I'm going to be purchasing a DSLR soon for doing frame-by-frame paper, stop-motion animation video work. I do not want to have to keep fixing a mechanical shutter for my DSLR, which I hear is a concern (repair in range of 2-300 US$ for ever few hundred thousand images captured w/ mechanical shutter).

I'm having a hard time deciphering whether or not digital video on DSLRs I'm looking at will let the user do frame-by-frame shooting separate from the mechanical shutter. Is this possible for any model of DSLR camera you know of? Can you recommend DSLRs with electronic shutter so I can bypass this issue? I am also considering mirrorless. My budget is low, in range of $300-700.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It looks like the DSLR advantages (optical viewfinder, fast autofocus) are not very useful for this task and you don't need dozens of megapixels for video, so your choices are nearly limitless. \$\endgroup\$
    – szulat
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 9:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ You could also investigate Live View shooting, as this holds the shutter open; my Canon Eos 40D has live view with a 'quiet mode', which means it keeps the shutter open and in theory could increase the longevity of the shutter. Someone may be able to verify whether this is the case \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 9:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ I’d go with mirrorless. My Lumix GH3 has a nice electronic shutter (albeit with some limitations) and is a nice camera overall, but is probably above your budget, even second-hand? \$\endgroup\$
    – zoul
    Commented Nov 27, 2014 at 10:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd recommend getting a Sony a5100 since it seems to be in your price point and the native kit lens has power zoom, a good feature for video productions. It also has a better video codec over the a6000 out of the box and is still small like other mirrrorless. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 17, 2015 at 16:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @laurencemadill Your 40D has a "hybrid" shutter in LV quiet mode. The first curtain is electronic but the second curtain is the first curtain closing by resetting to the default position. For more specifics please see photo.stackexchange.com/a/38845/15871 \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 18:47

3 Answers 3


The Nikon D40/D50/D70 have electronic shutters. They are old and not high megapixel, but they're cheap! D70 is like $100 on eBay.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The D1/D1X/D1H are in the same camp, but those cameras all have hybrid mechanical/electronic shutters. The camera first opens the mechanical shutter, which begins the exposure, then they are able to terminate the exposure electronically while the mechanical shutter is open. That lets them get fast single shutter exposures faster than the fastest "normal sync" speed for their focal plane shutters, but does not let them take multiple exposures with the mechanical shutter open. \$\endgroup\$
    – Duncan C
    Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 2:58

Off-topic regarding the shutter.

My main concern would not be the shutter, but:

1) That you have a good mechanical lens, that do not go crazy changing zoom and auto focusing. Probably a fixed focal prime lens, lets say 85mm.

2) Discard those cameras that hide the lens each time you turn them off.

3) Aim for a 10 Mpx camera so your images are ready for a 4K resolution.

4) Look for one that can be triggered remotely.

5) USB connection so you save the images directly to your computer.

6) Full manual mode, so you have uniform lighting conditions, at least from the camera side. This will probably discard most of small video cameras.

7) You could use Live view, so you avoid the mirror shaking. This will drain your battery, so take that in mind.

8) The electronic shutter... I would not want to be limited by this if it compromises any of the above. Look for a camera that has a good warrantee.

And there are affordable dslr cameras on your price range.


DSLRs don't have electronic shutters.

I can't think of any stop-motion artists that were paralyzed by concern over shutter actuations. A camera sitting on a tripod in a studio seems an ideal candidate for longetivity.

While you could go mirrorless, I think it would be much more important to have completely manual settings (especially focus). You would have to find a system that provides complete control, while also having a decent selection of lenses.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Actually a lot of early DSLRs with CCDs particularly Nikons did have electronic shutters. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Grum
    Commented Aug 17, 2015 at 8:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ Most compact mirrorless cameras DO have fully manual controls. And the reasons you might prefer one over the other generally have nothing to do with the shutter. In fact, as far as I understand it, most compact mirrorless cameras have mechanical shutters as well. For stop motion in a studio, I really can't think of any meaningful advantages either a good DSLR or a good compact mirrorless would have over the other. \$\endgroup\$
    – wedstrom
    Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 16:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Now also Canon 90D has electronic shutter as an option you can turn on while in LiveView mode. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ruslan
    Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 10:22

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