Why do press photographers leave their film advance click sound on?
January 8, 2015 12:59 PM   Subscribe

Why do press photographers at press conferences leave their film advance click sound on their digital cameras turned on? No one is using film these days but all you hear sometimes is click click click.
posted by clockworkjoe to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Isn't that the mirror moving out of the way and/or the shutter opening?
posted by bondcliff at 12:59 PM on January 8, 2015 [16 favorites]

I think you may be hearing the shutter. Even though the camera is digital there's still moving parts including the shutter opening and closing - you can see it happen in the lens. Otherwise I am unsure what sound you're talking about.
posted by Crystalinne at 1:01 PM on January 8, 2015 [12 favorites]

It's the mirror mechanism.
posted by sanka at 1:01 PM on January 8, 2015 [5 favorites]

They could also be non-DSLR cameras with a "trigger" sound to confirm that the shot was taken when the button was pressed.
posted by catkins at 1:07 PM on January 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

"Film advance" isn't a clicking sound. You're hearing the shutter.

That said, public events are turned into a circus with all the photographers lying around and making noise. I'd like them out of there.
posted by JimN2TAW at 1:16 PM on January 8, 2015

The mirror is jumping out of the way so the sensor can be exposed to the light coming in through the lens. The mirror is still mechanical. This is a good slow-mo illustration of what happens inside an SLR.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:44 PM on January 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Agree with the other posters that you are hearing the mirror and/or shutter. Even though the sensor is digital, most professional cameras (DSLRs) still have mechanical shutters and mirrors.

The mirror is useful to allow faster autofocus and 'passive' viewfinders.
Here's an explanation of why they still have shutters: http://www.steves-digicams.com/knowledge-center/why-digital-cameras-have-mechanical-shutters.html
posted by stobor at 1:46 PM on January 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

Film advance makes krrrwick, and is usually rather quiet. Shutters by themselves are even quieter (which is why rangefinder cameras are such a sneaky joy to use, they don't have a flip-flopping mirror). If what you mean sounds like ka-plitch, that's (as others said) the mirror.
posted by Namlit at 1:56 PM on January 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

By default, my digital SLR made three different sorts of noises, a beep that indicated focus lock, the "click" of the shutter, and the "slap" of the mirror. You can turn the beep off, but far too few people do (there's a blinking dot in the viewfinder that does the same job, so the beep is not just annoying but redundant). Most shutter noise on its own is actually pretty quiet. The noise you're hearing is most likely mirror slap, which ranges from pretty well controlled in most high end DSLRs (which are big and heavy) to really kind of horrible, in the small cheap ones. Some cameras have a "quiet mode" that raises and lowers the mirror more slowly, at the expense of shooting speed.

Note that explanation ignores mirrorless cameras, which have no mirror to slap around, as you might guess from the name, and are thus quieter. Consumer point-and-shoot cameras don't have mirrors either, but do often have a speaker that emits a recording of mirror/shutter noise. Most professional photographers are probably using SLRs and not either of these sorts of cameras, though.
posted by fedward at 2:02 PM on January 8, 2015

Another source of noise is the flash charging which is a high pitched whine.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 2:15 PM on January 8, 2015

If the press gallery is crowded, the sounds you hear might also be the cameras themselves clicking against each other.
posted by Flashman at 3:45 PM on January 8, 2015

Also, if you're hearing multiple clicks super fast in a row (which might sound like the ratcheting sound of film advance), some photographers might be using a burst mode kind of feature where with one push of the button it takes multiple pictures (or just keeps firing as long as the button is held down).
posted by misskaz at 3:58 PM on January 8, 2015

There is a lot more technical detail about this question here.
posted by beagle at 5:32 PM on January 8, 2015

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