Have you ever wondered why your mirrorless camera makes noise when you take a picture? Unlike DSLR cameras that make noise when their mirrors flip up and down, mirrorless cameras produce the sound of the shutter release. This sound can be quite loud in quiet environments, and some compare it to the sound of a pistol shot.

Interestingly, not all mirrorless cameras have the same type of shutter mechanism. Some have a mechanical shutter, while others have an electronic shutter, and some even offer both. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between these shutters, their advantages, and their disadvantages.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of why your mirrorless camera makes noise and which shutter option might be best for your photography needs. So let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Electronic shutters are silent, faster, and more durable than mechanical shutters.
  • Electronic shutters have no mechanical shock or shutter vibration, leading to sharper images.
  • Electronic shutters work best for landscape, street, and documentary photography but not for fast-moving objects or under certain lighting conditions.
  • Mechanical shutters are better for portrait, wedding, and events photography as they allow flash and have higher flash synchronization.
  • Mechanical shutters are not as durable as electronic shutters and can produce shutter shock or vibration, leading to less sharp images.
  • Mechanical shutters are better for shooting fast-moving objects and under certain lighting conditions.
  • Choosing between electronic and mechanical shutter depends on the type of photography you’re doing, the lighting conditions, and the presence of fast-moving objects.

Electronic vs Mechanical Shutters

An electronic shutter operates by turning the camera imaging sensor on and off to control exposure. While, a mechanical shutter uses conventional front and rear shutter curtains, which are in front of the sensor to open and close to produce exposure.

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Advantages of Electronic Shutters

  • Electronic shutters are silent, as there are no physical movements of internal parts during exposure.
  • Electronic shutters have faster frame rates. Since an electronic shutter has no mechanical parts, it achieves a frame rate faster than a mechanical shutter.
  • The electronic shutter allows capturing photography and video without using any moving parts within the camera sensor system.
  • With an electronic shutter, the camera shake or blur reduces as there is no movement inside the camera.
  • There is no mechanical shock.
  • The absence of shutter vibration minimizes any effect on the resolution, resulting in high image quality.
  • Electronic shutters are more durable than mechanical shutters. They do not suffer wear and tear.
  • Electronic shutters boast a high shutter speed than the upper limit for mechanical devices, reaching a maximum of 1/32000 of a second. High-speed shutters increase exposure limits, allowing you to shoot a variety of scenes.
  • Electronic shutters are capable of continuous shooting as the camera does not have to wait for the shutter to close and the mirror to return.
  • The electronic shutters in mirrorless cameras eliminate viewfinder blackout from shot to shot, making it easier during continuous shooting.
  • Electronic shutters work best for landscape, street and documentary photography as you can shoot silently.

Disadvantages of Electronic Shutters

  • Electronic shutters are not for taking photos of fast-moving objects, such as trains, cars, etc, as they will cause rolling shutter distortion.
  • You cannot use a built-in camera flash with an electronic shutter because of the timing problems. You will need an external flash set to manual.
  • You cannot use an electronic shutter under fluorescent or artificial lights. The fluorescent lights are not continuously on, hence it produces bands across the photo, as one row of pixels, is recorded when the fluorescent lights were on while the next was recorded when the lights were off.
  • Electronic shutters may prevent you from using certain menu items or features in some cameras.

Advantages of Mechanical Shutters

  • Mechanical shutters protect the film in traditional film cameras.
  • Mechanical shutters have higher flash synchronisation, which means that you will be able to use flash at higher speeds.
  • Mechanical shutters work best for portrait, wedding and events photography as you can use a flash if needed.
  • The mechanical shutter allows you to take photographs of fast-moving objects without causing rolling shutter distortion. It also reduces the jello effect when shooting video.
  • They work much better with flickering light sources such as fluorescent or artificial lights.
  • Mechanical shutters let you shoot at 1/4000 or 1/8000 second depending on the camera which is quite fast.

Disadvantages of Mechanical Shutters

  • The sound of the mechanical shutter release could affect the subject that is being photographed. For example, in wildlife photography or street photography where you don’t want to draw attention to yourself.
  • The mechanical shutters in some cameras are slower due to the delay in time between pressing the shutter release button and when the camera takes a photo.
  • The movement from the mechanical shutter can cause slight vibrations which can display in high-resolution cameras as a camera shake or blur.
  • Mechanical shutters can introduce shutter shock at certain shutter speeds, especially around 1/10 second.
  • Photos taken by a mechanical shutter is not as sharp as the photo taken by an electronic shutter.
  • In certain cases, using a mechanical shutter can produce a flare to bright objects in a scene.
  • Mechanical shutters are not durable in the long run, they wear out after many uses.
  • Due to the mechanical nature of these shutters, the shutter speed is significantly lower than electronic shutters.


In conclusion, understanding the differences between mechanical and electronic shutters and when to use them is crucial in taking the best possible photographs with your mirrorless camera.

The choice ultimately depends on the type of photography you are doing and the environment you are in. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find which shutter mechanism works best for you.

So, the next time you are out shooting, take a moment to consider which shutter is most suitable for the situation. Happy shooting!