Small P&S Shutter Lag Times ?

Discussion in 'Digital Point & Shoot Camera' started by Bandicoot, Jan 5, 2007.

  1. Bandicoot

    Bandicoot Guest

    I have been asked to help buy a compact digital camera, and am currently,
    with the intended purchaser, making our shortlist of models to look at based
    on published spec.s and reviews. But as we all know, published spec.s very
    rarely say anything about shutter lag...

    She wants a camera that can go with her all the time, so it needs to be
    small. Main interests are landscape and - the impetus for buying the thing
    in the first place - a new kitten. So a lens that goes reasonably wide
    (insofar as they do) would be good, and a bit of reach at the other end
    would also help. Something of, say, five or six MP up would be enough.
    And, obviously, for the kitten, minimal shutter lag is absolutely critical.

    I'm sure this has been discussed at regular intervals, but I couldn't see a
    recent thread on it, and anything older is likely to exclude many more
    recent models, so thought I'd ask the question 'afresh'.

    Any comments or experience on models fitting the above criteria that have
    either particularly short (good) or long (bad) shutter lag would be very
    much appreciated. I suppose long start-up time would also be a bad thing,
    so any experience there would be useful as well.

    (Models she's shortlisted so far include Ricoh Caplios, various Pentaxes, a
    Samsung, Olympus, and Fujis, but other suggestions welcome.)

    Very many thanks (and Happy New Year),

    Bandicoot, Jan 5, 2007
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  2. The only real effective way to account for shutter lag in a P&S is
    technique. Pre-squeezing to set focus and exposure... then waiting
    for the shot. Release of the shutter from this point is instantaneous.
    Can be problematic if the lighting of the composition changes (kitten
    runs from shaddow to sun) or the subject changes distance. But the
    second one is not so bad with many P&Ss because they have decent DoF
    with the wide angle and relatively slow lens.
    Steve Cutchen, Jan 6, 2007
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  3. Only if you're not looking in the right place. DPReview gives the lags
    times on all it's full reviews.
    Ed Ruf (REPLY to E-MAIL IN SIG!), Jan 6, 2007
  4. Bandicoot

    J. Clarke Guest

    Many of them have a "sport mode" that is intended to minimize lag.

    I keep hearing about these P&S cameras with "relatively slow lens" but all
    the ones that I find "interesting" have f/2.8 lenses, which as zooms go
    are quite fast.
    J. Clarke, Jan 6, 2007
  5. 2.8 at wide angle... 5.4 or so zoomed out.
    Steve Cutchen, Jan 6, 2007
  6. Bandicoot

    tnom Guest

  7. They have an interesting definition of shutter lag.
    "The Shutter Lag Comparison Table shows the amount of time it takes each
    camera to record one shot and five shots"

    It is supposed to be the time taken from pressing the release until the
    shutter operates and has /nothing/ to do with how long it takes to record
    the image.

    The table appears to be meaningless as far as shutter lag goes.

    Anyway most cameras can operate faster if you turn off automatic white
    It certainly slows mine down.
    The same is true of auto exposure but its more difficult to live without.
    [email protected], Jan 6, 2007
  8. Bandicoot

    tnom Guest

    The sites use of the word record is misleading. Shutter lag times
    show ARE for the time taken from pressing the release until the
    shutter operates. If you'd include the record time also then the
    times would be much slower than the fast times stated.
    Not so. The table can be arranged by brand, category of camera,
    five shot, or one shot lag times. Not electronic record times as you
    tnom, Jan 7, 2007
  9. Bandicoot

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Continuous auto-focus can also slow things quite a bit. I define
    'shutter lag' as the time between full depression of the shutter button,
    and recording of the image. Unfortunately, the chart referenced seems
    to also consider flash recharge, and write to card, times. Not useful
    for answering the OP's question.
    Ron Hunter, Jan 7, 2007
  10. Bandicoot

