Digital camera's shutter lag: Why are SLR faster?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Antoine Garric, Apr 12, 2005.

  1. By reading the press and searching into this forum history I got a fact:
    SLR systems are faster: meaning they have shorter shutter lag.

    So far I have had a few camera the latest being a coolpix SQ, the
    shutter lag is so long that I am considering investing into an SLR
    camera Nikon 70 or Canon 350 for example. (I am talking about the lag
    with pre-focus)

    What I don't understand is why SLR are faster? in fact they need to move
    the mirror/prism so they should be even slower.

    Is it just the price or is there a technical reason because of which you
    cannot have a faster sensor when you also use it to visualize the image
    in real time. Is there a time to reconfigure the sensor from the
    vizualisation mode to the shooting mode?

    I don't want an SLR, I would preffer a bridge (smaller, 10x zoom is fine
    with me I don't need to change lenses, most of the time I prefer the
    screen rather than the viewfinder - By the way my SQ have no viewfinder).

    If some vendor could build a bridge with a good latency I would buy it
    immediatly even at the price of a SLR.

    Do I have a chance to see a bridge with good latency any time soon?

    By the way do you know a good site or magazine with a comparison of
    shutter lag.

    Thanks for your advise.
    Antoine
    Antoine Garric, Apr 12, 2005
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. Antoine Garric wrote:
    > By reading the press and searching into this forum history I got a
    > fact: SLR systems are faster: meaning they have shorter shutter lag.
    >
    > So far I have had a few camera the latest being a coolpix SQ, the
    > shutter lag is so long that I am considering investing into an SLR
    > camera Nikon 70 or Canon 350 for example. (I am talking about the lag
    > with pre-focus)
    >
    > What I don't understand is why SLR are faster? in fact they need to
    > move the mirror/prism so they should be even slower.
    >


    They are just using newer faster technology. It is starting to filter
    down to the P&S cameras.


    --
    Joseph Meehan

    Dia's Muire duit
    Joseph Meehan, Apr 12, 2005
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. Antoine Garric

    Guest

    Re: Digital camera's shutter lag: Why are SLR faster?

    Antoine Garric wrote:
    > By reading the press and searching into this forum history I got a

    fact:
    > SLR systems are faster: meaning they have shorter shutter lag.
    >
    > So far I have had a few camera the latest being a coolpix SQ, the
    > shutter lag is so long that I am considering investing into an SLR
    > camera Nikon 70 or Canon 350 for example. (I am talking about the lag


    > with pre-focus)
    >
    > What I don't understand is why SLR are faster? in fact they need to

    move
    > the mirror/prism so they should be even slower.
    >
    > Is it just the price or is there a technical reason because of which

    you
    > cannot have a faster sensor when you also use it to visualize the

    image
    > in real time. Is there a time to reconfigure the sensor from the
    > vizualisation mode to the shooting mode?
    >
    > I don't want an SLR, I would preffer a bridge (smaller, 10x zoom is

    fine
    > with me I don't need to change lenses, most of the time I prefer the
    > screen rather than the viewfinder - By the way my SQ have no

    viewfinder).
    >
    > If some vendor could build a bridge with a good latency I would buy

    it
    > immediatly even at the price of a SLR.
    >
    > Do I have a chance to see a bridge with good latency any time soon?
    >
    > By the way do you know a good site or magazine with a comparison of
    > shutter lag.
    >
    > Thanks for your advise.
    > Antoine



    www.dpreview.com
    , Apr 12, 2005
    #3
  4. Re: Digital camera's shutter lag: Why are SLR faster?

    a écrit :

    >
    >
    > www.dpreview.com
    >


    Thanks for your swift answer. I looked at this site and did not find
    mention of latency/lag for example I browsed the 2o page review of the
    Canon 350D and didn't find it. Any specific page to look at?

    Thanks,
    Antoine
    Antoine Garric, Apr 12, 2005
    #4
  5. Antoine Garric

    Scott W Guest

    Re: Digital camera's shutter lag: Why are SLR faster?

