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  1. #1
    ICE
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    Default Need help reading shutter speed numbers!

    I'm new to this whole shutter speed thing, well actually I'm just confused about how the numbers are displayed. I know what they do....but I can't read them, analyse them properly..

    What does 1/250.....1/60....1/8 mean? etc.
    I've tried looking it up online, thye just give me numbers but I need help reading them thanks!

  2. #2
    LoveDSLR is offline dPS +1000 Club
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    Quote Originally Posted by ICE View Post
    What does 1/250.....1/60....1/8 mean? etc.
    Shutter speed is measured in seconds. For example, 1/250 is 1/250th of a second.
    Last edited by LoveDSLR; 12-27-2009 at 08:02 AM.

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    OsmosisStudios's Avatar
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    1/25 can also be expressed as 0.04 seconds.

    It's a fraction.
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    Like the others said, it's a fraction of a second. It represents the amount of time your sensor/film is exposed to light. The faster the shutter, the less light. That's why a fast shutter speed stops motion.
    Canon 5D, 40D, 40D Infrared Conversion, Canon Glass 17-40mm F2.8 L, 50mm F1.4, 85mm F1.8, 70-200mm F2.8 L, 200mm F2.8 L, Speedlight Canon 580 EX, Light Meter Sekonic L758dr, Manfrotto tripods, studio lights, pocket wizards.

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    inkista's Avatar
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    In my Canon 50D's viewfinder, 1/60s isn't actually displayed as 1/60--it's displayed as 60. Similarly, 1/6s is displayed as 6. 6s displays as 6". So essentially, if you see a shutter speed number, assume it's 1/# seconds, and the higher the number, the faster the shutter speeed, and the less light you'll get in the exposure. But if you see the seconds symbol ("), then the higher the number, the slower the shutter speed, and the more light you'll get in the exposure.

    It's a little confusing, because they're limited by the LEDs they use in the viewfinder. It'll actually be clearer if you manipulate the shutter speed looking at the LCD display on the camera's back, where it will spell out "1/60" fully, but that can be a serious PITA to do.
    I shoot with a Canon 5DmkII, 50D, and S90, and Pansonic GX-7. flickr stream and equipment list

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    ICE
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    ok guys thx!

    my math really sucks, so I'm having alot of trouble with this..but know i do understand..

    do you guys remember how fast the shutter speed is by heart? or did you guys experiment, and got use to which speed is better for certain things?

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    Fast shutter speeds are for stopping action (freezing motion). Slow shutter speeds are for exaggerating blur.

    I know what kind of shutter speeds I can hand-hold at certain focal lengths: that just comes from experimentation.

    Your shutter speeds also stay constant. They change, but they're not random. I list below the "full" stops, which are usually divided into thirds.

    30s
    15s
    8s
    4s
    2s
    1s
    1/2s
    1/4s
    1/8s
    1/15s
    1/30s
    1/60s
    1/125s
    1/250s
    1/500s
    1/1000s
    1/2000s
    1/4000s
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    Quote Originally Posted by ICE View Post
    do you guys remember how fast the shutter speed is by heart? or did you guys experiment, and got use to which speed is better for certain things?
    The rule of thumb I use for eliminating camera shake blur is 1/focal_length. (e.g., @100mm, 1/100s) My personal lowest limit for handholding without stabilization is around 1/30s, so with IS, that comes to about 1/8s. And for freezing motion, I start at 1/100s and then work my way upwards, depending on how fast the subject is moving.

    The one thing you really need to know is that doubling/halving your shutter speed adds/subtracts a stop (1EV) from the exposure. And that equates to moving the aperture one full stop on the f-number scale, or a halving/doubling of the iso. So, say, if you have the right exposure at iso 100, f/4, and 1/30s, but you wanted to use 1/60s as your shutter speed, you'd have to double the iso to 200, or open up the aperture to f/2.8 to compensate and keep the same exposure.
    I shoot with a Canon 5DmkII, 50D, and S90, and Pansonic GX-7. flickr stream and equipment list

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