How to Set the Shutter Speed on a Canon EOS 40D

By Angela Tague ; Updated September 15, 2017

Setting the shutter speed on your Canon EOS 40D will allow you to adjust the way movement is recorded on your digital images. A fast shutter speed will freeze movement. This is great to stop fast action sports, or hummingbirds sipping nectar. A slow shutter speed will show the blur of movement. This will help make beautiful waterfall landscape photographs or show the trailing movement of lights on a carnival ride at dusk.

Decide what type of movement you want to show with the digital photos you will be shooting. Choose if you want to freeze motion, or show the blur of motion. Envision your final photograph.

Understand a little about shutter speed numbers before setting your Canon EOS 40D camera. A larger number on the LCD screen is the equivalent to a faster shutter speed. A smaller number will equal a slower shutter speed.

Turn on your Canon EOS 40D digital camera by pressing the bar on the back to the uppermost position with the small line.

Rotate your command dial to the TV setting on the top left side of your camera. This is the small round wheel. Look in the LCD screen on the top right part of your Canon camera for a screen full of data. On the top left, you will see a number that represents your shutter speed.

Understand the shutter speed number. If you see a “60" for example, that means your shutter speed is set to 1/60th of a second. That means your camera is recording the scene for a very small portion of a second.

Locate the rolling wheel above the LCD screen. Rotate the wheel to the left, to decrease the number on the screen. This will set your shutter speed to a slower setting, allowing your pictures to show blur and movement.

Rotate the rolling wheel to the right to increase your shutter speed. The larger the number, the faster your shutter speed. This will help you to stop fast action movements.

Understand common shutter speeds. For most photographers, the slowest shutter speed they will use without a tripod, and still get sharp pictures is 1/60th of a second, or “60" on your LCD screen. To stop outdoor, daytime sports, you might use a setting of “1000". To show the blur of water rushing over rocks in a stream, you might use a shutter speed setting of “0/5", or 5 seconds, with the camera mounted to a tripod.

About the Author

Angela Tague writes marketing content and journalistic pieces for major brands including Bounty, The Nest, Lowe's Home Improvement and Hidden Valley. She also provides feature content to newspapers and writes health and beauty blogs for Daily Glow, Everyday Health and Walgreens. Tague graduated from the University of Iowa with a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications in 1999.