• Frank

Tips: Prefocus & Shutter Lag

A lot of beginners I talk to who haven’t had a lot of exposure to photography talk about what is commonly known as ‘Shutter Lag’ – the delay between when you press the shutter release and when the shot is taken.

Early DSLR’s and point and shoot cameras had this issue and it was something that we just learned to live with. These days, shutter lag is near negligible and I was struggling to understand why these people were having this issue.

What I found when I got them to walk me through their process wasn’t a case of shutter lag but in fact due to the fact that they really didn’t understand how their digital camera actually worked.

The process that most of these people used was basically – see something, point, click.
The whole point, click was done in one go. So what was happening?

What happens is that the camera was taking time to actually focus the scene properly before taking the shot. That’s what they actually failed to realise. It wasn’t a case of shutter lag.

I know that this is a real ‘basic’ of digital photography but obviously one that some out there may not be aware of. The camera needs to focus before it will take the shot. Holding the shutter release button half way down will do this for you automatically – prior to taking the shot. [Unless you've changed the settings on your camera to something like back-button focus, my preferred option]

Obviously if you’re in manual focus mode, the job falls back to you.

~ Frank


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