Shutter Lag in Point and Shoot compacts

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Hannu, Apr 6, 2006.

  1. Hannu

    Hannu Guest

    I had a Yashica T5 but lost it one drunken night and decided it would be a
    good time to switch to digital. After a brief daliance with a couple of
    digital cameras I've not been overly impressed with the end results, so have
    decided to come back home. Love have a good quality camera around but was
    frustrated by the Yashica's long shutter lag (the time taken from pressing
    the button to the photo being taken)(don't mean to be patronising but just to
    clarify). I have noticed recently that the high end compacts have started to
    become very affordable second hand but I need your advice as to which ones
    suffer the least from shutter lag. The creative options that the high end
    compacts offer are desirable but most importantly for me is a good lens and
    fast reaction times.

    I've been looking at the following Contax T2/T3, Nikon 35Ti, Rollei 35TE/SE,
    Fujifilm Natura, Ricoh GR1v but if you can add any other suggestion I'd be
    grateful for any input. I haven't mentioned any Leica's because they all seem
    too pricey or are the size of bricks. I'd appreciate your advice....
    Hannu, Apr 6, 2006
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  2. Hannu

    Ian Tindale Guest

    I have a Yashica T5, and I once bought my wife an Olympus Mju II
    special edition (ie, it's dark brownish, not black) for her birthday,
    many years ago before we were married. Frustratingly, this Mju totally
    and confidently outperformed the Yashica T5 in almost every respect.
    It's a superb little unit.
    Ian Tindale, Apr 6, 2006
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  3. I don't know of a responsive enough (for me) P&S.

    P&S sometimes offer pre-focus but this is a PITA unless the
    subject is stationary -- and who cares about reaction time
    when photographing a mountain. Some pre-focus systems measure
    the focus in advance but don't move the lens until you press
    the shutter, this isn't really pre-focus but focus lock and
    is no help.

    A non-autofocus camera will have the fastest reaction times.

    Think about getting one of the superb small Japanese rangefinders
    from the ~70's: Canon Cannonet QL17 GIII, Olympus SP or RD,
    Minolta Hi-Matic [don't know the model #'s], Konica something
    or other... The lenses on these cameras are typically f1.7
    [some 1.4's] and are a match for anything on a NikCan SLR or

    Not Leica M class in shutter response, but pretty good,
    these compacts often have long shutter stroke as they use
    'trapped needle' auto-exposure systems: the stroke on the
    shutter release is used to set the shutter speed and
    lens aperture.

    The best shutter response I know of is an MD10 motor drive
    on a Nikon F3, but it's sort of bulgy carried in a pant's
    Nicholas O. Lindan, Apr 6, 2006
  4. And I had just the opposite result ... quality control on
    P&S's isn't all that good. Everything is molded plastic
    and a little burr and lens elements don't seat, AF sensor's
    are off center, cams and gears bind, etc. etc. etc.
    Nicholas O. Lindan, Apr 6, 2006
  5. Hannu

    DunxUK Guest

    Add a Canon MC to your list; a good one will set you back about £5, the
    lag is very short and the aspherical lens is excellent, mine is better
    than my mju-1's was (which I got fed up with and sold, there's only so
    much redeye I can take). Also one of the few compacts that leaves the
    film tongue out slightly after rewinding.

    But you have to keep them secret.
    DunxUK, Apr 6, 2006
  6. Hannu

    Jeremy Guest

    I have the Canonet QL19 and I have noticed that it takes a rather long
    stroke when pushing the shutter release before the shutter actually fires.
    It does not have the precise feel that I get when firing the shutters on my
    Pentax Spotmatics or ES bodies.

    The shutter button requires relatively more pressure to push it down also.
    The combination of a long stroke, with more pressure than normal, often
    results in some slight camera shake. I have experience with only the
    particular camera that I own, and I can't know whether this issue is common
    to all Canonets, but I have found the QL19 to be rather unpleasant to use.
    Too bad, because the shutter is quiet and the body is smaller than my
    Spotmatic SLRs.

