5 Incredible Cameras With Deceivingly Quiet Shutters for Candid Photography

Lots of photographers want a camera with a shutter that is completely silent or at least incredibly quiet. The reason has a lot to do with hearing their own shutters. It makes a lot of sense if you’re in a wedding hall or an area where the sound will reverberate and bring attention to yourself. If you’re a professional, you’re probably not going to care. But those who typically want silent shutters are those who also don’t want to disturb anyone or even interact with a scene while capturing the moments. Lucky for those photographers, a lot of great cameras have popped up over the years with silent shutters.

Here are some favorites.

Fujifilm X100F

What’s Being Whispered: The Fujifilm X100F is lightweight, compact, and has a fixed 23mm f2 lens. It’s also got a very low profile body. Plus, its silent mode will make the already quiet camera even quieter. What’s so great here is that it has a leaf shutter–so the shutter is in the lens and therefore uber quiet.

In our review we state:

“Despite my qualms with metering, you shouldn’t fear that much at all. The Fujifilm X100F has snappy autofocus that can detect faces as they’re moving through the frame and capture fantastic candid moments on the streets. Surely, when it comes to autofocusing, the only cameras that could even hope to do better are from Olympus. Sony has nothing on the autofocus performance of the Fujifilm X100F.”

Buy Now: Amazon ($1,299)

Sony a7s II

What’s Being Whispered: Many of Sony’s a7 and a9 cameras have completely silent shutter options. But the Sony a7s II is specifically being chosen here because it’s also great at high ISOs–which is where we think a lot of the same types of photographers will really be shooting.

In our review we state:

“Most cameras have a major problem focusing in the dark; but the Sony A7s Mk II doesn’t really have that issue. In fact, it’s designed for it.

During our tests, we found that the camera will focus accurately and quickly around 96% of the time–depending on what focusing setting you’re using. If you choose the center, you’ll have no issues at all. If you choose medium and large, still no issues. Even if you choose the small focusing spot, you won’t have a major issue. It slows down a bit with the wide focusing setting, but that’s expected. Even so, it’s faster than any other camera out there.”

Buy Now: Amazon (Can be had for around $2,598)

Olympus OMD EM1 Mk II

What’s Being Whispered: The Olympus OMD EM1 Mk II is the company’s flagship camera. It not only has a silent shutter option but it also has the ability to be handheld for ridiculously long amounts of time. This is due to the insane image stabilization built into the sensor.

In our review we state:

“When looking at an image as a whole, you’re not going to see lots of image noise. When you start to pixel peep at ISO 6400, you’ll notice film grain-like noise. Beyond 6400, the image quality starts to break up more as you move higher up into the ISO ranges. However, ISO 25,600 can be turned into a usable file by the best photo editors.”

Buy Now: Amazon ($1,999)

Hexar AF

What’s Being Whispered: The Hexar AF is a 35mm film camera that was specifically designed to be silent. When you set it to silent mode, it takes a photo and has a quiet film advance. You’ll only be able to hear it if you’re right next to the camera.

In our review we state:

“Few cameras will make a photographer’s mouth water like the Hexar AF. When it comes to some of the best point and shoot cameras that use 35mm film, it’s tough to get anything better (though there arguably are other options.) The Hexar AF is often said to be one of the best available for street photographers and has a fixed 35mm f2 lens stated to be a copy of a Leica Summicron. Everything about it is designed to be low profile.”

Buy Now: eBay

Mamiya 7 II

What’s Being Whispered: The Mamiya 7 II has a shutter so quiet that sometimes you won’t even know if the camera took a photo or not. Plus it shoots in a big medium format size. If you get your hands on one, don’t let it go.

In our review we state:

“The Mamiya 7 II feels very good in the hand. Once again, it is also very elegant. The grip is smooth and is not textured to give you a better grip on the camera. Nor is the camera heavy at all. In fact, I find it lighter than my DSLRs. When snapping a photo, you’ll also notice that there is also no vibration from the shutter at all. However, the camera is indeed so quiet that you sometimes can’t even tell when the camera has opened the shutter and then closed it.”

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.