Have you been in an environment when hearing the shutter of your camera go off is not acceptable? With mirrorless cameras, not only do you have the option of making the camera completely silent. In this movie, author Richard Harrington demonstrates how to turn on silent shooting in your mirrorless camera.
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- With the traditional DSLR, you have a mirror. That mirror is used to take the image that shows through the lens and pass it up to the optical viewfinder. Every time you take a picture, that mirror essentially flips up and then when you release the shutter, it flaps back down and that makes a sound, in addition to the mechanical shutter in the camera. It is possible to lock up the mirror and there are features on DSLRs to get around this, but typically speaking the quiet mode on a DSLR isn't actually that quiet.
If you need to shoot in things, like a church or a library, or you're trying to be a bit more stealthy about when you're shooting, it is possible to shoot silently on most mirrorless cameras. Before we get into the how, I want to talk ethics for a moment. I don't recommend taking pictures of people if they don't know you're taking their picture. There are different laws that vary by country, but generally speaking it is ethical to make sure that your subject knows that you're taking their photo. Don't use this silent shooting mode to take images that you shouldn't or to potentially put yourself at legal risk, but if you are shooting and you need to be a bit less obtrusive, this is a good idea.
I frequently have to shoot in old buildings or I'm travelling doing travel photography and I just don't wanna stand out or be that much in front of people. If I'm in a large group shooting or shooting something like time lapse, it's much more courteous to those around me to not hear the continuous clicking of the camera. So what can we do? Typically you're going to have a lot of different features inside the camera. Lemme walk you through em. First up, if you don't turn any of these on, when you pretty the shutter button you're going to hear a bit of a click.
(camera clicks) And that's the physical mechanical shutter. There was no mirror flipping up and down, but there was a mechanical shutter opening and closing. The mechanical shutter is gonna give you better performance over shutter speed and more control, but it's possible to leave that open and instead change how the sensor works. By just charging it and then removing the electricity, you can use short bursts to control what's happening as opposed to a physical shutter that opens and closes. Let's take a look at the menus.
Let's go over here to the camera settings, and it'll vary depending upon manufacturer, but you'll notice that we have an electronic shutter. If we turn that on, what's gonna happen here is that when we fire the shot... and it captured, no noise. Now a lot of cameras, when you turn on that electronic shutter, are gonna go to a true silent mode, but if not, there are some other options in the menu to take a look at. Let's start at the top here and just work our way through. Burst rate will control how fast you can shoot and depending upon file format you may see different speeds.
In this case, if I was shooting JPEG, super high would become available. You notice there's also a true silent mode on this Panasonic camera. This is gonna cut down on even more noise options from the camera and make sure that any beeps or other choices are disabled. You also may wanna take a look at the autofocus sensors. Down here, for example, you'll notice that autofocus has been turned off and that's part of that silent mode.
You might be in silent mode, but if your camera is turning on it's autofocus illumination light to try to hunt and find focus, that can get in the way too. So switching to a manual focus or disabling that lamp is gonna cut down on the camera being as noticeable to others. When I do that, I'll tend to take advantage of other things like manual focus assist to make it a little bit easier to find an image if I'm not relying on autofocus. Other options, like peaking, can also work well for manually focusing.
If you're trying to be less visible, you might also choose to lower the luminance of the monitor so it's not so bright. This will allow you to adjust the brightness and take it down so that it is not as visible to others. Let's go ahead and take a picture. There we go and, in fact, I'll shoot in burst mode. I'll just flip that over to burst and fire away. There we go. And you might not have realized it, but I just took 25 pictures.
Mirrorless cameras, when put into silent mode, can be truly silent. Look for options to go to a electronic shutter over a mechanical shutter and see if there's any other silent options to turn off beeps. The only other thing that I like to take a look for is any unnecessary light sources. Turning off the autofocus illuminator, if you don't really need that, the camera can still autofocus without it and consider either turning off your live view display. You have the ability, for example, on some of these cameras to close that to minimize any brightness, or turn the brightness down.
This will cut down on any glow or anything distracting coming from the camera. By employing these type of techniques, you can often shoot with much less interruption or drawing unnecessary attention.
- Comparing DSLR and mirrorless cameras
- Understanding sensor size and crop factor
- Exploring lens options
- Adapting lenses
- Exploring advantages: reduced cost, weight, and more
- Exploring disadvantages
- Choosing a camera body
- Shooting video on a mirrorless camera