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Photography Question 

Buying A Digital Camera: Shutter Delay?

I am a longtime film camera user who has just plunged into the ever popular digital camera realm. I purchased a Fujifilm Finepix s3000 and am a little miffed about its performance. After I depress the shutter, there is a slight delay in capturing the image - frustrating, especially when taking action shots and realizing there is nothing to show for in the frame. Is this normal? Are there "faster" cameras out there? I don't want to invest too much into something I am unsure of ... thanks in advance.

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8/12/2004 12:02:46 AM

Steven Chaitoff
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/22/2004
  Unfortunately, this is common with digital cameras. The Sony DSC-S75 has, in my experience, a shutter delay of more than 1 second sometimes! But that's an old camera. Most aren't that bad at all. Digital cameras make a lot of calculations once you hit the shutter - namely, white balance, which has to be calculated appropriately before the shutter will open. However, the Canon MkII has a nearly instantaneous shutter, but that's a high-end camera. The delay will indubitably get better as cameras develop, so don't let this push you away from digital. It has its benefits. I'm sure there are consumer and prosumer cameras out there now that have an acceptable delay (or lack thereof.)

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8/12/2004 9:27:17 AM

Pamela K
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/21/2004
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  I do a lot of wildlife photography, and the digital delay was at first extremely frustrating. However, I found that many other features (like the ability to instantly view and erase a picture if I missed the moment) made digital extremely worthwhile. I also found that the digital delay actually improved my photographic skills, because I had to anticipate, by just a fraction of a second, what the animal was going to do. The high-end DSLRs seem to have reduced the digital delay quite a bit, but it's still there.

One thing that's helped me is that my camera has a multiframe mode where it takes up to six shots in a row while I hold the shutter button down. This allows me to get sequences of quickly-changing behavior without worrying about the digital delay. You may want to see if your camera has a similar option.

I also recommend going out (since digital pictures are free) and taking shots of something you don't care too much about or something you can see/repeat often to get used to the digital delay. If you're using your camera for sports shots, get a couple of kids together and practice action shots with them. It will help you anticipate the action and get used to the timing of your digital camera.
Hope this helps ... Pam

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8/12/2004 9:48:56 AM

simone    Thank you for your words of experience. I feel better knowing it is a "digital quirk" and not an error on my part. So I will go onward and practice, and anticipate shots with this knowledge in mind.

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8/12/2004 11:28:09 PM

Elisabeth A. Gay
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/2/2004
  I read a review of this camera and see that it only offers continuous shooting up to 2 frames. I bought the Finepix s7000, which, for the money, I thought was an extremely good buy. It can shoot up to 5 frames on continuous mode, and has a continuous shooting mode of up to 40 frames with 1 second intervals.

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8/15/2004 10:00:00 AM

Michael Kaplan   The answers above are correct. I just want to add that you can 1/2 press the shutter in advance and then take the picture instantaneously after. If for example, you are taking a picture at a racetrack and you are waiting for the car to come around the curve. What you would do is set your focus manually or focus on something about the same distance, 1/2 press the shutter so the camera does it's thing and then when the car comes around you press the shutter the rest of the way which is instantaneous because the camera has already done it's thing. If you are taking a picture for example of wildlife waiting for it to fly or move. You would 1/2 press the shutter to let the camera focus and set exposure and just keep your finger 1/2 pressed until you see what you want.

It will take a bit of practice but as Pam said, digital costs you nothing to experiment so practice and you'll get used to the delay.

BTW, there are some cameras out that are close to instantaneous especially the DSLR's but recently some of the PnS's as well. That is just a spec you would have to read about to find out how the model you want compares to others. The link below is the final page of a review from Steve's Digicam and show the results on your camera. .
Michael Kaplan
Canon EOS-10D

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8/15/2004 2:36:36 PM

simone    thank you everyone for your efforts - this information is much appreciated!

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8/16/2004 11:29:09 AM

Paul    I have the S3000 and have experienced the same problem. My resolution, though pricy, was to give the camera to my wife to use at the salon she works at and to buy a digital SLR. I suggest the Digital Rebel since it shoots at 4 frames per second. The best place to buy the camera is at Sharper Photo USA through ebay. Sorry I can't give you a better answer.

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8/16/2004 12:24:37 PM

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