How a camera shutter works

Matthew James Oxlade
Updated on

Ever wonder how a camera shutter works? You press the button and it all ‘just works’, right? Yes and no. Since lenses are fitted to our camera bodies when we’re shooting, we never see just what happens with our camera shutter when we press the button.

How a camera shutter works video

Your shutter is the gateway between the light and your sensor. The longer it remains open, the more light flows through. The shutter is extremely fragile, and equally as important. Never touch the shutter with your finger – but that should just be a general rule in photography. When the shutter is open for a long period of time, any movement will be blurred, but may be necessary to have enough light fall on your sensor to exposure the photograph. The exposure triangle will help you understand the tradeoff for a fast shutter speed in low light conditions to help escape that blur.

The team over at Slow Mo Guys uploaded a super interesting video showing what exactly happens when you press the button and hear a click. It makes you realise that the thousands you spent on a camera was justified for such a complex mechanic!