Frame Rate & Shutter Speed Explained

I often get asked, “What’s the difference between frame rate and shutter speed?”

Frame rate is the number of still pictures that are taken in 1 second.  So 24p means 24 frames (or still images) are taken each second.  30p means 30 frames per second, and 60p is 60 frames each second.  When you play those still frames in real time, it creates a moving picture.  This method of creating moving pictures has been around for more than 2,000 years, although the technology to capture it has greatly improved.

Shutter speed is the literally the amount of time the shutter stays open between each frame capture.  Why is this important?  Because the amount of time the shutter is open affects the amount of light each frame is exposed to.

Slower shutter speed = more light but more motion blur. Brighter image.

Faster shutter speed = less light and less motion blur.  Darker image

When shooting in a very dark setting I might take my shutter speed down to around 1/30, but usually not any lower unless I’m shooting something that is very still, since there will be noticeable motion blur at a speed slower than this.

Under normal shooting conditions I tend to keep my shutter speed around 1/60 – 1/90.  Sometimes I’ll go a bit faster depending on how bright it is outside and if I want to keep my iris open pretty wide.

But that’s it, plain and simple!

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