Shutter speed is the length of time that the camera shutter is open. Find out which camera has the fastest shutter speed to freeze movement.
Fast shutter speeds are used to freeze movement. The quicker the camera shutter opens and closes, the sharper the image will be, along with less motion blur.
Whether you’re photographing sports, wildlife, or cars, fast shutter speeds are required for sharp images.
Find out which camera has the fastest shutter speed, along with other excellent runner-up options.
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Canon EOS R3 has the fastest shutter speed
The Canon EOS R3 was released in September 2021 and offers the fastest shutter speed among digital cameras.
Canon’s EOS R3 is a full-frame mirrorless camera that can shoot at 1/64,000th of a second with its electronic shutter and in manual or shutter priority mode.
Using the mechanical shutter, it can shoot at a shutter speed of 1/8,000th of a second.
While the shutter speed is incredibly fast, the R3 has a resolution of 24.1 MP. The resolution is almost half of the runner-up, Leica’s SL2.
The SL2 offers 47.3 MP, and its fastest shutter speed is 1/40,000th of a second.
Regardless, the R3 is currently number one for the fastest shutter speed across all digital cameras.
|Compare Canon EOS R3 (body only) prices|
|$5,999 at B&H|
|$5,999 at Canon|
|$5,999 at Amazon|
|$5,999 at Adorama|
|$5,999 at Focus Camera|
Mechanical vs. electronic shutter
There are two types of shutters, electronic and mechanical.
Typically, DSLR cameras have mechanical shutters, while mirrorless cameras have electronic shutters. Some cameras offer both, which leaves the choice to you.
So, what’s the difference between an electronic and mechanical shutter?
Mechanical shutters use conventional rolling curtains with a front and rear shutter curtain in front of the sensor. They open and close to produce the exposure.
With DSLR cameras, the mirror has to be in sync with the curtains because it reflects light from the lens.
Mechanical shutters offer reduced rolling shutter distortion and faster flash synchronization speeds, compared to electronic shutters.
The main drawbacks are that it’s not silent and can’t provide as fast of shutter speeds.
An electronic shutter controls the exposure by switching the camera’s imaging sensor on and off.
Since there aren’t any mechanical features with electronic shutters, they work silently.
Electronic shutters are also capable of faster shutter speeds, continuous shooting rates, and fewer chances of camera shake since there’s no movement inside.
The main drawbacks are that it can create strange effects under flickering lights, and it also can’t be used with flash.
The one you use depends on the type of photography you’re doing. In general, mechanical shutters are better in most situations.
However, electronic shutters are ideal when you need a silent operation or need the fastest shutter speed possible.
Other cameras with fast shutter speeds
While the R3 from Canon is the best for fast shutter speeds, there are other excellent options.
You’ll also find that many top-tier cameras with a mechanical shutter have the same fastest shutter speed of 1/8,000th of a second.
The electronic shutter is what makes the biggest difference.
Aside from the Canon EOS R3, the following are other excellent digital cameras with fast shutter speed.
Runner-up: Leica SL2
Leica’s SL2 is the runner-up because it can shoot at 1/40,000th of a second using an electronic shutter. With its mechanical shutter, it can shoot at 1/8,000th of a second.
If a high-resolution camera is a big part of what you’re looking for, the SL2 may be the number one choice because it features a 47.3 MP sensor resolution. Almost double the Canon EOS R3.
Along with its fast shutter speeds and high resolution, the SL2 is also a full-frame mirrorless camera that offers 20 fps continuous shooting and 5K video at 30 fps.
|Compare Leica SL2 (body only) prices|
|$6,895 at B&H|
|$6,895 at Leica|
|$6,299.98 at Amazon|
|$6,895 at Adorama|
Also great: Sony a1 Mirrorless Camera
The Sony a1 is an incredible full-frame mirrorless camera released in January 2021.
Using an electronic shutter, the a1 can shoot at a shutter speed of 1/32,000th of a second. With a mechanical shutter, it can shoot at 1/8,000th of a second.
