Why is there so much shutter noise with all 4/3s?

Started Sep 8, 2009 | Discussions thread
William Ing Contributing Member • Posts: 628
Another type of question about MFT shutters

There appear to be many people reading this thread who possess knowledge far surpassing mine about how shutters work, especially in MFT camera bodies. For that reason, I'd like to inquire about a different aspect of MFT shutter construction/function.

First, a preface. In another thread on this forum, I recently posted a long thread lamenting the fact that MFT cameras like the G1, GH1 and GH1, infofar as I've been able to determine, all have longer pre-focus shutter lag times than their modern DSLR counterparts. My point was that virtually anybody who buys a mid-range Nikon/Canon DSLR manufactured within the past 2-3 years can expect his camera to come equipped with a shutter wherein shutter lag times are short enough so that, for the average shooter, it's comparatively easy to time the moment of shutter release in order to capture moderately fast action. Because variables like individual human reflexes and shooting experience come into play here, this is an extremely subjective area of discussion. Many readers of these posts dispute my assertions, saying there's virtually no difference between the shutter lag times of an MFT-format GH1, say, or that of a Canon 40D DSLR. If this latter viewpoint is correct, then it follows a GH1 and a Canon 40D can be used with equal facility to capture a ballerina's jete or the toss of a softball just as it leaves the pitcher's hand. This assumes a) that we rule out the use of continuous or motor-driven shooting and b) that we're talking about pre-focused shutter lag times in both cases. Practical experience with both these cameras leads me to assert there IS a significant pre-focus shutter lag discrepancy between the two cameras, that my Canon 40D is easily the superior tool for capturing even moderately fast action.

The question I wish to ask, then, presupposes that one accepts my premise.

Is there anything in the live view system of my GH1, and/or the mechanism governing image capture, or some peculiarity of its shutter construction that makes it inherently more difficult for MFT camera designers to offer me the reduced shutter lag times of my Canon 40D? Or is it simply a matter of waiting for manufacturers to incorporate already existing technology into the next MFT body to come down the road? In other words, is the slower shutter lag time on my GH1 merely the result of economic imperatives/design priorities decided upon by the Panny engineering department?

My first DLSR was the Canon D20, which appeared in late 2000. That was followed by the D30 and the 10D. It was only with the appearance of the 20D, a full FOUR generations into Canon's prosumer DSLR line, that I came into possession of a tool offering sufficiently reduced shutter lag times (+ a 5 fps motor drive) so as to enable me to confidently shoot sports like soccer and gymnastics with my DSLR.

So I ask: Is my DSLR experience somewhat analogous to the incremental development of the MFT format? Does the requisite technology already exist or must we await future technological advances in shutter design for the MFT format?

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