Photo Notebook

Shutter Speed

I started with no minimum,01 which led to stuff like a needless 1/50s when at ISO 100, which meant motion blur.

Pour-over, totally blurry. Primary issue aperture, but motion blur visible at pouring hand. [f1.7, 1/50s]

Pour-over, cropped to show motion blur. [f1.7, 1/50s]

My first setting was at a minimum of 1/125s. General consensus online was that 1/100 should be fast enough for normal photography (i.e., not sports or birds or cars).

This worked better, but I started noticing a few instances where it failed.

Case Study: Niigata Roofs

I was trying to study the effects of aperture, not shutter speed, when I took a bunch of pictures of Niigata’s roofs at various apertures. But I ended up not learning anything useful about aperture, and instead learning about shutter speed.

Here’s the full photo at f16:

Niigata Roofs [f16, 1/125s]

When I hit f16, the shutter speed hit the minimum I’d set of 1/125, and the objects in the distance became blurry (because I wasn’t holding the camera still enough). Here’s that part in detail for both shots.

Niigata Roofs [f16, 1/125s]

Niigata Roofs [f11, 1/160s]

Can I learn to hold the camera more still? Probably. But I can also use faster shutter speeds, just in case, so I don’t miss shots. This was also a good lesson that distant objects are going to be the most affected by motion.

Question: Since the camera clearly takes 1/160s photos, why can’t I set that to be the minimum rather than needing to go all the way to 1/250s?

Case Study: Blurry Bike

I tried taking this on the go, and 1/125s wasn’t quite fast enough.

Blurry Bike [f3.2, 1/125s]

Clamping at 1/250s

Due to above blurriness in both landscape and street shots, I bumped up to min of 1/250s. Just need to remember to allow for longer in low light low-motion situations. Even down to 1/60 in night scenes02. Doubling or quadrupling the time the shutter is open will allow for way lower ISO.

Stay EV, EV knob

One issue I had today: shooting on aperture priority as usual. It’s dark out. I twist the shutter speed knob from auto to instead open up to 1/125s. Then, I go to under-expose to help out the ISO further. I twist the EV knob, but suddenly it’s no longer doing EV. Instead, it is… also doing shutter speed???

Thankfully, the settings allow to map the EV knob to always do EV, so I did that. Now I feel more confident dropping in and out of slower shutter speeds. I’m excited to keep an eye on the shutter speed and ISO and try this more often.


  1. There probably was a default minimum, but whatever it was, it was too slow. ↩︎

  2. I’ve already referenced Craig Mod’s Leica Q essay a lot, but I’m thinking of the two night shots that are both at 1/60s. ↩︎