    Antoine Garric wrote:
    > By reading the press and searching into this forum history I got a

    fact:
    > SLR systems are faster: meaning they have shorter shutter lag.
    >
    > So far I have had a few camera the latest being a coolpix SQ, the
    > shutter lag is so long that I am considering investing into an SLR
    > camera Nikon 70 or Canon 350 for example. (I am talking about the lag


    > with pre-focus)
    >
    > What I don't understand is why SLR are faster? in fact they need to

    move
    > the mirror/prism so they should be even slower.
    >
    > Is it just the price or is there a technical reason because of which

    you
    > cannot have a faster sensor when you also use it to visualize the

    image
    > in real time. Is there a time to reconfigure the sensor from the
    > vizualisation mode to the shooting mode?
    >
    > I don't want an SLR, I would preffer a bridge (smaller, 10x zoom is

    fine
    > with me I don't need to change lenses, most of the time I prefer the
    > screen rather than the viewfinder - By the way my SQ have no

    viewfinder).
    >
    > If some vendor could build a bridge with a good latency I would buy

    it
    > immediatly even at the price of a SLR.
    >
    > Do I have a chance to see a bridge with good latency any time soon?
    >
    > By the way do you know a good site or magazine with a comparison of
    > shutter lag.
    >
    > Thanks for your advise.
    > Antoine


    An SLR, digital or film, auto-focuses with small sensors that get a bit
    of the image from a beam splitter, these small sensors can be very
    fast. A P&S uses the image coming from the imaging chip, which takes
    much longer to read out, this limits haw fast the auto-focus can be on
    a P&S.

    If you pre-focus a good P&S there will be very little shutter lag, less
    then an SLR.

    Scott
    Scott W, Apr 12, 2005
    #5
  6. Antoine Garric

    Paul Rubin Guest

    Antoine Garric <> writes:
    > Is it just the price or is there a technical reason because of which
    > you cannot have a faster sensor when you also use it to visualize the
    > image in real time. Is there a time to reconfigure the sensor from the
    > vizualisation mode to the shooting mode?


    The reason is that consumer point-and-shoot digicams usually use the
    same CCD to both autofocus and actually capture the image. That makes
    the AF rather slow. Cheap 35mm point-and-shoot cameras don't do that.
    They use an infrared sensor for autofocus and use film to capture the
    image, so they're faster than point-and-shoot digicams. Film SLR's
    and DSLR's have AF sensors as part of the viewfinder system, so again,
    they are fast.

    The Ricoh Caplio R1 and some of its successors are built like 35mm
    cameras so they don't have the shutter lag of typical p/s digicams.
    I don't know why all digicams aren't made like that, except to save
    a few cheap electronic components.
    Paul Rubin, Apr 12, 2005
    #6
  7. Paul Rubin wrote:
    []
    > The Ricoh Caplio R1 and some of its successors are built like 35mm
    > cameras so they don't have the shutter lag of typical p/s digicams.
    > I don't know why all digicams aren't made like that, except to save
    > a few cheap electronic components.


    The Nikon 8400 has both a focus sensor and can use CCD focus if needs be.
    This combination makes it fast in use.

    David
    David J Taylor, Apr 12, 2005
    #7
  8. Antoine Garric

    Paul Rubin Guest

    "David J Taylor" <-this-bit.nor-this-part.uk> writes:
    > The Nikon 8400 has both a focus sensor and can use CCD focus if needs be.
    > This combination makes it fast in use.


    Oh great, they're couthing up then. Is that an IR sensor? Nikons
    used to be awful at low light focusing.
    Paul Rubin, Apr 12, 2005
    #8
  9. Paul Rubin wrote:
    > "David J Taylor"
    > <-this-bit.nor-this-part.uk> writes:
    >> The Nikon 8400 has both a focus sensor and can use CCD focus if
    >> needs be. This combination makes it fast in use.

    >
    > Oh great, they're couthing up then. Is that an IR sensor? Nikons
    > used to be awful at low light focusing.


    I believe it's an IR sensor, although the specifications in the manual say
    "AF sensor" and even DP Review just says "external sensor". Behind the
    glass plate on the camera there look to be two further lenses:

    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/NikonCP8400/Images/allroundview.jpg

    above the gold "8.0 megapixels ED" logo.

    David
    David J Taylor, Apr 12, 2005
    #9
  10. Antoine Garric <> writes:

    >What I don't understand is why SLR are faster? in fact they need to move
    >the mirror/prism so they should be even slower.


    >Is it just the price or is there a technical reason because of which you
    >cannot have a faster sensor when you also use it to visualize the image
    >in real time. Is there a time to reconfigure the sensor from the
    >vizualisation mode to the shooting mode?


    There are two factors at work: autofocus and LCD preview.

    DSLRs use phase-measuring autofocus systems that have extra optics and
    CCDs that are optimized for focus only. This makes them fast at
    focusing. From a single measurement, the camera knows which direction
    and approximately how far to move the focus motor, even before the motor
    starts moving.