It’s a fast camera with a 50.1 MP sensor resolution, 30 fps continuous shooting, and the ability to record 8K video at 30p.
Compared to the Leica SL2, Sony’s a1 is a strong competitor. They’re about the same price.
So, would you rather have better video capabilities and higher resolution or a faster shutter speed?
|Compare Sony a1 (body only) prices|
|$6,498 at B&H|
|$6,499.99 at Sony|
|$6,498 at Amazon|
|$6,498 at Adorama|
|$6,498 at Moment|
Best for electronic shutter: Nikon Z 9 Mirrorless Camera
Nikon’s Z 9 is a 45.7 MP full-frame mirrorless camera made for sports photographers.
It uses an electronic shutter and can shoot at a shutter speed of 1/32,000th of a second.
The Z 9 can also shoot continuously at 20 fps RAW and 30 fps JPEG. It features impressive video capabilities, as it can record 8K30p and 4K120p videos. The Z 9 is Nikon’s flagship mirrorless camera.
|Compare Nikon Z 9 (body only) prices|
|$5,496.95 at B&H|
|$5,499.95 at Nikon|
|$5,496.95 at Adorama|
|$5,496.95 at Focus Camera|
Best for mechanical shutter: Canon EOS-1D X Mark III DSLR Camera
The 1D X Mark III from Canon is built for speed and precision. It’s a powerful DSLR camera that can shoot at a shutter speed of 1/8,000 with its mechanical shutter.
Many other cameras can also do the same. So, what makes the 1D X Mark III stand out?
The 1D X Mark III offers a 20.1 MP sensor resolution. Additionally, it’s capable of 20 fps continuous shooting in live view and 16 fps with the viewfinder.
It also has a fast and accurate 191-point autofocus system.
For videos, it can record 4K videos at 60 fps and 5.5K RAW videos at 30 fps. It’s a high-end, tough, and ultra-fast camera.
|Compare Canon EOS-1D X Mark III (body only) prices|
|$6,499 at B&H|
|$6,499 at Canon|
|$6,499 at Amazon|
|$6,499 at Adorama|
|6,499.99 at Best Buy|
Best budget option: FUJIFILM X-T4 Mirrorless Camera
The FUJIFILM X-T4 is substantially less expensive than the other cameras. However, it’s right up there with shutter speed.
With the mechanical shutter, the X-T4 can shoot at a shutter speed of 1/8,000th of a second. Using the electronic shutter, it can shoot at 1/32,000th of a second.
The main difference compared to the other cameras is that the X-T4 is a crop sensor camera.
It features a 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans BSI CMOS 4 sensor that performs well. The X-T4 shoots beautiful photos and 4K videos at 60 fps.
Yes, it has an APS-C sensor, but it’s built well and takes incredible photos. It’s capable of competitively fast shutter speeds.
|Compare FUJIFILM X-T4 (body only) prices|
|$1,499 at B&H|
|$1,499 at Adorama|
|$1,499 at Amazon|
|1,499.99 at Best Buy|
Most high-end cameras offer shutter speeds of 1/4,000 or higher. The Canon EOS R3 can shoot at 1/8,000th of a second with a mechanical shutter and 1/64,000th of a second with an electronic shutter.
For everyday photographers, this isn’t necessary, and you’d spend a lot of money on something you don’t use.
However, you would benefit from extremely fast shutter speeds if you shoot certain types of photography, such as wildlife, cars, or sports.
If you need a camera that can shoot at even faster shutter speeds, a digital camera is no longer the best choice.
Instead, look for a specialty camera, like the Serial Time-Encoded Amplified imaging, or Steam.
It uses lasers and doesn’t have a physical shutter to shoot at a shutter speed of half a billionth of a second (Source: Nature Journal).
Featured image courtesy of Canon.
About David Em
David Em is the founder of Portraits Refined. He’s a published portrait photographer dedicated to helping photographers develop skills, capture incredible photos, and build successful businesses.