Sunday, September 6, 2015

Electronic shutter: advantages and disadvantages

I got an Olympus OM-D E-M10II a couple of days ago and have been checking it out.  Today I tried out the new electronic shutter.  My E-M10 and E-M5 don't have it so it was my first time to use one.  I know that the E-M5II has it and some Panasonic bodies also have it though.  Here are important points concerning an electronic shutter:

  • totally silent
  • no shutter shock (Olympus has anti-shock 0 for mechanical shutters also)
  • no mechanical wear and tear
  • higher shutter speeds possible
  • can cause banding when there is fluorescent lighting
  • can cause rolling shutter problem for rapidly moving subjects
  • Panasonic GH4 and some other Panasonic bodies switch to 10-bits with electronic shutter, but 12-bits for mechanical shutter -- Olympus uses 12-bits for both electronic and mechanical shutter
Actually, I am sort of neutral on the totally silent advantage.  For my shooting, the OM-D mechanical shutters seem quiet enough.  I see that people who shoot theater and similar things would really welcome totally silent operation though.  So much easier and cheaper than using one of those camera blimps.  For street photography I have never seen where total silence was important.  I have done a lot of it over the years using DSLRs that were much noisier than my E-M10 and E-M5 and had absolutely no problems.  Also, on the street there is usually enough ambient noise that almost no one hears a shutter, especially the quiet one in the E-M5.  I suppose upskirt photographers though highly value a totally silent shutter, but is m4/3 really the best choice for that type of photography anyway? :-)