Determining a stopaction shutter speed

What shutter speed is fast enough to freeze your six-year-old as she wobbles away on her roller blades Your skateboarding teen perfecting a One-footed Ollie A horse leaping over a timber jump or a waverunner, throttle open full, slashing toward the finish line Several motion and photographic variables not just subject speed impact this decision. We'll cover them. But to help you stop most action most of the time, let's use a chart based on miles per hour to guide you. We're going to assume...

Second a former record holder

Although it's been quite a while since 1 1000 second could claim the title of the world's fastest shutter speed, it did indeed hold the title at a singular time in history. This shutter speed once a milestone innovation began appearing in cameras about the time Jesse Owens took center stage at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. That newfangled 1 1000 second shutter speed meant that Owens, his contemporary Sea Biscuit, and all the other speed demons of the sports world could be stopped in their...

How the shutter works

Like the automatic door at the grocery store, your shutter is an electro-mechanical device that opens and closes when an electrical signal triggers it. That electrical signal is initiated when you press the shutter button. How long it stays open depends on the shutter speed you or the camera selects. Shutter speeds are designated by seconds and fractions of seconds, such as 1 250 second, 1 125 second, 1 2 second, and 1 second. The marked increments of shutter speed settings have traditionally...

Second for the scenic shooter

The poor cousin of 1 250 second, 1 125 second is another all-purpose speed, one you can easily use on both sunny and cloudy days. The difference in how you use 1 250 and 1 125 is subtle but telling. At 1 125 second you've reached a threshold of sorts, the boundary where you are less concerned about stopping movement and more concerned about achieving greater depth of field to give your pictures overall sharpness. The forte of 1 125 second may well be landscape photography on bright days. You...

Info

Shines as the understudy who can step into a starring role when conditions seem a bit too dim and dreary for the faster shutter speeds that usually star in your pictures. But there is one place where 1 60 second sheds the understudy role to become the star, and that's action photography. But not stop-action photography, because even a toddler can outrun 1 60 second. Instead, 1 60 second stars in the lead role of panning. And boy can it grab your eye and rivet your attention. You might not think...