Part of being a pro photographer is to master the 3 components of exposure: Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO. Getting great shots and creative photography requires developing a working knowledge of each of these three aspects individually and collectively. also, it requires a great camera, such as the Sony A7iii.
In this guide, we will learn about one of the most important parts of photography- shutter speed and how to change the shutter speed on Sony A7iii. Aside from that, you’ll also get to know the following-
- What shutter speed is,
- When should you change the shutter speed, and
- How do you set the shutter speed when you record a video.
So, without any further ado, let’s get started.
What Is Shutter Speed?
Shutter speed, or the exposure time, is the duration during which the camera sensor gets exposed to light. The shutter is that noisy little mechanism that opens and closes when you press the shutter button. As the name suggests, it is related to the time the shutter lets light into the camera sensor.
There are three things we can say with certainty about shutter speed:
- A fast speed freezes the action and the movement of a subject
- A slow speed creates blur for a moving subject
- If you (unintentionally) use a slow speed, you may have a blur (shake) on your image due to the vibration of your device.
The shutter consists of two “curtains” (composed of slats) which will open and then close to allow light to enter the sensor for a defined period.
It is important to note that even if in many cases the shutter is “mechanical” (i.e., with the system of physical curtains), many devices have an “electronic” shutter. These shutters directly collaborate with the sensor, but the principle remains roughly the same.
Furthermore, shutter speed is variable and configurable. It generally goes from a very slow value of 30 seconds up to a very fast speed of 1/4000th of a second.
Now, you must be curious to know how all this affects photography and when should you change the shutter speed? Let’s find out the reasons in the section below.
When Should You Change The Shutter Speed?
The good use of the shutter speed makes it possible to adapt to different situations encountered in photography, whether for a purely “technical” purpose to have a well-exposed photo or to have more creative effects.
The most common use case for shutter speed is for sports photography. By controlling the speed, you can play on the movement either to freeze it completely or to voluntarily create a blur. This often allows capturing the dynamics of sports and any moving object.
Another use is night photography. The low amount of light, therefore, requires leaving the sensor exposed to light longer so as not to obtain a completely black photo.
How does Shutter Speed Influence the Image?
In most cases, you’ll want to take a sharp and precise shot while taking a photo. Depending on the subject, it will therefore be necessary to adapt the shutter speed. For example, for a fast-moving subject, such as a runner or a moving vehicle, the speed should be greater than 1/1000 of a second.
For everyday photos, static or slow-moving subjects, we will choose speeds between 1/60 and 1/250 of a second. Slower speeds (from 1/30 of a second) are applicable when you want to deliberately capture the blur of moving subjects. This is the case with waterfalls, fireworks, or car tails at night.
If the speed is less than 1/60 of a second, there is a risk of camera shake. In other words, the micro-movement related to pressing the shutter button will cause an unsightly blur that will be visible on the image. And this will happen even if the subject remains static. This speed may be slightly lower (up to 1/30 s) if you hold your device firmly or lean against a wall or other support.
Underneath, it will be necessary to use a tripod or any other means of fixing the device. It is also thanks to this tool that you will be able to take all types of long exposure photos (or slow speeds). This technique is popular for those creative blur effects.
How to Measure Camera Shutter Speed?
Camera shutter speeds are shown in fractions when they are less than 1 second. You will see ¼, ½, 1/100, 1/250, or even 1/1000 of a second.
Shutter speeds of 1/4th of a second mean the camera will need a quarter of a second to take a picture or 1/250th of a second.
Fast shutter speeds open the camera shutter for a very short time. They are ideal in well-lit spaces and for outdoor photography when the sun is bright. This is to avoid overexposure which could damage the quality of the images.
When you go to shutter speeds between 1/100th to ½ of a second, then you are referring to medium shutter speeds. Long or slow shutter speeds are longer than a second, while super long camera shutter speeds are several feet long. Generally, night photography requires a lower shutter speed to ensure sufficient camera exposure.
How To Change Shutter Speed On Sony A7iii?
Sony A7iii is undoubtedly a good camera for car photography, sports, night, or any other type of photography that requires manual adjustments. By default, the settings of the camera are ISO AUTO. In this mode, you won’t be able to control the camera’s settings.
If you take photography seriously, you must be concerned with how to change the default settings like shutter speed on your Sony A7iii. Do not worry! In this section, we will answer the question: How to change the shutter speed on Sony A7iii?
