Can anything be done to reduce the shutter sound on my SLR?

  • I know there's lots of talk around here about 'noise' levels in photographs, but what about the actual sound that the shutter makes on an SLR? Is there anyway to silence it a bit, or is it just a reality that we have to deal with?

    I currently have a Nikon D90 and find that in quieter settings (like a church) the noise from the shutter can be a bit distracting to people around me (i haven't had anyone mention it, but I'm guessing it's apparent). Do higher-end models have quieter functioning modes, perhaps?

    ...but it's such a beautiful sound! :-(

    you should hear the Canon xxxD/Rebel series - like a cartoon.

    The Nikon D7000 is relatively quiet, but the D700, 800, 600 etc are *loud*. I don't know why this isn't a high priority to Nikon as it is very annoying when photographing acoustic music, theatre, etc. from the front of the stage. I have been scolded by performers and audiences many times. The so called 'quiet mode' is not quiet but actually has a double sound making it almost worse.

    If you want a sound that even makes pro photographers a bit wet... get an old hasselblad :-)

    The loudest sound in a DSLR camera is probably not the shutter but the mirror moving up and down, called "mirrorslap".

    The shutter sound is the reason I am staying away from SLRs (listen to them on youtube, some sound like machine guns). I have a Lumix G5 (mirrorless) that makes zero sound. It's fantastic when photographing (shy) animals with telezoom or taking pictures with people around that are filming, for instance.

  • Guffa

    Guffa Correct answer

    11 years ago

    Most of the noise is actually not the shutter, but the mirror folding up.

    My camera actually have two different ways of reducing this noise somewhat:

    • It has a "quiet" mode, that lets you fold up the mirror and take the picture in two separate actions. Although that doesn't make less noise, you can separate the louder noise of the mirror foldup from the moment of taking the picture.

    • You can use live view for taking pictures. That folds up the mirror, opens the shutter and shows the image on the LCD screen. When you take an image the shutter closes, then acts normally for taking the image, then opens again for live view.

    On some Canon DSLRs, the Live View trick requires one of the 'Silent Shooting' modes to be enabled (if disabled, it still flips the mirror up/down for exposure metering, rather than using the imaging sensor).

    Pay attention to the fact that live view exposes the sensor for a long time, increasing the long exposure noise as the sensor warms up :)

    @AlberT: Good point. Each method of course have drawbacks, like that with the first method the viewfinder goes black once you have folded up the mirror, and with the second method autofocus is a lot slower.

    I hadn't thought about using the liveview in that way - thanks for the suggestion

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