Why no Digicam shutter lag questions?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Bill Tuthill, Jul 6, 2004.

  1. Bill Tuthill

    Bill Tuthill Guest

    Why are there so many threads (seemingly a number approaching infinity)
    about megapixel comparisons of scanned film versus digicams, or maximum
    enlargement size for 35mm versus digital, but

    * No questions about why shutter lag is so long on a digicam? *

    For most photographic endeavors, it seems like shutter lag is a more
    important issue than maximum enlargement size, or how many megapixel
    equivalents a film scan can produce, or whatever most BS threads
    that we see over and over again discuss.

    So why is shutter lag so interminably long on a typical P&S digicam?
    It can't possibly take that long to focus, especially considering
    how many digicam pictures come out misfocused.

    Also, why are misfocused digicam pictures so freakin' far out of focus?
    At least with 35mm cameras, AF produces images only slightly out of focus.
    You'd think a digicam could just guess at infinity if AF couldn't lock,
    and more pictures would come out acceptably than currently do.
    Bill Tuthill, Jul 6, 2004
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  2. Bill Tuthill

    Jeremy Guest

    Maybe because it is not that much of an issue to non-pros.

    I use manual 35mm SLRs, and the time it takes to focus is a lot longer than
    it is on my digicam! You see the glass as half empty, I view it as half

    My digicam cuts the lag time in half if I pre-focus and hold the shutter
    button halfway down to keep the focus and exposure settings active. Then
    when I press the shutter all the way, the photo snaps in about .4 seconds.
    Not the same speed as a Leica, to be sure, but not bad if the subject is not
    moving much.
    They shouldn't be, given the fact that digicams have greater depth of field
    than do 35mm lenses. If you are experiencing focusing problems, you might
    wish to review your technique. You need to be certain that the subject is
    within the focusing area (typically center of viewfinder). Also, you may
    experience problems when, for example, you are shooting through a plate
    glass store window. You might try overriding the autofocus in those tricky
    types of scenes if your camera has the ability to do so.
    Do you have any empirical data to support that? Is there anything different
    in the autofocus mechanism on a dicam, versus that of P&S?
    Jeremy, Jul 6, 2004
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  3. Bill Tuthill

    Gordon Moat Guest

    It is easier to find MP numbers, and it is the most common marketing term
    used for describing direct digital camera capabilities. Also, some film
    cameras have somewhat long shutter lag as well, so they are not immune from a
    noticeable delay.
    Depends upon what one is photographing. A landscape or building doesn't move
    much, so any lag is not really that big a deal. With people photography, it
    is another story, and sometimes that quickness can help with certain shots.
    I think P&S direct digital suffers from both autofocus and exposure
    simplification. The conservative approach to the construction keeps the
    prices down. To be fair, there are many autofocus P&S film cameras that also
    have a good deal of shutter lag. A few P&S that offer some form of manually
    set focus seem to greatly improve on lag problems.
    Just a guess, but maybe the really small lens, small aperture, and simpler
    circuitry just combine to produce more lag, thus making errors more possible.
    Many autofocus systems work on contrast comparisons, so as the light changes
    slightly, the focus can keep changing, meaning more chance of some error. I
    think camera movement is more likely a problem of blurry images, since the
    large DOF should cover a wide area of focus slop.
    On an SLR, there is more room for circuitry and evaluation. Also, these SLR
    autofocus systems are often a little better developed. If you really want the
    smaller size and convenience of a P&S, try to find one that allows some form
    of user control over focus.

    <http://www.agstudiopro.com> Coming Soon!
    Gordon Moat, Jul 6, 2004
  4. Bill Tuthill

    Alan Browne Guest

    The P&S crowd are hardly looking at the right parameters, and
    even many P&S film cameras had lag (often due to red-eye reduction).

    Most DSLR's have lag comparable to SLR cameras.

    Shutter lag is best when small; megapix are best when big;
    people like to brag on bigness, not smallness.

    Alan Browne, Jul 6, 2004
  5. Uh, because this is a 35mm film group. r.p.d has a few questions like this
    (one quite recently), however they are usually about consumer pointandshoots
    (which is like comparing the flat-out performance of a pogo stick vs. a
    space hopper).
    Martin Francis, Jul 6, 2004
  6. Bill Tuthill

