Camera mirrors are gone – are mechanical shutters next? It’s all good, right?

There is a saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and it seems true that every advance in camera design seems to make perfect sense. Mirrorless cameras are perhaps the single biggest example, a breakthrough that made cameras smaller and simpler and allowed a single AF system for both viewfinder and live view shooting.

And mechanical shutters will almost certainly be next. After all, why use physical shutter blinds when you can simply ‘read’ a sensor electronically? Many cameras now offer both mechanical and electronic shutter modes, with much higher ‘shutter speeds’ with the latter. Some cameras have dropped the mechanical shutter altogether, notably the Sigma fp and fp L, and for video shooters electronic shutters are a fact of life – you can’t have a mechanical shutter crashing up and down 30, 60 or even 240 times a second.

Sony’s ground-breaking sensor tech and readout speeds have almost eliminated shutter distortion (rolling shutter) in its electronic shutter. Lesser cameras aren’t so lucky. (Image credit: Future/Sony)

So why haven’t electronic shutters taken over?

Steve Liem

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