Basic Techniques

Shutter lag

Written by Gail Bjork

These steps can help reduce the effects of shutter lag, which can be painfully long with some digital cameras.

Lock focusShutter lag is the amount of time (delay) it takes from when you fully depress the shutter-release button to the moment the picture is taken.

Shutter lag times vary from digital camera to digital camera. As digital cameras improve, newer models don’t suffer from as much lag as older ones. Digital single lens reflex cameras have little or no discernible shutter lag.

Decreasing shutter lag

  • Use the two-step shutter release button correctly – this point can not be emphasized enough. Depress it halfway to lock focus and exposure. Once locked, press it down fully to capture the subject.
  • When decreased shutter lag is important, make sure to use fully charged batteries. Low powered batteries contribute to shutter lag.
  • Anticipate the moment or track the action: use “continuous autofocus” mode, lock focus and then press the button fully down.
  • Prefocus – focus on an object that is at the same distance where the subject will come, lock focus and then wait for the subject to come into view.

    About the author

    Gail Bjork

    Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
    in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.