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Delay when taking picture
Hi, I am new to this forum and have a really basic question, thus, I am coming to the beginners' site. I am looking for a new digital camera and don't know what features to get that will reduce the time between when I push the button and when the camera actually takes the picture. We have a Sony DSC-707 and we constantly miss shots of the neices/nephews/etc... by this delay or "shutter lag" type of delay. I know that on my old 35mm cameras - even on the auto-focus ones, the response is almost immediate from when the button is pushed and when the picture is taken. This is not so on our digital..

Frequently, we will try to take a picture of something - especially movement shots - and by the time the picture actually takes, the kid is gone from the frame or has changed their expression, etc......

What feature, time specification, etc... do I look for when looking at dpreviews or checking out cameras??? I want something that borders on being as fast as my old 35mm - any such thing???Jeff..

Comments (5)

DSLRS with fast AF lenses are instant winners that allow to capture sport events or flying F16..

Http://www.stan-pustylnik.smugmug.com..

Comment #1

The F707 is a fairly old camera and shutter lag has improved significantly since. However, there are a couple of techniques that can help - apologies if you are familiar with them already..

First of all, almost all of the shutter lag is taken up by the time to focus, so you need to try to lock this in advance of taking the shot. You can do this by pointing at what you want to take and half pressing the shutter button and holding it. This will lock both the focus and the exposure as long as you keep the button half pressed. You can then recompose the shot or wait until you have the right expression on the subjects face, and then press the button all the way down. The shutter lag will be much less..

This doesn't work with a fast moving subject like a small child or a pet. The only technique that works here is to anticipate where they are going to move to and focus lock on a particular point. When they reach this point, press all the way down..

Modern compact/bridge cameras have much better shutter lag. You can compare lag times for cameras that have been reviewed on this site by finding the review and going to the "Timings and Sizes" page. The number that you are most interested in is the "Full Press Lag". Imaging Resource has more accurate timing tests and reviews more compact cameras than this site. It can be found athttp://www.imaging-resource.com - look under the "Performance" tab for each review. The equivalent number is "Full Autofocus Wide/Tele"..

Quite a lot of compact cameras have problems focusing in low light, especially at full tele zoom. As Stan has already said, if you want virtually instaneous focussing under all conditions, you need to move to a DSLR.Chris R..

Comment #2

Thanks, this is exactly what I suspected. I really am ready for a new camera and my wife has finally agreed. We bought the F707 when it was first out and paid near $1000 for it, but it has lasted us almost 10 years, which isn't too bad in our way of thinking. shame is, it still works great..

I guess now is the problem of what to buy. I am not opposed to a DSLR, but want to make sure that I get the right lens with it. I assume I will need two: something like a 28-55mm and another longer lens, maybe out to 300mm. I need a fast lens, I know, but don't know what to buy so I will probably look to you good folks for some ideas. Of course, I don't want to "spend a lot for that muffler" as the old Midas commercials used to say, but I also realize that you get what you pay for and am prepared to go as far as I need to - the Sony was not cheap when we bought it, but it certainly paid off in quality and longevity..

Any suggestions on what to buy and what a good lens combo is - fast, with enough magnification to get some really good shots. Our Sony has a 5X optical which was the best out at that time, we find that we need much more than this, which makes the "crop" a lot less when we need to make enlargements.You advice is very much appreciated.Jeff..

Comment #3

First you refer to your old 35mm. If it's a 35mm SLR and not a fixed-lens camera, and you still have the lenses, depending on the mount type you may be able to find a DSLR that'll let you use them with some or all functionality..

Second most modern DSLRs have pretty good shutter lag, after autofocus. Autofocus is a significant variable, since there are still conditions that'll challenge most DSLRs (notably, outdoors at night at a distance, particularly with a non-insanely-expensive lens). Another AF-speed issue is that for live-view DSLR + lens combinations that do not support contrast-detection AF (that is, most live-view DSLRs), AF in live-view requires lowering the mirror to do phase-detection AF and then raising it again, for some additional lag..

Hence, most of the talk of 'fast' lenses still centers on bright apertures, rather than AF motors et al responsiveness is overall quite good..

If you're looking for the FOV of a ~300mm lens in 35mm terms, this should not be too brutal, unless you're also looking for a wide maximum aperture and high-end build. To give an example, at one point Olympus was including 14-45 f/3.5-5.6 and 40-150mm f/3.5-4.5 (multiply focal lengths by 2 for approximate 35mm FOV equiv across the diagonal. Aspect ratio differs, so 'equivalent' is a bit of a misnomer, as FOVs cannot be equal along both horizontal and vertical) as kit lenses with mass-market cameras. Those obviously weren't built to the specifications of the top-line lenses, but were still regarded as quite respectable and were far cheaper and more portable...

Comment #4

I'll add a few comments....

Chris R-UK wrote:.

The F707 is a fairly old camera and shutter lag has improvedsignificantly since. However, there are a couple of techniques thatcan help - apologies if you are familiar with them already..

First of all, almost all of the shutter lag is taken up by the timeto focus, so you need to try to lock this in advance of taking theshot. You can do this by pointing at what you want to take and halfpressing the shutter button and holding it. This will lock both thefocus and the exposure as long as you keep the button half pressed.You can then recompose the shot or wait until you have the rightexpression on the subjects face, and then press the button all theway down. The shutter lag will be much less..

There are two distinct delays associated with ALL cameras: AF delay and shutter delay (although many cameras don't really have a shutter that is used to time the exposure like on your old 35mm camera...many have an electronic "shutter"). With your old F707, the biggest of the two delays was the AF delay. Under low light conditions, it could take 5-10 seconds to AF. The "shutter" delay was not as bad...something on the order of 100 mS. If you can pre-focus as Chris suggested, you will find that it takes the picture as fast as most dSLRs do...they have to move the mirror up before the exposure can start and that is a slow operation. Newer cameras, similar to the F707, have improved the AF speed greatly...instead of 1-2 seconds to AF, they do it in about 300 mS.

The best dSLR, because of the mirror, take about 50 mS..

This doesn't work with a fast moving subject like a small child or apet. The only technique that works here is to anticipate where theyare going to move to and focus lock on a particular point. When theyreach this point, press all the way down..

Chris didn't stress this, so I will. With ALL cameras, you should develop a habit of always half-pressing...hold...full-pressing. It's the way ALL digital cameras are intended to be used..

Modern compact/bridge cameras have much better shutter lag. You cancompare lag times for cameras that have been reviewed on this site byfinding the review and going to the "Timings and Sizes" page. Thenumber that you are most interested in is the "Full Press Lag".Imaging Resource has more accurate timing tests and reviews morecompact cameras than this site. It can be found athttp://www.imaging-resource.com - look under the "Performance" tab for eachreview. The equivalent number is "Full Autofocus Wide/Tele"..

I'll second the notion that imaging-resource is a good place to go for timing data. Dave does a better job than the other camera review sites..

Quite a lot of compact cameras have problems focusing in low light,especially at full tele zoom. As Stan has already said, if you wantvirtually instaneous focussing under all conditions, you need to moveto a DSLR..

If you expect a dSLR to solve all your focusing issues, you will be disappointed. The only way that a dSLR greatly surpasses the current crop of non-mirror cameras is that in low light, AF performance does not degrade as much..

Get any dSLR with a FAST lens. I'd try for f:2.8. This will be expensive, but well worth it if you really want to take pix of kids playing inside..

Charlie DavisNikon 5700 & Sony R1HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..

Comment #5

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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