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Author Topic: Shutter sound on digital cameras
Brrrtje
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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A friend of mine was showing off his new digital camera. As he took a picture of me, I heard the thing play a soundbite: it sounded almÚst like a shutter shutting and film winding up.
"Oh yeah, it does that."
Me: "Why?"
"It's the law in some countries: cameras have to make noises so that you can tell if somebody is taking a picture of you from close by."

Anyone else hear this? Are there really such laws? Why?

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Hans Off
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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Crap. on nearly all (non DSLR) digital cameras I have used you can turn that sound off (I always do).

It is a horredously pointless gimmick.

I suppose the only reasonable use for it is to give the sitter an indication of when to stop grinning like an idiot.

Besides, When taking portraits/candids I find you get better results when the subject is not "braced" for impact.

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"British English speakers point to Americans adding more syllables so that they can make even more noise without actually saying anything." Llewtrah


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LtColCarter
Raiders of the Lost Shark


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I don't know about the law, but my camera phone makes that same sound. It's actually annoying to me, but there is no way to turn it off. I can change it to some other sounds instead (I think there are about 5 or so) but I can't silence it completely.

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Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength; loving someone deeply gives you courage. Lao Tzu

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AnglsWeHvHrdOnHiRdr
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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The noise does help to know when the camera has completed doing its thing if you are, for example, taking a self-portrait.

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"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."--George Bernard Shaw

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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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I believe that Korea has a law requiring camera phones to make a sound when taking a picture.

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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Jack Dragon, On Being a Dragon
Confessions of a Dragon's scribe
Diary of my Heart Surgery

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Jason Threadslayer
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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This should get you stahted:
Camera phones threat to privacy

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All posts foretold by Nostradamus.

Turing test failures: 6

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Rehcsif
We Three Blings


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Heck, my Canon Powershot G3 lets you upload sounds into it from the computer, so you can make it do whatever you want!

The default is the standard 'shutter sound'.

-Tim

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gizard
I Saw Three Shipments


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As stated earlier, non (SLR) Single lens reflex cameras have very limited moving parts as far as the "shot" is concerned. The sound is a comfort for some who aren't convinced that digital is as good as film, a simple marketing ploy. There are no laws in the US, and I would assume anywhere else or I would need disclaimers for selling a camera to someone out of the country.

I guess it does help to know when the camera takes the photo, though most people use a flash all the time anyway. Grandmothers always remark about how the new digitals sound like their own.

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Shadowduck
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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quote:
Originally posted by gizard:
I guess it does help to know when the camera takes the photo, though most people use a flash all the time anyway. Grandmothers always remark about how the new digitals sound like their own.

I almost never use flash (except for fill-in), I'd much rather use a long exposure if I can get away with it. It depends on the circumstances obviously but I'm seldom happy with the results, regardless of the equipment used. As to most people using flash all the time, I would have thought most people just leave it on auto and let it decide for itself.

That said, I can definitely see a point to a shutter sound. The only indication on my camera that it's taken a picture is that the screen appears to freeze for a couple of seconds as it displays the picture it's just taken. Combine that with a two-stage shutter release button and a momentary focusing delay and it can get quite tiresome getting someone else to take a photo when I want to be in shot. I usually end up with either nothing or multiple shots of the same scene as they keep pressing the button thinking it isn't working; ok, it's no big deal but a clear indication a picture's been taken would make life a little easier.

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But of course, I could be wrong.

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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Hans Off:
It is a horredously pointless gimmick.

I don't think it's a pointless gimmick or a "comfort" - it lets you know when the picture has actually been taken.

Turning it off might be good for candid portrait shots though - if people hear you taking the picture then you only get one chance at a spontaneous pose; if they don't hear you might be able to take several without them noticing. On the other hand, it's quite quiet, and people often don't notice anyway, or notice you're taking a picture just because you happen to be pointing a camera in their direction...

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The Rubber Chicken
The First USA Noel


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A huge reason they mandated that camera phones in Japan, as well as South Korea, have a noise is because people were using the cell phones to take "upskirt" pictures of women. In Japan there were (if I remember correctly. My wife told me about this a while ago)a couple of politicians and/or celebrities who were busted for doing that. So in that sense, I agree it isn't a gimmick at all. As far as regular digital cameras go, I am not sure whether or not the same law applies in Korea and Japan. I've never really tried to notice, but I could certainly see the logic.

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alicia
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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quote:
Originally posted by gizard:
As stated earlier, non (SLR) Single lens reflex cameras have very limited moving parts as far as the "shot" is concerned. The sound is a comfort for some who aren't convinced that digital is as good as film, a simple marketing ploy. There are no laws in the US, and I would assume anywhere else or I would need disclaimers for selling a camera to someone out of the country.