    Justin Thyme Guest

    On any but the very bottom of the range, I don't find it excessively long.
    It is certainly no longer than a similar spec film camera. In both film and
    digi, it is best to half-press the shutter button so the camera can focus
    and measure light. In most digi's, when you press the shutter button the
    rest of the way, there is negligible lag. If you press the shutter button
    all the way in one action however, the digi's almost all have a terrible
    lag. This is one aspect where they seem to differ to film (at least most
    film camera's I've played with). Film cameras tend to take the photo
    immediately if you press the shutter all the way - irrespective of whether
    it has had time to focus and measure light, it will just take the photo
    as-is. Digital on the other hand won't take the photo until the camera has
    focussed and measured light.
    Justin Thyme, Jul 7, 2004
  7. Bill Tuthill

    Bhup Guest

    With the shutter lag digital can be very hit and miss when photographing
    animals or children
    Best to use film :) in those circumstances.
    Bhup, Jul 7, 2004
  8. Bill Tuthill

    Skip M Guest

    The shutter lag on digital point and shoots is pretty much a non issue,
    though there was a thread on rpd on which ones didn't have a glacial lag.
    Most digital p&s users don't know the difference, and DSLR users don't see
    that much difference between the digital and film camera lag.
    Skip M, Jul 7, 2004
  9. Bill Tuthill

    Sabineellen Guest

    Yesterday I used the HP 945 which is said to be one of the slowest, but I
    realized that's actually not true and that those who criticized probably didn't
    know how to use it. If i just click then yes, it could take up to a second to
    take a picture, but if i click halfway so that the camera would focus and
    meter, then once i'm ready to take the picture its instantaneous and I get
    exactly what i saw when i clicked.
    Sabineellen, Jul 7, 2004
  10. Bill Tuthill

    Bill Tuthill Guest

    Bingo. Camera shake probably explains it. Many digicams (a term I use
    as distinguished from DSLR) offer only ISO 100-200, so camera shake can be
    much more of an issue than with 400-800 speed film in a P&S.

    Even the high end models like the Canon G2 (haven't tried a G3 or G5 yet)
    seem to require over a second, and sometimes as long as 2 seconds, to focus.
    So I don't understand Justin Tyme's remark:
    I find it excessively long! One of the reasons I'm happier using a
    Minolta FZE/Riva 28-75 instead of my old (nonzoom but with Zeiss glass!)
    Yashica T4 Super is that the FZE has about half the shutter lag, and
    produces results almost as good at 35mm focal length.

    And you can't say the Minolta FZE/Riva 28-75 is "similar spec" because
    it cost me less than $150. Very few digicams can be purchased for that.
    Bill Tuthill, Jul 7, 2004
  11. Bill Tuthill

    Gordon Moat Guest

    My preference is towards heavier cameras, since they help with the slower shutter
    speed shots. Makes it seem like a Mamiya RZ67 would be ideal, though that is too
    tiring to use for long hand held. It is tough to be steady with really small
    cameras, especially those you see people using at arms length, often just to view
    the back LCD.
    A former roommate had a G2, and it seemed like it was very noticeably slow, though
    I was comparing it to some of my film cameras.
    I think I understand his, and others, remarks. Many of them have probably not used
    a really fast shutter release camera, so they don't experience the difference.
    Some of the fixed focal P&S film cameras have allowed some manual focus control.
    The benefit on a few of these cameras is that the shutter lag can be greatly
    reduced by avoiding using autofocus.
    Well, the ones that can be purchased for that are either old, very low quality, or
    can be used to make phone calls.

    <http://www.agstudiopro.com> Coming Soon!
    Gordon Moat, Jul 7, 2004
  12. Bill Tuthill

    Sabineellen Guest

    Hi Bill, better be careful when you make such posts. Some seem to think you're
    not entiteld to talk about digital/film in this newsgroup unless you use a
    Sabineellen, Jul 7, 2004
  13. Hey Bill-

    The reason the shutter lag is so long on any digital camera is because
    the sensor has to be charged first. This typical takes a few
    milliseconds with bodies like the D2H and 1Dm2 because they are
    getting better and better at designing the systems. The older Kodak
    DCS 520 was a turd with about a 1/4 second delay. Thank god those
    days are gone.

    With the 1Dm2 the lag is getting back to 1V times... Sorta. It will
    (probably) never get to be as quick as the 1V unless the device has a
    constant charge going to it, which would be a bad idea because then
    you get hot pixels which leads to noise.

    Hope that helps.


    GO Photography
    Cincinnati and Midwest
    Thomas E. Witte, Jul 9, 2004
  14. ....because they're still waiting....
    Michael Scarpitti, Jul 9, 2004
  15. Bill Tuthill

    Bill Tuthill Guest

    Whew (whistling with sudden realization). I suppose consumer digicams
    are even slower because they have less battery power.

    Thanks Thomas. I'm glad I posted here instead of rec.photo.digital,
    where I probably would have gotten a megapixel discussion, yawn.
    Bill Tuthill, Jul 9, 2004
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