The illusion of shutter lag

Started Oct 6, 2003 | Discussions thread
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Peter iNova Veteran Member • Posts: 3,250
The illusion of shutter lag

...is just an illusion. All cameras have shutter lag. Like it or not, it takes 1/20th+ sec to flip a mirror out of the optical path of the best 35mm SLRs and longer before the electronic shutter opens on a DSLR. People who claim instant results with their prior film gear are probably lulled into feeling like they "got" that decisive moment because SOMETHING happened when they pushed the shutter button. They won't see what it was for hours to days.

Quite often the film photographer's proof sheets show how very inaccurately the moment was captured. With digital, you get to see your errors right after the fact, and that may contribute to a sense of instant disappointment. It shouldn't. It could be a moment to reflect on the inevitable delays for any camera short of a Leica. To learn from them and apply a different internal pre-delay the next time

Any camera with autofocus will have that system's extra moment factored in, too. Of course, the digicam Rule #1 is prefocus and pre-exposure compute with a half-press of the shutter button (same as with many film and DSLR cams, too) and now your finger bone and the action are much, much closer together.

Case in point. With only one chance to land this shot of an actor running full tilt for a German film crew, the chosen place was prefocused, and that setting was held for the run. The actor had about 30 meters to obtain full speed as the camera car tracked him. I panned with him knowing that I had to anticipate the magic moment by .. about that much time.

Like a baseman catching a fast line drive, it's a matter of practice and experience learning where and when to have the mitt in place. Little leaguers learn this sort of anticipatory timing and your cat is built around it. We humans are not so well wired, so we like to discuss how the equipment was the thing that held us up with its shutter lag.

When it works, it works. And it worked. Know your equipment. Practice shooting critical moments and it can work for any camera.

1/500 @ f/5.0. DSC-F717

-iNova

(I liked the recent belly flop image better, though...)
--
http://www.itssony.com

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