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Shutter lag PEN-E-PL3

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by fotoopa, Nov 4, 2011.

  1. fotoopa

    fotoopa Mu-43 Rookie

    Nov 4, 2011
    I read on a website:
    Shutter lag came in at 0.01 seconds (Shutter Lag (press-to-capture, pre-focused) - making the E-PL3 just as fast as the speedy Olympus E-P3.

    But this is not thrue. I bought a PL3 on this basis. I have created a device that accurately measures the shutter-lag. I have tested all possible modes, including manual. The best time is 68 msec.
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    PEN PL3_shutter lag by fotoopa, on Flickr

    To be clear:
    Picture here is taken with the PEN-E-PL3 camera.
    Manual mode.
    F-mount Nikon adaptor + AF50/1.8D Nikon lens.
    There is no auto focus possible, so there is no pre-focus time, but I used still 250 ms.
    Wired remote cable used between test unit and the camera
    AF prefocus time set to 250ms, but would not be necessary.
    1/160 x-sync as openings time, but flash not used.

    I found the minimal time of 68 ms shutter lag, not 10 ms as I hoped. I try all settings, take more then 500 pictures in all modes and this 68 ms is the best time.
    I think there is a minimal delay into the input signals in the camera (half and full press levels) such that a shorter time is never possible.
    Does anyone know how I still can obtain a shorter time. I need a very short shutter lag to capture high speed in-flight insects as I do over years now. There were two of these cameras are planned for 3D images.

  2. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    How is your device synched to the wired shutter cable? Is it possible there is a time delay/lag in that linkage? I've seen some pretty limp cables that feel spongy and have a huge delay from simple mechanical issues.

    Also, try several cameras (different models. etc) just to be sure. If there is a lag/delay in your triggering/sync system it will be independant of camera. Just an error check or sorts.

    Sounds like a very interesting setup - can you give more details?

    Not to insinuate anything but how have you calibrated the timing of your device?
  3. fotoopa

    fotoopa Mu-43 Rookie

    Nov 4, 2011
    There is no delay between my testunit and the connector on the PL3. The unit is full tested with high accuracy ( logic analyer at 500 MHz sample range). The halfpress signal is first driven low by the test unit during 250 ms as indicated on the LCD display. I can set this time to any value, if this time comme below the 200 ms, the shutter lag goes up.
    After the AF time I drive the full press signal also low. On this low level the camera must take (after the shutter lag) the picture. On the testunit every 1 msec (CLK 1 ms) the led "on" shift one place to the right. The longer the shutter lag the more right postion of the "on" led. There is also a delay (here + ms 50) before I start to shift the first led to falls into the visible range. The total shutter lag is always the sum of the +msec "time" and the number of leds "off" on the left side. I can change the CLK resolution and delays to fall into the correct visible range. All this timings are perfect calibrated.

    Other cameras are measured like my D300 and D200 Nikon and there the shutter lags are correct as indicated by Nikon.

    On the display you see 7 leds on. This is the openings time of the shutter. During the openings time the leds are also continue shifted at a rate of 1 led/1msec so you see 7 leds or ~7 msec. This time is equal to the 1/160 camera setting and is correct.

  4. taran

    taran Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 19, 2011
    As a corollary, I doubt the website you initially read was correct, and I seriously doubt the E-P3 would be any better. The best shutter I have ever heard of was the D2h at 37ms. Even though that cam is 8 years old, I still think it holds the title. It makes sense the pen line would clock in at what you measured, which I believe to be very accurate.
  5. Angelo

    Angelo Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 29, 2011
    Montreal, Canada
  6. DekHog

    DekHog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 3, 2011
    You registered here just to post that? :confused: 
  7. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
  8. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Show some photos of them bugs! I always thought to just use flash to freeze the fast action was the way to go. Of course, painting them with a laser curtain and tracking to estimate where they will be a few 10-100 milliseconds in advance sound right up your alley!

    Oops, never mind.

    Lasers and flash, indeed.

    You know, there losts of cameras that can take 100 or even 1000 fps so all you need to do is fire the flashes and you easily have millisecond timing ... seems like a lot of work to make a screwdriver to drive nails. I mean, it's cool and all, but certainly the photos are secondary to the fiddling with gear. I like gear so it's all good for me.

