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digital PS with fast focus and low shutter lag

Randall Pukalo , Feb 25, 2008; 09:39 a.m.

Any suggestions for a digital Pointy and Shoot that has a very short shutter lag? I want something that fires fast like my SLR does, or as close to that as possible, but dont want a dSLR. Also, fast autofocusing.

Responses

Michael S. , Feb 25, 2008; 10:47 a.m.

You might consider p & s cameras that can be pre-set to a manually focused distance, eliminating autofocus (and the lag that goes along with it) altogether. This works quite well when shooting at wide angle in ample light, because on all of the small sensor cameras, the depth of field at wide angle is extensive.

You don't mention a price range or the kind of shooting you do, but several of the Canon models offer this, as do some of the Ricoh cameras (not very widely available in the US). Others may offer it as well.

Juergen Sattleru , Feb 25, 2008; 11:05 a.m.

Randall, you are asking for the impossible. There is no P&S that focuses as fast as your SLR and has no shutter lag. The best you can hope for is reasonably fast focus and reasonably short shutter lag. I use a Canon G9 and both focus and shutter lag are acceptable, but nowhere near my DSLRs. I can manually pre-focus the G9 and shoot quite quickly that way - but when I use autofocus the camera is slower. Nevertheless it is one of the fastest P&S on the market today. There just is no substitute for a DSLR when speed is of importance. I would never use the G9 for actionshots or birds in flight - just doesn;t work.

Dean G , Feb 25, 2008; 01:06 p.m.

"I use a Canon G9 and both focus and shutter lag are acceptable, but nowhere near my DSLRs."

The Canon's are not the best example. Look to Ricoh if you want fast combined AF and shutter response. The Caplio GX would focus and fire in .12secs. Not sure about the GX100, or GRD, the newer ricohs, but I'd expect they are pretty quick. Ask on the Ricoh forum at dpreview.com. Also www.imaging-resource.com usually has some good timing data.

Ed Greene , Feb 25, 2008; 01:51 p.m.

As noted, pre-focusing on a spot or point of interest helps.
That is, not even my DSLR can-in low-light with a slow lens utilize all the built-in capabilities of the camera.

If you are stationary, prefocusing eliminates the need for the camera/lens to do anything but check, then verify the exposure.
My FZ20 P&S has a constant f/2.8 aperture and when prefocused in low-light, is as fast as any of my DSLRs with f/2.8 constant lenses.

As for fast autofocusing: that too depends on the light conditions.

What is never-ever talked about in ``low-light`` discussions is the many times atrocious reaction times of the shooter, regardless of the camera in use.
Some photographers could never, ever be professional sports photographers because of the physical disconnect between themselves and their cameras, again regardless of camera.

Even poor panning techniques can affect shutter lag and auto focusing speed.

All that considered, you do want a camera with the fastest possible speed if not a fast constant aperture, then a camera with a f/2.8 to say f/3.5 aperture at max zoom.
The faster the camera is at max zoom, the faster the shutter lag and auto focus, regardless of the light.

As suggested, shooting your camera in ``A`` (aperture priority) mode at its widest aperture also helps.

Dave Baldo , Feb 25, 2008; 10:08 p.m.

Kodak Z812is has very fast click-to-capture and AF. Lots of manual overrides, and about 40% smaller than a DSLR. But, with a 12x optical zoom, it's not pocket-sized by any means. Its predecessors were designed as "soccer mom" cameras and therefore have speedy autofocus and minimal shutter lag.

Bill Tuthill , Jul 23, 2010; 01:28 a.m.

If Fujifilm's claims can be believed, the new F300EXR (available in August) will have autofocus lag around .15 second, almost twice as fast as the Nikon D40.

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