    I also have the Olympus Infinity Stylus (the original model) and the Nikon
    Lite Touch 140 and both of them give me a feeling of detachment from the
    camera when I use them. There is no provision for polarizers, no means of
    overriding the exposure and, worst of all, no means of controlling
    depth-of-field because the aperture is set automatically. I dislike the
    feeling that all I can do is to "Point And Shoot," with no control over the
    outcome. Either one likes what the camera sets or one does not . . .
    Bummer, at least for me.

    About a year ago I got my first Pentax SLR with automation--the P3n. Sure,
    it's somewhat bigger than the 70s rangefinders (it is virtually identical in
    size to the Olympus OM-1--just one millimeter taller), and the lens is
    obviously larger and sticks out farther (not much that can be done about
    that--the mirror box requires larger optics). And there is more noise when
    firing the shutter, due to mirror slap. A Leica it is not . . . But is IS
    "small enough," and at 500g it is certainly light enough to carry without
    inconvenience. And it doesn't require new batteries every 8 or 10 rolls,
    due to the power drain of the film advance/rewind motor.

    BUT, the camera can be set to full manual, or full program, or aperture
    priority for those that want to control depth-of-field or shoot at the lens'
    sweet spot. The viewfinder shows what the lens sees, without the need for
    the brain to judge what the final image will look like from a rangefinder
    camera, based on what appears in the viewfinder lines. The automation is
    very fast, with no appreciable lag time from the moment that the shutter
    button is depressed until the shutter actually fires--I judge it to be less
    than 1/10 of a second--and the camera reads the exposure and sets the
    shutter speed and the lens aperture during that very short period of time.
    Pretty impressive, I think.

    I once read that most photographers tend to gravitate toward one particular
    system, and I believe that to be true--at least in my own case. I've played
    with P&S, TLRs, Rangefinders, Instamatics--but nothing gives me the sense of
    control that a good SLR does. I bring this point up because the OP may have
    a similar tendency to SLRs, and not know it. If that is the case for him,
    then virtually no P&S will afford him the kind of satisfaction he'll get
    when using an SLR.
    Jeremy, Apr 6, 2006
  7. Hannu

    Mike Guest

    FYI-- many of the 70s rangefinders actually have quite a bit of shutter
    lag. The reason is that some of the AE models use a electro-mechanical
    exposure system. A galvometer deflects a hefty needle to a certain
    position and the shutter stroke will "catch" on this needle to set the
    aperture. To get an accurate exposure, you don't want to press the
    shutter release hard and fast. And plus the release is quite long to take
    care of this action.

    I am speaking of my experience with the Olympus 35RC (which I just
    acquired for $15 but had to disassemble the entire camera in order to find
    a bad connection)
    Mike, Apr 6, 2006
  8. Hannu

    bjw Guest

    I second or third the Canonet. The Olympus XA is another option,
    it has the form factor of a P&S (it is very small) but is
    aperture-priority AE and manual focus RF, and short shutter lag.
    35/2.8 lens of reasonable quality. Soft touch button means almost
    zero release stroke, but you can't use a cable release (use the
    self-timer). Occasionally in low light I wish it had manual
    exposure though.

    The shutter response on any of these RFs, though possibly
    not up to the repeatability of an SLR, is worlds different from
    any AF P&S or digital P&S that I have used.

    I think most good cameras are a bit too functional to qualify
    as "pretty" as in your other thread, but the XA is quite an
    elegant design.
    bjw, Apr 6, 2006
  9. Thanks for the suggestions, although perhaps the rangefinder tips are
    slightly misleading. I really do need a compact so I can just slip it in my
    pocket (I've got an SLR for the heavy duty stuff). So a retractable lens is
    also pretty high on my list of priorities. Great suggestions mind, I now have
    an every extending shopping list!
    Hannu via, Apr 7, 2006
  10. Hannu

    Mike Guest

    I don't think you want a 70s rangefinder, simply because it is hard
    to find one in perfectly good condition. They are old.

