Why do Mirrorless Cameras Make Noise?

The noise that you hear in mirrorless cameras is the noise of the shutter. The DSLR cameras have the noise of the mirror flipping up and down when you take a picture, but since mirrorless cameras do not have a mirror, the only sound you hear is the shutter release. In quiet places, the shutter sound is almost like a pistol shot.

Most mirrorless cameras have a mechanical shutter that makes the noise, and some mirrorless cameras have an electronic shutter. But, some cameras offer both electronic and mechanical shutters.

This article covers the difference between these shutters and their advantages and disadvantages. So let’s dive right into it!

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.

Conclusion

There is no best type of shutter to use in mirrorless camera photography, so keeping in mind the advantages and the disadvantages of the mechanical and electronic shutter speeds, you can choose either depending on the photo you are taking.

For landscape photography, the electronic shutter is your best choice. However, if you feel that there is any artificial light in your scene or if there is a fast-moving object like a bird, then switching to the mechanical shutter is your safest choice.

For portrait photography, use the mechanical shutter, especially if you are using flash. Although, if you are shooting in bright conditions and there is a risk of flare or shutter shock, then switch to the electronic shutter.

For sports, wildlife, and macro photography, use the mechanical shutter to avoid rolling shutter distortion and banding. If you need faster frame rates and silent shutter release during some moments in wildlife photography, then switch to the electronic shutter.

For documentary photography, choose the electronic shutter as it will allow you to be as quiet as possible. However, if you are indoors and there is artificial light in your frame then switch to the mechanical shutter.

Hopefully, this article helped you in understanding the pros and cons of each shutter mechanism. Now, you can experiment on your own and find which shutter mechanism you are most comfortable with.

Shabbir
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