Custom function to reduce EOS-1D shutter release lag

Taking pictures even faster

EOS-1D cameras since the EOS-1D Mark II have included a configuration setting that reduces the shutter release lag. By default the cameras are set to give a consistent and stable time lag between fully pressing the shutter and the picture being taken, typically around 55 milliseconds.

Why “faster” is not the default setting

Over time photographers develop an innate sense for the gear they use, and in the world of high-speed action being able to judge that the picture will happen before it does is a key skill. In the days before autofocus photographers used pre-focus to set the point where the action was going to be captured. Having a camera with a consistent and reliable release lag was essential since it forms part of the process. There’s a certain kind of second sense for the exact delay between pressing the shutter and taking the picture. If this delay is inconsistent then the success rate falls.

Photographers with the latest digital cameras still work in a similar way, pre-empting the actual point of the key action in many cases. They still need consistency. However since these EOS-1D series cameras are highly configurable then the option for a performance boost is sometimes welcomed.

The limiting factor is how fast the lens aperture can close to the selected aperture for the picture. Canon’s EF lenses have highly accurate electronically controlled aperture diaphragms that respond quickly, but EOS-1D cameras can be configured to work even faster.

EOS-1D X

EOS-1D X with EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

The EOS-1D X has multiple tabs of custom function settings, and in the 6th tab there is a Shutter Release Time option, setting this to Shortened will reduce the normal shutter release lag from 55ms to 36ms but only if the lens is used at it’s maximum aperture setting – wide open. The release lag will vary depending how many f-stops the aperture needs to close. For up to four stops the release lag will slow to around 55ms.

EOS-1D Mark IV

EOS-1D Mark IV with EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

EOS-1D Mark IV has custom function C.Fn IV-14 to control the shutter release lag. Setting it to 1: Enable for the fastest release will result in a decrease of the shutter lag by about 20%. This means the lag can be as short as 44ms for a lens that is used with the aperture fully open. The shutter release lag varies depending on the aperture used on the lens, if the lens is stopped down by 3-stops then the release lag will be back to 55ms. 

EOS-1D Mark III / EOS-1Ds Mark III

EOS-1D Mark III / EOS-1Ds Mark III have custom function C.Fn IV-13 to control the shutter release lag. Setting it to 1: Enable for the fastest release will result in a decrease of the shutter lag by about 20%. This means the lag can be as short as 44ms for a lens that is used with the aperture fully open. The shutter release lag varies depending on the aperture used on the lens, if the lens is stopped down by 3-stops then the release lag will be back to 55ms. 

EOS-1D Mark II / EOS-1D Mark II N / EOS-1Ds Mark II

EOS-1D Mark II series cameras used personal functions to control some of the camera configuration. These personal functions can only be set from EOS Utility when the camera is connected to a computer using the FireWire port. Setting P.Fn 26 activates the shorter shutter release lag. 

Professional EOS camera training

With so many tweaks and configuration settings on EOS-1D cameras photographers often find they get more from their existing equipment after they book me for a personal one to one training session, so make sure to visit my training page to book your training today. Earlier this year I have trained a group of agency photographer how to best configure their EOS-1D X cameras for the jobs and photography that they need to do, I love to see people get the best performance from their camera.

 

About the author

Full-time photo tutor and photographer. I love to share my knowledge and skills to make photos, videos and teach others. I write books and articles for photo magazines and I always have at least one Speedlite flash in my camera bag