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shutter lag woes
I have a Sony Cybershot now and would like to upgrade to rid myself of that annoying shutter lag (I have 16-month-old twin girls and they move way too fast for the cybershot). Anyway, I'm hearing that in order to do that, I will have to jump into the $700-plus price range. My question is: Are there any intermediate price range cameras out there (say, in the $350-$500 range)?..

Comments (11)

You could pick up a Nikon D40 and lens for less than $500. That will effectively be an end to shutter lag problems for you, but are you ready for an SLR?Androohttp://Androo.smugmug.com..

Comment #1

Are you using the half-press-to-prefocus and then shooting technique? I don't know your camera but usually you can prefocus by centering the subject in the viewfinder, and pressing the shutter button half way. The camera autofocusses on the subject at that stage but doesn't take the picture. Then you just wait (with the shutter still held down at the half-way stage) until you want to take the picture, and then press the shutter all the way..

This usually removes a lot of the lag as the focussing (which can be the slow step) has already been done. A lot of so-called 'shutter lag' is really the delay while the camera finds focus..

Just try it and see if it helps before you buy a new camera....

Best wishesMike..

Comment #2

Yeah, I think I am. I was looking at an Olympus E-510 at a local camera shop and they are selling it for $750 (it came with two lenses, one regular and one zoom). The salesman told me that he likes it because it has an image stabilization feature that other SLRs don't have. But I've never had a problem with blurry photos because of a shaky hand, so I don't think that's a big issue for me. The nice thing about buying from this camera shop is that they will show you (in great detail) how to use every feature of the camera before you leave the shop. So, what's the biggest difference between using an SLR camera and the point-and-shooters like my Cybershot?..

Comment #3

Shooting Action...

Shooting action and minimizing delay in digital.

Http://www.botzilla.com/photo/G1speed.html.

Bill,Jr'I kind of like the Earth, it's where I keep all my Stuff.'Website; http://www.pbase.com/wboth125 Lake Wylie, SC..

Comment #4

Both Andrew and Mike provided some good info. Like Mike, I always wonder if posters know even the basics of digital photography. As he suspected, you might be just "stabbing" the shutter release in one motion. This is not the correct way to do it. But let's back up and cover some basics....

ALL digital cameras have a two-step shutter release. The first step is performing auto focus and auto exposure (AF and AE). AE is fast...AF is slow. The second step is taking the picture. The delay/lag associated with the second step is typically called "shutter lag", but it doesn't include the AF/AE delay!.

There are two basically different ways to perform AF:.

1. Contrast AF2. Phase AF.

Your Sony Cybershot uses contrast AF. If you get a dLSR, it will use phase AF. There is a lot of variability in how various implementations of both these types of AF. There are fast and slow examples of each type. In general, contrast AF is slower than phase AF, but there are some contrast AF implementations that are faster than some phase AF implementations. However, contrast AF requires more light and contrast to work quickly...in dim light and with dull subjects, it can be VERY slow.



The way phase AF achieves it's speed is by estimating how far (and in which direction) to move the focus elements. Unfortunately, this estimation requires knowledge of how each lens/AF motor moves quickly (in a slewing mode). Lenses with CPUs in them send parameters to the body to help with this rapid movement. In spite of everything camera & lens manufacturers do, cameras with phase AF have a persistent focus error problem. It's common for dSLR owners to send a lens (or even the lens and the body) back to the manufacturer(s) to get them "calibrated". New dSLR bodies now have internal calibration that can make returning pieces for calibration less common..

Contrast AF, does not estimate the correct focus movement. It works like a human focuses...by looking at the TTL image and moving back and forth around the correct focus point until the best contrast is found. It's slower, but more accurate..

The other half of the timing issue is that phase AF is coupled with a mirror. The mirror is essential...the actual sensors are in the bottom of the camera and tiny mirrors on the back of the main mirror, divert pieces of the image to these AF sensors. This mirror, however, has to be flipped out of the way before a pic can be taken. This is a slow operation (and can shake the camera to boot). dSLRs have mirror flip times in the 0.150 to 0.050 second range..