    Most P&S digicams use a simple contrast-measuring autofocus system that
    requires them to repeatedly read images from the sensor while
    (relatively) slowly moving the lens through a range of focus positions.
    This is cheap (no extra hardware), but slow. A few P&S cameras have
    external autofocus systems like P&S film cameras, so they can be faster.

    In addition, it takes a bit of time to reconfigure the camera from "live
    preview" to "picture taking" mode. The shutter is open during preview,
    so it has to close. Then the CCD is cleared (by reading it out
    rapidly). Only then can the shutter open and close for the actual
    exposure. In comparison, in a DSLR the sensor is normally in the dark
    and can be kept cleared. When you want to shoot, the mirror flipping up
    is the only delay.

    Some P&S digicams can be made to operate noticeably faster by (a)
    switching to manual focus so there's no autofocus delay and (b) turning
    off the LCD preview, which allows the shutter to remain closed.

    Dave
    Dave Martindale, Apr 12, 2005
    #10
  11. Antoine Garric

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Antoine Garric wrote:
    >
    > By reading the press and searching into this forum history I got a fact:
    > SLR systems are faster: meaning they have shorter shutter lag.
    >
    > So far I have had a few camera the latest being a coolpix SQ, the
    > shutter lag is so long that I am considering investing into an SLR
    > camera Nikon 70 or Canon 350 for example. (I am talking about the lag
    > with pre-focus)
    >
    > What I don't understand is why SLR are faster? in fact they need to move
    > the mirror/prism so they should be even slower.
    >
    > Is it just the price or is there a technical reason because of which you
    > cannot have a faster sensor when you also use it to visualize the image
    > in real time. Is there a time to reconfigure the sensor from the
    > vizualisation mode to the shooting mode?
    >
    > I don't want an SLR, I would preffer a bridge (smaller, 10x zoom is fine
    > with me I don't need to change lenses, most of the time I prefer the
    > screen rather than the viewfinder - By the way my SQ have no viewfinder).
    >
    > If some vendor could build a bridge with a good latency I would buy it
    > immediatly even at the price of a SLR.
    >
    > Do I have a chance to see a bridge with good latency any time soon?
    >
    > By the way do you know a good site or magazine with a comparison of
    > shutter lag.
    >
    > Thanks for your advise.
    > Antoine

    You might check the specs on the Kodak DX7590. It, and similar cameras,
    have shutter lag figures only slightly slower than DSLRs.


    --
    Ron Hunter
    Ron Hunter, Apr 12, 2005
    #11
  12. Very good explaination! I have been asking this question to so many
    people recently and no one could give me any reasonable answer.

    Do you have a refernece to a book or site explaining this?

    Thanks agains,
    Antoine



    Dave Martindale a écrit :
    > Antoine Garric <> writes:
    >
    >
    >>What I don't understand is why SLR are faster? in fact they need to move
    >>the mirror/prism so they should be even slower.

    >
    >
    >>Is it just the price or is there a technical reason because of which you
    >>cannot have a faster sensor when you also use it to visualize the image
    >>in real time. Is there a time to reconfigure the sensor from the
    >>vizualisation mode to the shooting mode?

    >
    >
    > There are two factors at work: autofocus and LCD preview.
    >
    > DSLRs use phase-measuring autofocus systems that have extra optics and
    > CCDs that are optimized for focus only. This makes them fast at
    > focusing. From a single measurement, the camera knows which direction
    > and approximately how far to move the focus motor, even before the motor
    > starts moving.
    >
    > Most P&S digicams use a simple contrast-measuring autofocus system that
    > requires them to repeatedly read images from the sensor while
    > (relatively) slowly moving the lens through a range of focus positions.
    > This is cheap (no extra hardware), but slow. A few P&S cameras have
    > external autofocus systems like P&S film cameras, so they can be faster.
    >
    > In addition, it takes a bit of time to reconfigure the camera from "live
    > preview" to "picture taking" mode. The shutter is open during preview,
    > so it has to close. Then the CCD is cleared (by reading it out
    > rapidly). Only then can the shutter open and close for the actual
    > exposure. In comparison, in a DSLR the sensor is normally in the dark
    > and can be kept cleared. When you want to shoot, the mirror flipping up
    > is the only delay.
    >
    > Some P&S digicams can be made to operate noticeably faster by (a)
    > switching to manual focus so there's no autofocus delay and (b) turning
    > off the LCD preview, which allows the shutter to remain closed.
    >
    > Dave
    >
    Antoine Garric, Apr 12, 2005
    #12
  13. Antoine Garric

    larrylook Guest

    Re: Digital camera's shutter lag: Why are SLR faster?

