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Can this be a shutter going bad?


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I recently shot some images with my old 7d and there was black shading across one side and then in the next image it was across the other side.  My first thought was that it was the shutter going bad but I have never had a shutter go bad so I wasn't 100% sure.  I then started reading that LED lights can give this effect as they flicker in and out but the naked eye doesn't catch this.  I took my brand new R6 to the same place and thought it was all better and assumed it was the shutter but on the last few images I see similar.  In this location there is strung lights above but it's very dark... there are 3 LED work lights up in sort of a triangle here.  Can you tell me if you think it would be the lights doing this?  As far as images and settings.... I was just out there to test the lights so my settings were all over the place as I tried tons!  These are just images where I saw the shading.  They are not edited at all and are very noisy.  I'm aware of this. I am solely trying to see if my old camera is toast or if this is the lights.   Or if this is even something I am not aware of.  

Finally.... The images with kids are all 7d and the images with adult are the r6.  The images with Santa are only strung lights and no extra LED's.  I assume the strung lights are led but clearly much less light given off.  All of the rest have the larger LED work lights and taken seconds apart so I gave side by sides of each.  

Thanks for any advice here. 










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It does appear that some of your shutter curtain is getting in the way, but I’m not 100% sure. We’re you using off camera flash or natural light? As of right now I need to know the shutter speeds you were at. Some flashes / Strobes like Alien Bees like 1/160th of a second. Others like 1/200th or even 1/250th, depending on the camera body. If you are used to shooting at higher shutter speeds, you can’t use the same exposure triangle as you would with Natural Light. 

Let’s pick a few of the really bad images and get me the details for each one. 

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ok.. so then I guess lets look at the images with Santa and girl.  These have 0 light besides the lights strung above.  I knew it was crazy dark so I tested all sorts of settings.  These were at ISO 20,000, fs 1.8 and ss 1/400.  Both same settings taken right after each other.  

Then if we pop to the images of boy and girl twirling that are above that... they are ISO 4000, fs 1.8 and ss 1/200.  Then there is an LED work light angled behind my right shoulder.  This light was insanely bright and knew it wouldn't work.. but it's 18.000 lumens.  This was just fully on so that is when I thought, it has to be my shutter.   

But then.... the last 2 of the man... those were taken with a different camera and I feel it still sorta gave that dark curtain.  I think looking here it's harder to see but if you click on it and go back and forth I think you can see the curtain better.  Those images are super dark as again I was just checking settings and all iso's at 3 different shutters.  These images actually have 3 led work lights in a triangle around him but only at 2,000 lumens each.  I have other pics that are brighter but you don't see the curtain as much.  The lights here were (If you are looking at him) behind his left shoulder, right behind me/infront of him, and then angled back behind my right shoulder.  Again like a triangle.  The settings here were ISO6400, fs 2.2, ss 1/400.  

I know I said this before but I was so set on it being the shutter and then I saw it with the last images with different camera.  A brand new camera.  But then with and without the LED's it happened with old camera.  So I'm just at a loss.  

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I'm just not seeing what you are seeing. But one thing jumps out at me: Shutter Speed. Why so high? I know, "I don't want motion blur..." but when it comes with LED Lights, Shutter Speed is so important. Unless you are shooting with Pro-Grade / Color Balanced LED Lights, like the ones used at Professional Sports Arenas, all bets are off. You are probably dealing with the most inconsistent LED lights: Christmas Lights. I would not judge/condemn your cameras AT ALL with these type of lights. A failing shutter...you would know. It's pretty obvious, this page has a good example. What's probably happening is your shutter speed and the frequency of the lights aren't in complete sync, and you are capturing your shutter curtain in the shot. It's almost like when your shutter speed is too high when using a flash and you get the front or rear shutter curtain in the shot.

Your ISO is also insanely high, @ 20,000...you need external Off Camera Lighting on a stand. You can control the amount of ambient by slowing the shutter down to 1/60th or 1/80 and cranking up the ISO to about 1600-ish, give or take. 4000? 20,000? for a shot like this, no-way. As for potential motion blur, the short duration from the flash should freeze your subject; in fact, I've captured kids twirling on a trampoline, in mid-air, that are tack-sharp, at 1/60th of a second. Of course, if I were using something like an Alien Bee Strobe, I'd probably be around 1/160th, since those lights aren't that quick and the light hangs around / tends to linger.

What I really think is, this environment was just plain too dark for your camera to handle and I don't care what the Camera Maker's Marketing claims otherwise. :)  Remember, the Human Eye is still way better in "Seeing" a scene like this, and while the camera sensors have gotten way-better, they still need to improve more. If this were me, there would be no way I would attempt photographing anything in this area without flash, and I shoot weddings...in lots of dark barns. Also known as  where "The Christmas Lights & Candles should be bright enough..." to photograph in. Umm...No. LOL!!!

What I would do is practice. The Holiday's are approaching and you should be able to get a string or two of LED Lights. Set your camera up on a tripod, (if you have one,) hang them up in a room and photograph a large Coffee Can or Vacuum Cleaner. Or something that won't move, get bored and complain. Then fiddle. Be methodical. Slow that shutter speed down. Even if you go all the way to 1/30th. See what happens. Most of the time, your SS should be 1/125 or lower when dealing with cheap LED Lights. 1/60th is also a good place to be at.

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Thank you!  I 100% agree with all of this!  The only reason I was at 20.000 was because I wanted to test what the marketing said.... I knew/know it was way too dark and nothing would give me a good image at that ISO for sure!  I was literally at 20.000 and then tested shutter speeds from 1/400 all the way down to about 1/125.  Then I would go down in ISO and down some more and down some more... so I had about 4 shots with each ISO due to trying 4 shutter speeds.  This was all testing in 2 different nights.  I have never ever put up LED work lights but since I am used to shooting in a street with strung lights that was plenty bright enough due to the street lights as well... I figured I would try and see what it looked like.  Then I was seeing this curtain on some of these tests.... so again I knew this wasn't going to be a setting I would use.  I just wanted to make sure it wasn't something wrong with the shutter as well.  In my old space I usually stayed around 1/200 or 1/160 but I really wanted to just see up close what these would look like.  I also knew that with a flash I couldn't be at 1/400 but I wasn't sure if that would give the same effect with these LED.  Cleary it does!  Thank you for the help and giving me a definite answer so I can make sure this doesn't happen when it counts!  I appreciate the help! 

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