Shutter speed chart

Shutter speed effects

Capture movement or freeze the action

When taking a photo of a moving subject, changing the shutter speed can change the look of an image.

If a slow shutter speed is selected, movement is captured. Using a fast shutter speed will freeze the action.

Here are suggested shutter speeds for photographing a variety of subjects.

SUGGESTED SHUTTER SPEEDS
TO FREEZE ACTION* TO CAPTURE MOTION**
Children – 1/250 – 1/1000 seconds Amusement park rides: +/- one second
Moving water/waterfalls: 1/1000 seconds or more Moving water/waterfalls: 4 or more seconds
Sporting event: 1/500 – 1/2000 seconds Fireworks: 1/2 – 4 seconds
Birds in flight: 1/1000th a second and above Moving cars at night: 8-10 seconds
Night photography – one or more seconds

* The closer action is to your digital camera, the faster the shutter speed is needed.

Shutter speed faster than focal length

To help prevent images from becoming blurred, set the shutter speed faster than the focal length. This is particularly important when shooting at a long focal length even if your camera has image stabilization.

For example, a zoom lens set at 200mm (35mm equivalent) requires a shutter speed of at least 1/200 second to avoid a blurred image. Adjust shutter speeds even faster for DSLRs with a focal length multiplier .

** Tripod or other camera support is recommended whenever using slow shutter speeds. Also use the self-timer or remote to trigger the shutter to prevent camera movement.

If your camera has Image Stabilization, some manufacturers recommend shutting it off when using a digital camera on a tripod; some newer cameras sense when it is mounted on a tripod and automatically shuts off IS. Check your camera manual.

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