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Old Feb 9, 2009, 1:30 PM   #1
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How important is shutter lag?

I've owned/used a couple of digitals and the most frustrating thing for me has been the time it takes the camera to be "ready" to take the next picture.
I know about DSLR's and the fact that the shutter lag is near-zero. I can't afford one of those.

How about the point-and-shoot - what is the best one that has the lowest shutter lag or, to put it another way, faster response to be ready for the next pic?
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Old Feb 9, 2009, 6:05 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum.

You ask about shutter lag (the time it takes from depressing the shutter release to capturing the image), but your concern seems to be more related to cycle time (the time it takes from depressing the shutter release to writing the image to memory and being ready for the next shot).

I could identify some cameras that have a short cycle time, but you would probably come back and say things like, "That's too big - I want a smaller camera", or, "That's too expensive - I want a cheaper camera", or, "I don't like that brand - I've had bad luck with them". Ask me how I know these things...

Give us some idea of what you want to shoot, and how you want to do it. Budget and size restrictions would help. Keep in mind, inexpensive entry level ultracompact P&S cameras rarely give the best of anything.

the Hun

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Old Feb 9, 2009, 7:41 PM   #3
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Cycle time... sounds more appropriate. Sorry about the confusion of terms.

I have young children and I would like to capture some 'candid' moments that sometimes become impossible because of slow cycle time.

For example, take one picture and it looks good but then they do something really great or make a funny face and you can't capture it because the camera is still writing the first image to the disk.

My budgetary constraints are reasonable. I'd like to stay around no more than 150. Ideally I'd like to get the camera with the best features at the lowest cost.
I know, that's what everyone wants!:G

Megapixels are my least concern as I wouldn't imagine printing any of these larger than 8x10.
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Old Feb 9, 2009, 7:48 PM   #4
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The Canon SD880is and Fuji F60fd seem to have good performance in the areas of autofocus acquisition, shutter lag and shot to shot recycle time.
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Old Feb 10, 2009, 8:16 AM   #5
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Andy - thanks for the recommendations. Both look very nice and are a bit (just a bit!) out of my price range. Do you have any other recommendations? Are you particularly fond of a specific brand? Know any stores (on-line or brick-and-mortar) to get a good deal?
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Old Feb 10, 2009, 9:08 AM   #6
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strokerAce wrote:
Quote:
I have young children and I would like to capture some 'candid' moments that sometimes become impossible because of slow cycle time.

For example, take one picture and it looks good but then they do something really great or make a funny face and you can't capture it because the camera is still writing the first image to the disk.
With most non-DSLR camera models, you'll need to use a flash indoors. Otherwise, you'll get motion blur from subject movement if the kids are not still.

That means the flash system will need time to recharge (which may take 2 to 4 seconds or longer, depending on the camera model, distance to subject, etc.). Some may take closer to 8 seconds. 4 seconds is considered good for a full power flash. A closer subject will allow a faster recycle time, and a further away subject will need a slower recycle time (because a longer flash burst is being used, fully discharging the capacitor).

So, make sure you consider cycle times in both good light outdoors and indoors (where flash recharge time enters the equation).

If you read the review conclusion sections for models you consider here (it's the last page before the sample images in each model's review), Steve usually covers the type of things you're interested in by measuring Startup time, Autofocus Speed, cycle times between photos with and without a flash, etc.).

A good place to start your search is our Best Cameras List (models deemed to be a good value within their market niche).

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Old Feb 10, 2009, 9:34 AM   #7
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Jim - thanks for the great advice. Flash is something I hadn't considered.

I took a look at the 'best cameras list'. Very good and comprehensive. I'm having a hard time discerning one from the other though. Any advice on key factors to look for that differentiate one from the other?
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Old Feb 10, 2009, 10:54 AM   #8
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With your budget, the "Entry-Level" Category in Best Cameras List is probably the best place to start your search. You may also find price search engines like the one you'll find by clicking on the Compare and Buy menu choice from the main page at http://www.steves-digicams.com to be helpful in finding more models within your price range.

As a general rule, the smaller the camera model, the more compromises you'll find on things like focal range from wide to long with good optical quality, flash range and cycle times (not as much battery capacity will impact range and cycle times), redeye (since the closer the flash is to the camera's lens, the more likely you're going to see redye), sensor size (which can impact noise levels) and more.

But, you really need to take each model on a case by case basis to see how they compare, and decide what features are more important to you (including convenience, since size and weight enter into the equation).

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