I guess it does help to know when the camera takes the photo, though most people use a flash all the time anyway. Grandmothers always remark about how the new digitals sound like their own.

what grandmothers remark that new digitals sound like "their own" cameras? i have a pretty extensive collection of cameras from 1900 - onward, and none of them make the sound that digital cameras do when they take a shot.

the sound that digital cameras make is more similar to the sound that a slightly newer (later than 1960s, for instance) slr with a motor-drive for winding the film would make. the click and then the whirring sound you hear when the digital camera makes the 'shutter' sound is actually the sound of film being wound by an electric motor contained within some cameras.

i guess that the motordrive slr cameras are still 'older' than new digital cameras, but most old 'snapshot' cameras (as opposed to professional gear) that your (or someone else's) grandmother likely owned rarely make more than a small metallic 'ping' when you shoot with them.

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Red Squirrel
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by LtColCarter:
I don't know about the law, but my camera phone makes that same sound. It's actually annoying to me, but there is no way to turn it off. I can change it to some other sounds instead (I think there are about 5 or so) but I can't silence it completely.

I would place money on that noise not being as annoying to you as having your photo taken unawares to another person. If someone doesnít know or want their photo taken donít take it- itís an invasion of privacy.

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The Sqizzle formally known as Lexi

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Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Red Squirrel:
quote:
Originally posted by LtColCarter:
I don't know about the law, but my camera phone makes that same sound. It's actually annoying to me, but there is no way to turn it off. I can change it to some other sounds instead (I think there are about 5 or so) but I can't silence it completely.

I would place money on that noise not being as annoying to you as having your photo taken unawares to another person. If someone doesnít know or want their photo taken donít take it- itís an invasion of privacy.
First of all, just because a camera is silent doesn't mean someone is taking photos of people in secret. I have the right to have a quiet machine without being accused of taking photos surreptitiously. Quiet cameras are nothing new. Before digital cameras, photographers sought out silent cameras, some of which which had high price tags, such as some Leica models, for the express purpose of taking photos without an obvious shutter sound.

Second, most news photos are taken without permission from everyone involved. As far as I'm concerned, if I'm taking a photo of a public scene, I'd rather everyone doesn't know I'm there with a camera. I want them act normal. And no, I don't have to let everyone know I'm taking a photo. Why should I?

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Joseph Z
Xboxing Day


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My digital camera from 2002 just beeps. Doesn't shutters. DXG I think is the brand company name.

In some countries/states they are making it a law not to take a picture without rights from the owners I believe.

You can't do illegal voyerism as well without full consentment.

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Joseph Z

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Dogwater
Happy Holly Days


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Let's not put the cart before the horse here. Older cameras made noise as a matter of their mechanics, not due to it being a warning that a photo had been snapped. The oldest of the cameras, the pinhole design, made no noise. Besides, once you hear a shutter click, the picture is taken. The sound wouldn't be so much a warning as it would a report.

quote:
I don't think it's a pointless gimmick or a "comfort" - it lets you know when the picture has actually been taken.
I'd say that Richard W (Anglrdr and others as well) is pretty well on point here. The sound is so the user knows a picture has been snapped. I suppose the extension to that is that a potential subject would also be aware, but only as a side effect. A beep would work just as well as a mechanical sound, but I for one like to know that something happened. For instance, my wifey is an avid photograper. She owns a veiwfinder Leica as well as some tremendously expensive SLR something or other. She looooves her lil' Leica but always found the silence a bit disconcerting.

As far as sneaking photos and the like, I don't think that in this country there are any laws precluding you from photographing public places and the people in them for your own, non-commercial use. Of course, I can't speak for other countries.

I can see, though, that the development in better digital photography in smaller and smaller devices will make it easier for the average Joe or Jane to photograph prohibited things such as concerts or the like. Many a health club that I've visited has clear No Cell Phones signs due to the fear of people photographing locker room activity (and the requisit online posting of the pics). I would say, though, that the same cameras can be hidden in any evryday item. Hide one in a hairbrush or pen. Aren't there eyeglass frame cameras? What then? How to insure privacy then?

I'd say that there is room for a technology that would render these digital cameras inoperable a la a signal blocker. Some type of localized radio signal device. Otherwise, I see a shift in society where people shy away from using public changing facilities. Might there be a phase out of the locker room in health clubs? If so what about school gym locker rooms? Public restrooms? Public pools?

On the other hand, maybe it will develop over the yaers that people simply stop caring that they are exposed to the potential of exploitation. Maybe that will be the sociological change.

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As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

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