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New Contributor
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎04-03-2018

Optimal Shutter speed?

Hi, I’m looking to buy a new camera. I currently have the Canon Rebel XT and I also have the Canon EOS 60D I am in the market for a new camera and I’ve been doing some research and I’ve found many cameras, but I have been wondering if the maximum shutter speed of 1/4000 of a second is too slow... I like to shoot a variety of different subjects and I would love to be able to stop the wings of a hummingbird using ISO 100 and a f-stop of 2.8. My question is, will 1/4000 of a second be able to do everything I want or should I go for a camera with 1/8000 sec possibilities?
I am looking forward to your feedback, Thank you and have a good day.
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,402
Registered: ‎02-17-2016

Re: Optimal Shutter speed?

Since we don't know *everything* you want, we can't say. 1/4000 is fast enough for most things.

 

For the hummingbird:

Assume that the wings beat at 100 beats per second or .01 sec/beat.

If the arc is about 6 inches, the wings move at 600 in/sec

in 1/4000 of a second the wings move about .15" , so it won't quite stop the motion.

However, at 1/8000 sec, it will still move about .07 in, so that is not quite stop motion either.

 

There is a reason Edgerton used a strobe.

 

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Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,815
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: Optimal Shutter speed?

Generally 1/4000 is fast enough to freeze almost any action.  Cameras that get to 1/8000 can let you do this with a shallower depth of field provided you have a low focal ratio lens (e.g. f/2 or faster).  (But there are other ways to solve that problem.)

 

e.g. suppose you are shooting in mid-day sun (not a great time to shoot, but we'll use the example).  The Sunny-16 rule says the exposure for f/16 would use the inverse of the ISO (assume ISO 100) as the shutter speed.   So that's 1/100th.

 

But suppose you want shallow DoF so you don't want to use 1/100th & f/16.

At f/11 it's 1/200

At f/8 it's 1/400

At f/5.6 it's 1/800

At f/4 it's 1/1600

At f/2.8 it's 1/3200 (and keep in mind that's the last "full" stop you can get with a camera that caps at a 1/4000 shutter speed)

At f/2 it's 1/6400

 

So a camera that can allow for a 1/8000 shutter speed could use the very shallow DoF you get with an f/2 focal ratio.

 

OR

 

You could just put a neutral density filter on the lens.  E.g. if you used a 2-stop ND filter you could shoot at f/1.4 (even shallower yet) at 1/3200

 

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
New Contributor
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎07-30-2017

Re: Optimal Shutter speed?

[ Edited ]

Tim Campbell's response is right on as is Kvbarkley's. You will not be able to completely stop the hummingbird's wings even at 1/8000 on the 60D. However, if you shoot multiple shots in rapid fire mode and catch the wings at the top of the arc (or bottom of the arc) when they are reversing, you'll get the effect you want.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,117
Registered: ‎02-06-2013

Re: Optimal Shutter speed?


@Ryanjrectorwrote:
Hi, I’m looking to buy a new camera. I currently have the Canon Rebel XT and I also have the Canon EOS 60D I am in the market for a new camera and I’ve been doing some research and I’ve found many cameras, but I have been wondering if the maximum shutter speed of 1/4000 of a second is too slow... I like to shoot a variety of different subjects and I would love to be able to stop the wings of a hummingbird using ISO 100 and a f-stop of 2.8. My question is, will 1/4000 of a second be able to do everything I want or should I go for a camera with 1/8000 sec possibilities?
I am looking forward to your feedback, Thank you and have a good day.

The only time I ever used 1/8000 was to take a portrait picture outdoor at f/1.2...it was a bit too bright.  As a matter of fact I also used ISO 50 which is only available on the higher end Canon models.  You can also use an ND filter then you won't have to worry about not having 1/8000.

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Diverhank's photos on Flickr
VIP
Posts: 11,329
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Optimal Shutter speed?

[ Edited ]

"My question is, will 1/4000 of a second be able to do everything I want ..."

 

The truth and fact of the matter is, no camera will do everything you want.  There is no such thing just as there is no lens that will do everything you want.  That is one of the wonderful reasons modern DSLR are so adaptable and have interchangeable lenses.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
VIP
Posts: 11,329
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Optimal Shutter speed?

" I would love to be able to stop the wings of a hummingbird ..."

 

One of the reasons I don't rely on and don't only go by lab testing and school room math for photography is, it rarely tells the whole story of how well or poorly the results will be.  Can 1/4000 SS stop a hummingbirds wings?   Possibly.  One question that must be asked is, "How stopped do you want them?"  The math tells you little.  I have been shooting hummingbirds for years and I am going to show some shots, OK, not my best shots but take a look as none were shot at 1/8000 or 1/4000 or even 1/2000.  Well one was at 1/2000 !  Several conditions enter on how stopped the wings will be.  SS is onyl one of them.

 

111.jpg

 

Hummingbird chasing a Bee away from the feeder.

 

222.jpg

 

333.jpg

 

Yeah, they are not stopped absolutely still but none were shot at 1/4000 either.  Just keep in mind other factors besides super fast SS will enter into all your photography.  The best advise is get the best camera you can afford and go put it to use.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
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