I'm a stage photographer.

Last year I had an issue when doing work for a dance company. Their last production used a big LED screen for their background.

I used a Sony A7 III with 70-200 GM and my friend used a Canon EOS 6D Mark II

I used 1/200s shutter speed (to avoid motion blur with the dancers) and my colleague used 1/125 speed.

Mine looks sharper on the dancers, but terrible with the background, and his photos aren't sharp enough, but the background looks nicer.

Is it because of the camera model? Mirrorless vs dSLR? or mainly because of the shutter speed?

My photo:

my photo

His photo:

his photo

Another option: My photo enter image description here

His Photo enter image description here

  • \$\begingroup\$ Any bigger version of the pictures? \$\endgroup\$
    – xenoid
    Mar 3, 2023 at 8:43
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ These examples are so low resolution as to be useless for comparing anything other than composition and, to a lesser extent, exposure. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Mar 4, 2023 at 7:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ yes. i just want to show the flickering background on the LED screen. Could you take a look a the latest image that i upload. Many thanks \$\endgroup\$ Mar 8, 2023 at 5:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ I took pics of a simple LED sign board at my son's gymnastics meet with the shutter at about 1/500 (to capture routine scores). I ended up with totally unreadable pictures because the LEDs themselves flicker - too fast for the eye to see, but far too slowly for the shutter speed. I had to remember to dial back shutter speed to get pics of the signs, then back up for the action. You're trying to do both at once. \$\endgroup\$
    – FreeMan
    Mar 10, 2023 at 18:50

3 Answers 3


I think shutter speed is the important factor here. The dancers are moving (of course) so a faster shutter speed is called for to minimize motion blur.

The video wall creates an upper limit for shutter speeds because the LED's aren't continuously illuminated- think of it as similar to a large television screen where each frame of the image is progressively 'built' from lines or segments. A fast shutter speed won't necessarily record the completed image on the wall in a uniform way.

Another limiting factor is the frame rate of the source material. If each frame of the image is changing every (for instance) 60 or 120 times a second there will be times when a faster shutter speed may capture one of these transitions.

So, to answer your question, the problems you're seeing are most certainly a product of what you're shooting and not your equipment.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I was thinking that is it because a mechanical shutter works better than a mirrorless shutter in this kind situation. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 8, 2023 at 5:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I was assuming (and I shouldn't have) a mechanical shutter for both. An electronic shutter throws another set of complications into the mix, especially for quickly changing and/or moving subjects. \$\endgroup\$
    – BobT
    Mar 10, 2023 at 19:01

To me, the difference is that your colleague's picture is better - or at least differently - composed. You've shot from an angle where the dancers take up half to two thirds the height of the screen, while your colleague has shot from an angle where they're taking up about a third. This leaves a lot more of the screen visible.

There's also what's on the screen at the time - your colleague has a shot where there is interesting detail (the skyscrapers) in the upper half of the screen, while your shot essentially just has sky. That just naturally makes your shot look less interesting.

All this is far more important than camera or shutter speed.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes. Agree. Those photos are just an example to show the difference between the "flickering" effects on the LED screen. If a mechanical shutter is better, maybe I should use a mechanical shutter camera for this kind of event. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 8, 2023 at 5:16

It is showing the characteristic horizontal banding of LED pulsing combined with electronic shutter.

First I would suggest using the mechanical shutter as I would expect the LED's are pulsing faster than the SS, but not faster than the rolling shutter sensor readout. Using the mechanical shutter should at least reduce the effect.

If that does not reduce the effect enough, or you were already using the mechanical shutter, then I would try using the Anti-flicker function as well. This function tries to time the exposure to record only one pulse of the lighting, but isn't usually very effective with the high pulse rate of LED's.

There's a lot of information about "rolling shutter banding" available with a web search... the only caveat is that a lot will refer to the electrical pulse cycle (Hz), which is typically slower than LED pulse cycle. I.e. a slightly different cause, but the same effect.

  • \$\begingroup\$ If the pictures don't have to be taken during a live show, I wonder if the wall could be programmed to alternate between normal and black frames. Anti-flicker probably wouldn't work well with a wall that's trying to show a static image, but if the wall were to alternate black and normal frames, I think a camera might be able to synchronize with that. \$\endgroup\$
    – supercat
    Mar 3, 2023 at 23:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ and the flickering sometimes affects the video too. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 8, 2023 at 5:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ReynoldSetiadi, yes; video also uses the rolling shutter/readout same as fully electronic (silent) shutter does for still photography. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 8, 2023 at 15:14

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