Steve's Digicams Forums

Steve's Digicams Forums (
-   What Camera Should I Buy? (
-   -   [Recovered Thread: 100761] (

nyele Aug 18, 2006 12:05 AM

At the moment I have a Coolpix 5400 and I HATE it. I never can take a picture of my son that isn't just a blur of babiness. I need a camera with a really short lag time. Any recs?

JohnG Aug 18, 2006 11:39 AM


Can you post a couple examples? Your problem may not be just shutter lag time but it may also be motion blur. No matter how short the lag time is: the camera still needs an acceptable shutter speed or good enough flash to 'freeze' the motion.

slipe Aug 18, 2006 12:47 PM

You will probably do fine with any camera that has a continuous focus mode. None of the reviewers seem to have little kids so the feature is never evaluated, but it has worked fine on cameras I have with that feature. In Steve's reviews you have to dig it out of the "Record Mode Screens & Menus" page.

What most continuous focus modes do is to keep focusing after you half press the shutter. From a half pressed shutter you get an almost instant shot when you press the shutter the rest of the way. Without continuous focus using pre-focus (half press) is useless because a perpetual motion rugrat is going to move out of focus by the time you decide the picture it right.

I have high rugrat success with my cameras with continuous focus and have a nuisance of a time constantly releasing and resetting the pre focus when the target moves on cameras without the feature. Even very fast cameras like my Casio Z750 will give a high percentage of out of focus shots using a full shutter press with rugrats darting around. A 0.4 second autofocus delay at full zoom will often give a bad shot.

My Casio focuses continuously as you pan around, but fixes the focus when you half depress the shutter. 0.25 seconds at wide and 0.4 at full zoom is quite fast for full autofocus, but it isn't nearly as good as using pre-focus on a camera with a continuous focus mode.

nyele Aug 18, 2006 1:12 PM

The problem is not just that the pictures aare blurry, but that the lag time means that by the time the picture is snapped the baby has usually changed his expression, or has his hands in front of his face, or something. I have tried to post a picture but I don't know how to make the files small enough.I have been thinking about a Canon Powershot which supposedly has a very minimal lag time. I am not sure which model is best. The A700 has been recommended to me as well as the ixus 750 (called something else in the States - I forget what).I have also been considering the Panasonic Lumix DMC FX9 which is supposed to have a quick shutter response in addition to the antishake lens. Although, I think I can make up for the lack on an antishake feature with a high ISO, is that true?

slipe Aug 18, 2006 2:17 PM

You half press the shutter and wait for the kid to move his hands from his face or get a good expression. When the picture is right pressing the shutter the rest of the way is almost instant. But that technique is problematic without continuous focus with moving subjects. No camera is going to be fast enough for a full press shutter except a DSLR and you don't seem to be in the market for that.

Using the Canon A700 as an example:
Full press shutter lag wide 0.53 seconds
Full press lag telephoto 0.68 seconds
Half press (pre-focus) 0.074
My Casio is about twice as fast as the A700 and still isn't fast enough to consistently get sharp images of young children. You have to use pre-focus and that doesn't work very well without continuous focus.

Stabilization helps in lower light only for hand shake. It allows you to use a slower shutter when the subject is perfectly still. It does nothing to help for subject motion and would be useless for a young child who wasn't asleep.

The only camera with good enough quality at high ISO to give you a chance at moving targets indoors without flash is the Fuji F30. Even with that there are times you need the flash – like always in low light with subject motion. Fuji is about to release a much more competent S6500 with the same sensor and great noise reduction. But it is large and probably pricey.

Unfortunately the F30 and A700 don't seem to have continuous focus. A camera you might consider is the Panasonic FZ7. High ISO capability isn't good, but it is a little faster than the A700 for shutter lag and much faster for cycle time. It is several times faster pre-focused. It also has a great burst mode, which is handy for little ones. It has a good continuous focus mode. I have a different model FZ but I think the continuous focus mode is the same. I have much more reliability getting pictures of little ones with it than with my two cameras without continuous focus.

If you intend just pressing the shutter all the way and hoping for the best I don't think the 0.52 to 0.68 shutter lag on the A700 is going to be appropriate for you.

katielou Aug 19, 2006 8:46 PM

The description of the interaction between shutter lag and focus is one of the BEST explanations for the frustration that I, too, have felt with digital cameras. I think I now understand. I solved the problem by buying a DSLR, but now I want an ultra compact as well. Any ideas for a good solution in that category? I really have no idea why more people aren't frustrated by this problem. Thanks for the great explanation.

nyele Aug 20, 2006 12:09 AM

Thanks. This is very helpful. Slipe, where did you find the lag times for the A700? I have been looking around for a site that listed lag times for various models but haven't found one yet.

Sintares Aug 20, 2006 12:30 AM

Imaging Resource

kenbalbari Aug 20, 2006 4:40 AM

The F30 does have a continuos autofocus mode.

reggie_uk Aug 20, 2006 12:25 PM

Hi let e summarise!!! From what I read, there is no compact camera which us parents could purchase to photograph our young ones?????

Sorry for the non-technical lingo, but the half pressing then waiting for kids to re-create that expression which we initially wanted to capture just doesnt work!!! All i want is a decent compactcamera where as soon as i see an expression i click and HEY PRESTO!!!

PLEASE....don't tell me there is a camera for our needs!!

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 1:00 PM.