Hey we’re talking about the difference between mechanical and electronic shutters on today’s episode of Hey everybody, welcome back. Here I am of course as always answering your photography questions, don’t forget to go to AskDavidBergman.com, submit your own photo questions there, and I will pick the best ones to answer right here on a future show, today’s question is from Mike P and he asked what’s the difference between mechanical and electronic shutter on a mirrorless camera, is mechanical better for shooting sports due to rolling shutter? Alright a lot of people may not realize that actually in a lot of cameras now you actually have two different kinds of shutters, you can shoot mechanical or electronic. Let’s talk about what they are and what rolling shutter is. Now let’s rewind back to the 35mm film days, all of those SLR cameras had mechanical shutters in them, basically there’s a shutter that covers the film and then that shutter opens up, exposing the film, technically there are two shutter curtains, one of them opens to expose the film, and then a second one closes up to stop the light from hitting the film, finishing out your exposure so the amount of time that shutter was open, and your film was exposed, meant your image was brighter the longer that was open right… so that’s a traditional mechanical shutter, and a lot of modern even mirrorless and DSLR certainly have that type of mechanical shutter. Again with the, with a mirrored camera with a DSLR, what happens is the mirror has to move out of the way first, then the shutter opens exposing the the digital sensor now, in a DSLR instead of film, then the second curtain closes up, and then the mirror has to flip back down, so that you can look through it, now on a mirrorless camera with a mechanical shutter, there’s no mirror, so the way that process works since the shutter is really sort of always open, because you need to be able to see that Live View image, there’s no mirror there, so the shutter curtain is open, and then when you take a picture, the shutter curtain actually has to close down first, then like sort of prepare to take the picture the shutter opens, the second curtain comes and closes, and then that shutter has to open up again, so that you can then go back into Live View mode and see, you know, what’s happening there in front of your camera. So that’s the way a mechanical curtain, a mechanical shutter works. Now let me show you some pictures, a lot of times when you compare a mechanical shutter to a mirror, excuse me, an electronic shutter, we talk about things that are moving fast, cuz that’s what’s gonna cause this rolling shutter that we’re gonna talk about, but I want to show you first what a mechanical shutter looks like. Now to photograph some fast action, a lot of times we like to use things like airplane rotors or helicopter blades, or something like that. Something moving really really fast, now instead of going outside and waiting all day for a helicopter to go by, I took out my drone, I have the DJI Mavic mini and I took it outside and played around a little bit in the neighborhood, and then hovered it low to the ground and took some pictures with different different shutters. So first I’m going to show you here let’s go into the computer, this is with the Canon 1DDX MkIII camera, and this is, these are pictures of the drone now. This is at 4,000 or 8,000 of a second, actually sped up at some point and you can see these images are what you would expect from a traditional mechanical shutter camera, and yes there’s plenty of motion blur on those blades, but that’s to be expected, they’re moving really really fast, so I don’t know what the RPMs are on that, but, but it’s I don’t know, how fast you’d have to go to be able to freeze them. It would have to be insanely fast, but you can see those those blades, they look like normal rotor blades on that drone, they’re just a little blurry because they’re moving so fast, that’s completely normal, so that’s the way a mechanical shutter works. Now let’s compare that to an electronic shutter. What is an electronic shutter? Well a lot of mirrorless cameras use this, and what it is is, there’s no mechanical shutter curtain, there’s no physical curtain in front of the digital sensor. All it does because that sensor is being exposed to light when you’re looking through the live view, all it does is it basically electronically activates those pixels, and then turns them off, right, I’m oversimplifying a little bit, but that’s basically the way it works so there’s no physical curtain to block the light, it’s just turning the pixels on and off. Now with that, there are some advantages of doing that, some of the advantages of electronic shutter. First of all there’s no, there are no moving parts, there’s nothing moving, so if you were doing an image like a long shutter, a long exposure image, well you really want the camera to be stable a lot of times. If you’re shooting with a DSLR, you might lock up the mirror because that mirror flipping will move the camera just a little bit, well a lot of people don’t realize but the shutter actually because it’s moving can affect that as well, so they call that ‘shuttershock’ right, just a little bit of motion when that shutter moves, so that camera shake is prevented completely when you’re shooting with an electronic shutter, because there’s no movement, there are no moving parts, so that’s really cool, also you could shoot silent, completely silent, since nothing’s moving, and it’s just an electronic activation, you could shoot completely, so that’s great if you’re a wedding photographer, shooting in a quiet… you know, during a quiet ceremony, wedding ceremony, or if you’re a photojournalist working in a courtroom or on a film set, that’s really really nice to have that silent mode, and also in some cases you can shoot even at faster shutter