I've heard that some newer DSLRs have a "Quiet" mode that reduces the noise the camera makes when you take a picture (as mentioned in answers to some questions) How does it work? Are there any potential consequences from using this mode, like a reduced shutter life?


Quiet mode slows down the motion of the mirror when it goes up and delays it going back down until the shutter-release is released.

Normally the mirror going up and down is the loudest noise the camera makes. So slowing it down causes a longer shutter-lag but makes less noise. Also, the mirror normally comes back down immediately after a shot is taken so that you can follow action and compose the next shot. In Quiet mode, the mirror stays up and your viewfinder remains black until you release the shutter at a time when noise is less disruptive.

Shutter life is not affected at all since nothing changes for the shutter. The mirror actuation mechanism should last a little longer but no data to that effect is provided by manufacturers.

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    Nice answer, I stupidly had always assumed it was like a mobile phone and just muted the electronic sounds like beeps, etc. – Paul Hadfield Jan 6 '12 at 19:27
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    @Paul - Thanks! on Point&Shoot cameras, Silent-Mode mode is the one that shuts off electronic noises. – Itai Jan 6 '12 at 19:33
  • Yeah, I used a point and shoot camera once that felt obligated to make a mirror and auto-winder sounds although it had neither film to wind nor a mirror. I don't know what the marketing morons were thinking "I know, we'll have our cheap-ass camera pretend to be a SLR by emulating their least desirable characteristics. Brilliant!" – Olin Lathrop Jan 7 '12 at 0:09
  • The Nikon Coolpix 950 I had a decade ago actually delayed the shutter release in order to play the sound effect! – mattdm Jan 8 '12 at 18:04
  • @Olin: I'm not sure if its true, but I once heard that the "photo sound" is legally required in some countries. – Fer Jan 10 '12 at 18:43

An additional note on noise reduction (of the audible kind), if you really want to eliminate it use either a blimp or a range finder camera.

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