    "Scott W" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >
    > Antoine Garric wrote:
    > > By reading the press and searching into this forum history I got a

    > fact:
    > > SLR systems are faster: meaning they have shorter shutter lag.
    > >
    > > So far I have had a few camera the latest being a coolpix SQ, the
    > > shutter lag is so long that I am considering investing into an SLR
    > > camera Nikon 70 or Canon 350 for example. (I am talking about the lag

    >
    > > with pre-focus)
    > >
    > > What I don't understand is why SLR are faster? in fact they need to

    > move
    > > the mirror/prism so they should be even slower.
    > >
    > > Is it just the price or is there a technical reason because of which

    > you
    > > cannot have a faster sensor when you also use it to visualize the

    > image
    > > in real time. Is there a time to reconfigure the sensor from the
    > > vizualisation mode to the shooting mode?
    > >
    > > I don't want an SLR, I would preffer a bridge (smaller, 10x zoom is

    > fine
    > > with me I don't need to change lenses, most of the time I prefer the
    > > screen rather than the viewfinder - By the way my SQ have no

    > viewfinder).
    > >
    > > If some vendor could build a bridge with a good latency I would buy

    > it
    > > immediatly even at the price of a SLR.
    > >
    > > Do I have a chance to see a bridge with good latency any time soon?
    > >
    > > By the way do you know a good site or magazine with a comparison of
    > > shutter lag.
    > >
    > > Thanks for your advise.
    > > Antoine

    >
    > An SLR, digital or film, auto-focuses with small sensors that get a bit
    > of the image from a beam splitter, these small sensors can be very
    > fast. A P&S uses the image coming from the imaging chip, which takes
    > much longer to read out, this limits haw fast the auto-focus can be on
    > a P&S.


    I've heard it said that dSLR can be more likely to get auto WB wrong than
    P&S because it sets WB on the basis of small sensor and quickly, so less
    info on which to select best WB.
    larrylook, Apr 13, 2005
    #13
  14. Antoine Garric

    Lin Chung Guest

    Paul Rubin wrote:
    > Antoine Garric writes:
    > > Is it just the price or is there a technical reason because of which
    > > you cannot have a faster sensor when you also use it to visualize the
    > > image in real time. Is there a time to reconfigure the sensor from the
    > > vizualisation mode to the shooting mode?

    > The reason is that consumer point-and-shoot digicams usually use the
    > same CCD to both autofocus and actually capture the image. That makes
    > the AF rather slow. Cheap 35mm point-and-shoot cameras don't do that.
    > They use an infrared sensor for autofocus and use film to capture the
    > image, so they're faster than point-and-shoot digicams. Film SLR's
    > and DSLR's have AF sensors as part of the viewfinder system, so again,
    > they are fast.
    > The Ricoh Caplio R1 and some of its successors are built like 35mm
    > cameras so they don't have the shutter lag of typical p/s digicams.
    > I don't know why all digicams aren't made like that, except to save
    > a few cheap electronic components.



    Aha! Fair is fair; the Ricoh R series got mentioned at last! :eek:)

    --
    Lin Chung.
    [The Water Margins of Liang Shan Po were at the time of the Sung dynasty.
    Replace that with "ntlworld" for emails.]
    Lin Chung, Apr 13, 2005
    #14
  15. "Antoine Garric" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >
    > Very good explaination! I have been asking this question to so many
    > people recently and no one could give me any reasonable answer.
    >
    > Do you have a refernece to a book or site explaining this?


    It doesn't get any more essential than Dave's reaction. Try to Google
    on the Groups, it may turn up more references to similar (less
    condensed) info.

    Bart
    Bart van der Wolf, Apr 13, 2005
    #15
  16. Antoine Garric

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Lin Chung wrote:
    > Paul Rubin wrote:
    >
    >>Antoine Garric writes:
    >>
    >>>Is it just the price or is there a technical reason because of which
    >>>you cannot have a faster sensor when you also use it to visualize the
    >>>image in real time. Is there a time to reconfigure the sensor from the
    >>>vizualisation mode to the shooting mode?

    >>
    >>The reason is that consumer point-and-shoot digicams usually use the
    >>same CCD to both autofocus and actually capture the image. That makes
    >>the AF rather slow. Cheap 35mm point-and-shoot cameras don't do that.
    >>They use an infrared sensor for autofocus and use film to capture the
    >>image, so they're faster than point-and-shoot digicams. Film SLR's
    >>and DSLR's have AF sensors as part of the viewfinder system, so again,
    >>they are fast.
    >>The Ricoh Caplio R1 and some of its successors are built like 35mm
    >>cameras so they don't have the shutter lag of typical p/s digicams.
    >>I don't know why all digicams aren't made like that, except to save
    >>a few cheap electronic components.