    However google "Olympus 35RC" and you will see that it is one of the
    smallest 35mm cameras ever made.

    The Olympus Stylus Epic line of cameras are small and well-regarded.
    Mike, Apr 7, 2006
  11. Hannu

    DunxUK Guest

    I think the OP was trying to find a camera without shutter lag; the
    stylus is pretty bad on this count.
    DunxUK, Apr 7, 2006
  12. Hannu

    Bhup Guest

    I think you ment MD4 thought the only Motordrive for the F3 is MD4
    I have both 70s compacts and a F3 and MD4
    Bhup, Apr 7, 2006
  13. You are quite right. An MD10 would be very unresponsive mated
    to an F3.
    Nicholas O. Lindan, Apr 7, 2006
  14. Hannu

    Bandicoot Guest

    The Ricoh GR1v has not much lag if you pre-set the focus, set it to
    'snap-focus' or use the manual(ish) focus. Otherwise its lag is good by P&S
    standards, and will trounce any digital P&S, but still a long way behind an
    SLR or a (good) rangefinder.

    The Olympus XA suggested by others doesn't have a lens anything like as good
    as the Ricoh's, but it has very little shutter lag indeed, if that is your
    key criterion.

    The '70s RFs mentioned by others that use trap-needle AF can have extremely
    short lag _once the needle is trapped_ so you can press the shutter part
    way and thereby lock the exposure, and then get very fast reaction times
    when you press the shutter the rest of the way. They are not that fast
    reacting from when you start the first press though - some more so than
    others, of course.

    Bandicoot, Apr 8, 2006
  15. Hannu

    Bob Hickey Guest

    Not that I recommend it, but I have an Agfa Optima 500 Sensor, that comes
    closer to no shutter lag at all, than anything I've ever had. The big "Agfa
    orange" shutter button doesn't move; you just put a little pressure on it,
    and the 2 blade leaf shutter fires without AF hesitation. Sometimes it's too
    fast, but a clever design. Bob Hickey
    Bob Hickey, Apr 9, 2006
  16. Hannu

    Tim Guest

    I've had a Stylus Epic for ten years now and I have to admit that I have
    never thought that it had a shutter lag problem. Of course, now I'm
    going to go looking for a problem. :)
    Tim, May 13, 2006
  17. Hannu

    Advocate Guest

    I've never noticed a shutter lag on any point and shoot 35mm.
    Advocate, May 13, 2006
  18. Hannu

    DunxUK Guest

    Certainly when I got an mju-1 I was surprised at how long it took to
    take a picture after you hit the button. Perhaps the epic is better.
    Eventually got fed up with it so can't compare it with anything now.
    DunxUK, May 14, 2006
  19. Hannu

    Tim Guest

    I know Olympus uses different names in different countries. In the US,
    the Epic is has a 35mm 2.8. Is that the same as the mju-1, or does that
    model have a zoom lens?

    BTW, totally irrelevant to this discusssion but the Epic's 35mm 2.8 is
    quite a sharp lens. It's probably my sharpest lens ...
    Tim, May 22, 2006
  20. Hannu

    DunxUK Guest

    Hi Tim

    The mju-1 over here had a 35mm f3.5 lens and I believe was the
    equivalent of the Stylus. The mju-2 had a larger f2.8 lens and
    apparently is known as the Stylus Epic everywhere else.

    It might be a simple case that in the UK 'stylus' had already been used
    for a camera, for example while everyone else watched Top Cat we had
    Boss Cat as Top Cat was a brand of cat food.

    My mju-1 (and also my LT) had good sharp lenses but unfortunately the
    flash gave serious red-eye even in daylight and they both made
    occasional exposure howlers.
    DunxUK, May 22, 2006
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