    Like this for ~$250 and 1000 fps gets you to 1 millisecond timing. See bug fire flash and it is done.
  9. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    Well I think there could be subtle differences in the performance and even the image quality of the E-PM1, E-PL3 and E-P3 that are not advertized or widely appreciated. Like I went to two different Ritz camera stores armed with my own SDHC card and I took photos and videos with the E-PM1 & E-PL3 they had in stock, then reviewed them at home on my computer. I saw differences. Like the video of the E-PM1 was not as sharp as the E-PL3, but had less rolling shutter wobble (jello effect).
  10. fotoopa

    fotoopa Mu-43 Rookie

    Nov 4, 2011
    Already have a short shutter lag to use?
    Do you understand the operation for close-up shots of flying insects?
    Can you sync two cameras perfect for 3D high speed macro closeup images?
    Well in that case you need to have a short shutter lag to perform this operation. I had that 10 ms read here:
    Olympus E-PL3: Performance

    Enough to hope that it would work. I paid about $ 1,000 for camera and accessories. Now that it is not usable as planned. My last hope was that I would have made a setting error. For me a good reason to register and make this first post. I must admit I was too credulous about these specifications, a significant mistake on my part. I've achieved a lot and always generous publishing of the results on Pbase and Flickr. In 2004 I designed the system for water figures and described in detail. Now there are several that build it and not even know that the original idea was from fotoopa.
    In my first post is a clear demand for help to see if the shutter lag can shorter. It is not intended to promote a shutter test unit. I do not know that there is already a simple measuring device described anywhere. Maybe I'm too stupid to just describe it detailed (inclusief layout and shemas).

    I have also seen that 60 ms too. In 2010 I used a D300 and a D200 with a common shutter lag of 58 ms synchronized. My idea was that even 60ms would work if I did not reach 10 ms. But the real shutter lag seems more direction 72 ms. I have seen more variation than with the Nikon cameras. If you need to synchronize two cameras, this is difficult, the external flashes need the same for the 2 cameras. Even 58 ms was already to long for some fast moving objects like flys in closeup. This flys are always out your frame at very closeup macro or they are outfocus due the limited DOF. The smaller sensor cameras like this PEN have more DOF, this is an advantage. the weight of a D300 is more than 900 gr, a PEN less than 300gr a difference of 2x600 gr for 3D capture. My previous 3D version weighed more than 8kg. Reason enough to find a smaller and faster camera.

    Thanks for the help. I try to describe everything as best. I appreciate all the help.

    Frans (fotoopa)
  11. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Unfortunately, that review is just plain wrong. None of the Pens have that kind of lag. Whatever Olympus and the reviewers say, they perform analogously to low-end DSLRs in terms of lag and responsiveness.

    Even the NEX which has an electronic first curtain option is more than twice as slow as that.

  12. fotoopa

    fotoopa Mu-43 Rookie

    Nov 4, 2011
    I am now convinced! This is difficult to measure before you buy the camera. There are very few people who really can measure correct this shutter lag. Fortunately, the camera itself is not so bad.
    I now consider how I can use the PL3 it in my application:
    - Or I use him just like now the D300 with an external VS14S shutter. This give my 4 ms shutter lag but the camera need to bulb record position and wait for the laser trigger signal to take the picture( or a time limit set to 60 sec to reduce the amount of noise -> black picture)
    - Or use him as normal manual mode, triggered by the laser signal and use the 70 ms shutter lag. Here the camera d'nt need to precapture into bulb mode during waiting for trigger, so there is no limit for this trigger waiting time.
    - Buy a second PL3 camera and use the 2 cameras for 3D. But if I will use the 4 msec shutter lag I need to buy extra a second VS14S Uniblitz shutter. This combination is very expensive.

    I will test now the PL3 in place of the D300 into the current existing version. I need only an other thinner adaptor to fix the Nikon macro lens (AF105/2.8D) + the VS14S shutter housing. The current F-mount adaptor is to large due the extra VS14S shutter width(30 mm), the focus range is to limited now (14-53 mm). I will make the adaptor myself on the lathe and the milling machine.

    To take a picture like this:
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    fotoopa_20111029_56048 by fotoopa, on Flickr

    You really need a fast shutter lag below the 10 ms or the fly is out your frame or out focus.
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