Iliah Borg’s comment to one of yesterday’s posts got me thinking. After saying that a firmware fix for the a7R’s shutter slap didn’t look likely, he made a passing remark: “Maybe this type of camera needs a leaf shutter.” The more I think about it, the better the idea sounds.
Leaf shutters are quiet. Leaf shutters don’t shake the camera much. Leaf shutters have high strobe synch speeds.
On the other hand, leaf shutters on interchangeable lens cameras are expensive, since every lens needs a shutter. Leaf shutters don’t usually allow shutter speeds faster than 1/500, or maybe 1/800, second. In the Sony RX-1, that goes up to 1/2000, and even faster for small f-stops.
Fortunately, we don’t have to choose. There are examples in history of cameras that allow both. The Speed Graphic is one. It differed from the less expensive Crown Graphic in that it had a focal plane shutter. However, every lens that I ever used on mine had a leaf shutter. To use the lens’ lead shutter, you opened the focal plane shutter and left it that way. To use the focal plane shutter, you opened the leaf shutter and worked through an arcane table that told you what shutter speeds resulted from a combination of spring tension and slit width.
Starting with the 2000FC in 1977, and continuing until 2005, Hasselblad produced a line of cameras with focal plane shutters that could use lenses with internal leaf shutters or shutterless lenses (the 202FA was an exception; it could use the leaf-shutter lenses, but rendered their shutters inoperative).
Leaf shutters are even a better idea on mirrorless cameras than they were on SLRs. Without the mirror, there’s nothing in the camera body that has to move at all to make an exposure if the shutter’s in the lens.
So, all you camera manufacturers, think about allowing lenses with shutters in them, not as the only choice, but as an alternative for those who care about the advantages of leaf shutters.
Alternatively, hurry up with all-electronic shutters so that we can get rid of vibration entirely.