    J. Clarke Guest

    Shouldn't. Continuous autofocus means that the image is already focused
    when the release is pressed--should be almost as quick as prefocus.
    <> has reviews on a large number of digital cameras
    and they measure the lag under several different conditions. However their
    site doesn't make it easy to put together a comparison on that basis, you
    have to read each review and put together a list then sort it yourself.
    J. Clarke, Jan 7, 2007
  11. in memory... i.e. getting the shot. Yes. I'd agree.
    Pre-squeezing reduced the shutter lag to zero, but at the sacrifice of
    locking in the AF and exposure. In some cases, not a bad compromise if
    you are careful at what scene you pre-squeeze.
    Steve Cutchen, Jan 7, 2007
  12. Bandicoot

    tnom Guest

    It does not take flash recharge time, and write to card times into

    Look at the times. They are lightning fast for many cameras. Much
    faster than a camera can recharge a flash and write to a card. This
    comparison is for shutter lag only. The numbers are matched very
    closely to the numbers that you would have to manually look up at
    tnom, Jan 7, 2007
  13. Bandicoot

    Ron Hunter Guest

    I have used that pre-focus/exposure to good purpose when scenes are backlit.
    Ron Hunter, Jan 7, 2007
  14. Bandicoot

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Sorry, but the second column of times are for 5 shots. Many of the
    cameras listed will not take 5 shots without writing to the card, and
    that is obvious in the times.
    Ron Hunter, Jan 7, 2007
  15. Bandicoot

    tnom Guest

    Then the five shot column reflects the "real world" time of the
    particular camera. This hardly make the listing not useful.
    tnom, Jan 7, 2007
  16. Bandicoot

    Ron Hunter Guest

    If the intention is to figure out which cameras can take 5 pictures the
    fastest, it is, indeed, useful, but for purposes of assessing the
    quality of a camera's shutter lag, the second column IS useless.
    The first one is much more pertinent.
    Ron Hunter, Jan 7, 2007
  17. Bandicoot

    Bandicoot Guest

    Thanks to everyone who replied. This table was very interesting - though
    the main point it seems to make is just how awful the lag is for all the
    cameras listed.

    Well, my friend has her new toy now and is very pleased with it: a Ricoh
    Caplio R4. This met her requirements well, and testing one 'hands on' it
    had much shorter lag times than the others we looked at.

    The oft repeated advice to pre-set focus and exposure with a half press,
    incidentally, isn't a complete answer (if it was, I wouldn't have asked the
    question in the first place...) since there is still quite a lot of lag with
    all these cameras even then - the Canon Ixus 65 and Panasonic DMC FX07 being
    particularly bad in this regard when I tested them, for example.

    Thanks again,

    Bandicoot, Jan 9, 2007
  18. Bandicoot

    Ben Brugman Guest

    No it is not. Recently a lot of camera's have reduced the shutterlag for
    pre-squeezing (pre-focussing and ae) to about or under 1/10 of a second.
    But not to long ago there where camera's which to more than 3/10 of
    a second using pre-focussing (or even over a second).
    The fastest I have seen is 0.06 seconds. Which is still not instantaneous,
    but getting close.
    I believe that the fastes DSLR now manages in 0.035 seconds.

    Old SLR's used to have a shutterlag of around 0.05 seconds, fastest was
    a special constructed canon with a shutterlag of 0.008 seconds.

    1/10 of a second is for a lot of situations still noticeble, but it is a
    improvement from the shutterlag of most camera's a few years ago.

    Ben Brugman, Feb 1, 2007
  19. Bandicoot

    Guest Guest

    Maybe it is on *your* camera but it certainly isn't on mine. They
    only way I've been able to deal with the problem is by pushing
    the release button early and that's pretty much a guess.
    Guest, Feb 2, 2007
  20. Focusing is slow. Most modern digitals have pretty decent time from
    end-of-focus to exposure. measures this and related times
    and reports them in their reviews, so you can find independently
    measured numbers for many cameras.
    David Dyer-Bennet, Feb 2, 2007
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