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Shutter speed questions
Hello,.

I have a Nikon D40 and I hope someone will be kind enough to answer them:.

1. Why is that when I use flash, the default shutter speed is 1/60 second? Is that the recommended setting?.

2. What is the recommended shutter speed I need to use to prevent handshake blur? (with no VR/IS) I have been using at least 1/60..

3. What is the minimum shutter speed I need to use to freeze a constantly moving toddler? I'm guessing between 1/60 - 1/125..

Thank you very much. ..

Comments (7)

PeteAce wrote:.

Hello,.

I have a Nikon D40 and I hope someone will be kind enough to answerthem:.

1. Why is that when I use flash, the default shutter speed is 1/60second? Is that the recommended setting?.

It just is - traditionally. I assume you are shooting in A or P mode .

2. What is the recommended shutter speed I need to use to preventhandshake blur? (with no VR/IS) I have been using at least 1/60..

Rule of the thumb says 1/focal lenght - which should be adjusted to crop factor as well. For your camera, that is 1.5. So, if you want to shoot a 50mm lens, rule says you need 1/75 s minimum. Of course, that's just a rule of the thumb. Some have steadier hands, some shakier..

3. What is the minimum shutter speed I need to use to freeze aconstantly moving toddler? I'm guessing between 1/60 - 1/125..

Without flash? That's a difficult question. Also, is depending on the nature of the kid's movement. If it's jumping up and down or dancing... 1/300 might be safe. Try and see..

Thank you very much. .

You are wellcome..

Comment #1

PeteAce wrote:.

Hello,.

I have a Nikon D40 and I hope someone will be kind enough to answerthem:.

1. Why is that when I use flash, the default shutter speed is 1/60second? Is that the recommended setting?.

It's a common setting. Your camera will probably sync up to 1/125 and maybe higher. It's related to the way the shutter works. The shutter has two curtains. the first opens and then after the appropriate time the second closes. But because they don't travel at infinite speed there comes a time when to get a brief enough exposure the second curtain will start to shut before the first is completely open.



You can find the max shutter speed that the flash still syncs at by just taking a series of pictures starting at 1/125th and going up untill you see that part of the picture is black. One shutter speed back from there is the max sync speed..

2. What is the recommended shutter speed I need to use to preventhandshake blur? (with no VR/IS) I have been using at least 1/60..

See previous post. Though if your talking about with flash, the flash is fairly brief and does a good job of stopping the motion..

3. What is the minimum shutter speed I need to use to freeze aconstantly moving toddler? I'm guessing between 1/60 - 1/125..

Thank you very much. .

A member of the rabble in good standing..

Comment #2

Why is the camera with flash using 1/60sec? answer- because 1/60 is the old xsync shutter speed from yrs ago. when people, like me, used flash bulbs and guide numbers. the shutter speed was always set and assumed to be 1/60sec. that speed allowed the shutter to fully open on all parts of the film and the flsh fire to illuminate the entire 24x36mm film area before the shutter begins to close on some part of it..

This is still the reson that dslrs cnnot simply select a speed of say 1/2000sec using normal flash operation. part of the frame would not be illuminated. you would have to switch to highspeed sync on the flash. the flastest flash in normal operation that I know of is one of the nikon dslrs, the d70 I think, that goes to 1/500sec on normal flash operation and gets xsync with the flash. the highest xsync flash speed on a dslr becomes important in outdoor fill flash operation, because it limits the light conditions you can shoot in before you run out of fstop range...

Comment #3

Questions 2 and 3-.

Safe shutter speed to some extent depends on you and how steady you are. remind your self that there are 2 motions to consider: steady hands(no shaking) and the whole body swaying. for the latter no is/vr/sr will help, though holding technique can help..

Personally, I use the rule with a dslr of 1/lenses mm X crop factor. BUT I do not go below 1/60 unless I am on a tripod..

You also get into the area of what is sharp? many people say they can handhold to some low number and show a pic done that way, but this on a monitor. there is the term "critically sharp" which means the pic is sharp enough for massive enlargement with NO CONSIDERATION given to the pics sharpness at all. the pic can take any enlargement that you are willing to give it. this means really sharp able to be enlarged to 20x30inches and more with nothing visable that could possibilly be noted as an unsharp area..

As for stopping a child on the floor crawling along, 1/125sec should easily stop all motion...

