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Bill Huber | all galleries >> The Basics of Photography > Shutter Speed
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Shutter Speed

Shutter Speed

The shutter opens and closes to permit light to enter the camera. Obviously, the longer the shutter is open, the more light is permitted to enter. The classic shutter speeds are 1 second, second, second, 1/8 second, 1/15 second, 1/30 second, 1/60 second, and 1/125 second. Modern cameras offer even more shutter speeds, with speeds of 1/4000 second!


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Erkki 07-Apr-2008 13:47
Elaine: I am not Bill, but this one is not that complicated fo even me to try to answer. :-)

Firstly, The location of depth of field is dependent only on where you adjust the focus. If I focus on the blade of a fan, the blade is in focus. I could have also focussed on the ceiling behind the fan, and if I had a large aperture (small F stop), it might cause blade to be out of focus. The width of the sharp depth of field depends on the aperture, more shallow DOF comes from larger aperture (smaller F stop) and wider DOF from using smaller aperture (larger F stop).

It is common way to use the lower F stop (large aperture) to direct viewer's focus onto a subject so that only the subject in in focus, and having the background blurred. Say a person standing several meters / feet front of some bushes; the person would be put into focus and the background bushes will be blurred, giving a pleasant "professional" portrait feel.

Secondly, the blur: in picture above in the lower photo the blade is blurred becasue of the movement of the blade. If you see the time being 1/30 sec; that's much longer time than the 1/500 sec of the upper photo, so the blade had time to travel and become blurred in lower photo, but in upper photo it appears frozen. This blurring is different from being "out-of-focus" blurred used in portraits.

Also notice that the light in the middle of the fan looks brighter in the lower photo. This is because the longer exposure allowed more of the "ambient light" (light not coming from the camera flash) to enter into the frame.
Elaine 06-Feb-2008 23:35
First, thanks for your wonderful slide show to help me understand what's up with a camera.
But I'm confused with this slide. I thought with a lower f-stop, the depth of field was more to the front of the image and the background was faded/fuzzy and with a higher f-stop the entire image would be in focus. So my problem is, am I totally confused and incorrect or do your images need to be reversed in this slide? This is one I'll have to "try at home".