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Old Dec 3, 2011, 10:28 AM   #1
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Default Need fast autofocus

My wife is pet groomer and is looking for a point and shoot camera that would be good to photgraph the dogs for before and after photos. I have a DSLR and know the speed with which I can raise it and shoot if it's on autofocus. She isn't really into it so a more expensive camera is not worth it to her. At the present time she has a old Canon SD400 that takes a long time to autofocus. Anyone who's tried to photgrpah their pets can understand.

Can anyone recommend a good point and shoot that has minimal shutter lag to autofocus?
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Old Dec 3, 2011, 10:50 AM   #2
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The Panasonic "TZ" line are pretty swift in the autofocus dept'... though this little Canon is quite decent in that regard(apparently)....
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Old Dec 3, 2011, 10:52 AM   #3
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The problem is that there are two types of autofocus systems:
  • Phase Detection - This system uses tiny lenses capture light from the same portion of the image, but from different portions of the camera's main lens, and can detect the amount and direction that objects are out of focus, and can correct it.
  • Contrast Measurement - This system uses the image projected onto the image sensor and measures the difference in intensity between adjacent pixels, and guesses at which direction to adjust focus in order to increase the difference, and when it discovers the proper direction, it keeps adjusting the focus in the direction that the difference continues to increase, and stops when it starts to decrease.
The Phase Detection AF system is much faster and much more accurate than the Contrast Measurement AF system, but it is much more complex and expensive, and it requires significant additional bulk that isn't always available in P&S cameras.

While there are P&S cameras that focus faster than others, none compare to the speed and accuracy of the Phase Detection AF system that can only be found in dSLRs.
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Old Dec 3, 2011, 12:17 PM   #4
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Gasque, I suspect the auto focus will be faster on almost any of the better, current-generation point and shoots compared with her old SD400. Progress has been steady. But, as TCav points out, no point and shoot will give the performance of a DSLR.

What is the maximum amount of money your wife might spend? I ask because the Olympus E-PM1, a small micro four-thirds camera that gives near-DSLR performance, is about $450 right now. Also, the Canon S95 is downright tiny and is still in a category well above most point and shoots. It can be had for well under $300 now that the new S100 has been introduced.

If she's not much into manual controls, the Intelligent Auto function on both cameras works quite well.

Last edited by Biro; Dec 3, 2011 at 12:20 PM.
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Old Dec 3, 2011, 1:54 PM   #5
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Or you could try the new Nikon 1 series cameras.

Quite pricey, but Nikon reckon the AF system is the best AF system they've ever made, even out-performing their professional D3 cameras.
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