D300 shutter lag: The answer is 42. What's the question?

Started Jan 13, 2008 | Discussions
Marianne Oelund Veteran Member • Posts: 7,657
D300 shutter lag: The answer is 42. What's the question?

At long last, a question has been found for the answer "42," although perhaps this will only be of significance to D300 owners who like to use 14-bit mode.

Those of you who have tried this, have undoubtedly noticed the longer mechanical shutter cycle that occurs. This has led to the question of whether the shutter lag itself has increased. The answer is, "Yes, by 42 (milliseconds, that is)."

After subjecting my poor D300 to being a test subject in my little electronics lab (visions of Dr. Frankenstein here, except that it didn't involve any disassembly), it has divulged its secret. Using the 10-pin connector signals (via my remote control accessory, which has a stereo sub-mini expansion jack), and the PC terminal signal to mark the precise time of exposure, my oscilloscope shows that the shutter lag in 12-bit mode is 53msec, whereas in 14-bit mode it increases to a whopping 95msec.

To those of you who have noticed the effect of this in your action photography, I must say you have remarkable reflexes. Note that this 42msec increase is only a very small part of the overall shutter cycle length increase of about 275msec.

Andre Bomhof
Andre Bomhof Veteran Member • Posts: 4,751
A 'bit' annoying..

Thank you Marianne for providing this scientific evidence! I noticed
that my D300 goes 'click' in 12 bit, and a distinct 'click-ho-wait-a-minute-
there-buddy-clack' in 14 bit mode..

A 'bit' annoying, but we'll have to live with it, I suppose.

Cheers,

André

Tommy Martin
Tommy Martin Senior Member • Posts: 1,477
Re: D300 shutter lag: The answer is 42. What's the question?

That is the answer to life, the universe and everything.
--
Tommy
http://martindigital.zenfolio.com

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Andre Bomhof
Andre Bomhof Veteran Member • Posts: 4,751
Yep, the Hitchhiker knew it all along. :))

Tommy Martin wrote:

That is the answer to life, the universe and everything.
--
Tommy

Still waiting to find out what the 'Ultimate Question' is, though.

Cheers,

André

manel Contributing Member • Posts: 931
D200: about 45. Another way to measure it

Another way to measure it:

http://frikosal.blogspot.com/2007/10/el-controlador-fr2-y-la-medida-del.html

In summary, I (my micro computer actually) fires the D200 and starts a binary digital clock, that changes every 5ms. When the photo is made, the binary number is multiplied by 5 to get the time.

So, D300 seems to be only a little bit faster than D200 ?

Other things done with my frikontroller:

http://frikosal.blogspot.com/2006/04/fotografia-de-alta-velocidad.html
--
http://www.frikosal.blogspot.com

MOD TOF guy Forum Pro • Posts: 15,119
Re: D300 shutter lag: The answer is 42. What's the question?

Marianne,

Have you had a chance to try with the latest firmware version? Just curious.

Thank you, again, for the tests.

Err ... this thread used to have many more posts!
--
Thierry

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David Chin Forum Pro • Posts: 11,670
Re: D300 shutter lag: The answer is 42. What's the question?

Yeah - I even had the thread bookmarked - what happened to the posts?

TOF guy wrote:

Err ... this thread used to have many more posts!
--
Thierry

-- hide signature --

Regards, David Chin
Digital photography notes and stuff:
http://www.dpnotes.com/

OP Marianne Oelund Veteran Member • Posts: 7,657
Disk crash

TOF guy wrote:

Marianne,

Have you had a chance to try with the latest firmware version? Just
curious.

Thank you, again, for the tests.

Err ... this thread used to have many more posts!
--
Thierry

No, I haven't loaded the new firmware to my D300 yet. Do you think it will affect flash timings?

The thread is a victim of the server disk drive crash. Only the first few posts had been backed up when the crash occurred. There is a stretch of about 2 days worth of posts that were lost, and I was unlucky enough to have that affect most of this thread.

If there is interest, I could re-post the data I collected. I think I still have all of my notes.

David Chin Forum Pro • Posts: 11,670
Yes Marianne, if you could ...

... post that data, I'd appreciate it very much.

Marianne Oelund wrote:

If there is interest, I could re-post the data I collected. I think
I still have all of my notes.

-- hide signature --
MOD TOF guy Forum Pro • Posts: 15,119
Re: Disk crash

Marianne wrote:

No, I haven't loaded the new firmware to my D300 yet. Do you think
it will affect flash timings?

Possible, but by no means certain.

