Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > Newbie Help

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old May 7, 2005, 2:45 PM   #11
Junior Member
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 5

Many newer digital point and shoot cameras have been evolving with excellent shutter lag characteristics, a trait that only SLRs used to boast.

I tried to summarize the test results I've seen, which might help influence one's decision on their next camera purchase.

The startup delay is also quite critical, as it can certainly influence your ability to capture the spontaneous events. My Canon 10d has great shutter lag performance, but poor (2.3second) startup timing.

Fortunately, the startup timing is not as big an issue for some, as you can workaround it: a) leave your camera on all the time (most newer cameras use a standby mode that consumes very little power), or b) hitting the on switch just as you reach for your camera in your bag (ie. before you pull it out). In the case of the Canon 10d with a veritcal grip (2 batteries), I can leave it on all day without worry.

That being said, this table might be useful for some:


Many of the great reviews on Steve's Digicams do a good job of indicating rough delays, but a tighter test setup (used by some other sources) would be required to get ahigher precision in the resulting delays. Of course, many people don't care as much about tight timing, and so ballpark figures are more than suitable.
calvin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 7, 2005, 10:36 PM   #12
Senior Member
VTphotog's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Extreme Northeastern Vermont, USA
Posts: 4,164

There are digicams that can do what you are asking, if you take the time to learn how to use them.

Look for the ability to focus, set exposure, and zoom manually. Focus is where nearly all cameras take the longest time. If you can focus manually with a small aperture for good depth of field, you should have no perceptible lag when pressing the shutter button. Doing this requires that you be able to judge what kind of balance you need between shutter speed and aperture, as well as where your focus zone should be. Lots of action pictures have been taken by people with totally manual cameras, with resuts equal to or better than fully automatic ones.

VTphotog is online now   Reply With Quote
Old May 8, 2005, 8:40 AM   #13
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 935

luisr wrote:
Kenny_Leong wrote:
I just consider the shutter lag to be the time it takes for the light controlling mechanism to activate - starting from the time you press the button, but not including focusing and in-camera computations.
Shutter lag is the time it takes for the camera to take the picture after the button is pressed. Period. What calculations or adjustments are made in this period don't matter. And yes, yo do have to add your own reaction time to get proper timing.
Well...if you reckon that shutter lag is the time it takes for the camera to take the picture after the button is pressed, then it is an inaccurate indication of camera performance.....because time for computations is included for some cameras, while the time for computations is not included for other cameras. So the definition itself is flawed.

That is...for cameras using focusing ring, you don't include this time...which could be many seconds. For other cameras with autofocusing, light metering etc, the computation and setup times are included. Therefore, one might ask...if you include focusing and light metering computation times into the shutter lag time for some cameras, then why not include manual focusing time (using focusing ring) for other cameras?
Kenny_Leong is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 9, 2005, 3:46 PM   #14
Junior Member
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 3

I agree. I have tried out 3 digital cameras, the latest one being a Sony DSC-W5 and I still cannot take good pictures with it. Most of the pictures are of my kids and they are indoors. I cannot get them in focus more than 50% of the time.

I keep going back to my cheap film point and shoot camera and my film SLR.

Does anyone have any pointers for me?

momotram is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 9, 2005, 5:23 PM   #15
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 436

It's simple. If you get the camera to do your thinking, it is going to take time. If you do the thinking for the camera (and take away some of the jobs it needs to do) it will take less time.

So, how do you think the old photographers who only had manual focus were able to capture rapid events? There wouldn't have been time to focus or the moment would have passed! Say a sports photographer was covering a baseball game with a manual focus camera...he thought ahead. He prefocused on a place where action was likely to happen....say 1st base. Then, when action happened, he just has to point and shoot. He thought ahead!

It is the same with all auto digitals. If you think ahead, you can grab fast shots.
Meryl Arbing is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 15, 2005, 5:07 PM   #16
Senior Member
bernabeu's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 990

with a quality DSLR your options are limitless

there should be no discernable shutter lag!

you can set it to autofocus with AF priority (will not fire unless focussed),

shutter priority (will fire even if unfocussed), manual focus (fires instantly like a good film amera,

most of the time for kids and sports you will pick up the camera, point it, depress shutter button 1/2 way to AF, wait for the shot WHILE HOLDING BUTTON 1/2 way, and fire it just like a film camera from that point

or you can elect to manually focus the lens just like the good old days
bernabeu is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 4:50 PM.