An experienced photographer knows all too well the disturbance a shutter sound can make during a photoshoot. This is what has caused many people to start moving towards mirrorless cameras, but even these types of cameras still make some noise. But, why exactly do mirrorless cameras make noise?

Mirrorless cameras make noise due to the movement of a mechanical shutter going up to cover a sensor, then going back down once the picture has been captured, which allows the camera to save it. The shutter then moves up and down again to stop light exposure and move to the “reset” position.

It is clear that the sounds that come from mirrorless cameras are because of the shutters moving. Throughout the article, we will dig more into that, and even, electronic shutters.

Why Do Mirrorless Cameras Make Noise?

For anyone who is accustomed to using a DSLR, which means Digital Single Lens Reflex, they know exactly how noisy these types of cameras can be. The reason a DSLR is noisy is because of a mirror popping up then flipping back down, and also, the movement of the shutters.

Mirrorless cameras are not quite as noisy because they lack the mirror. Shocking discovery, I know. With that being said, mirrorless cameras are not completely silent. That is because they still have shutters that have to do their job in order to capture a perfect picture.

Instead of a mirror popping up out of the camera once the shutter button is pressed, the shutters will immediately begin controlling and recording the light that comes through the lens. The shutters first go up to cover the sensor that is recording all of the light.

The shutters will then move down so that the sensor can save the picture that it has been recording, and then move back up and down into a “reset” position so that the camera is ready to take another image.

So, as you can see, the sound of the shutters is why mirrorless cameras make noise.

Why Do Mirrorless Cameras Have Mechanical Shutters?

With all of the advances in technology, you may be wondering why there are still mechanical shutters in mirrorless cameras.

While technology is constantly advancing and becoming more efficient, the quality that mechanical shutters offer is like no other. You could choose the option of purchasing a mirrorless camera that has electronic shutters, but that would depend on the type of pictures you are interested in taking.

Mechanical shutters have the ability to capture moving objects perfectly because of the exposure that the sensor records all at one time. They also have more efficient flash synchronization speeds, which will allow for a better quality picture in just about any type of lighting.

What Types of Photography Are Mirrorless Cameras Best For?

While we are on the topic of being able to capture certain elements, here are the best types of photographs to take with a mirrorless camera that has mechanical shutters:

  • Any type of photography that involves tons of movement. Since mechanical shutters capture movement so well and far better than electronic shutters, then they are perfect for any pictures that involve lots of moving parts. This could include sporting events where athletes are constantly moving or photos of wild animals in their natural habitats.
  • Portraits: Mechanical shutters are best for portraits because of the flash synchronization speeds. The lighting in the photo will be more balanced, even if it is way off in person due to artificial lighting.
  • Night Photos: A mixture of both being able to capture movement and synchronize flashing speeds will allow for perfectly balanced photos no matter if there are flashing lights, tons of light, or neon lighting.

It is obvious why so many brand new cameras have mechanical shutters but are there mirrorless cameras with electronic shutters?

What About Electronic Shutters in Mirrorless Cameras?

Mirrorless cameras with electronic shutters seem to be more up-to-date than the mechanical shutters, and they allow you to take photos without making any noise at all.

The reason for that is because electronic shutters work a little bit differently. Instead of having shutter doors moving up and down and over the sensor, electronic shutters perform their duty by just turning the sensor switch on and off.

Aside from being able to take pictures without disturbing the objects that are being photographed, mirrorless cameras with electronic shutters also have a few other nice advantages.

Here are some those advantages of electronic shutters:

  • Electronic shutters allow you to continuously shoot photos without any time in between to reset the sensor.
  • In mirrorless cameras, the electronic shutter has the ability to prevent the viewfinder from going black.

There is a reason why not every camera comes with an electronic shutter. Most people find that they can allow for really great quality pictures, but there are a few disadvantages to using them.

Here are some the disadvantages of electronic shutters compared to mechanical shutters:

  • Electronic shutters have much slower flash synchronization speeds.
  • Rolling shutter is obvious is moving objects.
  • Electronic shutters do not take good quality pictures in bad lighting.

The noise that comes from mirrorless cameras is due to the movement of the shutter doing its job. If you have a mirrorless camera with electronic shutters, then your camera will likely make no noise at all, but you may be sacrificing amazing pictures.

Why Are Mirrorless Cameras Better?

If too much noise from a DSLR has been a big problem for you in the past, then you are probably already sold on the mirrorless camera and the little noise that it makes, but there are quite a few more advantages that come with using a mirrorless camera.

Here is why mirrorless cameras are an awesome choice:

  • They are less bulky. This makes it easier to carry and does not draw too much attention to yourself because they are smaller and less noticeable.
  • They come with extra features. Most mirrorless cameras come with lots of extras that make taking photos a breeze. Here are some of those features:
    • Focus Peaking – This feature allows you to see the areas that will be in focus in your shot before you take the picture.
    • Manual Focusing Guide – This feature will focus right in on what you're aiming to capture.
  • You will have fewer accessories to haul around. Mirrorless cameras typically do not have a ton of extra parts that you need to take along with you.
  • They allow you to preview your shot. Mirrorless cameras allow you to do this in real-time with the exposure and lighting already adjusted before you even take the picture.

Most photographers would agree that there are a lot of great things that come with using mirrorless cameras, and the noise issue is at the top of the list, even with mirrorless cameras that have mechanical shutters.

Conclusion

In conclusion, even though mirrorless cameras are significantly quieter than cameras with mirrors, they still make just a little bit of noise.

This is due to mechanical shutters moving up and down and over the sensor in order to take and save the picture to the camera. The shutter then moves back up and down so that way everything is set for you to take a new picture.

You can choose a mirrorless camera with electronic shutters, as well, and there will be no noise when you are trying to take those beautiful photos, but you may not get the great quality that you would with mechanical shutters. Either way, it all depends on the type of photos that you are interested in taking.

Essentially, Mechanical shutters are best with moving objects and artificial lighting, while electronic shutters are best for just casually snapping photos.