometimes a mechanical sound can make a difference. OTOH, in practice I have found that animals are more bothered by our smell than by small sounds.

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A great experience and a wonderful shot, but with the ground vibrating by his passing, would the minuscule click of the shutter have made a difference?

 

But you are right, sometimes a mechanical sound can make a difference. OTOH, in practice I have found that animals are more bothered by our smell than by small sounds.

 

In this case - with the bear approaching you - sounds from the camera shutter may disturb the animal. Later the same evening/night, I was shooting with Nikon D5, a camera that is far from silent. No problem. But during the first approach, with some daylight still - and with hunting on the Russian side of the boarder - bears are quite sensitive to sounds and movements.

Agreed, but the question is about long exposures. Is this over 1 sec?

Certainly not, the shutter was set to 1/30 sec - any longer shutter speed would lead to smearing because of the bear's constant movement of the head.

 

...

 

Personally, having the option to turn off noise reduction on long exposures is much higher than being able to use the electronic shutter on long exposures.

Edited by helged

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This is the official reply from Wetzlar when the limitation was questioned whilst testing beta firmware:

 

'According to Leica long-time exposures with the electronic shutter are limited to 1 sec at ISO 50-200 (as an example) because of the image quality'.

 

Those participating may recall some interesting experiments before Leica realised an 'oversight' with the firmware and re-instated the party line ......  

 

Can't be any more explicit due to the NDA as I will whipped out of the forum with a leather camera strap and my cameras confiscated .....

Edited by thighslapper

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In this case - with the bear approaching you - sounds from the camera shutter may disturb the animal. Later the same evening/night, I was shooting with Nikon D5, a camera that is far from silent. No problem. But during the first approach, with some daylight still - and with hunting on the Russian side of the boarder - bears are quite sensitive to sounds and movements.

 

Certainly not, the shutter was set to 1/30 sec - any longer shutter speed would lead to smearing because of the bear's constant movement of the head.

 

...

 

Personally, having the option to turn off noise reduction on long exposures is much higher than being able to use the electronic shutter on long exposures.

Exactly what I said in my post - long shutter times do not need an electronic shutter in wildlife photography - because they will  never be used.

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Never seems a little strong, but I certainly agree it’s an edge case. I can imagine it with deer in the pre-dawn hours and similar situations. There are a moderate number of similar animals that stay still for fairly long periods of time while listening for potential threats.

 

The cases where I have really wanted this feature, though, have all been landscapes not wildlife.

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They will still flick their tails

There are far more useful features missing, like a silent 30 FPS burst with pre-release, and post-focus.

With 200 mm equivalent focal length it is of limited use anyway.

The most important omission is IBIS and OIS.

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