(Last Updated On: March 15, 2018)

New Digital Cameras

Newer cameras will probably make your photograph WORSE!

HERE IS WHY: Let’s say you shoot a nice closeup of your niece smiling and, when you get the print back, she ISN’T smiling???  You missed the shot?  Your timing is terrible? You’re a lousy photographer?

NO!

Newer camera systems – those with computerized (electronic) control systems cause a long delay between the time you push the shutter and the shutter actually activates and makes the exposure. This is especially true when the Flash unit is on.

This delay is significant. It  usually means you will miss the “peak action”…. the “fleeting moment” that your eye sees.  Some of the newer cameras have up to a full second delay because of their circuitry.  Jeez, a smile can disappear in a fraction of a second (technically it can disappear in 1/200th to 1/500th of a second!).

Most point and shoot digital cameras, no matter how good the brand name, suffer from this problem.  And most of the newer film cameras also can cause this problem.

So, for those of you who are aspiring to be a better photographer, you have two choices:  Buy an older mechanical film camera (these don’t have the “delay” problem) or you must go to a camera shop and try each camera you are interested in to determine how quickly the camera fires when you push the shutter.

If you don’t make one of those choices, the chances are very high that you will never – no matter how many photography courses you take, no matter how much you practice – you will never make exceptional photographs, even though your eye will see them.

I built this course to help you become better photographers, ignoring this problem, in my opinion, will make your photographic experiences miserable.

11 COMMENTS

  1. Amanda, we post new articles on the site each week. If there is a topic your interested in, that you can’t find on this site let us know. We’re always looking for ideas on what to write about.

  2. I am VERY new to this all this photography stuff. Since I have always had a strong interest in this hobby/profession & have highly admired photographs & the talent of photographers I decided to take my curiosity to the next level. I received a Nikon D3000 for Christmas this year & before finding this website only knew how to turn it on so to speak. I have been studying this website daily & enjoying all of the new information I am learning everyday. Although, after reading this section of it I am discouraged to say the least. Since I am so unfamiliar on this subject I have no clue if what I am reading is acurate & up to date. I have invested a lot of time educating myself from the readings on this sight & after reading the comments on this particular page I’m starting to wonder if it all was a waste of time. My camera doesn’t seem to have a long delay or even a delay at all when taking photographs. Granted, as I’ve mentioned, I’m not sure if I’m doing it correctly or not. Could someone maybe enlighten me on this matter to whether this is an up to date enough site to continue on or am I truely wasting my time? Maybe someone knows of a better site for me to start out on? Any comments or help will be greatly appreciated… Thank you…

  3. I’ve found that if your camera is a bit sluggish taking pictures when you want them, especially on newer digital models, then you really need to make sure you’ve got the recommended (or better) speed memory cards. Right now, you can buy level 10 cards for great prices on Amazon, which is more than enough for almost all camera specs that I’ve seen, on which the fastest I’ve seen recommended is level 6. Remember, no penalty in buying faster memory cards than what the camera specifies.

  4. I agree with Ben who posted that it is alittle outdated. I have a D60 and I have no problem getting the shot. It’s a matter of knowing your camera and knowing what settings to use. Great lessons on here though.

  5. In order to get detail that you desire you want to keep your ISO low, 50 or 100 if possible. If your subjects are large, ancient, and dark buildings then the wonderful advantage that you have is that you don’t have to worry about those subjects moving on you. I would recommend keeping the ISO setting low to maximize detail. Use a tripod for sure in order to eliminate the possibility of camera shake and perhaps have a remote shutter or timer to fire the shutter that you might reduce the risk of shaking the camera while pressing the shutter release. As far as f-stop and shutter speeds: this will depend on the specific lighting situations. Follow the meter on your camera as your guide and remember that a smaller opening (f/22) and longer shutter speed will produce a high depth of field (most everything in focus), while a large opening(f/3.5) with a shorter shutter speed will result in a shallower depth of field (one point in focus).

  6. Hello! I have a Canon S5 with image stabilization. I had to switch to digital years ago because I have a neck and shoulder problem which makes using the heavy zoom lenses and heavier old cameras too much of a strain. I still see a significant time delay in shooting, and moments have been missed! Still, the awesome focal lengths in both directions (macro and zoom)in such a light-weight camera have been inspiring for me. My question: since a lot of my photography is of large, ancient (and dark!) buildings/ruins, what do you recommend as a “go-to” range with a camera? should I try to compensate for the need for a longer shutter speed by opening up my f-stops, or can the ISO feature help me to get broader, deeper coverage? Thank you!
    C

  7. Many scanners do have a special negative slot, to scan in negatives. There are also some scanners built just for scanning negatives, or “USB negative scanners” as you may hear them called. In the end the decision is yours. It is nice to have easier access to your old photos, by getting them onto your computer. Though scanned and printed still isn’t the same as doing it the old fashion way.

  8. I was talking to a technician about my old, film camera and the advantages of digital photography. He recommended having the negatives developed (not printed) and then converting the negatives into digital format so I can have digital copies of the photos and use that instead of a contact print to select the shots before printing them. What do you think of this?

    Thanks, Cristina

  9. You’ll notice, most of the posts with 2008, since we’ve updated to a WordPress blog. This post is a carry over from content posted back in 2003, written by Skip Heine, who like most older photographers, took a while to accept digital cameras. Most dSLR cameras these days don’t have a delay problem, and if you don’t want to miss the shot, you can turn it to burst mode and take multiple pics at the same time.
    The point of keeping this post is to keep you mindful of the time it takes when you press the shutter button, till when the picture actual takes. Lower end point and shoot cameras, or digital cameras on your cell phone still have this problem. Though as Skip recommends finding on older camera, I’d recommend investing a little more and getting a nicer digital camera, like a Nikon or a Canon dSLR.

  10. Even though the posts say 2008, all your technical posts seem to come from the nineties. Why is this? I liked the other articles though.

  11. This is an interesting subject but I must say outdated. I know that lots of digital cams had this problem in the past some still may, however I own a Canon Digital Rebel 350D SLR and I assure you that I have no lag or at least any lag that I could notice between pressing of the shutter button to the taking of the actual picture. I am not sure but I think I can even capture more pics per second when I hold the shutter button for action shots to get multiple shot of the event then I would with a normal non digital camera. Taking digital photos is just so pleasant and one can shoot away with out a care for how much the film in the camera costs.

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