Contrast AF has no mirror to flip, so they CAN have extremely low shutter lag times..

So, what to get to photograph your kids?.

Your best approach is a dSLR with a fast lens (low f#). The issue is not AF speed or shutter lag...it's low light. A dSLR system will have faster low-light AF. It will allow you to choose and use a fast lens. It will have more shutter lag than a good "P&S" camera, but for "grab" shots, the TOTAL of AF delay and shutter lag is what is important..

Slemonier wrote:.

I have a Sony Cybershot now and would like to upgrade to rid myselfof that annoying shutter lag (I have 16-month-old twin girls and theymove way too fast for the cybershot). Anyway, I'm hearing that inorder to do that, I will have to jump into the $700-plus price range.My question is: Are there any intermediate price range cameras outthere (say, in the $350-$500 range)?.

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..

Comment #5

So, what's the biggest difference between using an SLR camera and the point-and-shooters like my Cybershot?>>.

Biggest difference:.

1) a compact camera will go in a pocket or a ladies handbag, the DSLR won't and will need to hang around your neck or be put down most of the time..

2) DSLR will also need additional lenses to match the range offered by a good compact, and the lenses can be as big as the camera..

Many more modern cameras now offer short lag times, and has already been noted here you can shorten them by pre-ocusing and pre-metering..

To explore the issue further you could copy the link (below my PBase photo on the site itself) to your browserhttp://www.pbase.com/johnfr/image/77561804.

John.Please visit me at:http://www.pbase.com/johnfr/backtothebridge..

Comment #6

Bill, why did you link to an 8-year-old article? It's terribly out-of-date....

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..

Comment #7

Chuxter wrote:.

Both Andrew and Mike provided some good info. Like Mike, I alwayswonder if posters know even the basics of digital photography. As hesuspected, you might be just "stabbing" the shutter release in onemotion. This is not the correct way to do it. But let's back up andcover some basics....

ALL digital cameras have a two-step shutter release. The first stepis performing auto focus and auto exposure (AF and AE). AE isfast...AF is slow. The second step is taking the picture. Thedelay/lag associated with the second step is typically called"shutter lag", but it doesn't include the AF/AE delay!.

There are two basically different ways to perform AF:.

1. Contrast AF2. Phase AF.

Your Sony Cybershot uses contrast AF. If you get a dLSR, it will usephase AF. There is a lot of variability in how variousimplementations of both these types of AF. There are fast and slowexamples of each type. In general, contrast AF is slower than phaseAF, but there are some contrast AF implementations that are fasterthan some phase AF implementations. However, contrast AF requiresmore light and contrast to work quickly...in dim light and with dullsubjects, it can be VERY slow.



The way phase AF achieves it's speed is by estimating how far (and inwhich direction) to move the focus elements. Unfortunately, thisestimation requires knowledge of how each lens/AF motor moves quickly(in a slewing mode). Lenses with CPUs in them send parameters to thebody to help with this rapid movement. In spite of everything camera& lens manufacturers do, cameras with phase AF have a persistentfocus error problem. It's common for dSLR owners to send a lens (oreven the lens and the body) back to the manufacturer(s) to get them"calibrated". New dSLR bodies now have internal calibration that canmake returning pieces for calibration less common..

Contrast AF, does not estimate the correct focus movement. It workslike a human focuses...by looking at the TTL image and moving backand forth around the correct focus point until the best contrast isfound. It's slower, but more accurate..

The other half of the timing issue is that phase AF is coupled with amirror. The mirror is essential...the actual sensors are in thebottom of the camera and tiny mirrors on the back of the main mirror,divert pieces of the image to these AF sensors. This mirror, however,has to be flipped out of the way before a pic can be taken. This is aslow operation (and can shake the camera to boot). dSLRs have mirrorflip times in the 0.150 to 0.050 second range..

