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Old 13th September 2016
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Silent shutter - take care or be creative

A photo that I took yesterday, reminded me of a situation that I came across this summer that I wasn't aware of. It is related to shooting with my Olympus E-M1 (I don't use it often with my street work) in Silent Shutter Mode.

I was sitting in a McDonalds here in Guatemala and grabbed a few natural light frames of people sitting there. Immediately I recognized the dark banding on the LCD screen - - - but it actually looked really cool. Like I was firing through blinds of some sort or the subject being lit by light streaming through blinds.

What I experienced earlier in the year when using the same camera at a concert in Ontario, is that one of the artifacts of using an electronic shutter (Silent Mode) in certain types of lighting - is this phenomena of dark lines going across the frame and interfering with the image. Of course when this happened at that time, I wasn't too happy and thought that I had a defective camera.

I soon came to the conclusion that it may be the electronic shutter and so when I went back to the normal shutter, the lines disappeared and the images were fine. I knew about issues with fluorescent and certain other artificial lights from shooting taking pics in hockey arenas in the past. So presumed that was causing the issue with the electronic shutter. SIMPLE SOLUTION - don't use it.

Here is the image that I took yesterday using the Silent Shutter - that reminded me of my previous experience - - - but that actually worked well creatively:



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Old 13th September 2016
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Re: Silent shutter - take care or be creative

A second shot taken yesterday, revealed what I suspected. The fluorescent lights were playing havoc. After taking the first capture using the Electronic Shutter, I changed to the Mechanical Shutter and the image cleaned up:



Electronic Shutter Exposure 1/640'th second


Mechanical Shutter Exposure 1/640'th second
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Old 13th September 2016
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Re: Silent shutter - take care or be creative

SO NOW I WAS CURIOUS. I had to revisit the photos I took at the Folk Festival this past summer, and see if I could recognize patterns that would help me better understand how to make best use of the Silent Shutter - - - which I love using. At 9fps second it is crazy rattling off a ton of images in a few seconds without knowing you are even shooting.


Analyzing pics taken at different shutter speeds (because of the crazy light intensity changes that take place at concerts), I soon realized that faster shutter speeds intensified the problem. Slow shutter speeds of 1/40'th second and the like, did not exhibit any issues other than motion blur.

Where issues cropped up was with shutter speeds of 1/400'th of a second and higher. Pics taken at 1/160'th to 1/200'th may have some banding, but very subtle if there. Here are some examples:




1/800'th second with Electronic Shutter



1/200'th second with Electronic Shutter



An interesting find that I will have to test out if I ever feel the notion to - - - is that a few of the images show shutter speeds of 1,000'th to 1/2500'th second and there arrear to be no banding on them. It is hard for me to tell if those were taken after I went back to normal shutter, but I suspect they are also Silent Shutter.

One amazing feature with the Silent Shutter of the Olympus, is it's ability to extend the highest possible shutter speed to 1/16,000'th of a second from the normal high of 1/8,000'th of a second.
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Old 13th September 2016
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Re: Silent shutter - take care or be creative

Now I would have to be really out there to consider these Silent Shutter artifacts to be cool and creative - but you never know. Interestingly when the camera is held vertically, the stripes now appear top to bottom.



1/400'th second with Electronic Shutter



1/200'th second with Electronic Shutter


Well lucky for me and my purchase of the Olympus E-M1 used this summer - this is not a problem to be concerned about. Just aware of. Checking online, it doesn't matter whether the brand is Sony, Panasonic or any other using Electronic Shutters - - - at higher shutter speeds under fluorescent lighting and maybe a few other fluctuating types of light, we can expect the banding.

But I'm glad I came across this yesterday and looked deeper into it. The issue is another tool that I have in my bag of Creative Options.


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Last edited by Robert Watcher; 13th September 2016 at 07:04 PM.
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