Report wakeup & startup time in reviews

Started Jun 27, 2014 | Discussions thread
OP Henry Richardson Forum Pro • Posts: 16,350
The Best (and Worst) Cameras for Street Photography

Henry Richardson wrote:

It would be very useful to many people if you would time and report on camera wakeup time in reviews. Sometimes you report the startup from off time, but it is rare, I think, for you to report the wakeup from sleep time.

I use an Olympus E-M5 for street stuff and it is pretty good, but there is one thing that really, really annoys me about it. The E-M5 is slow, much slower than a DSLR, to wake-up from sleep or when you turn it on. In my street photography I sometimes miss shots because the camera is waking up very leisurely. When possible I do my best to anticipate when I might want to take a shot and start the wake-up process, but sometimes things happen very quickly and by the time the camera is finally ready the moment has passed. In most ways the E-M5 is fast and very responsive, like a DSLR, but in this area it is like a digicam. Even if a DSLR was as slow as the E-M5 it would still have an advantage because while you are waiting for the camera to be ready to shoot you could still look through the OVF, do quick framing, adjust zoom, and then shoot as soon as the camera is ready. With the E-M5 you can't even do the quick framing and adjust zoom while you are waiting and waiting and waiting for the camera to wake-up.

Since the E-M5 does not have an OVF it uses battery power pretty fast. If you set it to never sleep then the camera is ready all the time, but the battery will run down fast. Also, the sensor and EVF will be on all the time even during the long periods when you are walking around watching for a potential shot. The sensor will be heating up and getting noisier.

For example, in my first big trip with the E-M5 I spent a month in Nepal and there were a few times when I almost threw my E-M5 against a brick wall when I missed a sudden photo opportunity while the camera took its sweet time waking up. The wakeup I estimate is about 1.5 seconds which for non-street shooters will seem fast or at least fast enough, but sometimes you need to react much more quickly and 1.5 seconds is enough to totally miss a shot.

Here at dpreview over a decade ago the slow startup and wakeup time of early DSLRs and digicams was talked about and lamented a lot. These days DLSRs usually wakeup very fast. I recall my Canon 30D and 60D and Sony A700 always woke up sufficiently fast for street.

Henry Richardson

Yeah, this guy gets it:

The Best (and Worst) Cameras for Street Photography

The quick and easy to operate part is essential. If you’re a street shooter, one second can literally mean the difference between capturing the perfect moment or missing it entirely. Street shooters therefore look for a camera that’s ready in an instant, with no startup lag or delay. Once the camera is ready to shoot, any perceptible shutter lag is a deal-breaker. The autofocus (assuming your camera has it) has to be just as responsive and, better yet, accurate.

As simple and obvious as these requirements might seem, cameras that have them all are not easy to find. For example, some cameras are slow to power up and be ready to shoot. Others add to this delay by also being slow to wake up from battery-conserving “sleep mode,” or requiring the lens to also power-up.

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Henry Richardson

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