What is exposure

Exposure is the time that the camera captures an image. When photographing, light is read using the camera’s matrix or using a film. When we do not take a picture, the film or matrix is ​​closed by the shutter. During shooting, the shutter opens and the film or matrix receives an image from the lens. The amount of time until the shutter is open and there is an exposure.

Excerpt in photography, it is not the same as exposure of wine.

Excerpt in photography, it is not the same as exposure of wine.

No, the article is not about alcohol, the article is about the photographic concept of aging.  Exposure is easy. In phones and digital cameras (soap dishes) there is no mechanical shutter as such. There, the shutter is the on / off matrix. But the principle of operation is fully preserved with the only difference, instead raising the mirror and the shutter shutter - the soap dish matrix is ​​simply updated. Nowadays, there are trendy mirrorless cameras like Sony ILCE-7 They do not have a mirror, but they have a real mechanical shutter, which gives the very nice click of the shutter release.

Half a second slow shutter speed due to insufficient lighting

Half a second slow shutter speed due to insufficient lighting

What is the exposure measured

Exposure is measured in seconds, minutes, hours, days. Usually, even a second is a too long shutter speed, therefore, almost always the shutter speed is indicated in fractions of a second... For example, 1/60, 1/120, 1/500, 1/4000, they often add the word “sec” or “s” or “sec”, as was done in my photos in this article. If the shutter speed is indicated in seconds, then the second sign is written next to the number - 2 ′, 10 ′, or just 3 s, 15 s. The expression '1/20 s' reads as “one twentieth of a second”.

Very short shutter speed so that every drop of water is visible, not a whole stream

Very short shutter speed so that every drop of water is visible, not a whole stream

How to adjust the shutter speed in the camera?

The easiest way is to set the shutter speed in the camera in shutter speed mode or in manual mode. Shutter speed is usually indicated as S (shutter) or Sv (shutter value - shutter value, shutter speed), sometimes you can find the designation Tv (time value - time value). This mode is usually found on the shooting mode dial (more details here) Exposure affects the time that the shutter of the camera is opened. In these modes, just set the shutter speed that you need. How to do this will have to read the instructions.

Very slow shutter speed of 10 seconds when there is very little light

Very slow shutter speed of 10 seconds when there is very little light

Exposure is different

It happens very short (fast) excerpt, for modern digital SLR cameras, the exposure limit is usually 1 / 4000s, in advanced cameras 1 / 8000s, in specialized cameras the shutter speed can be 1 / 40.000. For example, my Nikon D5200 has a minimum shutter speed of 1 / 4000s, and Nikon D7000 - 1 / 8000s, and the old Nikon D1h and a new Nikon 1 J1 - 1 / 16.000s. Short shutter speeds are important when shooting very fast-moving subjects or when shooting on super fast lens in bright light. The difference in shutter speed is twice called stop (step). For example, the difference in shutter speeds of 1 / 20s and 1 / 80s is 2 steps (2 stops), or 4 times. How to achieve super short shutter speed on the camera you can read here.

Short exposure to catch a baby’s movement

Short exposure to catch a baby’s movement

There are also slow shutter speed. Usually, the limit in shutter speed on modern cameras is 30 or 60 seconds. For example, camera Nikon D3100, Canon 700D have the ability to get excerpts only up to 30 seconds. If you need a longer shutter speed, then there is excerpt "by hand", usually denoted as BULB (B)... In this mode, the first press of the shutter button opens the shutter, and the second press closes the shutter. In this way, very slow shutter speeds can be achieved. Typically, slow shutter speeds are taken using the remote control or camera cable from a tripod or stationary surface. The photo below was taken on Nikon D90 and remote control ML-L3 with a shutter speed of 1/13 s. Slow shutter speeds can be used to create unusual visual effects, for example, when shooting moving cars at night, or using light pen.

One Thirteen Second Shutter Speed

One thirteen second long exposure. Fog photography

Flash sync

There is one serious problem for short exposures... When using a camera with a flash, due to the specifics of the shutter operation, the camera cannot synchronize the flash and fast shutter speed. Synchronize means giving a flash of light and opening the shutter at the same time. Therefore, you can check that usually a camera with a built-in flash takes photos only at shutter speeds up to 1/200 s. This excerpt is called X-sync shutter speed. Some amateur cameras can sync with the flash up to 1/500 s - for example, Nikon D40, Nikon D70s.

Attention: no built-in flash, no camera can work with very fast shutter speeds. Another important note - when shooting with flash in really bad lighting conditions, some cameras will automatically set shutter speed to 1 / 60sas in the example below.

