I have a Sony Alpha a55.

When I take a long exposure photo, while the shutter is open, the camera makes a whirring sound. What causes this noise and why is it necessary to the camera's operation? (I have interface sounds turned off — so I suppose this is some piece of the hardware physically making a noise.)


I'm familiar with Canon lenses featuring Image Stabilization that can emit a faint "whir" as IS operates. Your Sony body has a form of image stabilization built into the body, and if that's on during a long exposure, you might be hearing that as it operates.

If you're shooting long-exposure shots with the camera mounted on a tripod (which would be best), it's usually recommended that image stabilization be turned off (I believe this to be the case for your a55).

  • Can you expand on your last point? What's the benefit in turning off image stabilization?
    – jtbandes
    Apr 4 '12 at 17:45
  • 2
    I've heard it described as the stabilization getting itself into a form of feedback loop with itself. As far as I know, this problem can vary from one implementation to the next, so in some cases, it's not really a problem at all. Any time you're using a good tripod, though, you shouldn't need any stabilization, so there's little harm in turning it off.
    – D. Lambert
    Apr 4 '12 at 18:08
  • We have a winner! I tried disabling SteadyShot and the noise went away. Thanks!
    – jtbandes
    Apr 4 '12 at 20:26
  • Glad to hear it!
    – D. Lambert
    Apr 4 '12 at 20:30

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