The Shutter Sounds of Our Most Popular Cameras

As a leading authority on optical testing and product reviews, it occurred to the Lensrentals staff recently that we owed it to The Internet to explore the final frontier of camera comparisons, a comprehensive examination of shutter sounds. Our thorough and scientific testing covered multiple models from nearly every major camera manufacturer. After weeks of debate and analysis, we believe we’ve finally reached a consensus on which camera shutters are the best and which camera shutters are the worst. But first, let’s take a look at some of our most popular cameras, and how each of their shutters sound.

The video above highlights some of the most popular cameras, and the sounds of each of their shutters. After hours of playbacks and diligently taking notes of each camera’s shutter sound, we’ve decided to put together a small list highlighting some of our favorite sounding shutters, and of course, some of our least favorite, which we’ve listed below.

Worst Sounding Camera Shutters

Leica SL 601

Sure, Leica is a German company, but, for this amount of money, the camera should speak French. We expected more rounded corners and less hard edges. The shutter needs to drop some vowels.

Sony Alpha a77 II

We think our problem with this one is mostly instinctive. Imagine that high-pitched burst coming out of an animal. What animal are you picturing? A snake, right? It’s snake-like. That scares us subconsciously.

Panasonic Lumix DC-S1R

Sounds like a mousetrap.

Best Sounding Camera Shutters

Nikon D850

This one is an absolute classic. The shutter on the D850 is the default “professional” camera sound in our collective mind. It evokes the feeling of being one of the hundreds of pool photographers shooting the Olympics, or a red carpet, or an elected official’s public apology. Just fantastic.

Olympus PEN E-PL7

Frankly, adorable. This camera sounds like a bird on its first day of school. Read it stories and nurture its interests while you can because one day it’ll drive off to college and the last 15 years will feel like the blink of an eye.

Pentax 645Z

No one within fifty feet of the Pentax 645Z will have any doubts as to who has territorial dominance in the area. Prove to your friends and neighbors that you’re recording more pixels than they are and, therefore, are the better photographer. I bet your iPhone can’t make this much noise!


Choosing a camera can be a very tough decision, and we hope this fact-based report will help you make the right choice for your project. If you have any questions, comments, or issues with our methodology, as always, let us know.

Author: Ryan Hill

My name is Ryan and I am a video tech here at In my free time, I mostly shoot documentary stuff, about food a lot of the time, as an excuse to go eat free food. If you need my qualifications, I have a B.A. in Cinema and Photography from Southern Illinois University in beautiful downtown Carbondale, Illinois.

Posted in Equipment
  • EricDH

    That was a really fun test. Did you also measure the dB levels?

  • T N Args

    In your video the E-M1 II is the Swiss watch sound next to a shelf full of $5 tick-tock clocks.

  • Sickheadache

    They make cameras?

  • Sickheadache

    100% Flawed Test…Since No Photographer is going around shooting a camera without a Lens Attached..??? The Sound would be 100% Different if the Cameras All had Lenses Attached to buffer? The Sound.

    So let’s do a Redo.

  • Claudia is absolutely correct! A one number score, preferably using an arcane weighted average formula is a must!

  • Roger Cicala

    Claudia is absolutely correct! A one number score must be done. Preferably using an arcane weighted formula.

  • Claudia Muster

    Could you please add a recording of Olympus’ electronic shutter? And then, no test is complete without a final one-number score.

  • Ashley Pomeroy

    I have an Olympus XA, and the shutter just makes a very soft click noise. With long exposures you have to be careful to wait for the second click, when the shutter closes, because you can’t feel it go off. The Yashica Electro was similar. The biggest problem is the sound of winding on the film.

    Off the top of my head the Fuji X100 has a leaf shutter, and that’s digital. I think a couple of the early pro SLRs had electronic shutters (the D1?) but there was no way to disable the physical shutter except for mirror lockup.

  • ipdouglas

    Most wildlife photographers would prefer a silent or as quiet a shutter sound as possible. This is also true of event and street photography were either the event is a sensitive one (wedding/funeral) or in the street where the less attention you attract the better the images.

  • Roger Cicala

    Well, yeah, cause it takes a working copy to make the shutter sounds. 🙂

  • Ashley Pomeroy

    I used to have a Nikon F3 with the motor drive. By gosh it was awesome. Bassy, meaty, whirry – it sounded like the beginning of Duran Duran’s “Girls on Film”. Eight AA batteries, off the top of my head.

  • j.a.

    The Hasselblads were left out!

  • Dominique Conan

    Best sound is the one of Fujifilm x-h1.

  • nuitamericaine

    Fuji X-Pro 2/X-T2 are way ahead of any of these in terms of shutter sound.

  • Dimy

    1. Nikon 1 in silent Mode
    2. Nikon Z
    3. OM-D

  • Franz Graphstill

    You are missing the Canon 1 series – the 1D Mark IV always sounded authoritative to me. Not discreet, but definitely not one that anyone would miss.

  • Hans J

    looks like someone is butt hurt.

  • Needles Balloon

    “Choosing a camera can be a very tough decision, and we hope this fact-based report will help you make the right choice for your project.”

  • bdbender4

    We need to be serious here. Very, very serious. Whatever brand I am a fan-person of, you either didn’t include something you should have, or included something you shouldn’t have. Tsk, tsk.

    What kind of a microphone is that? Do you have the calibration curve? Were the recordings made in PCM or DSD? 24 bit high resolution? Are these the default recordings out of the recorder, or are they RAW recordings processed in Audio Pro?

  • Reed Loefgren

    I suppose someone had to imply as long as all cameras weren’t tested then things are wide open. I am certainly swayed by an M3 at 1/50 sec. but an F3+MD4 is iconic enough to be used in at least one radio hit. I have five Fs and they all sound like a Checker Cab. Driving nails with them doesn’t appear to help either.

  • Jim H

    That Pentax sounds like a seal with a cold. Of those tested, Olympus’s E-M1 II & Panasonic’s GH-5 are the least offensive to my ears. The Leica just shouts maschinengewehr!

  • Thomas

    Please could you include also the Fujifilm X-H1 ??

  • Invalid ranking, as the camera with the best shutter sound wasn’t reviewed. The Fujifilm X-Pro 2 has the most satisfying shutter sound of all the cameras I’ve reviewed.

  • Eddy Summers

    645Z “FIRE IN THE HOLE!”

  • Athanasius Kirchner

    A “professional” camera without a whiny shutter (and these days, preferably also a noisy motorized film advance) is NOT a professional camera at all. So you can shove your review of the D850’s shutter sound and stuff it up where the sun don’t shine ?

  • bwoodahl

    The original Contax RTS (circa 1975) had quite the shutter sound. Back in the day, it sounded better than the Nikon F2 or the Canon AE-1.

  • Earl Garber

    My vote for worst goes to the Kodak Pixpro S-1. It sounds like chopping wood. It sounds like it has TWO mirrors in it. Also, it fails regularly (I’m on my fourth replacement.)

  • The M9 sounds way more epic than anything you’ve show eh.

  • The Leica and Panasonic sound like a manual typewriters, so you’d impress all the rangefinder-carrying hipsters in your vicinity.

  • J.L. Williams

    I know your exhaustive testing was limited to stuff you have for rent, but it’s too bad you couldn’t have gotten hold of a Bronica S2a, which sounds like a volcanic eruption compared to that wimpy Pentax…

Follow on Feedly