The good thing is you can shift the camera from ISO AUTO to ISO mode any time you want. By using the camera in ISO mode, you can define the required settings of various parameters such as shutter speed, aperture value, etc. You can also toggle between different available settings such as:
- Manual exposure
- Program Auto
- Shutter Priority
- Aperture Priority
Let us know about these four modes a bit more in detail:
- Manual Exposure: Using this setting you can adjust the rear dial to adjust the aperture and the front dial to adjust the shutter speed.
- Program Auto: When you select this program, then the camera automatically adjusts the aperture and shutter speed. Though, you can manually adjust and save other settings.
- Shutter priority: In this, you manually adjust the shutter speed of both the front dial and rear dial. The camera automatically adjusts the aperture.
- Aperture priority: This is the opposite of the shutter priority. Here, you’ll need to adjust the aperture of both the front dial and rear dial manually as per our need. And the camera will automatically set the shutter speed.
Follow the following steps to change the shutter speed on Sony A7iii:
Step 1: Turn on your camera:
It is the first step before you start the process to change the shutter speed on your Sony A7iii.
Step 2: Turn the dial on the camera’s top:
The dial is present on the top of the Sony A7iii’s top. Turn it to set the mode to M indicating the Manual mode. When the dial is set to Manual mode, we can manually set the desired settings.
Step 3: Turn the other dial located behind the mode dial:
Another dial is behind the mode dial. It is for changing the shutter speed. Once the mode dial is at M which is Manual Mode, we can move the shutter speed dial. It manually adjusts the shutter speed to our desired value.
When a shutter speed number is selected during the dial movement, the number is highlighted in orange color. We can move the shutter speed dial in the right direction to increase the shutter speed number. Move the shutter speed dial in the left direction to decrease the shutter speed dial number.
Following the above-mentioned steps would allow us to enter the manual mode. Once you see the manual mode, you can then change the Shutter speed number on Sony A7iii.
How Should The Shutter Speed Be Set When Recording Video?
Following the steps below, you will be able to set the shutter speed while recording video on Sony A7iii.
Step-1: Turn the mode dial to the Movie icon at first.
The mode dial is present at the top of your Sony A7iii camera. It helps you toggle between multiple modes such as automatic, manual, and movie. (Turn the mode dial to Manual mode if you wish to change the shutter speed or aperture to your desired value)
Step-2: Now, select the menu option located over the display.
On choosing the Menu option you will be getting lots of settings options to choose from. Navigate to the second page of the visible camera settings to change the shutter speed.
Step-3: Choose the Exposure Mode from the screen.
– When you select the Exposure mode, the following modes will be available to choose from:
- Program Auto: It is automatic mode. The camera automatically selects the shutter speed and Aperture.
- Shutter Priority: Here you will manually change the shutter speed number. However, the aperture is selected automatically.
- Aperture Priority: Aperture is set manually whereas the shutter speed is set automatically.
- Manual Exposure: In this mode, all the settings for the front and rear dials are set manually.
Step-4: Select the mode you desire
Now, you’ll have to use the front and rear dials to change your preferred camera settings.
Once these steps are completed manual set is successful and you can start recording!
A pro tip: While setting the shutter speed for recording video or a movie keep the shutter speed number twice that of the frame rate. It is to balance the motion blur and sharpness in the videos.
Key Points To Know On Setting Shutter Speed Number
If you set a low shutter speed number such as 1/20, 1/30 or so, you would get more light falling on the camera lens. This will result in brighter images but with a possible motion blur.
If you set a higher shutter speed number such as 1/200, 1/500 or so, you will get less light falling on the camera lens. And this would give your darker images, but it eliminates the possibility of motion blur.
Hence, set the shutter speed number as your requirement while recording a video. In the case of motion-blur photography or a low-light environment, we might need to use a fast shutter speed and hence the value of the shutter speed number must be kept high.
The core focus of this guide was to inform you on how to change the shutter speed on Sony A7iii. However, together you and I went a bit ahead and learned all the basics of shutter speed as well.
Most photography beginners rely on their intuition at first and learn the most advanced things through practice. However, it is still important to understand the basic theory behind essential camera settings. This is especially important if you aspire to become a professional photographer.
Camera shutter speed is one of the most important parameters that affect the quality of photography. As this affects the camera’s exposure to light, knowing which shutter speeds to use in bright or low light is essential.
Hope this guide opened your eyes and ignited your passion for learning great photography features on the Sony A7iii or other DSLR cameras.