Shutter speed refers to the amount of time the shutter is open inside your camera when you are snapping a photo. Shutter speed is measured in seconds and it greatly affects the image results. Numbers like 1/2, 1/250, 1/50, 1/60, 1/500, 2”, on the camera’s display screen tells you how fast or for how long the shutter is open and closed. A well-exposed photo will have faster shutter speed to give it clarity and sharpness, whereas a low-light photo will have a long shutter speed to enable more light into the camera.
Shutter speed is part of the exposure triangle. In the exposure triangle settings you will find ISO, aperture, and shutter speed.
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ISO is the setting that adjusts the light sensitivity of the image sensor in your digital single lens reflex camera(DSLR). The lower the ISO setting(e.g ISO 100) the more sensitive your camera is to light and the sharper the image results. In environments that are darker, you have to raise the ISO (e.g ISO 2800) and set the other two elements of the exposure triangle in accordance.
The aperture, also referred to as the f-stop, is the most important element to master on your DSLR. knowing how the aperture or f-stop works will give you the power to control the depth of field on your photos.
Shooting in a semi-automatic mode called aperture priority, here the camera lets you choose the f-stop and then decides the shutter speed and ISO that best fits the photo.
DSLR cameras and some point-and-shoot cameras use this same basic technology when it comes to taking photographs; aperture, shutter speed, and ISO can be found in these cameras. Even though the settings may differ.
To change a camera’s shutter speed, you will have to be in manual or one of the semi-automatic modes in order to change the camera’s shutter speed. The semi-automatic mode allows you to only adjust the shutter speed in shutter priority mode.
How to Change the Shutter Speed Settings on Camera
To change the camera’s shutter speed, you have to put your camera into manual mode to change the shutter speed. The shutter speed priority mode works in Nikon too, you can use it.
The dial or arrows on your camera helps you adjust shutter speed . Move the dial left or right arrows depending on the shutter speeds you prefer. The shutter speed format is in 1/1000, 1/250, 1/30, 1/2, 1/4, etc. Turning the dials to the right will increase the shutter speed number because the higher the bottom number, the faster the shutter speed is. Turning to the left decreases the shutter speed.
Shutter speeds are usually measured in fractions of second. A shutter speed of 1/1000 means that the shutter is open for one one-thousandth fraction of a second.
When the shutter speed is high, the less time you leave it open and it means less exposure to light. higher shutter speeds are better for daytime photography, while lower shutter speeds are better for nighttime photos.
How to Change Shutter Speed on Nikon
Shutter speeds are commonly displayed in fractions, e.g. 1/250. On some Nikon models, 1/250 is shown as 250 in the viewfinder, which may be confusing. There’s a quotation mark that appears after the number when the speed is 1 second or more to serve as clear indication. For example, for two seconds it will appear like this: 2”.
- Turn the mode dial to M (Manual) or change to S (Shutter priority)
- Rotate the command dial to adjust the shutter speed.
- Turn the dial to the right hand side to increase shutter speed. The highest you can increase it to is 14000 secs.
- Turn the dial to the left to decrease the shutter speed, the least number is 30
Another alternative is to use the ‘S’ mode which is for shutter priority, changing this will result in the camera automatically adjusting the ISO and aperture to compensate changes in the shutter speed.
When to Change Your Shutter Speed
Shutter speed enables you to control how fast your camera absorbs light and images. A shutter speed of 1/1500 can help you achieve action shots where there is a fast-moving object and a still object in the same photo.
A blurry photo simply indicates that the shutter speed was wrong for that photo. There are other reasons why a photo may be blurry, it could be out of focus or a shallow depth of field, but many of the times the shutter speed is to blame.
To use long shutter speeds slower than 1/60 like 1/2 or 1/4; you will need a tripod to avoid camera shake. Camera shake results in blurry images because the hands are not steady.
When you change one setting in the exposure triangle, the ISO and f-number settings are invariably affected. A high shutter speed will raise the ISO. while a high ISO affects the f-number. This gives a balance to your image.
Tips: use a higher shutter speed than your lens focal length. if you are shooting with a 200mm lens focal length, your shutter speed needs to be above 1/200 so you can get better results.
while taking sports related photography, note that there are a lot of actions in live sports, you need a fast shutter speed as possible.
A shutter speed of 1/1000 is okay, but Nighttime or inside sports photography may require a raise in the ISO because the fast shutter speed does not allow enough light in.
For motion blur & action photos; use slow shutter speeds for motion/blur photography. Shutter speeds like 1/500 mean that a tripod is required to avoid camera shake. It is advisable to use a long shutter speed for as long as 30 seconds to a few minutes to achieve that blurry, soft waves that make a photo look creative and unique. you will have to limit the amount of light intake with a filter on your lens when taking such pictures.
Low light and nighttime photography usually requires longer shutter speeds and higher ISOs. you can start with an f/8 f-stop and a 10-second shutter speed and see how it goes.
These few tips will help you know how to change shutter speed on Nikon camera, and get that perfect photo.