Stopping Motion With Shutter Speeds

Have you ever wondered the exact shutter speed that would be needed to stop certain moving objects dead in their tracks?

I have and that is why when an idea popped into my head to create an infographic about it, I quickly started to brainstorm and research.

The first goal was to find the subjects, objects or items to use in the infographic.  Here is what I picked:

  • Walking
  • Rain
  • Runner
  • Cyclist
  • Dog
  • Car / Dolphin
  • Horse
  • Commuter Train
  • Jet Ski
  • Race Car
  • Passenger Plane
  • Military Jet
  • Moon
  • Zombies!

I couldn’t create an infographic without including my own sense of humor, so I also added a zombie and a drone to the list.

The next step was to use Google and search for average speeds of each object either in miles per hour, or kilometers per hour for conversion.

After that I began to look for algorithms that could be used to calculate the exact shutter speed for each to be frozen in time.  I found some, but they were extremely confusing for someone that is not a math person.  I also found a variety of calculators but they didn’t feel right.  Then finally I found a calculator that I believe works extremely well.  John Dudak’s Shutter Speed Calculator wound up being used for the infographic (with credit of course).

As a standard, I used a 50mm focal length, ISO 100 and a distance of 100 feet.  Of course, the moon would never be 100 feet for most photographers (dream on) just the same a moving military jet wouldn’t.  However, it’s not the precision of the distance that makes this infographic fun.  It’s the combination of average speed in mp/g and how fast a shutter must open and close for still motion.


Can you tell I’m a fan of The Walking Dead?

After some emails with friends, the final touches were made and the infographic was published.  Please visit the original shutter speeds post and grab the embed code to re-post it on your website.  Feel free to also pin the infographic on your Pinterest board by re-pinning the original pin.

I hope that you enjoy the infographic, learn something new whether about average speed or shutter speeds.  I also hope that you got a laugh or two out of the comments throughout it.

Thanks for checking it out and thanks for reading,


NOTE: The Lens Sweet Spot has been closed down as of October 28, 2013.

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