Watching The Exposure Cycle In Slow Mo Reveals Some Impressive Engineering

Watching a camera shutter go in slow motion is both educating and amazing. The exposure cycle is well known:

  1. Mirror goes up
  2. front curtain moves down, exposing the CCD
  3. back curtain slides down blocking the CCD from further exposure
  4. front curtain moves back into upwards “ready” position
  5. mirror goes back down.

Actually there is a 1.5 step where the back curtain moves up, getting ready to go down later, but this step is hidden from us as it happens behind the (still closed) front curtain.

This cycle can go as fast as 1/8000 of a second on some of the more professional camera bodies.

Watch Your Camera Shutter In Slow Motion

I thought it would be fun to watch different cameras go at the shutter sequence in slow mo. Note that some of the clips were not taken with a pro camera but rather with the $450 Nikon V1. Personally I was surprised at the backlash the mirror goes through on the rerun step.

Nikon D3 @ 5000 FPS

Canon 5D mk II @ 2000 FPS

Nikon D700 @ 420 FPS

Nikon D80 @ 5000 FPS

Canon D60 @ unknown FPS

PENTAX K10D @ 5000 FPS

D600 @ 1200 FPS

Olympus E-P2 @ 1200FPS

5D mark 1,2 & 3 @ 1500 FPS

7D vs D7000

Canon EOS 5D vs EOS 450D @ 5000 FPS

UPDATE: Reader Florian Knorn sent a compilation of Sony slo-mo shutters. you can watch it as a list on Youtube.