First Shutter Curtain / Rear (Second) Shutter Curtain

The synchronisation of the flash to the first or rear shutter curtain is noticeable when using slower shutter speeds and capturing moving subjects. This setting determines whether the camera flashes at the beginning of exposure period (first shutter curtain) or at the end of the exposure period (rear shutter curtain). For immobile subjects this has no effect on the image result. However, for moving subjects the difference can be crucial.

If the subject moves during exposure, the subject appears blurry in the image. If an electronic flash is used, it provides more light for a short moment during exposure. The moving object in the photo is brought into sharp focus during that short moment. Depending on shutter speed and synchronization of the first or rear shutter curtain, there are visible stripes in the direction of motion in front or behind the object.

If the stripes and the blurring effect are behind the object, this the customary and accepted way motion is captured in images. To achieve this, the rear shutter sync must be used. A first shutter sync places the stripes caused by motion in front of the image subject. Many people find this strange and unnatural. The camera can be set to flash on the first or rear shutter sync in the camera’s flash settings (especially on SLR cameras) or basic settings. Tip – Try out both types of synchronisation for yourself.

Beispielfoto Langzeitsynchronisation auf den zweiten Verschlussvorhang

Additional information and inspiration for slow shutter sync can be found here Photo tip "Slow shutter synchronisation"

 

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