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Shortest Shutter Lag Time in Compact Digital Camera?

tim m , Jun 08, 2009; 04:21 p.m.

My wife wants a compact digital camera (i.e., not an SLR) that has the shortest shutter lag time and which also takes great pictures. She wants to be able to take several shots without waiting for the camera to recycle, as she has complained about missing numerous shots while the camera recycles from the previous shot. She saw a photographer on TV clicking numerous shots in rapid succession, and she said that's what she wants to do. Problem is, he was using a high-end SLR that likely cost well north of $1,000.
So, does anyone know whether a compact digital camera with similar functionality exists yet? I've been researching this online for some time and keep hitting dead ends.


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Rob Bernhard , Jun 08, 2009; 04:36 p.m.

[[She saw a photographer on TV clicking numerous shots in rapid succession, and she said that's what she wants to do.]]

Casio FH-20.


Shoots at 40 frames per second .

Its more expensive sibling is the Casio FX-1 which shoots at 60 frames per second.

Rob Bernhard , Jun 08, 2009; 04:41 p.m.

Ooops, sorry. I forgot that Casio had released small point and shoots with really high frame rates:

EX-FC100 and the EX-FS10. Both shoot stills at 30 frames per second.


As the article points out. This comes at a cost: in low light, the high speed mode is essentially non-functional.

Bill Tuthill , Jun 08, 2009; 05:05 p.m.

Many lowly P&S models have minimal lag nowadays (< .5 second) if you disable flash and shot-confirm. RTFM. That said, the Casio FX-1 is faster than a DSLR in some cases. Imaging-resource.com, a trustworthy review site, timed FH20 shutter lag at .13 second for wide-angle, .78 second for telephoto. They have not yet tested the FC100 or FS10. The Nikon D40 has about .25 second shutter lag, but performance doesn't degrade much with telephoto, depending on lens.

tim m , Jun 08, 2009; 05:13 p.m.

Thank you for the replies. But in looking at the Casios mentioned, they don't get great reviews for picture quality. In the sub-SLR world, it appears that you can take rapid pictures with so-so picture quality or have great picture quality but suffer from some shutter lag time.
I've mentioned turning off the preview function, and that helps a little. But not enough to stop her from complaining and wanting a new camera.

Rob Bernhard , Jun 08, 2009; 05:26 p.m.

Low-light issues aside (and I realize these may be big issues) try printing a photo from one of those reviews at a size you would normally print for home. See if you really can find all those image quality issues mentioned without having to press your nose to the paper. :)

I'm not saying these are the best solution, (they are simply one possible solution to a big part of your problem). But I also would discourage you from reading too much into the obsessive pixel-level peeping done in some of these reviews.

Ilkka , Jun 08, 2009; 10:24 p.m.

You are talking about two different things. Shutter lag normally means the time from pressing the shutter button to the camera actually taking the picture. This can be important if you are waiting for something to happen and want to take the picture at the peak of action, a person jumping, a racing car in a certain place etc. What you are talking about is the sequential speed of the camera, how many pictures can be taken in quick succession, or how soon after one image has been captured the camera is ready to take another picture. This is an area where many compact cameras are poor. And with most cameras there is a difference between the burst mode speed and the speed of making separate individual exposures.

tim m , Jun 08, 2009; 10:29 p.m.

Thank you. You are correct. I am talking the sequential speed of the camera, i.e., how many pictures can be taken in quick succession, or how soon after one image has been captured the camera is ready to take another picture. I think I understand what burst mode speed is, and what I am talking about is the speed of making separate individual exposures. That's what my wife wants ... the ability to quickly take separate individual pictures. I haven't found a compact camera that is good in this regard, although several of them receive high marks for image quality.

William (Bill) Crabill , Jun 08, 2009; 10:39 p.m.

As Ilkka stated, you're confusing two different things. Your wife really isn't talking about shutter lag time. With the great majority of todays digital point & shoots, shutter lag time has become so minimal that you're not even concious of a lag, (it's in mili seconds). What she may already have, (double check her cameras instruction manual), is called 'burst mode', some manufacturers may have differing terms, but it is a function that you select from your camera's set-up menu. Problem with it is that it's fine in daylight, the only constraint there is your cameras buffer speed, but it won't function in any flash mode because you have to allow enough time for the flash units capasitor to recharge, & that takes a number of seconds, & it gets longer as the camera batteries discharge. I'd suggest you go to a web site such as B&H, go to some P&S cameras & look at their spec sheets to see how they define 'Burst Speed'. I think you'll find that manufacturers fail to provide a numerical value, so the best course is then to rely on that old tune, "You Get What You Pay For".

JC Uknz , Jun 08, 2009; 11:54 p.m.

Since I like to have confirmation of what I have taken I have my Panasonic FZ cameras on one second review. This is enough to re-assure myself I have or have not caught the action. By the time that one second is over they are ready to shoot again. They also have the option to rapid fire [burst]. The latest 10MP is not quite as fast as my earlier FZ s. You likely will find www.dpreview.com will give you the times of latest models if you have not found that site..

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