Shutter Delay

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photoguy

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I have a Nikon 990 which I like a great deal. It however, has one problem which makes it unusable for action shots. There is a long and unknown lag between pressing the shutter release (even after holding it down half way) and capturing the scene.

Does anyone have a suggestion for a relatively inexpensive 3 megapixel or greater camera which has no discernible lag?

Thanks.
 
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All cheap cameras suffer from this problem.

Even a more expensive camera such as the Canon EOS 10D has a 190ms lag, which is still almost 2 tenths of a second. It does feature a burst mode, allowing you to take 9 pictures in 3 seconds. It's not cheap though, retail for a little under 2500$ where I live
 

photoguy

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I think I could live with a repetitive 190ms lag but not with the $2500. But thanks for the input, I'm trying to see what is out there.
 
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The Canon EOS 300D Digital Rebel might be an alternative.

Lag: 0.3 sec, burst mode 2.5 pictures/second. A lot cheaper than the 10D: $899.

"Continuous Shooting mode capturing as many as four images as fast as 2.5 frames per second (with shutter speeds of 1/250 second or faster.) "

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/EDR/EDRDAT.HTM
 
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The Rebel is a good $900 camera if you happen to have a couple thousand dollars worth of Canon lenses lying around. I agree that a DLSR has the best shutter lag, but they are pricey once you get the glass and bulky if you carry enough lenses and equipment to make them as versatile as a good prosumer camera.

They have improved the lag on some of the newer prosumer cameras. The Minolta A1 and Sony 828 which are both about to be released are supposed to have impressive lag characteristics. And they both have continuous focus with the A1 adding tracking continuous focus. But I don’t think either will be “relatively inexpensive”.

A less expensive camera that might satisfy your needs is the Minolta
F300. It has a tracking focus mode that tracks the subject right down to shutter release. I have a Minolta D7i that has continuous focus and it is great for perpetual motion rugrats etc. The new A1 will have the full tracking focus like the F300, but I don’t find that as necessary as just continuing the focus. Continuous focus/tracking focus uses more battery, but the F300 uses two NiMH AA batteries so it is cheap to carry spares. http://www.steves-digicams.com/2003_reviews/f300.html Buy.com has it for $370 with free shipping http://www.buy.com/retail/product_jump.asp?sku=10339939&dcaid=15891 Add the price of a 256Mb SD card as you currently have CF.

It is a needless expense to have to change from CF, which is fast and cheap. But I don’t know of anything with continuous or tracking focus that has CF in the price range of the F300.
 

photoguy

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I went to Steve's website and read the reviews. The three reviews gave it a 3 and two 4's for shutter lag but didn't describe the operation.

This would be a nice second digital camera for me and the price is acceptable. I'll try to find out more about the lag, it important to me.

Thanks for the input.
 
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With a rangefinder type optical viewfinder you can track the subject during the shot in the viewfinder. What usually happens is that the subject is out of focus when the shutter actually fires because it locked the focus when you passed the halfway point in the shutter release. The tracking focus completely eliminates that.

If you want a digital camera that will let you click the shutter at exactly the point a kicker’s foot hits the ball and capture that exact image then you aren’t going to be satisfied even with a DLSR. You might come close if you use full manual both for focus and exposure with a DLSR. Prosumer cameras also have less lag with manual focus and exposure.

All digitals will shoot a lot faster if you pre focus and expose by pushing the shutter halfway down. The problem is that the focus point often changes and that is where the tracking focus would help reduce lag time by allowing the camera to continue the focus with the shutter halfway down. The F300 is faster than average with the shutter halfway depressed at 0.208 seconds lag. The F300 is slower than average starting from the shutter release fully extended to taking the picture though. http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/F300/F30A7.HTM

So if you want a basic P&S that you can just push the button when you want a picture the F300 probably isn’t as good as what you have. In your price range I don’t think you are going to get what you want. But if you want to half depress the shutter anticipating sports shots the F300 is excellent both for tracking focus and time. Go through the reviews at Imaging Resources as they give exact cycle times.
 

photoguy

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I really appreciate your input. This is exactly the information I was looking for. I will follow these reviews and see if others try to compete on this feature. I like my Nikon 990 and don't have to make a decision immediately on a second digital.
 
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