Extreme Shutter Speed: How to Use the 1/8000 Shutter Speed

Extreme Shutter Speed: How to Use the 1/8000 Shutter Speed
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Extreme Shutter Speed

Shutter speed deals with the period of time that the shutter remains open for exposure in both film and digital photography, and this has a very detailed effect on the image that you end up with. The goal of digital photography is often to capture images as they appear to the photographer, but you may want to stray from that and actually see something in a way that was impossible for the naked eye. Using more extreme shutter speeds can help to do this because they will actually present an image in a fashion that could not appear in the way that our eyes normally see the world. With slow shutter speeds, such as those far below the 1/60 shutter speed, you can actually end up capturing a motion blur as the objects in front of the camera move. With extreme shutter speeds on the other end you will actually end up capturing objects that are in motion perfectly still, which is not something that we can normally see. The 1/8000 shutter speed is one of these extreme shutter speeds that closes the shutter so quickly that you can pick out a single still image from moving objects.

Why Use 1/8000

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The 1/8000 shutter speed is one of the more discussed of the extreme shutter speeds because it was considered the highest shutter speed that an SLR camera could have, but now some DSLR cameras can go up to a 1/16000 shutter speed. With the 1/8000 shutter speed you are intended to get very fast motion of objects, such as incredibly fast animals that you would not be able to get a clear image of while they are in motion. This actually makes the 1/8000 shutter speed incredibly useful, but only for a very small niche. Regular fast motion, such as a car driving, is not going to need anything close to this.


The 1/8000 shutter speed is rarely used, and the main reason for this is that it is incredibly hard to light. The 1/8000 shutter speed is such a fast shutter speed that it actually lets in barely any light, so the image is incredibly dark. If you are going to use it on an image you will have to be working in incredibly bright situations, and since you will not be able to do this in a controlled setting because the object you are moving is going to quickly, you will have to try to find natural lighting situations that are incredibly intense. Beyond this you will have to set your ISO to 1,000, at the very least. The iris will also have to be negotiated and wide angles must be used, which may be difficult if you are trying to photograph objects that are also very far away with telephoto lenses. All of these elements together create a very unique and specific set of circumstances that must take place for the 1/8000 shutter speed to be of any use.

This post is part of the series: Shutter Speed

Here is a series of articles on different types of shutter speeds in digital photography.

  1. 1/8000 Shutter Speed
  2. 1/60 Shutter Speed
  3. 1/500 Shutter Speed
  4. So What Can a Fast Shutter Speed Achieve in Photography?
  5. 1/1000 Shutter Speed