When is it safe to use the silent shutter?

Kit Lens Jockey

EOS 7D MK II
Nov 12, 2016
440
140
I've messed around with the silent shutter function on the EOS R just a little bit, essentially just long enough to notice pretty serious banding it introduces a lot of the time. So I'm wondering, when is it even safe to use the silent shutter? It seems like the only time would be in completely natural daylight. Most of the artificial light sources we use now (LEDs or fluorescent) seem to cause banding with the electronic shutter. Would faster or slower shutter speeds mitigate it? I'm normally at about 1/100sec. when it happens.

I really hope we get past this point of having mirrorless cameras with non-global shutters soon, because frankly these current electronic shutters are kind of crap. :mad:
 

Act444

EOS 6D MK II
May 4, 2011
948
65
When I tested the silent feature in-store, I didn’t notice anything significant in the RAW files...couldn’t tell a difference between them and the other shots...are you trying to push your files in post?
 

Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012
7,747
976
Canada
When I tested the silent feature in-store, I didn’t notice anything significant in the RAW files...couldn’t tell a difference between them and the other shots...are you trying to push your files in post?
A lot is going to depend on which lighting you are under.... Old fluorescent lights flicker at 120hz (rarely at 60hz) and newer ones can be 480hz or higher....
 

Kit Lens Jockey

EOS 7D MK II
Nov 12, 2016
440
140
This is not something minor enough that you have to examine your files closely in post, or push the exposure way up. This is really apparent, like photo-ruining apparent. I'm pretty sure the lighting I was under was some type of LED lighting, which I think is normally driven through pulsewidth modulation, which would cause the banding.

The Sony A7 III I used to use also did it really badly under outdoor LED string lights, like these ones...

https://www.amazon.com/BRTLX-Commercial-Weatherproof-Filament-Courtyard/dp/B07518FCKV/
 

Kit Lens Jockey

EOS 7D MK II
Nov 12, 2016
440
140
It does, but as I understand it anti-flicker is used to prevent possible flicker issues that may arise even when using the mechanical shutter.

I don't believe it has any effect on the electronic shutter. That is just a product of the way the sensor reads out and the fact that it is not an instantaneous thing.
 
Reactions: Viggo

SereneSpeed

EOS T7i
Feb 1, 2016
75
22
So if you shoot under lights flickering at 480Hz, if you shoot at 1/500th, the banding shouldn’t be visible?

...Asking out of curiosity- not suggesting a solution.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,106
444
I shot a series of photos just now under artificial lighting, I have led lights that are 4 ft fluorescent tubes. Shots from 1/50 sec to 1/3200 sec but see no banding.

Its very possible that your led lighting is causing the issue, but I'd check out the situation and try to duplicate it so you can exchange the camera if there is a issue.

For still subjects, it worked well, absolutely no sound. At first, I wasn't sure I had captured a photo.
 

Kit Lens Jockey

EOS 7D MK II
Nov 12, 2016
440
140
Here is a 100% crop straight from the camera (converted from RAW but no adjustments.)

Pretty nasty banding under whatever kind of stage lights those were, pretty sure some type of LEDs.
 

Attachments

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,106
444
That looks bad, it seems unlikely that you were using a high shutter speed, I looked again at light, dark, and intermediate lit areas in my photos at 100% but saw nothing like that. The ISO's of the photos went up to 40,000 at the high shutter speeds, so I saw lots of noise but no bands.

Then, to be sure, I took another series with and without silent shooting using a plain white wall. The images were identical, underexposed as normal for a white scene, lots of noise with everything set to zero, but no banding. This was with a different lens, a 50mm f/2.8 macro.

I did find a lot of motion blue at slow shutter speeds even though I thought I was still. It was apparent in both sets. I normally use 1/4X shutter speed so I don't see that. I wonder if its the ergonomics of the R that make it more difficult for me to hold the camera very still. I was in servo mode which didn't help.
 

Kit Lens Jockey

EOS 7D MK II
Nov 12, 2016
440
140
Just an update, I discovered banding in a few photos with the shutter set to silent LV mode 1. (This is effectively the electronic first curtain setting as I understand it.) It was almost unnoticeable, but if I had two photos of the same scene in quick succession, I noticed wide, dark bands changing the exposure in some areas that were different in the adjacent photo. Again, the bands are wide and subtle enough that you probably wouldn't notice them unless you looked at two similar photos one after the other, but they're there.

This happened with LED lights on a dimmer switch when the dimmer was set to very dim.

This is really disheartening as I thought I'd be safe as long as I wasn't using the fully electronic shutter. Perhaps the only way to truly be safe is to use the fully mechanical shutter? And by that I mean, turn off even electronic first curtain.

I really hope camera manufacturers figure out global electronic shutters for these mirrorless cameras soon. This is really ruining some of my photos.
 

Viggo

EOS 5D SR
Dec 13, 2010
3,810
368
LED lights are the worst offender, but other artificial light sources may cause this also.

It’s the nature of full or half electronic shutters, worse with fully electronic.

There are also a number of other problems with electronic first curtain etc, like the horrible bokeh or sort of motion blur artifacts, more dof etc.

To me, electronic shutters in any shape or form is useless, absolutely useless. And the fact that the R has Mode 1 silent LV as default is ridiculous ....
 
Reactions: caMARYnon

Kit Lens Jockey

EOS 7D MK II
Nov 12, 2016
440
140
Well, in theory they'll be fine once these cameras get a shutter in them that reads out in one instant as opposed to what we're dealing with now. But I guess the technology isn't there yet, at least at this price point.
 

JoTomOz

I'm New Here
Nov 21, 2018
20
9
To me this issue is just unacceptable. Bought the R not fully educated on mirrorless tech, so not aware of the possibility of this issue given other manufacturers also have this issue to varying degrees- but I read the manual before buying and it does not mention anything about certain light sources presenting issues! Under one light source I got 6 or so very dark bars running through my photos! At 1/250th a second.

This seems to me like canon just wanting to milk the most out of a new feature, so not wanting to be up front with its limitations. I expected more from them.
 

Kit Lens Jockey

EOS 7D MK II
Nov 12, 2016
440
140
To be fair, all mirrorless still cameras that I know of have this same issue when using their electronic or semi-electronic shutter. I wouldn't blame Canon for it any more than I would any other camera maker.

When I briefly used a Sony A7 III, it did this just as bad.

I feel like we're kind of in an awkward spot with mirrorless camera technology right now... The technology is there to have a completely electronic shutter, but the sensor readouts are not fast enough to produce a clean photo under some lighting conditions. This should be fixed when the technology progresses to the point where it's easy to have a sensor that reads out all at once, but no one has gotten to this point yet, at least cheaply enough to put into a consumer camera.

So for now, when in doubt, use a fully mechanical shutter, regardless of who's camera you're using.