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View Full Version : Shutter lag times for digital cameras?



smarter_child
11-29-2004, 04:10 PM
Jeff,

I see that on all the camera reviews on this site, there are timings for power-on and shot-to-shot speed, but not for shutter lag!

Shutter lag times are a very important feature, and for me 0.3 seconds is a big difference from 0.6 seconds. Is it possible to get timings for a camera's shutter lag?

Jeff Keller
11-30-2004, 10:30 AM
Jeff,

I see that on all the camera reviews on this site, there are timings for power-on and shot-to-shot speed, but not for shutter lag!

Shutter lag times are a very important feature, and for me 0.3 seconds is a big difference from 0.6 seconds. Is it possible to get timings for a camera's shutter lag?

If someone can tell me a way to measure it, I'd be happy to.

NeoteriX
12-01-2004, 11:30 AM
This is an idea -- how about a very sensitive mic placed on the body of the camera? That might be able to record the depression of the shutter trigger and should definitely pick up the shutter action. Then you can just open up the wave file on your PC and measure the time between the two actions.

David Metsky
12-01-2004, 11:40 AM
But you'd have to find a "standard" shot and be able to keep light conditions constant, or set up a range of scenes and gather data for all of them to get a meaningful number.

How long it takes to focus and set apature and shutter speed will vary as conditions change. If the metric is to have value it must represent some defined set of conditions or be an average.

John_Reed
12-02-2004, 08:04 AM
I'm not sure of their metric technology, but on this (http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicfz20/page4.asp) page they show the detailed timings for an FZ20. Numbers are "average of three measurements," but they still use a lot of "~" symbols to represent the results. Take, for example, the S1->S2 time. The review calls it "~0.1 sec." Not precise enough, IMO. Panasonic itself says that the same number for the FZ20 is .08 seconds (.06 for the FZ15), which presumably they measure with fairly precise instrumentation. Especially for the faster cameras like the Canon 20d, et. al., "no shutter lag", or "almost instantaneous" may not be good enough for comparison.

I'm thinking that the measurement could be done precisely by positioning a controlled solenoid over the shutter button, and using the controlled camera to shoot tick marks on a rotating drum. The system would be calibrated such that when the solenoid was actuated for the S1->S2 push, e.g., the "0" tick mark would be flying by the lens, and then when the shutter actually opened, the tick mark caught in the resulting capture would give you the time exactly. If someone wants to develop this system, there might be a dozen or so people on the face of the Earth interested in buying it? :o

smarter_child
12-02-2004, 03:35 PM
What I am really trying to find out is this: what shutter lag speeds (seconds) are not perceptible by humans? What speeds are somewhat perceptible, and what speeds are very noticeable?

I'm trying to get a camera with unnoticeable shutter lag without prefocus (meaning not half-pressed shutter).

Rhys
12-02-2004, 07:53 PM
But shutter lag isn't a constant... it depends on many variables...

John_Reed
12-03-2004, 11:17 AM
What I am really trying to find out is this: what shutter lag speeds (seconds) are not perceptible by humans? What speeds are somewhat perceptible, and what speeds are very noticeable?

I'm trying to get a camera with unnoticeable shutter lag without prefocus (meaning not half-pressed shutter).At the low extreme, you get a fixed-focus, single-use camera with film included for ~$10 (including flash!). These cameras have no shutter lag, period. Then, you can go to a high-end dSLR, like a Nikon D2H, for what, ~$4,000 + lenses? Imperceptible shutter lag. In between, there will be some perceptible lag from the time you mash the shutter button and the photo is actually taken. In bright light, many cameras will make this seem short, though not imperceptible. Lower light, it gets worse. Name your price?

sagutter@zoom.co.uk
12-03-2004, 12:00 PM
Calling all members,

I have only registered on the forum tonight so this is my first post I hope its in the correct place. I am looking around to duy a digital compact camera (my first) and am concerned over the issue of shutter delay which I seem to read about all the time. Two cameras at present interest me in my price range and they are the Nikon coolpix 4100 or 3200. can anyone tell me what the shutter delay is like on these models. I cannot understand why there should be a delay at all really as it effectively kills off using a digital for any sort of sport where significant movement is involved as the subject may well have gone before the camera works. I read times of more than one second is common which is an incredible length of time in photography.
Can anyone please advise as I dont want to buy badly.
Best regards Steve Agutter

smarter_child
12-10-2004, 03:27 PM
At the low extreme, you get a fixed-focus, single-use camera with film included for ~$10 (including flash!). These cameras have no shutter lag, period. Then, you can go to a high-end dSLR, like a Nikon D2H, for what, ~$4,000 + lenses? Imperceptible shutter lag. In between, there will be some perceptible lag from the time you mash the shutter button and the photo is actually taken. In bright light, many cameras will make this seem short, though not imperceptible. Lower light, it gets worse. Name your price?
I tested out the Kodak DX7630 at a local retailer and couldn't perceive the 0.3 second shutter-lag Kodak claims the camera has.

John_Reed
12-10-2004, 05:33 PM
Calling all members,

I have only registered on the forum tonight so this is my first post I hope its in the correct place. I am looking around to duy a digital compact camera (my first) and am concerned over the issue of shutter delay which I seem to read about all the time. Two cameras at present interest me in my price range and they are the Nikon coolpix 4100 or 3200. can anyone tell me what the shutter delay is like on these models. I cannot understand why there should be a delay at all really as it effectively kills off using a digital for any sort of sport where significant movement is involved as the subject may well have gone before the camera works. I read times of more than one second is common which is an incredible length of time in photography.
Can anyone please advise as I dont want to buy badly.
Best regards Steve AgutterUsually the "shutter lag" numbers you see are from a FULL DEPRESSION of the shutter button. Most cameras, and the Nikons should be no exception, allow two stages of shutter depression:
1) Half-depress to focus and set AE; this will take the bulk of the time
2) Finish by fully depressing to complete the shot. This time is usually very short.
During step 1), you can usually still move the camera and maintain framing on a moving subject, so that all you have to do to get a good shot is to anticipate the shot by the time delay of step 2). Many good sports shots have been taken with many different digital cameras, so the concept must work, I believe.