speeds because of that, that mechanical process isn’t happening, there are some electronic shutters that’ll let you go as fast as 30mm of a second, which is really really cool to have if you need it. Now there are some disadvantages and Mike you brought up the biggest one, we call it rolling shutter, now the way the data is taken off of that sensor, it scans those pixels one line at a time. Instead of a mechanical shutter where pretty much the entire frame is exposed at once, this is, it has to pull that data off the sensor one line at a time, so if you have a really fast motion, especially something that’s moving horizontally, you’re really gonna have some distortion, and my friend Joseph Linaschke, has a great demo, but basically you take your arm and you, if you were photographing your this arm moving left to right really fast, let’s pretend you know you’re in a moving car, and the tree is flying by… as this is moving right, in relation to the camera, the camera is collecting data as it goes down, so if this is moving as it’s gathering that data, and pulling that data off that instead of being a straight line, all of a sudden now, that actually probably be this way, that tree or your arm, my arm in this case, is going to be slow, it’s not going to be straight up, so we call that rolling shutter, that’s because of the way that that data is pulled off of the sensor, so that is definitely a disadvantage with fast moving motion. Now the other thing, you might have another disadvantage, is you might, have a thing called banding, where a lot of lights actually pulse, they, they pulse with different color temperatures. We can’t see it with the naked eye, our brain compensates for that, so we don’t really see it, we see it as a solid color, color, but for example like the sodium vapor lights in an old high school gym, or some LED lights actually do pulse different colors, and sometimes you’ll see it if you shoot bursts of images where each frame is a different color, which seems odd right, of a very, you know very fast burst of a scene. If you’re seeing that, that means that light is actually pulsing, so if you’re using an electronic shutter, and it’s pulling that data off one line at a time, the issue there is you might see streaks of different colors throughout the one frame, and that’s that’s not ideal, so let me now go back into the computer here, and I’m going to show you the same drone, I brought it out now, I brought up in my EOS R, and I put it on silent mode, which is the electronic shutter and you remember what it looked like before with the mechanical shutter with the electronic shutter, ouch, this is what those blades now look like, it’s so bizarre looking right, and the reason is again if you think about the way that data is being pulled off, those blades are moving so fast that by the time the next line is captured, is pulled off of that, not captured, but pulled off of that sensor, the blades have moved into a completely different position, so because of that it’s really distorted, and just really kind of funky right, it’s kind of a cool artsy thing, but not something I would ever really use, so that is not ideal for something moving that fast right, so now Mike you asked me about shooting sports from a practical standpoint. It really depends on the sport, if it’s just sort of people running or moving, it depends on the camera, but, but you might not notice it that much, but anything that’s moving really fast, the ball right, or maybe a tennis racket swinging or a baseball bat especially down at the end, maybe people’s hands as they’re jumping or something, you know, if you catch them at the peak of the action, you might not notice it, but their arms or their legs, that are still moving, you might actually see some distortion. That is not ideal, I would say given the choice I would shoot with a mechanical shutter when I’m doing sports. Now technology is changing right, newer technology is helping to alleviate this problem, all electronic shutters do have rolling shutter because we don’t currently have a camera that has what’s called a global shutter, where it actually captures the entire sensor in one shot, there are no, that doesn’t exist right now in early 2020, but new technology like the Canon EOS 1D X MKIII actually has a brand new processor on it, the Digic X Processor, and it is a DSLR, but you can, it’s sort of a hybrid where you can shoot live view instead of shooting optically, and that is you can then choose if you want to shoot electronic, or mechanical and so you kind of have the best of both worlds because now if you’re shooting sports or something, I mean it’s a great sports camera, you want to be shooting mechanical, but even that electronic mode, because that new Digic X Processor is so much faster than older processors – it’s scanning those lines faster, and it’s minimizing that rolling shutter effect, so it’s not gone completely, like I said every electronic shutter has that issue but with newer cameras we’re seeing it less and less, banding is minimized and rolling shutters minimize so that’s only gonna get better and better, so Mike I hope that answers your question again. I think given the choice if you can shoot mechanical shutter for sports action, sports action, I think you’re gonna be better off, but as newer cameras come out, there’s gonna be, it’s gonna alievate that problem quite a bit, so thanks for joining me everybody. Listen again if you have your own photo questions I hope you go to AskDavidBergman.com and as always – the great folks at Adorama TV. Thanks so much for your support here, and we’ve got so many other great photo hosts with all kinds of free shows, many many years of shows, and new ones every week, this show comes out every Monday morning. I believe it’s 10:00 a.m. Eastern, so I hope you’ve joined me, see you back here next week on Ask David Bergman.