I continue to believe that it's a software issue. I can't think of a reason why 14-bit capture would affect a timing of an event that occurs before any image is even captured on the sensor, let alone transfered to memory.

But is Nikon willing to fix it? One thing I've noticed since we've discussed lag between pre-flash and flash in this thread is that the "official" value listed by Nikon in the D300 specifications is 45 ms * in 12-bit RAW format*. Therefore the camera is within the advertised specifications. The fact that Nikon specifies 12-bit format means that it's aware of how the camera behaves. It works as Nikon intended and as advertised. Fixing the issue may be possible but it means devoting a programmer to improve on a feature that very few will notice. In the mean time there is the new D90 D40xt whatever to stay ahead of a competition which is becoming more and more aggressive.

I give it 10% chance that the new firmware address the issue. Still, if it is too much trouble for you, I'd be very interested to see it confirmed.

BTW here is where I've found the "official" value of the delay in 12-bit RAW:

See page 2 of the following brochure (size 1.5 MB if you want to download it):
http://www.nikonusa.com/fileuploads/pdfs/D300_brochure.pdf

(Left column, 4th line counting from the bottom above the D300 nameplate . The important detail is in the note "5" referenced at the end of the line It reads: "when shooting in JPEG, TIFF or 12-bit RAW (NEF) format)".

I've also noticed the 90 ms value listed somewhere else by Nikon, but I can't find that source again.

The thread is a victim of the server disk drive crash.

You must be right.

If there is interest, I could re-post the data I collected. I think
I still have all of my notes.

It's okay as far as I'm concerned. Thank you.
--
Thierry

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B. Barker Regular Member • Posts: 399
positive side effect?

It may be my imagination but it sure seems like the elongation of the mirror action caused by shooting in 14bit mode makes less noise than shooting in 12 bit mode.

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BB

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alijan Contributing Member • Posts: 665
Re: positive side effect?

Just resurrecting this thread. It does seem to be elongation of the mirror action. I find that, strangely, removing the CF card and activating the shutter in 14 bit mode, the mirror action is as instantaneous as in 12 bit mode. (sorry if this has been brought up in another thread)

Steve Bingham
Steve Bingham Forum Pro • Posts: 25,991
And the very reason I abandoned 14 bit

And the very reason I abandoned 14 bit a long time ago. Annoying at the very least, devastating at the worst. Furthermore, I see no observable quality difference in PRINTS from 12 verses 14 bit. Others who know far more than myself have come to the same conclusion. Nice that you measured it!
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Steve Bingham
Steve Bingham Forum Pro • Posts: 25,991
Re: positive side effect?

alijan wrote:

Just resurrecting this thread. It does seem to be elongation of the
mirror action. I find that, strangely, removing the CF card and
activating the shutter in 14 bit mode, the mirror action is as
instantaneous as in 12 bit mode. (sorry if this has been brought up
in another thread)

Really? I was using a NEW CF card when I first noticed this delay. I had set the camera to 14 and started firing. Hmmm. I will take a second look - although I see absolutely no need for 14 bit.

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jwaif Regular Member • Posts: 472
Re: positive side effect?

Alijan,

If you replace the CF card while remaining in 14-bit mode, does the mirror delay appear again?
John

alijan Contributing Member • Posts: 665
Re: positive side effect?

jwaif wrote:

Alijan,
If you replace the CF card while remaining in 14-bit mode, does the
mirror delay appear again?

Yes it does. Sorry I should have said this in my original post. Obviously the camera is not very useful without a CF card but it does seem odd that one gets this 'cla-clunk' in 14 bit mode with the CF card in, but if the shutter is fired with no card, the mirror cycle sounds normal

Douglas Film Veteran Member • Posts: 5,687
Douglas Adams

After reading his books I already knew The Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything was 42.
Douglas Film

jafo818 Contributing Member • Posts: 895
Re: Douglas Adams

Marianne, would you be able to re-run your tests on the D300 with the 1.03 firmware installed. Many of us perceive a noticable difference with it installed.

Thanks!
--
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PHXAZCRAIG
PHXAZCRAIG Forum Pro • Posts: 15,057
Re: Douglas Adams

I've not noticed any decrease in 14-bit shutter lag with any firmware version, including the latest 2.0.

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jafo818 Contributing Member • Posts: 895
Re: Douglas Adams

PHXAZCRAIG wrote:

I've not noticed any decrease in 14-bit shutter lag with any firmware
version, including the latest 2.0.

The D300 firmware is at level 1.03, not 2.0. Are you referring to the D3? We are not.
--
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