The picture was taken using 2 flashes. Automatics took a shutter speed standard in one sixtieth

The picture was taken using 2 flashes. Automatics took a shutter speed standard in one sixtieth

To use the camera with a fast shutter speed and flash, you need to use external flashes. In order for everything to work, you need to camera and flash supported fast sync mode. In quick sync mode, you can shoot with the flash at any shutter speed - from 30 seconds to 1/8000 s. Why do I need a flash with short exposures, you can read in my article 'How to take flash photography during the day'. Below is a snapshot in flash sync mode.

Photo using an SB-900 external flash. Shutter speed is very short, shot in FP mode - fast synchronization

Photo using external flash SB-900. Shutter speed is very short, shot in FP mode - fast synchronization

Exposure is very important when shooting handheld. When shooting with your hands, you always need to remember the shutter speed in order to get a sharp and blurry frame. How best take off you can also read in the section “how to remove from hands“. The shutter speed, aperture and ISO values ​​are interconnected; when you change one of them, one or two of the others will change.

Comments on this post do not require registration. Anyone can leave a comment. Many different photographic equipment can be found on AliExpress.com.

Very short shutter speed

Very short shutter speed


Exposure is time. In different situations, the camera needs a different time to take a picture. Exposure usually varies in fractions of a second. Shutter speed and aperture are the main parameters in photography. I highly recommend conducting your own experiments and tests.

Material prepared Arkady Shapoval. Training/Consultations | Youtube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Telegram

Add a comment: Vitaly N



Comments: 227, on the topic: What is excerpt

  • Subject

    Tell Pavel, what if you can’t stand it, is it bad or good?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      I will not interfere in the conversation, but where is Paul here?

      • Subject

        recognized, sorry) Who knows, answer the question

        • Arkady Shapoval

          If there is no shutter speed in the menu of the camera / phone, etc., then there is nothing to worry about, simply on such devices the automation does not allow you to control this parameter, and the shutter speed always sets automatically.

          • Subject

            Thank you)

  • Olga

    But how do you know when a shutter speed is needed? Is there an example table for different situations with approximate recommended extracts or is it all by trial and experience? Thank!

  • Veronica

    I am writing about this project A little exposure in the frame will appear a ghost!

  • Olga

    Composite photo, top (sky) shot with 3 hours exposure


  • Boris

    Good evening, Arkady!
    Thank you so much for your painstaking educational work! Please advise the beginner what kind of lighting and fixtures are required for photographing silk scarves and shawls.
    In stock:
    1. Nikon D90;
    2. Black, white, gray backgrounds on a square tablet;
    3. Two self-made lamps on building tripods with energy-saving lamps (2 pcs each);
    4. Lack of experience in photography;
    5. The presence of a great desire to learn;
    6. I am thinking of buying a Nikon Speedlight SB-700.
    Compositions as such are not. There is a mannequin (sewing, black, covered with fabric), one (!) Scarf or shawl is wound around it, wrapped in drapery. That, in fact, is the whole composition. In those pictures that I took before, it was very difficult to convey the nuances of color, and this is very important for me, since the pictures are for the online store. Do not consider it work, go to http://www.shelkovica.com.ua and appreciate my efforts with a professional look.
    Sorry for the long post, tried to squeeze all the questions. Thank you in advance for your reply.
    Regards, Boris.

    • Svetlana

      I had experience shooting goods, I can give a couple of tips. On many photos on your site, white appears gray. Open the aperture wider, or a faster shutter speed. Well, or a flash will help. So that the white color is really white. You can also manually set the white balance, read the instructions on the camera how. In general, your potential buyers see photos from their monitors that are not configured exactly like yours. And their colors are displayed in each one a little bit differently, with this you will not do anything.

  • Tanya

    Please tell me, on the Nikon D7000 in BULB mode (by hand), you need to press the shutter button and the shutter opens, if you release the shutter it closes, is there another way to set the shutter speed to more than 30 seconds?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Yes there is. Use the ml-l3 type remote control.

  • Narine

    Hello Arkady, yesterday I bought myself a Nikon D5200 I wanted to pay but I was discouraged as there was nothing for the beginner. So, can you tell me how to make the best settings for me? And about the shutter speed: as I understand it, when you press the shutter-release button not fully and hold the time? Or is it another?

    • Eugene

      This is completely different ... To begin with, I would recommend you carefully, slowly and thoughtfully read the instructions for the camera and read this article again. It seems to me that you did not do this, because if after reading this article you ask such questions, then, to be honest, I even find it difficult to advise you. No offense, the beginner himself.
      Special thanks to Arkady for his easy-to-read articles help to bring the "information chaos" in the head a little into a more structured system of the basic principles of photography and gradually put it into practice.

