Airplane Prop + CMOS Rolling Shutter = WTF

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    An iPhone's CMOS camera has no shutter, and reads the pixel values off in rows rather than all at once. In this photo the propeller spins about 5 times while the photo is taken, producing a strange effect.

    Note from the photographer: "We take a lot of aviation type pictures during our normal day, from crappy workmanship we find in planes to cool flying shoots. This prop shot was way different that any other prop we have shot. If you watch the prop through the camera the blades spun down and came off the prop at the 6 oclock postion, then looked like they bounced off the ramp and reattached at 9 oclock. Very weird, Hope next week we can recreate with a better camera and some video. Aircraft was a Yak TD with a M-14 engine idleing at 1000 RPM, Yes we had someone in the seat and brakes were set. Should of had chocks too. As for Photo shop, if I had those skills I would not be working on communist iron."


    ntenny, david.evenson, and 193 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 13 more comments

    1. sketchguy 44 months ago | reply

      I discovered the same thing last year on my iPhone 3GS:
      Check out the video at

    2. OLGV. 44 months ago | reply


    3. fac73 44 months ago | reply

      Awesome shot. Seems like Photoshop until you the print and realize it's all in the mechanics of a camera.

    4. neoliminal [deleted] 44 months ago | reply

      Very nicely done. Makes me want to find someone swinging their arms around really really fast.

    5. carsten de 44 months ago | reply

      Cool shot.

      Here is a brief discussion of where this effect comes from.

    6. Silvershot77 44 months ago | reply

      thanks for posting.

    7. Guineh 42 months ago | reply

      Freakishly weird....

    8. Eli the Bearded 42 months ago | reply

      Shutter tricks for fun and profit!

      Seen in pns's favorites. (?)

    9. BandC Lyddon 41 months ago | reply

      Nice observation :D

    10. rickjohnson75 17 months ago | reply

      The photographer meant "should have" or "should've." There is no such thing as "should of." Please write this down on a sticky note and stick it to your computer monitor. Also, please tell everyone you know. Thanks!

    11. focusbird 16 months ago | reply

      What was the shutter speed for this shot?

    12. danielkwalsh 12 months ago | reply

      I did some calculations and I believe the propeller must have been going quite a bit faster than 1000 rpm, but closer to 2000 rpm. Can you tell me how you determined that the propellers were spinning at 1000 rpm?

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