Watch How a DSLR Takes a Photo in Slow Motion

Have you ever thought about what goes on behind the lens of your camera? While many photographers use their cameras to capture amazing imagery, you’d be surprised at how many are unfamiliar with the internal mechanics behind it. To help understand exposures and what happens within the mirror box, The Slow Mo Guys created this helpful tutorial using his Phantom Flex to capture the inner workings of a Canon 7D:

Although the naked eye is unable to view the exact movements when shooting at speeds up to 10,000 frames per second, by slowing it down, we can see exact internal workings that go on inside your camera during the blink of an eye. Viewing a specific exposure showcases the size of the exposure gap that allows the light in to capture each frame. However, by placing multiple exposures side-by-side, you can start to understand how the various sizing gaps will change how your image appears.

exposure gap differences

Differences in Exposure Gaps

For example, during a former film where Gavin blasted Dan in the face with a cork, he noticed in a single frame that the cork was still midair, while the shadow of the cork was further in time at the point where it hit him in the face. This occurs due to the rolling exposure gap used to capture each frame of the image.

frame difference dslr exposure

Example showing height difference between frames.

Just about every camera used to capture video utilizes a rolling shutter, because of the frequency of CMOS (or complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) sensors being used in the SLR and most smart phones. To test this out, you can point your camera outside a moving car to capture light poles and trees.  Everything that is vertical will be slightly skewed in a diagonal direction because of the movement of the object while the camera is scanning it.

Like This Article?

Don't Miss The Next One!

Join over 100,000 photographers of all experience levels who receive our free photography tips and articles to stay current:

Leave a Comment

Personalize your comment with an avatar from!

Prove Your Humanity * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

New! Want more photography tips? We now offer a free newsletter for photographers:

No, my photos are the best, close this forever