Need a low shutter lag point and shoot digital

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Nov 14, 2004.

  1. Hi. I need some help. I want to get a small
    point and shoot digital camera, but I am concerned
    about the shutter lag. Please do not recommend a
    DSLR, as I have a Canon 1D Mark II and 10D cameras
    and plenty of lenses to go with them. I'm looking
    for something small, some specs that are important
    to me:

    5 megapixels or larger,
    auto, manual, aperture priority modes,
    3x optical zoom minimum, with autofocus,
    built in flash,
    compact flash I (and type II would be nice) cards,
    under about $500,
    reasonably low shutter lag for this type of camera.

    Nice but not necessary: raw mode output.

    The question is, what is a reasonably low shutter
    lag on such cameras these days? I can't seem to find
    many specs. Lag only seems to be mentioned rarely
    in reviews, and the manufacturers do not seem to
    give it. Does someone know of a site (especially a
    table that compares the lag times, measured in a uniform
    way) with lag times? I want lag time from shutter press,
    autofocus, exposure calculation to release of the shutter,
    and I do not consider lag time with manual focus to be
    relevant for my purposes.

    I have a Canon G1 and shutter lag is awful. It often seems
    to take 0.5 to 1 second or longer to acquire focus and shoot.
    (Of course this is quite maddening after using the 1D Mark II
    with its 40 millisecond lag ;-).

    One camera that I am looking at is the Canon A95, but I
    can not find shutter lag info. It also only uses
    compact flash type I.

    Any help would be appreciated,
    Thanks in advance,

    photography, digital info at:
    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Nov 14, 2004
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  2. Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark)

    Ed Ruf Guest

    Table no, but I believe all the reviews at http://www.dpreview have the
    results of lag time tests.
    Ed Ruf Lifetime AMA# 344007 ()
    Ed Ruf, Nov 14, 2004
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  3. Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark)

    Steven Gray Guest

    I'm no expert on any of this, but one thing to make sure of is that you
    can turn off the flash. If you need to make multiple sequential shots,
    charging a flash can be a limiting factor rather than shutter lag.
    Likewise, if you _need_ the flash, make sure that you check the specs for
    flash charge time.
    Steven Gray, Nov 14, 2004
  4. Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark)

    Alain Guest

    Not really what you're specs are but you could also look at the
    KonicaMinolta G530 or (G500 or G600). The shutter lag is almost
    unnoticable after focus. No CF card, but SD...
    Also quite a nr of manual setting possible, no RAW output.

    Alain, Nov 14, 2004
  5. Even if you can find the specs, the formal definition of shutter lag
    excludes the AF time.

    The P&S cameras use the CCD for AF and have to read out several frames to
    focus. So the fastest P&S is going to be a lot slower than the slowest dSLR.

    Even worse, the CCD-based AF systems often focus on something contrasty in
    the background instead of your subject. This makes the EVF cameras
    attractive, since you can see when the AF is messing up.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Nov 14, 2004
  6. Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark)

    Roy Smith Guest

    I've seen my Canon PS-400 do exactly the opposite; focus on something in
    the foreground when my subject was further away.
    Roy Smith, Nov 15, 2004
  7. Well, yes. I should have said "focus on something other than the subject
    when the subject has relatively low contrast". It's _really_ irritating.

    As I understand it, the dSLRs can do that also, but the AF sensors are quite
    a bit smaller so it's much less of a problem (if you select the AF sensor

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Nov 15, 2004
  8. Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark)

    YAG-ART Guest

    Remember the camrera doent know what the subject is, only the
    photogrpaher does.
    YAG-ART, Nov 15, 2004
  9. Come to think of it, My S85 used to do that for landscape shots. It would
    focus on the pavement at my feet even though the center 1/3 of the image was
    all a long way away.
    Yes, but that's not the only/major problem. You careful place the (single)
    AF point over the subject but the camera finds something in the background
    or foreground to focus on. The focus area in a lot of P&S cameras is just
    too large.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Nov 15, 2004
  10. Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark)

    YAG-ART Guest

    I didn't know that. Shooting a DSLR I guess the p&s just don't come
    YAG-ART, Nov 15, 2004
  11. David J. Littleboy wrote:
    The Nikon 8400 includes an additional focus sensor in addition to contrast
    detection and is much faster in focussing.