Comment #4

The D40 will sync up to 1/500 s, but perhaps not in the mode you are using. There are historical reasons why 1/60 may be chosen, but main reason is that it often makes for a better shot. Shooting at 1/60 allows more ambient light into the shot, which helps illuminate the background and softens the harsh flash lighting..

If there is little ambient light, then the shutter speed will not matter much. The duration of the flash burst is always less than 1/500 s, and even shorter when it doesnt have to fire at full power. In dim conditions the flash will freeze motion..

Brian A...

Comment #5

PeteAce wrote:.

Hello,.

I have a Nikon D40 and I hope someone will be kind enough to answerthem:.

1. Why is that when I use flash, the default shutter speed is 1/60second? Is that the recommended setting?.

You must be in P or A mode, which is simply metering the ambient light in the room, which is dim in situations needing flash, and the 1/60 is the minimum default allowed, set by the Custom menu for Shutter Speed (for flash in P or A modes). Not a problem..

1/60 is not "correct" necessarily, it is just as low as the menu will let it go. It is only about the ambient light. However, flash exposure is determined by only by aperture, and could not care less about either shutter speed or ambient light..

2. What is the recommended shutter speed I need to use to preventhandshake blur? (with no VR/IS) I have been using at least 1/60..

If still using flash, the motion stopping ability is done by the flash duration, which is normally much faster than any shutter speed usable with flash. The shutter simply must be open, but it doesnt matter to the flash what speed it is... the flash is much faster. However, if the ambient light is high and the shutter speed is low, then the slow shutter speed could continue to blur the picture anyway..

If using TTL mode (instead of TTL BL mode outdoors in sunlight), then it could be said to be correct to use M mode on the camera, and TTL mode on the flash..

M mode on the camera allows setting shutter sync speed, like say 1/200 second, and setting the aperture you want to use. The flash is not in M mode, so the TTL flash will match power to this aperture, if it has sufficient power to handle that aperture..

3. What is the minimum shutter speed I need to use to freeze aconstantly moving toddler? I'm guessing between 1/60 - 1/125..

If using flash, the flash does this motion stopping. It is typically faster than 1/1000 second duration, no matter what the shutter speed is. For example, 1/60 second shutter, but the flash is still 1/1000 second or more. Maybe not that fast at full power level, but it is if at 1/2 power or less. If the flash is at even lower power (due to aperture number being lower, like f/2.8 or f/4, then the flash is much faster yet. However, if using P mode and flash, it will not let you use f/2.8, and maybe not f/4 if faster than ISO 200..

The bottom line, use A mode, and dont worry about the 1/60 second menu setting at minimum.. this is just metering ambient, but you will be using TTL flash, which will adjust the flash power to the aperture setting you choose..

Which aperture? Harder to answer, but but f/4 bouncing or f/8 direct indoors is not a bad ballpark, to keep the flash halfway fast..

For direct flash, there is a Guide Number chart in the manual (typically for manual mode). This is still applicable even when using TTL mode, in this way. Suppose at 35mm zoom setting, the GN is 125 (SB-800). GN is used this way.. if the subject is at 12 feet, then necessary aperture is 125GN/12 feet, which is f/10. This would be the right exposure for 12 feet at full power.

So in this 125GN and 12 feet situation, you could set f/5, and know it will be about 1/4 power, which is 1/2700 second duration (page 125 SB-800 manual)..

You get to know this in a ballpark way, real fast with a little experience..

Choosing P mode will assign some aperture automatically, but it is just a dumb chart which has nothing to do with your flash situation. It will always be f/4 in a dim situation needing flash, assuming ISO 200. If ISO 400, it will always be f/5.These are not bad values, they just dont have much to do with anything...

Comment #6

Some cameras and flash units can operate at higher than X-sync shutter speeds using a special high speed flash hack..

With this hack, the flash fires repeatedly for the entire time that the shutter is partially or completely open. Because the repeated firing places a heavy drain on the battery, each of the individual flashes is at greatly reduced power. (But because the flash will have fired many times, the overall exposure should be higher than any single strobe.).

This lets you do things like using fill flash in bright outdoors sunlight. It is NOT good for tricks like using flash in a darkened room to "freeze" drops of water as they fall..

On the other end of the scale, it can sometimes be useful to take a flash picture where the shutter speed is much slower than X-Sync (to bring out detail in the background). The flash then contributes just a momentary burst of light to expose the main subject...

Comment #7

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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