  • Tanya

    Tell me please! I have Fuji s2000hd ... is it better to throw it away or is it still possible to learn how to shoot them well? in the dark, I don't take it with me at all, because the flash lights up the faces madly!
    I think to change the camera. but the SLR is very bulky, advise a good digital camera, please!

  • Sergei

    I'm trying to do everything similar, but it doesn’t work out, I have a samsung nx 1000, this photo was taken on the same, but what settings? tripod + shutter speed about 1/30? I can’t get a person, it’s blurred

    • Nicholas

      I think the exposure here can be longer than 1/5 sec and with a tripod

  • Sergei

    forgot link http://cs406523.vk.me/v406523247/32c5/ztt_TdwxWAc.jpg

  • Magdalena

    Good day! I'm still a complete layman, the Canon ixus 110 camera and the Panasonic XDC TM900 camcorder I have recently appeared.
    I want to take a photo of my jumping dog. After reading here, I realized that for this you need to set a short shutter speed, but I can't find where to do it. Please tell the blonde ...

  • Tanya

    Good afternoon, Arkady!
    I would be grateful if you could help with this question: for some reason, when I try to photograph the falling drops of water (or something else) and select a shutter speed of 1/4000 s, as a result there is no image, just a black frame (with or without flash). What am I doing wrong? And why after that I have a minimum exposure value of only 1/200? 1/300, for example, I can’t use already. Everything returns to normal after turning off and a certain interruption in the camera’s work.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      At 1 / 4000s, there is not enough light for proper exposure, try raising the ISO and opening the aperture. 1 / 200s is the limitation when the flash is on.

      • Tatyana

        Thank you. I did as you said. Indeed, there is not enough light. With ISO 1600 and an open aperture, nothing happens either. The message “too dark object” appears on the display. The image appears only at a shutter speed of 1 \ 200, and then, as in the dark. Nikon D3000 camera.

      • Nicholas

        Nikon D3100 also has a freehand mode, but you need to press and hold the button ..

      • Paul

        Arkady, good afternoon. I also have a sore question for you. I have a Zenit 12s camera with Helios 44M and Tair 3s lenses. I'm going to buy a “Sony A57”. Can these lenses be used with this camera?

  • Aigul

    Hello! I have nikon d90 whale. The photos are hazy, this was not the case before. Maybe she pressed some button? Help…….

    • Mik

      cancel all settings, go to the factory ..

  • Tess

    Excellent article !!! Thank you so much! I've learned something new.

  • Nicholas

    Good day to all. Today I noticed such a moment that the exposure time set on the camera fluctuates in a small range (with shutter speeds of more than 5 seconds). Just the remote control on the cord counts the time and the shutter click does not always correspond to the set shutter speed. The error with long exposures (more than 5 seconds) is obtained approximately + -0.5 seconds. Is this normal, or is the camera defective?

  • young

    hi bought myself d5200 love it, every day I learn more and more! a little not clear at the expense of exposure ... like I'm doing everything right the photo is sometimes clear sometimes not! maybe I am holding the wrong technique?

  • Alain

    What kind of lens did photos take in nature? (girls and couples?)

  • Olesya

    Thank you for the article. Very clearly written. I’m learning the basics on my own, I have already read several articles about endurance and could not find a way to change it on my camera. Nowhere did they write that this is TV, just))

  • RUSova

    Ohhhh, very cool written, available for a newbie like me :-)

  • Margaret

    Thank you very much! Everything is clear the first time and very interesting. I am studying at a photography school. Lesson 3 gave a practical task, without explaining what shutter speed and aperture are ... A professional defect. They probably think that it is understandable. It's funny.

  • sasha

    How to blow a flashlight drawing on a soni cyber shot?

  • Mary

    Great site !!! I learned something very new for myself and interesting. Everything is written easily and clearly. I read in one breath. Thank you very much for such necessary information.

  • Misha

    Hello, I have a Canon Powerschot sx50, exposure on it is 15 seconds. Can I use the remote control to enlarge it?

  • professional wedding photographer

    Dear blog author, are you by any chance not from Moscow?

    • Arkady Shapoval


  • Yuriy

    Good day! First of all, thanks for such a wonderful site. Very interesting and understandable :) And now the question. What does the x200 shutter speed mean for the Nikon D600? This position is after BULB. As I understand it, this exposure position is the same as 1/200. But what is the difference? By the way, in the D7100 model there is x250 position. Apparently this is directly related to the synchronization of the flash. But why do hotel position in x200 or x250 exposure, I can not understand. :(
    Thank you in advance for your reply.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      This is the minimum sync speed, it is different for different cameras, sometimes it’s convenient to use the X shutter speed so that a different shutter speed is not set accidentally, and the photographer knew that he uses the shortest shutter speed when shooting with the flash.

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