I would like to confirm if the shutter lag is a loss that is only suffered for the first frame in Burst-mode. Is this correct?

I had the impression it was an indication of how slow the the shutter travels between each exposure of the sensor.

  • Burst-mode, sorry, I've made the edit – Chai May 19 '16 at 11:00
  • Is this a film or a digital camera? There is virtual lag in a digital system even tho' there's no mech curtain. – Carl Witthoft May 19 '16 at 12:18
  • @CarlWitthoft Plenty of digital cameras also have a mechanical focal plane shutter. – Michael C May 19 '16 at 17:05
  • @MichaelClark good point; I tend to forget those because it's a horrible design from an electro-optical engineering standpoint :-) – Carl Witthoft May 19 '16 at 19:23
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    It does what the users who want it expect it to do. Collecting photons for a single still image is a completely different task than collecting photons for a series of frames at 24, 30, or 60 fps. Just as there are advantages to not having a mechanical shutter for some applications, there are distinct advantages to having one for other applications. Decide what use case for which you plan to use it and then pick the hardware best suited for that application. There's no need to belittle designs that are created to fulfill a different use case. – Michael C May 19 '16 at 21:34

Assuming your question is in the context of a multi shot burst taken by holding down the shutter button, technically speaking shutter lag would apply only to the first frame and not each subsequent frame only if you have the camera set to take all of the photos in the burst without re-metering or refocusing between each frame. Even then there is an additional consideration for the second frame and following: the amount of time it takes to readout the sensor and recock the shutter curtains following the end of the previous exposure. So it can be a mixed bag - you don't have to wait for AF or metering after the first shot but you do have to wait for readout and recocking.

Shutter lag is more or less defined as the amount of time between when the shutter button is fully pressed and the first curtain begins to open to expose the sensor. Anything that occurs during that interval is included in "shutter lag": metering, focusing, etc. Some testers will publish a figure for shutter lag measured when the camera was prefocused on the subject and exposure was set manually as well as the more typical figure for when the camera must meter and focus after the shutter button is pressed.

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  • Thank you very much @Micheal Clark- as a follow up question, how do I know if my camera is metering before every shot? Additionally is there any way of knowing the amount of time lost in curtain-recocking and sensor readout? Thank you very much. – Chai May 19 '16 at 11:15
  • It depends on the camera. If it gives the user the option to select one or the other then you need to check and see which option you have selected. If there is not option, then it has been decided by the writers of your camera's firmware. – Michael C May 19 '16 at 11:18
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    Sure, you could spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars and buy the necessary test equipment and measure it yourself. Or you could just go out and take some pictures and see if the camera is fast enough for your needs. – Michael C May 19 '16 at 11:20
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    @ChinmayKanchi There are also cameras that have a separate menu item for whether to meter or not ( or AF or not) between shots even when the shutter button still activates metering and AF. – Michael C May 19 '16 at 17:12
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    @user2440943 It is highly dependent upon the particular camera in question. There are way too many different types, not to mention specific models, of cameras to try and answer that generically. – Michael C May 19 '16 at 17:14

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