Is 1/8000 shutter speed necessary?

A 1/8000 shutter speed is mainly necessary when you are shooting in sunlight or any place where the lighting is too bright and when you want to capture sharp images of quickly moving objects. With a slower shutter speed, bright lighting could overexpose images and blur moving objects.

Photographer Jeff Carlson says “It lets you freeze time. If you have a faster shutter speed, it’s going to open and close quickly and get that slice of whatever’s happening”.

Photographer Shawn Ingersoll explains the necessity of fast shutter speeds, he says, “it goes back to your reason for taking the photograph. Are you wanting to capture motion or a split-second in time where something is moving but it doesn’t look like it? image1.jpg Like a rock falling into a pond, so you see that split-second where the water flies up into the air.”

This article covers when to use fast shutter speed, how to set fast shutter speed in your camera, its benefits, how to choose the right shutter speed, the aperture to use with fast shutter speed and which cameras are best suited. So what are you waiting for? Dive right into it.

When to use a fast shutter speed?

Fast shutter speeds help you freeze motion and avoid motion blur. It is generally used for wildlife photography, street photography and sports photography. In these photography fields, fast shutter speeds are necessary because the photographer wants their subjects to be in focus mid-action.

How to set a fast shutter speed?

Here are some of the ways through which you can set your shutter speed according to your needs :

Shutter priority mode :

Most cameras have these settings marked as “s” or “Tv”. This mode is useful when you know how much you want to freeze the motion of your object but do not want the entire control of your camera settings. You just need to set the ideal shutter speed and the rest will be taken care of by your camera. This mode works best when you don’t have time to adjust all your settings before the shoot.

Manual mode :

If your shoot is indoors, or in your studio, you will probably have time to adjust all your settings as per your requirement. This is when you would want to use the manual mode. Choose a fast shutter speed and then adjust the ISO and the exposure. It is advisable to use a higher ISO and a wider aperture. If you’re using a flash, make sure to sync the flash and the shutter speed. Otherwise, it may cause a black band to appear on the image.

Burst mode :

Burst mode, also known as the continuous shooting mode is quite a popular setting. This mode allows you to click photographs back to back as long as the shutter is open. This will help you capture the exact moment you were looking for. This mode is mainly used by sports photographers.

Benefits of fast shutter speeds :

  • Fast shutter speed freezes motion. It records movement and keeps the image steady.
  • The images taken by fast shutter speed are less sensitive to camera shake.
  • Avoids blurring of images.
  • No real need for a tripod if the shutter speed is the same as the focal length.
  • Fast shutter speed gives the photographers the magical ability to capture a single moment in a time capsule.

How to choose the right shutter speed?

  • First, chose the settings – shutter priority mode, manual mode or burst mode. Avoid choosing auto mode as the camera chooses the shutter speed and the results are not always ideal.
  • Choose a fast shutter speed such as 1/4000 or 1/8000 if you want a brighter photo. Even a shutter speed of 1/100 could work at times.
  • Take in the scene that you want to capture – so that you don’t miss the moment. Night photography will need slower shutter speeds and daylight photoshoots will need shutter speeds such as 1/500 or 1/1000 second.
  • Choosing the right shutter speed is all about how much freeze or motion blur you want in your images.
  • Experiment with different shutter speeds before the actual shoot to help you give an idea of what you need and when you need it.

What kind of aperture to use with a fast shutter speed?

If your shutter speed is fast, you will need to keep your aperture wider and ISO higher to maintain the correct exposure. Shutter speed and aperture must be balanced for your images to get ideal exposure. As you increase the shutter speed, you have to increase the aperture.

You can always choose the auto mode, but it sets some limits to what your camera can do. Shutter priority mode will help you balance the shutter speed and the aperture to ensure good exposure.

In instances where your camera’s shutter speed is too fast, consider lowering the aperture size so that you can decrease the aperture to maximize the depth of field.

Related: Why does shutter speed keep changing?

Cameras with fast shutter speeds :

The Nikon D850: this camera can set shutter speed between 1/25 second and 1/8000 second. It is recommended to set the settings in manual mode if possible.

Nikon D850 FX-Format Digital SLR Camera Body
  • Nikon designed back side illuminated (BSI) full frame image sensor with no optical low pass filter
  • 45.7 megapixels of extraordinary resolution, outstanding dynamic range and virtually no risk of moiré
  • Up to 9 fps1 continuous shooting at full resolution with full AF performance
  • 8k6 and 4k time lapse movies with new levels of sharpness and detail; file system : DCF 2.0, exif 2.31, Pict bridge
  • Tilting touchscreen, focus shift shooting mode, outstanding battery performance and much more; total pixels: 46.89 million

Sony A9: maximum shutter speed that this camera offers is 1/8000 second with its mechanical shutter, but if you use the electronic shutter, the speed can go up to 1/32,000 second.

Note: an electronic shutter is the sensor of the camera clicking a picture at the fraction of a second.

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Panasonic GH5: maximum shutter speed is 1/8000 second but extendable up to 1/16,000 second with the electronic shutter.

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Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II: maximum shutter speed is 1/4000 second but can be extended until 1/16,000 second with the electronic shutter.

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Canon EOS 7D Mark II: maximum shutter speed – 1/8000 second.

Canon EOS 7D Mark II Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)
  • 20.2 MP CMOS sensor and ISO 100-16000
  • High spped continuous shooting up to 10.0 fps
  • 65-point all cross-type AF system
  • Stunning Full HD video with Custom Movie Servo AF (speed and sensitivity)
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF enables you to shoot video like a camcorder

More: can you change shutter speed in post?


Now that you know how and when to use the fast shutter speed and how to balance the aperture with it, you’ll be able to capture sharp photos and be prepared for the nights and bright days.

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