World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Shutter lag

Article Id: WHEBN0001875863
Reproduction Date:

Title: Shutter lag  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Samsung Galaxy S III, Camera phone, Single-lens reflex camera, Nikon Coolpix 4500, Samsung Galaxy Express
Collection: Photography Equipment
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Shutter lag

In photography, shutter lag is the delay between triggering the shutter and when the photograph is actually recorded. This is a common problem in the photography of fast-moving objects or people in motion. The term narrowly refers only to shutter effects, but more broadly refers to all lag between when the shutter button is pressed and when the photo is taken, including metering and focus lag.


  • Film cameras 1
  • Digital cameras 2
  • AE & AF lag 3
  • Examples of various shutter lag times 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Film cameras

In film cameras, the delay is caused by the mechanism inside the camera that opens the shutter, exposing the film. Because the process is mechanical, however, and relatively brief, shutter lag in film cameras is often only noticeable (and of any concern) to professionals. SLRs have slightly longer shutter lag than rangefinders, because of the need to lift the mirror. Point and shoot film cameras often have significant shutter lag.

Digital cameras

Shutter lag is much more of a problem with digital cameras. Here, the delay results from the charging of the CCD and relatively slow transmission of its capture data to the circuitry of the camera for processing and storage. Recent improvements in technology, however, such as the speed, bandwidth and power consumption of processor chips and memory, as well as CCD technology, have made shutter lag less of a problem. As of 2007, the greatest advancements have been limited mostly to professional, "prosumer," and high-end consumer-grade digital cameras. Inexpensive (most "point-and-shoot") digital cameras, however, have even reduced the average shutter lag to half seconds, and higher-end "point-and-shoot" cameras have reduced this down to a quarter second or less.

AE & AF lag

However, what many people consider shutter lag is in fact the time the camera takes to meter (set the exposure) and auto-focus, which is lag of a different cause but similar effect.

These causes of lag can be eliminated by pre-setting the exposure and focus, by either manually setting the exposure and focus, or by pre-exposing and pre-focusing. Pre-exposing and pre-focusing mean "using automatic exposure and autofocus, then fixing the settings so they do not change"; this can often be done by the shutter release halfway down, or by using a separate "AE / AF lock" button (useful if taking multiple photographs that are not in a burst), and means the subsequent photographs will be taken faster. These techniques can be combined – one can manually set the exposure and then use AF lock or conversely.

Examples of various shutter lag times

Camera Type Shutter Lag [ms]
Nikon Coolpix L3 Digital Point and Shoot 1800
Nikon Coolpix S550 Digital Point and Shoot 590
Panasonic DMC Lumix FS20 Digital Point and Shoot 480
Canon PowerShot A590 IS Digital Point and Shoot 350
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W80 Advanced digital Point and Shoot 150
Pentax MZ-50 Amateur 35mm film SLR 120
Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D Advanced amateur APS-C digital SLR with built-in image stabilization 117[1]
Sony NEX-5 Amateur APS-C digital compact camera 115[2]
Minolta Maxxum 9 Professional 35mm film SLR 90[3]
Leica M8 Professional digital rangefinder 80
Leica M9 Professional 35mm digital rangefinder 80
Sony Alpha DSLR-A850 Professional 35mm digital SLR with built-in image stabilization 74[4]
Sony Alpha DSLR-A900 Professional 35mm digital SLR with built-in image stabilization 72[5]
Minolta XD-7 Amateur 35mm film SLR 60
Nikon D300s Advanced amateur APS-C digital SLR 53
Sony Alpha SLT-A77 Advanced amateur APS-C digital SLR-alike with built-in image
stabilization and electronic 1st curtain
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV Professional APS-H digital SLR 49
Nikon D3s Professional 35mm digital SLR 43
Nikon D3x Professional 35mm digital SLR 40
Canon EOS-1D Mark II Professional APS-H digital SLR 40
Minolta XE-1 Amateur 35mm film SLR 38
Nikon F6 Professional 35mm film SLR 37
Nikon D2H/D2Hs Professional APS-C digital SLR 37[7]
Canon EOS-1D X Professional 35mm digital SLR 36[8]
Sony Alpha NEX-5N Amateur APS-C digital compact camera with electronic 1st curtain 22[9]
Contax RTS33 Professional 35mm film SLR 22
Leica M3 Professional 35mm film rangefinder 16
Leica M7 Professional 35mm film rangefinder 12
Canon EOS RT Advanced amateur 35mm film SLR 8
Canon EOS-1n RS Professional 35mm film SLR 6


  1. ^ Imaging-Resource Preview Konica Minolta Dynax/Maxxum/Alpha 7D
  2. ^ Imaging-Resource Preview Sony Alpha NEX-5
  3. ^ Josef Scheibel, Robert Scheibel: Foto-Guide Minolta Dynax 9. vfv Verlag für Foto, Film und Video, Gilching 1999, ISBN 3-88955-116-5 (176 pages, [1], retrieved at 8 January 2011).
  4. ^ Imaging-Resource Preview Sony Alpha DSLR-A850 (Firmware 1)
  5. ^ Imaging-Resource Preview Sony Alpha DSLR-A900 (Firmware 1)
  6. ^ Imaging-Resource Preview Sony Alpha SLT-A77V
  7. ^ "Nikon D2hs Press Release". 2005-02-16. Retrieved 2014-06-04. 
  8. ^ "Canon Professional Network - The EOS-1D X explained: inside Canon’s flagship DSLR". Retrieved 2015-06-04. 
  9. ^ Imaging-Resource Preview Sony Alpha NEX-5N

External links

  • Shutter lag comparison chart for digital P&S
  • Imaging Resource camera reviews often with measured shutter lag times
  • NY Times article on shutter lag
  • Photographer's Article on Shutter Lag
  • What is Zero Shutter Delay (ZSD) on your mobile camera
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.