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Compact with FAST shutter response

Mark Davies , Apr 19, 2012; 09:01 p.m.

Hi Folk, Whilst I have good Canon gear, there are many instances where I would like to not look like a big lens person and take spontaneous shots with a small camera. I have a G9 and used my daughter's G12 but neither have a fast response from pressing button to taking shot.
Could anyone suggest a good compact with a fast shutter response with a reasonable to good lens in terms of speed and pixels.
Thanks,
Mark

Responses

Matt Laur , Apr 19, 2012; 10:04 p.m.

Nikon's "1" series cameras are particularly responsive - but like all the little guys, they're something you want to handle, to see if you can stand the ergonomics. I was surprised, trying the V1, at how nimble and quick it felt.

JC Uknz , Apr 19, 2012; 11:52 p.m.

I have been pleasantly suprised at the speed at which my Panasonic G3 finds focus and the difference between just pressing the button right down and my normal 'Half-trigger, wait, full trigger' practice is a split second.* A Nikon DSLR user was playing with my gear just this afternoon and he commented on the fast finding of focus at all distances and in just ordinary room daylight, lit by windows quite close.

I suspect this is the difference between todays contrast detection and earlier, though my experience with Panasonic FZ cameras has not been that much slower so when people write about slow CD I wonder what they are talking about becuase I have not experienced it the last half decade or more . It seems little different to PD of my older DSLR a Canon D60.

When I deliberately tried to stop the G3 focusing, at night out in the street, I had a hard job to achieve a blinking confirmation light :-) and had to be very careful to ensure the focusing area, a very small spot focus, was uniform in tone. It was easy when pointed at the shadow underneath a car :-)

*Not that I have ever simply pressed the trigger down in one movement but I'm guessing how long that takes. Like turning on a houselight switch? or clicking a mouse.
That is actually an untruth becuase I remember once pressing the trigger down in one movement and the camera took "ages' to shoot, start the burst, and the shots were out of focus ... if only I had taken HT like I normally do and waited that split second :-(

Gary Nakayama , Apr 19, 2012; 11:55 p.m.

If you half press the shutter release, some of the time consuming stuff is done then.
So at the final push of the shutter release (the rest of the way down), the shutter fires faster than if you did it all in one push.
You have to practice this, as on some cameras it requires a light touch of the finger to stop at the half way point. This also depends on the subject, as some subjects can accomodate this, other cannot.

Pierre Lachaine , Apr 20, 2012; 07:14 a.m.

When speed is critical, pre focus on something else that is where the subject will be, even just the ground.

This means, put the camera in P mode, and use one point centrefocus. Keep in mind that on most cams, the half press will also lock exposure, so in some cases, you may have to apply compensation. I use a Canon Powershot which also allows me to lock exposurs separately from focus.

That being said, one camera i tried that did have very fast response was the sony wx1 and its descendants.

Bill Tuthill , Apr 20, 2012; 11:26 a.m.

Yes, although the G models are excellent, Canon compacts have industry trailing AF speeds.

Fastest P&S ever was the Fuji F300EXR at around .15 second in good light, DSLR territory. Sony and Panasonic models do well, with the HX5V at .3 to .35 second and the LX5 at .351 to .367 second.

The aforementioned Nikon V1 comes in at .097 (single-point AF) to .234 (auto-area AF) with 10-30 lens, but I would not call it compact. If it is small enough for you, also consider the less-expensive Olympus EPM1, measured at .246 to .289 second with 14-42 lens. All numbers from imaging-resource.com tests.

John MacPherson , Apr 20, 2012; 06:33 p.m.

Ricoh GRD3 or 4 will beat just about anything with its snap focus set up. F1.9 lens, very very sharp. And very compact.

Mark Davies , Apr 20, 2012; 08:14 p.m.

Thanks heaps for the responses gents. Much appreciated. I will have a look at the various options of the models you have indicated. I understand the suggestion about the pre-focus but I have found it is difficult when you don't have the camera to the eye, some eyecatching moment is just occuring and you have to lift and shoot all in one action. I am also aware that this is not always the case but as street phogs would know, the quicker on the draw the better the chance of re-living the moment.
Kind regards, Mark

JC Uknz , Apr 21, 2012; 04:07 a.m.

Then pre-set the camera for what you think will happen as we did with film.

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