Oh yes, can it be? A silent digital shutter at last?

Written by Gary on February 11th, 2010

I have still kept my Olympus C8080 digital for one reason – its silent digital shutter.

A silent shutter is extremely handy when taking photos at weddings, conferences, art galleries, and classical music concerts of your kids so that you do not distract everyone else, and you do not add unwanted camera noises to videos being shot by other people.

High end dSLR’s market a “silent” mode – but this is no where near silent but just allows delay in dropping the mirror back down.

Micro Four Thirds cameras have reduced shutter noise by not having a mirror flopping up and down but current ones still have a mechanical shutter which is still a bit noisy and can be distracting in silent situations and can still draw everyone’s attention to you.

Current digital shutters have the problem of all current dSLRs in video mode – a rolling shutter effect which causes moving objects to appear slanted, arising from the fact that data from the sensor is read line by line.

But if this blog is correct, we should be seeing a truly silent digital shutter with zero rolling shutter effect coming in the next 1080p HD video enabled Panasonic Micro Four Thirds camera – the GH2 – which presumably will be announced this year.

Such a shutter will read the whole sensor instantaneously but at a cost of power consumption and heat – these adverse effects would make such a shutter a big problem on a large sensor such as a full frame dSLR sensor, but much less of an issue on a smaller sensor such as a Micro Four Thirds sensor as one would simplistically expect both power consumption and heat build up to be proportional to the area, and M43 sensor area is one quarter that of a full frame sensor.

If the GH-2 has such a digital shutter with zero rolling effect and silent shutter for still images, and adds the expected 24fps, 25fps, and 30fps at 1080p, and at 25mbps, then it will be an absolutely awesome camera which will blow away any dSLR camera including Canon or Nikon dSLRs in terms of video usability and video image quality, although it may still have some more noise at high ISO as would be expected.

And of course, with the GH-1, it will be the ONLY dSLR-like cameras that can do continuous AF with a silent AF lens and step-less aperture.

Now if only they would add an in-body image stabiliser and improve the flash capabilities – perhaps the digital shutter will allow a much faster flash sync as I would expect it could?

What a great time to be a videographer and a photographer!

Start saving up!!


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