Understanding Shutter Delay In Digital Cameras



Understanding Shutter Delay In Digital Cameras

Understanding Shutter Delay in​ Digital Cameras
When using a​ digital camera to​ take action photos you will notice that there is​ a​ delay between the​ time you press the​ shutter button to​ the​ time the​ camera actually takes the​ photo .​
In most cases this delay is​ small enough and​ not noticeable but when taking action photos, when trying to​ capture an​ event that just happened or​ when trying to​ capture a​ moving object this delay can result in​ a​ photo that just missed the​ action .​
In this article you will better understand what causes the​ shutter delay and​ how you can overcome it.
A shutter delay is​ defined as​ the​ time gap between pressing the​ shutter button to​ the​ camera actually capturing the​ photo .​
There is​ no shutter delay in​ film cameras as​ in​ these cameras the​ shutter button is​ virtually connected to​ the​ shutter itself and​ holding down the​ button results in​ the​ camera taking a​ photo immediately .​
In digital cameras the​ shutter button is​ connected to​ a​ built-in micro computer and​ holding down the​ shutter button initiates a​ series of​ events that result in​ capturing a​ photo .​
When you press the​ shutter button the​ camera goes through a​ series of​ setup events in​ order to​ get all its electronics ready .​
Only when these events are finished can the​ camera capture the​ photo .​
The time it​ takes for​ the​ camera to​ complete these events can vary but is​ usually around one second or​ so .​
When taking subsequent photos there is​ an​ addition delay as​ a​ result of​ the​ camera compressing the​ photo and​ writing it​ to​ the​ slow flash memory.
Although a​ circa one second delay does not seem long it​ can make the​ difference between capturing an​ action photo to​ missing it .​
Some cameras will also initiate a​ focus process when the​ shutter button is​ held down and​ will only take the​ photo when the​ focus is​ completed .​
This can add even more delay.
Although it​ is​ impossible to​ remove the​ shutter delay in​ your camera there are few practices that can help avoiding its results .​
For example many cameras include a​ burst mode .​
In burst mode the​ camera shoots a​ fast series of​ photos for​ as​ long as​ the​ shutter button is​ held down or​ until the​ camera’s memory is​ full .​
In this mode the​ camera writes the​ photos to​ a​ temporary memory which is​ very fast but small .​
When the​ shutter button is​ released or​ the​ memory is​ full the​ camera starts the​ slow process of​ writing the​ photos to​ the​ flash memory .​
Using the​ burst mode you can shoot fast photos of​ an​ action event and​ then choose the​ one that best captured the​ events .​
The speed and​ the​ amount of​ photos that the​ burst mode supports vary between cameras .​
Some high end cameras can take as​ much as​ ten photos over the​ course of​ one second.
Another delay that is​ a​ result of​ the​ digital camera technology is​ the​ Initial Delay .​
Most cameras will enter into a​ standby mode if​ not used for​ a​ certain amount of​ time .​
This time can vary but it’s usually in​ the​ few minutes range .​
When the​ camera goes into standby mode it​ turns off most of​ its electronics in​ order to​ save power .​
Usually pressing the​ shutter button will restart the​ camera but such a​ restart process is​ long and​ can take a​ few seconds .​
The result is​ a​ longer delay when taking a​ photo after the​ camera was idle for​ some time .​
In order to​ avoid this you would have to​ make sure that your camera is​ turned on and​ does not go into standby mode when taking action photos .​
Some cameras allow you to​ disable the​ automatic standby feature through a​ menu option .​
If your camera does not allow that you can keep it​ on by pressing the​ shutter button half way down every now and​ then .​
The downside of​ leaving the​ camera on all the​ time is​ wasting battery power .​
In order to​ maximize battery life in​ such scenarios you can disable the​ camera’s LCD screen which consumes a​ lot of​ energy and​ use the​ view finder instead.
Another way to​ minimize the​ shutter delay is​ to​ avoid the​ automatic focus process which usually starts when the​ shutter button is​ held down .​
One way to​ do that is​ to​ hold the​ shutter button half way down .​
In most cameras the​ result will be a​ one time focus process and​ then a​ focus lock .​
The camera will stay in​ focus and​ when the​ shutter is​ fully pressed it​ will take a​ photo without re-focusing .​
Another option is​ to​ put the​ camera in​ manual focus.
It takes practice to​ get to​ know your camera and​ to​ get a​ feeling of​ the​ delays it​ introduces .​
Although there is​ no way to​ completely get rid of​ the​ delays you can master overcoming them by practicing taking action photos .​
New high end professional cameras have a​ very short delay and​ as​ the​ electronics improve cameras will eliminate the​ shutter delay altogether.

Understanding Shutter Delay In Digital Cameras





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