Tagged: Shutter speed

Olympus PEN-F Electronic vs. Mechanical Shutter?


I have been using my Olympus PEN-F camera in the program mode with the electronic shutter and auto ISO in order to keep my photography silent when photographing around people in changing light conditions.  When photographing this way, I noticed that the camera’s bias is towards selecting slow shutter speeds before raising the ISO level.  Often the shutter speeds were too slow to stop subject motion until Olympus published the software update that enabled me to set a floor level for shutter speed.

While trying some other features of the camera, I noticed something.  The camera appears to have a different program curve for different shutter mechanisms; i.e. the camera selects different values for ISO and shutter speed for different shutter types.

The literature is clear about the effects of rolling shutter effects when using the electronic shutter.  In addition, the specs show that faster shutter rates can be obtained with the electronic vice mechanical shutter.  Based on that information I assumed that when using the electronic shutter that the chosen shutter rates would be faster than those used with the mechanical shutter, if the camera software used different program curves.  Not so.  The reverse is true, at least in some sections of the program curve.  When I used either the mechanical or the hybrid shutter the chosen ISOs were higher as were the shutter rates.  I expect that the reasons for the different program curves have to do with shutter shock, etc.  Olympus is probably biasing the different curves to minimize the issues that arise when using different shutters.

Has anyone found an explanation of the differences between the Olympus program curves that are dependent on shutter modes, or does anyone have some other explanations?



I saw a flock of birds land across the street so I grabbed my camera.  What I wanted to do was get a shot of them against the plain sky with a slow shutter speed so that the birds were blurred in flight.  I set the shutter speed to 1/15 sec, not thinking about the fact that the image would be over exposed.  I also didn’t realize that the birds were going to stay low and not fly up high enough in the sky.  What I got is what you see … over exposed with excessive camera motion and everything blurred.  Since they flew before I got close enough I also had to crop the image and re-size it in LR5.  You have to click on the picture and view it in a larger size to really see the birds.

Since I still liked the effect I decided to show it to you anyway.  I would also like to make the point that there is really no such thing as failure, just a lesson learned.

Depth of Field at f/1.8 and 35mm

On my walk the other day in the bright sun I was trying something different.  I wanted to see how my 35mm Sony lens did on the NEX-6 at an aperture of f/1.8 in bright sun.  I wanted to deliberately move as much of the image (other than what I focused on) out of focus.  The NEX-6 handled it very well since it had a 1/4000 max. shutter speed.  I only had exposure problems (without using a neutral density filter) in a couple of pictures but I was able to shift the exposure in LR4.  The above pictures aren’t especially notable but they represent examples of my focusing at different ranges so I could observe the degree of non-focus both in front and behind the focus point.  Some people like this effect, others don’t.  I only plan to use it under certain situations.

My only real problem was that I couldn’t see the LCD well enough in the bright sun to determine the effect while I was taking the pictures.  I now need to go back and try some more specific types of images.  It is all part of my desire to get better in selecting the appropriate aperture for different subjects in different lighting situations.  It is also part of my desire to use faster prime lenses more often since they give me more latitude along these lines.

For those of you who would like to calculate the depth of field (DoF) … the in-focus range … for your camera, lens, aperture, and subject distance, you can use this on-line calculator.  Click here.  You will learn that it is a very narrow range when the subject is close.  That is one reason that you really need to use a tripod if the subject is close and the aperture is large in order to get the focus correct.  Since I don’t use a tripod when out shooting, I have to be very careful to hold the camera still.  I really have a problem when I’m trying to use a narrow depth of field when taking pictures of flowers if they are blowing in the wind.  Since we have a lot of wind here, I often miss.

I have three events coming up starting tonight where I will be taking pictures and DoF is just one of my many problems that I will have since the subjects will be in motion and I will be using wide open apertures due to poor lighting.  Since I will be traveling and working with lots of pictures it is also why you might not see too many posts for a while.