    >
    >
    >
    > Aha! Fair is fair; the Ricoh R series got mentioned at last! :eek:)
    >

    One problem I see with it is that so far it seems to be vaporware. At
    least in the US.


    --
    Ron Hunter
    Ron Hunter, Apr 13, 2005
    #16
  17. > Some P&S digicams can be made to operate noticeably faster by (a)
    > switching to manual focus so there's no autofocus delay and (b) turning
    > off the LCD preview, which allows the shutter to remain closed.
    >
    > Dave


    And don't forget to either disable the flash or set it to multi-shot mode.
    Some digital cameras will delay being ready until the flash is charged up,
    even when it's not required.

    --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles
    www.ChainReactionBicycles.com


    "Dave Martindale" <> wrote in message
    news:d3h731$drl$...
    > Antoine Garric <> writes:
    >
    >>What I don't understand is why SLR are faster? in fact they need to move
    >>the mirror/prism so they should be even slower.

    >
    >>Is it just the price or is there a technical reason because of which you
    >>cannot have a faster sensor when you also use it to visualize the image
    >>in real time. Is there a time to reconfigure the sensor from the
    >>vizualisation mode to the shooting mode?

    >
    > There are two factors at work: autofocus and LCD preview.
    >
    > DSLRs use phase-measuring autofocus systems that have extra optics and
    > CCDs that are optimized for focus only. This makes them fast at
    > focusing. From a single measurement, the camera knows which direction
    > and approximately how far to move the focus motor, even before the motor
    > starts moving.
    >
    > Most P&S digicams use a simple contrast-measuring autofocus system that
    > requires them to repeatedly read images from the sensor while
    > (relatively) slowly moving the lens through a range of focus positions.
    > This is cheap (no extra hardware), but slow. A few P&S cameras have
    > external autofocus systems like P&S film cameras, so they can be faster.
    >
    > In addition, it takes a bit of time to reconfigure the camera from "live
    > preview" to "picture taking" mode. The shutter is open during preview,
    > so it has to close. Then the CCD is cleared (by reading it out
    > rapidly). Only then can the shutter open and close for the actual
    > exposure. In comparison, in a DSLR the sensor is normally in the dark
    > and can be kept cleared. When you want to shoot, the mirror flipping up
    > is the only delay.
    >
    > Some P&S digicams can be made to operate noticeably faster by (a)
    > switching to manual focus so there's no autofocus delay and (b) turning
    > off the LCD preview, which allows the shutter to remain closed.
    >
    > Dave
    >
    Mike Jacoubowsky, Apr 13, 2005
    #17
  18. Antoine Garric

    Gnekker Guest

    Re: Digital camera's shutter lag: Why are SLR faster?

    > Thanks for your swift answer. I looked at this site and did not find
    > mention of latency/lag for example I browsed the 2o page review of the
    > Canon 350D and didn't find it. Any specific page to look at?
    >
    > Thanks,
    > Antoine


    Usualy on page 4 on reviews for P&S cameras there is a detailed analysis of
    all timing and delays. Also new models of P&S cameras are much faster now
    (for example, my Fuji F810 feels really snappy in action).
    Gnekker, Apr 13, 2005
    #18
  19. Antoine Garric

    Tony M Guest


    >>
    >> Aha! Fair is fair; the Ricoh R series got mentioned at last! :eek:)
    >>

    > One problem I see with it is that so far it seems to be vaporware. At
    > least in the US.
    >
    >


    For some reason Ricoh don't seem to deal in the US
    don't know why, they make good cameras (digital and film)

    Tony M
    Tony M, Apr 13, 2005
    #19
  20. Antoine Garric

    Diane Wilson Guest

    Re: Digital camera's shutter lag: Why are SLR faster?

    In article <>, says...

    > I've heard it said that dSLR can be more likely to get auto WB wrong than
    > P&S because it sets WB on the basis of small sensor and quickly, so less
    > info on which to select best WB.


    I would rarely use auto white balance anyway, since the "balance"
    is affected by the dominant colors in the photograph. As far as
    I'm concerned, auto white balance is a P&S feature that doesn't
    belong on a serious camera.

    Much better to set your white balance for the type of light you're
    shooting in, and go with it. Film photographers got by just fine
    for years with nothing but daylight and tungsten film, and it worked
    just fine. It's nice to have additional white balance choices for
    flourescent and for open shade, but "auto" is not a useful choice.

    Diane
    Diane Wilson, Apr 14, 2005
    #20
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