Shutter Priority Mode: S

2nd April 2021

Shutter Speed refers to the amount of time that a camera’s sensor is exposed to light. Light hits the sensor once the shutter is open which creates the photograph. The shutter speed determines how long the sensor in a camera is exposed to light, a fast shutter speed exposes the sensor to light for a short time, while a slow shutter speed means that the sensor is exposed to light for a longer period of time.

In film photography, shutter speed is the length of time that the film is exposed to the scene you’re photographing. Similarly, in digital photography, shutter speed is the length of time that your image sensor “sees” the scene you’re attempting to capture.

A fast shutter speed = freezes movement

A slow shutter speed = blur depending on how fast the subject is moving

Shutter Priority Mode

Using the shutter priority mode enables the photographer to control two aspects of the exposure, the shutter and ISO, as well as controlling the amount of movement that is present within each image.

On my Panasonic GH5 to set the aperture value I set the mode dial on top of the camera to S and then choose the shutter value by rotating the rear dial. Panasonic Owner’s Manual (accessed 22.04.21).

Fig. 1 Panasonic Owner’s Manual for Advanced Features: DC-GH5S, p.72

The diagrams below have helped me to visually understand how shutter times effect exposure and image outcomes.

Fig. 2 Shutter speed diagrams
Fig. 3 Shutter speed time table


Fig. 1 Panasonic illustration of instructions for camera shutter-priority mode (nd) [manual screenshot] At: (Accessed 02.04.21).

Fig. 2 Rodriguez-Martinez, S. Shutter speed diagrams (nd) [Website screenshot] At: (Accessed 02.04.21)

Fig. 3 Rodriguez-Martinez, S. Shutter speed table (nd) [Website screenshot] At: (Accessed 02.04.21)

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