    In the Nikon 990 (IIRC) the logic is to focus on the nearer part of the
    scene. On the Nikon 5700 and 8400 you can get a red rectangle showing to
    highlight the actual area of the scene which has been used for focus - I
    always have this enabled and find it invaluable.

    Later cameras offer you the optional choice of scene area to focus on,
    just like an SLR.

    David J Taylor, Nov 15, 2004
  12. It seems you are wrong on this.

    "A half-press of the shutter release results in focus lock in just under
    half a second in most cases. It can take around a second or so in more
    difficult focusing situations. Low light focusing was better than average
    (thanks to the AF-assist lamp), but not the best I've seen."

    In other words, a lot slower than the slowest dSLR.
    That only works if some sensor area actually finds the nearest part of the
    scene. The problem is that contrast detection finds contrast in the
    sensitive area, and the sensitive areas tend to be too large. The general
    recommendation (even with dSLRs) is to only use one AF sensor, point at the
    subject, half press, and recompose.
    If you think there is _anything_ about small-sensor cameras that is "just
    like an SLR", I've got a bridge to sell you.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Nov 15, 2004
  13. Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark)

    C J Campbell Guest

    When I bought my Minolta Dimage A1 it was reviewed as having the shortest
    lag of any digital non-SLR. I was very disappointed with it. Although it was
    indeed faster than any other camera I had owned to that point, it focuses
    too softly, defaults to 72 dpi for jpeg compression, and has a lot of
    digital noise. The A2 supposedly corrected all these faults and was even

    The smallest cameras are going almost entirely to SD cards. I really love
    Jane's Nikon 5200. It is very fast, too, but uses only the SD cards.
    C J Campbell, Nov 15, 2004
  14. David J. Littleboy wrote:
    I have the camera in front of me and can see the additional sensor! The
    8400 is faster in focussing than comparable cameras, in my experience.

    David, are you saying that SLRs do /not/ offer you a choice of focus area?
    If that's the case, then they are less versatile than I thought.

    David J Taylor, Nov 15, 2004
  15. How about a pointer to a page in a review that discusses this. The best I
    could find was "spot AF" which didn't sound like a separate sensor.
    I was talking about _performance_.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Nov 15, 2004
  16. Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark)

    ericm1600 Guest

    I got my wife an Olympus 5060 last year for Christmas. B&H has 'em now for
    $500. She's really happy with it. I'm impressed with it. I really like
    that it can remember my settings. With a twist of a knob, I can get it off
    the regular settings, zoom to 50mm equivalent, put gridlines on the screen,
    and set the flash exposure compensation.

    Compared to a 1 series Canon, the shutter lag is horrendous. Compared to
    other P&S digitals, it's ok. You can partially depress the shutter to set
    exposure and focus, and then the lag isn't so bad...probably on the order of
    100-200 mS. Short enough to sometimes capture a quick-moving child. Long
    enough to make me long for a Mark II. :)

    Here are a couple examples, using the built-in flash in both:
    ericm1600, Nov 15, 2004
  17. Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark)

    T.N.T. Guest

    <I posted this earlier, but didn't see it on any outside servers.>

    Hope it's not too late, but you may want to take a look at the Sony V3

    The V3 and several other Sony cameras appear to to have shutter lag
    arround 9-11ms, which is 4 times shorter than that of your 1D-II. They
    also have some of the fastest focusing and shot to shot cycle times among
    P&S digicams too. It's just Sony's JPEG quality is not up to Canon's
    level, however, IMO. It meets all of your requirements except priced at
    more than $500.

    You can also compare lag times of many cameras on www.imaging- which I think has the best time measurements out there.
    T.N.T., Dec 14, 2004
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