How is your suit doing, Steve?

I often shoot in environments where I am trying to be as unobtrusive as possible, chiefly quiet acoustic performances and candids. As an audio engineer and acoustician by trade I began to notice the importance of the reflectivity of the space. In very live spaces like some churches, halls, theaters, etc. that are designed for lush acoustic reverberation, the sound of the shutter, regardless of its volume, can hang in the air for a second or more.

In the beginning I used an F4e only because it was what I had available to me. Like the Konica Hexar and others, it has a "silent" mode that dampens the mirror and reduces the motor noise. It was quiet enough for what I was doing at the time but after experimenting with some different cameras, I found the cloth shutter to be the most desirable. Its intensity varies from camera to camera of course but to my ears it still has a softer sound than most metal shutters.

One also learns to adjust their technique as needed. For particularly quiet performances/spaces, I try to line up my exposure with noises already occurring within the space. If there are music cues or a spot of crowd reaction I try to exploit that and shoot then. Of course, there are still plenty of moments when the right time is the quiet time and then it's just a matter of courage.