Contrast AF has no mirror to flip, so they CAN have extremely lowshutter lag times..

So, what to get to photograph your kids?.

Your best approach is a dSLR with a fast lens (low f#). The issue isnot AF speed or shutter lag...it's low light. A dSLR system will havefaster low-light AF. It will allow you to choose and use a fast lens.It will have more shutter lag than a good "P&S" camera, but for"grab" shots, the TOTAL of AF delay and shutter lag is what isimportant..

Slemonier wrote:.

I have a Sony Cybershot now and would like to upgrade to rid myselfof that annoying shutter lag (I have 16-month-old twin girls and theymove way too fast for the cybershot). Anyway, I'm hearing that inorder to do that, I will have to jump into the $700-plus price range.My question is: Are there any intermediate price range cameras outthere (say, in the $350-$500 range)?.

Hi Charlie. I enjoyed reading the information you provided. Thanks for that..

However, you didn't answer the OP's question about whether there's a solution for her needs in the #350 - $500 price range. I assume you're saying there isn't, which is pretty much what I would have expected..

Cheers from John from Adelaide, South AustraliaJohn Harvey Photography http://johnharvey.com.auCanon 40D, Canon 20D & Fuji F10..

Comment #8

So, what's the biggest difference between using anSLR camera and the point-and-shooters like my Cybershot?.

Probably the biggest difference between shooting with a "point and shoot" and a DSLR is the way you hold the camera. Most point and shoots require you to view the scene using the electronic screen on the back of the camera. You will need to take an "arms out" pose to hold the camera. On the other hand, when shooting with most DSLRs, you normally view the scene using the *optical* viewfinder. This requires you to hold the camera viewfinder up to your eye. You will shoot with the DSLR up to your face, and NOT in the "arms out" pose..

The other big difference is probably the overall responsiveness of the camera. DSLRs feel much faster than point and shoots because their autofocus systems are much faster, and their shutter lag is nearly negligible. This makes DSLRs better suited to action photography than many point and shoots..

Hope this helps...

Comment #9

John down under wrote:.

Chuxter wrote:.

Your best approach is a dSLR with a fast lens (low f#). The issue isnot AF speed or shutter lag...it's low light. A dSLR system will havefaster low-light AF. It will allow you to choose and use a fast lens.It will have more shutter lag than a good "P&S" camera, but for"grab" shots, the TOTAL of AF delay and shutter lag is what isimportant..

Slemonier wrote:.

I have a Sony Cybershot now and would like to upgrade to rid myselfof that annoying shutter lag (I have 16-month-old twin girls and theymove way too fast for the cybershot). Anyway, I'm hearing that inorder to do that, I will have to jump into the $700-plus price range.My question is: Are there any intermediate price range cameras outthere (say, in the $350-$500 range)?.

Hi Charlie. I enjoyed reading the information you provided. Thanksfor that..

However, you didn't answer the OP's question about whether there's asolution for her needs in the #350 - $500 price range. I assumeyou're saying there isn't, which is pretty much what I would haveexpected..

I answered that in my last paragraph, which I left for you to re-read..

To answer your question differently, I doubt that she will find a really good camera in that range...if she limits herself to new offerings. There are a few older models that might be interesting. Manufacturers (we think) felt that they were TOO good and probably competed with their new entry-level dSLR offerings...so these models went away..

Perhaps I should have stressed this point more (it was kinda below the horizon)....

All cameras are just tools. If you have a wrench, it's tough to drive nails very well...but it's possible!.

A thought experiment around that analogy:.

Suppose you have a small toolbox (with a Crescent wrench and a big slot screwdriver). Suppose you travel with this toolbox to some isolated part of S America where you discover a tribe of people who have had no contact with modern society. They have tools, but they are different than our tools..

You befriend these people (so they won't slaughter and field dress you) and perform an experiment: You ask them to use the tools to remove the water pump on your SUV. Hmmm....

