How do shutters work when recording video in DSLRs?

video recording
by MACSD

Question by Charly: How do shutters work when recording video in DSLRs?
I checked out the tech specs for the Canon 5D Mark II and saw that the amount of guaranteed shutter cycles is only about 300,000, meaning, I assume, that the mechanical shutter is only guaranteed to take about 300,000 photos, right?

But then what happens when it is recording video? At a 30 frames per second standard NTSC video, then that means after only about 2 hours of shooting, the camera would have already gone through hundreds of thousands of shutter cycles. So what am I missing? Since there has to be a shutter speed to record video, then the shutter has to move, it can’t just stay open the whole time, right? If it can, then that would solve the problem of going though its shutter cycles in only a few hours, but then why is a physical shutter not needed to record video, but it is needed to take a photo?

Best answer:

Answer by MixedMojo
The sensor operates in live view during DSLR video recording. The cameras shutter remains open and does not actuate in the way you’re thinking it does. The video fps is accomplished by what is known as “rolling shutter”, which energizes the sensor from one end, to the other, in a scanning motion much like a CRT television scans each line very quickly (so quickly, at 30 fps your eyes can’t discern the scanning), which does not require a physical shutter to open and close. This is why manufacturers warn in the owner’s manual that the camera will become hot after prolonged video recording and may overheat and shut down. The sensor is basically on the whole time, which generates heat. So FYI, a DSLR is not the best thing to use for video recording. I’ve said it many times here, in many answers before yours. HDSLR video is a fad, an unimportant feature thrown in new cameras to get people to buy the camera. A DSLR’s form factor is not ideal for serious videography, although many “photographers” would claim that it is a function which should merit some form of respect. I regard those photographers as bozos. There is no way. Still shooters don’t do video, never have, never will.

Do what you want. But know that DSLR’s have inherent flaws in the video capability which do not lend them to be adept at it. Yes, even $ 3000 DSLR’s can’t do it better than a $ 3000 video camera. But a video camera can’t operate like a DSLR. So if you favor video, stick to a video camera. If you favor still photography, stick to a DSLR. If you like both, prepare to part with more of your money.

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