How to Reducing Camera Shutter Lag

How to Reducing Camera Shutter LagDo you enjoy shoot candid, about the city, parties or even at home picture? If so you probably try to bring your camera with you wherever you go, always ready whenever you get opportunity.

This means your camera might be in a backpack and using it requires taking it out, powering up and finally shoots. Yet when you finally have the camera in your hand, you aim, you squeeze the shutter release and….. you wait. When the screen eventually clears, you have a great shot of the background, but your subject is nowhere on the scene. So what happened ?..oww its Camera Shutter Lag.

So what exactly is camera shutter lag?

Camera shutter lag is the delay digital cameras experience between the instant when you press the shutter release button to when the photo is actually recorded. This is particularly frustrating since this problem did not seem to exist with film cameras, which utilize a mechanical shutter release.

To understand what make camera shutter lag, you have to understand process of digital camera captures an image. The process includes:
  • Focusing is set
  • Aperture & shutter speed are set
  • The CCD is reset (data from the previous picture is flushed)
  • Shutter opens
  • Image is written to CCD
  • Shutter closes
  • Interpolation / compression of image data.
  • Output is sent to buffer where image is finally recorded.
This all takes time. Depending on the on-board computer of a particular camera it could take from a couple of hundred milliseconds up to almost a half second. On average, the more expensive the digital camera, the shorter the shutter lag is. Professional cameras have no any shutter lag at all. This is simply due to the use of faster processors and more efficient electrical design, it all just about comparison. let's see the camera shutter lag comparison table here.

For the good news (finally!). It is possible to reduce camera shutter lag substantially, by several magnitudes, without trading in your camera. It costs absolutely nothing and will make you a better street photographer. Here’s how:

Use the pre-focus option

Digital cameras generally use a two stage shutter release button, let’s call them Stage 1 (S1) and Stage 2 (S2), each of which has different functions. S1 usually requires that you press the shutter release button halfway while focusing on your subject. You maintain the shutter release at S1 state, with your subject already pre-focused, while you recompose your photo, or wait for whatever you are waiting for, and then you press down fully on the button, capturing the image. It goes without saying that the subject must stay within the focus range selected during S1 when the image is eventually captured. S2 is when you simply aim your camera and press the shutter release all the way down, bypassing S1 (and encountering long shutter lag times). To demonstrate how effective this is, I have gathered data from three different independent camera reviews, which tested models for both S1 and S2 shooting times. Some reviewers may call it pre-focusing or something similar, but the data is almost always available in a thorough review.

Lumix DMC-G1

  • S2 Time: 0.357 seconds
  • S1 Time: 0.077 seconds
  • Pre-focusing is 4.6 times faster than normal shooting.

Lumix DMC-FZ100

  • S2 Time: 0.288 seconds
  • S1 Time: 0.017 seconds
  • Pre-focusing is 16.9 times faster than normal shooting.

Lumix DMC-ZS7

  • S2 Time: 0.45 seconds
  • S1 Time: 0.012 seconds
  • Pre-focusing is 37.5 times faster than normal shooting.
If you want to improve your particular numbers even further, consider the following additional tips. These will not have the huge impact that pre-focusing has, but they will chip away some additional milliseconds:
  • Reduce quality settings - By selecting a smaller picture size (in megabytes) your camera might record a bit faster. The same holds true for shooting in RAW & JPG, RAW only or JPG only. The bigger the file, the longer it takes to record. This will of course affect your finished product.
  • Turn the flash off - Flash recycling times are inherently long, your camera is probably ready to take a picture long before the flash is. This is particularly true when taking several pictures in one shooting sequence.
  • Use a fully charged battery - For some reason, a fully charged battery seems to speed up several camera functions. This is anecdotal evidence since I have never seen actual scientific tests.
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