The same experiment happens daily when we give people little cameras and ask them to figure out on their own how to use them! It's not that they are dumb, but they simply don't have a clue how these rather complex gadgets are built and what mysterious things they do inside..

I was hoping that slemonier would read the fine print and figure out that one solution was to prefocus with her Cybershot...understanding after reading my post, that many small cameras (but perhaps not hers?) have VERY low shutter lag. If you prefocus them, then they take the picture almost instantly. BUT, if you expect them to focus quickly in dim lighting, you are simply not using that tool correctly!.

Just like the native guy in the jungle might try using the screwdriver as a chisel and the Crescent wrench as a hammer to descructively remove the water pump (in pieces)...after all, you didn't say you wanted it out in ONE piece! Duh....

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..

Comment #10

Chuxter wrote:.

John down under wrote:.

Chuxter wrote:.

Your best approach is a dSLR with a fast lens (low f#). The issue isnot AF speed or shutter lag...it's low light. A dSLR system will havefaster low-light AF. It will allow you to choose and use a fast lens.It will have more shutter lag than a good "P&S" camera, but for"grab" shots, the TOTAL of AF delay and shutter lag is what isimportant..

Slemonier wrote:.

I have a Sony Cybershot now and would like to upgrade to rid myselfof that annoying shutter lag (I have 16-month-old twin girls and theymove way too fast for the cybershot). Anyway, I'm hearing that inorder to do that, I will have to jump into the $700-plus price range.My question is: Are there any intermediate price range cameras outthere (say, in the $350-$500 range)?.

Hi Charlie. I enjoyed reading the information you provided. Thanksfor that..

However, you didn't answer the OP's question about whether there's asolution for her needs in the #350 - $500 price range. I assumeyou're saying there isn't, which is pretty much what I would haveexpected..

I answered that in my last paragraph, which I left for you to re-read..

Hi Charlie. Sure, I read it right the first time. A DSLR with a fast lens doesn't satisfy the OP's requirement for a camera in the $350-$500 price range..

As you say below, pre-focusing can help, but I daresay that would still involve more prediction/anticipation when it comes to capturing the kids at that same prefocused distance (due to some shutter lag) than the OP is hoping for. Of course, we can't always have what we want and compromises are often necessary, in line with what you're saying too..

To answer your question differently, I doubt that she will find areally good camera in that range...if she limits herself to newofferings. There are a few older models that might be interesting.Manufacturers (we think) felt that they were TOO good and probablycompeted with their new entry-level dSLR offerings...so these modelswent away..

Perhaps I should have stressed this point more (it was kinda belowthe horizon)....

All cameras are just tools. If you have a wrench, it's tough to drivenails very well...but it's possible!.

A thought experiment around that analogy:.

Suppose you have a small toolbox (with a Crescent wrench and a bigslot screwdriver). Suppose you travel with this toolbox to someisolated part of S America where you discover a tribe of people whohave had no contact with modern society. They have tools, but theyare different than our tools..

You befriend these people (so they won't slaughter and field dressyou) and perform an experiment: You ask them to use the tools toremove the water pump on your SUV. Hmmm....

The same experiment happens daily when we give people little camerasand ask them to figure out on their own how to use them! It's notthat they are dumb, but they simply don't have a clue how theserather complex gadgets are built and what mysterious things they doinside..

I was hoping that slemonier would read the fine print and figure outthat one solution was to prefocus with her Cybershot...understandingafter reading my post, that many small cameras (but perhaps nothers?) have VERY low shutter lag. If you prefocus them, then theytake the picture almost instantly. BUT, if you expect them to focusquickly in dim lighting, you are simply not using that tool correctly!.

Just like the native guy in the jungle might try using thescrewdriver as a chisel and the Crescent wrench as a hammer todescructively remove the water pump (in pieces)...after all, youdidn't say you wanted it out in ONE piece! Duh....

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/.

Cheers from John from Adelaide, South AustraliaJohn Harvey Photography http://johnharvey.com.auCanon 40D, Canon 20D & Fuji F10..

Comment #11

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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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