As a photojournalist I always wanted to be the proverbial “fly on the wall”.
It was always a bit tricky to be that invisible especially when a camera with motor drive would make a very loud and distinctive sound.
In sporting events and other loud events like NASCAR or a Metallica concert it never mattered.
But in other situations — on the set of a television show, shooting pro golf (you can’t shoot during the backswing if you want to stay on the course, or during a putt), a funeral or other religious ceremony, in a high-powered private meeting — being invisible is imperative.
All of those situations are very tricky with DSLR cameras. I’ve even tried (over the course of my career) using cameras such as a Leica, with it’s quiet shutter, but even that could be heard and there were a lot of limitations for lenses (in a courtroom you would often need a longer lens such as the ubiquitous 70-200 to adequately tell the story). Then there is the Jacobson Blimp — a staple on the soundstages of the movie business — proof that shooting quietly was not a perfect enterprise. Yes the box deadened the sound, but it was big, awkward to work with and pricey.
Soft blimps — that is fabric types of blimps — did just an okay job but were never as quiet as they needed to be and would not be considered quiet enough for work on television.
Thankfully with the advances in camera technology, there’s now a way to shoot silently with the Sony a7rII (though the Sony a7s was the first Sony mirrorless camera to incorporate this feature).
And this morning, I got to see the benefit of this technology first hand.
At the local Tesoro H.S. where I photograph the Tesoro Titans football team, they had their first day of camp and it started with a meeting. Head Coach Matt Poston addressed a packed classroom and I shot a combination of stills and video.
These three photographs were made with the camera, the 35mm f1.4 lens and the camera in Silent Shooting Mode.
Finally you can truly be that “fly on the wall” (when it comes to shutter sound) while shooting still photographs!!
ETA: You can now set the Silent Shooting Mode to a custom button! I now have the C3 button set to Silent Shooting.