A Solution for Shutter Shock and Rolling Shutter
I’ve had my Canon R7 for a few months now and I still watch reviews and setup videos on Youtube. I’m pretty happy with my settings for wildlife, portraiture and landscape photography but I find that I still pick up a tidbit now and then. I’m not finding much earthshaking anymore. But sometimes I still learn useful or convenient tweaks just the same. Today I’m discussing shutter modes and until now the videos have all been in agreement, use the electronic shutter for stills and the mechanical shutter for sports and fast moving wildlife.
The Other Shutter Mode
I don’t remember those first moments now, but allegedly that camera was delivered in the less understood shutter mode, electronic first curtain shutter (EFCS). When I was setting my camera up I didn’t really know what that was so I just switched my custom functions on the mode dial to use either the electronic or manual shutters. There is plenty written on the technical merits of EFCS so I’ll just hit the highlights in my article.
So as I researched problems and solutions for issues with my R7 I became aware of two main complaints, shutter shock and rolling shutter. Shutter shock occurs when using the mechanical shutter and is the vibration caused by the shutter curtains moving across the sensor. Rolling shutter is the distortion of a fast moving object caused by the camera reading the information from the sensor slower than the object is moving. And I have to say, I could really feel that mechanical shutter slamming around in the camera so I know if I could feel it with my hands it had to be affecting the images.
A Good Compromise
I was watching an R7 setup video and I heard one sentence that piqued my interest. Unfortunately I don’t remember which video gave me the tidbit or I would point you to it, but he mention that the EFCS could reduce the dreaded shutter shock. So that’s when I embarked upon a more in depth study of the obscure feature to find out what exactly is meant by EFCS.
So… what did I find out? EFCS is a useful feature provided to eliminate the rolling shutter problem without such severe shutter shock. The way it works is the first curtain operates in electronic mode. The shutter starts out open, just as with the electronic shutter. When the exposure is activated the camera begins reading the sensor without having to initiate the first curtain. As the sensor is read the second curtain chases the readout across the sensor.
No shutter shock is noticed because the second curtain action comes after the exposure is already registered. I haven’t experimented with it yet, but some say that it won’t work with shutter speeds faster than a 2000th of a second because the readout is slower than the mechanical shutter at that point. I’m not worried about that since a 1600th of a second is all I need for bird in flight photography.
EFCS seemed like a good idea but I wondered if it would also eliminate the rolling shutter problem as effectively as the full mechanical shutter. That answer was more difficult to find, and is the reason I’m writing this article. After a bit of searching I discovered that EFCS did indeed eliminate the rolling shutter problem. The second curtain eliminates rolling shutter by covering the part of the sensor that has already been processed, which is where the strange warping effect comes from.
A Good Compromise
So anyway, I don’t see why anyone would not want to take advantage of the electronic shutter to start each exposure, and I have set my Custom Function 1 on the mode dial to use it. That’s my bird in flight mode that I have set to shutter priority and a 1600th of a second shutter speed. I continue to use the electronic shutter for slower subjects that aren’t going to cause rolling shutter effects, such as large mammals and landscapes.
I would advise my readers to do the same for those who don’t want to do extensive research. For those wanting to learn the intricacies, there is plenty written on the subject to be found online.
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2 thoughts on “Shutter Shock and Rolling Shutter”
Thanks for explaining Steven but my camera doesn’t have this option as far as I know.
It’s a pretty new incarnation. Probably in response to widespread electronic shutter use in the new mirrorless camera craze