5D3 Pattern Noise Improvement and High ISO Cooking

Started Apr 1, 2012 | Discussions thread
David Hull
David Hull Veteran Member • Posts: 6,343
Re: Why the concern over shutter lag?

meland wrote:

David Hull wrote:

My first digital camera was a Nikon CoolPix 880. That thing had a serious shutter lag issue, you could never tell when it would take the picture. My G11 is a lot better but my former 20D, my former 5DII as well as my current 5DIII and 50D are perfectly usable. There are issues with all of these cameras but shutter lag wouldn't even make my list.

The only real concern with shutter lag is when shooting with two different cameras that have a significantly different value.

When pre-focussing on a rapidly moving subject (e.g. racing motor cycles, F-1 cars) the shutter has to be fired a fraction of a second before the subject arrives at that pre-focussed point. Over a period of time a photographer, especially one who specialises in this type of work, will learn instinctively when to fire the shutter, i.e. compensating for the lag. However if such a person is shooting with two different bodies with significantly different values for lag then timing / reaction issues can arise.

We did not believe this to be a serious issue until we did some tests with a motorcycle photographer and we found he could reliably detect a 70ms difference between his EOS-1 (approx 50ms) and the body he was using as a back up (about 120ms). However when the difference was reduced to 30ms things became significantly less clear cut and was more likely down to his familiarity with one particular camera and the 'feel' of when the activation point of the shutter would be reached.

I doubt there is any human being who could reliably detect a difference of 18ms.

Shutter blackout time is a different issue entirely and is usually related to the speed (FPS) at which the camera has to fire (faster FPS requires a shorter return time of the mirror). This doesn't really have any impact on normal photography other than the psychological effect of not being able to see the subject for a brief period of time. However sometimes a slightly slower moving mirror assembly can be easier to damp (minimising the affect of vibration and shock) so as with most things it's a compromise.

Thanks a lot. This is the sort of answer I was interested in and pretty much what I expected. I used to try to time the old CoolPix 880 like you describe but was never very successful (I once tried to use it as a spectator at the Indy 500 which was frustrating). I now have a more modern G11 and am not too impressed with its shutter response time either but I have never found any of the DSLR's I have owned (and I have owned quite a few -- all Canon so far) to be objectionable. I think that this is another case (to steal a line from Broadway) of “much ado about nothing” or at least “much ado about not much”. The same can be said for the DR differences, a genuine problem for a few people, a significant issue for the "mine-is-bigger-than-yours" crowd of Bar-B-Q grill lid and lens cap shooters but not a big issue for most others.

I thought the best comment on the mirror black-out was the one above which was something to the effect “you can rest assured that if you saw the shot – you missed it”. I got a chuckle out of that one.

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