Guest post by Christopher J. May
Start-up speed with early digitals caused me to develop a nervous tic that still exists today. My first digital camera was a Canon D60. One of the subjects that I was shooting pretty heavily at the time was high school basketball. While that was not a sports camera by any stretch of the imagination, most of its failings could be worked around. Oddly enough, poor autofocus and high ISO performance were not my biggest gripes with the camera. It was the slow start up and "wake up from sleep" times.
When the action was at the opposite end of the court, I'd watch what was happening but wouldn't shoot because I didn't have glass long enough for that. If the action stayed at the far end for any amount of time (free throw situations, etc.), the camera would go into sleep mode. If a fast break would come back to my side of the court, I'd bring the camera up to eye level only to find that it was busy waking up and I would miss the action.
I tried adjusting the sleep settings during games but only found that turning sleep mode off would solve the problem. Invariably, I'd forget to change the sleep setting back and would kill my batteries in no time flat. Eventually, I decided to just give a half press on the shutter while the action was at the far end of the court in an effort to keep the camera awake during the game. This worked except for the fact that to this day, I find myself randomly half pressing shutter buttons (even on my F4S film camera!) to keep cameras "awake."
As an aside, the D60 still causes me to smile when I read about today's lower end cameras being incapable of sports shooting. Those who think a rebel or a D3300 are poor sports cameras should pick up an old D60 and try that for a game. Their entry level cameras will seem like a D5/1DX Mk II after that!
Chris is a hobbyist photographer based in Pueblo, Colorado. He enjoys photographing the diverse and dramatic landscapes, railroads and grain elevators of his home state.
©2016 by Christopher J. May, all rights reserved
Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Steve Jacob: "Ah yes, the stay-awake precautionary tick...I use to get around this by deliberately switching the camera off. Knowing I had around 3–4 sec. to wait, I would switch it on in anticipation. This usually meant I was ready just as everything happened...or it didn't happen and I could switch it off.
"Upside is that I used to get excellent battery life. Downside was it didn't work well in every situation. However, it worked well enough for motorsport. However I did get very attuned to the sounds of an event. Even now, certain sounds instinctively make me switch my camera on just in case. Of course, now it takes about half a second and it's ready."
Stephen Scharf: "Canon at that time was quite good at differentiating its product lines. While one could make do with D60 for sports, Canon's intention was, if you wanted to shoot sports, you needed to transition to the Canon 1D. I made such a transition from a D60 to a (used) 1D in 2003 for shooting pro motorsports, and one of the key performance differences was that the 1D would wake up virtually instantly. 'Responsiveness' has been a key differentiator between pro Canon and consumer or 'prosumer' bodies ever since. I shot briefly with a friend's 5D MkIII, and while it is an excellent general purpose body, I would much rather shoot motorsports with a 1D MKIV (or even my warhorse 1D MkIIN) any day of the week because of the higher level of responsiveness."
Lynn: "I, too, learned to half-press the shutter button to wake up the camera. My first digital camera was the excellent (for its time) Nikon Coolpix E4500. Start-up was best measured in geological time. With a young family I soon discovered the need to plan ahead. The best strategy seemed to be to turn the camera on and then make lunch. We don't have many family pictures taken before noon. In the same calendar year. I still have that camera. For macro work it's hard to beat. Its slide copy adapter is very handy too."
Gordon Lewis: "The phenomenon you describe is not unique to the Canon EOS D60. I own a Nikon V1 that does the same thing. My intention when I bought it was to use it for street and travel photography. The V1's tendency to go brain-dead without warning renders its utility for spontaneous shots subpar at best. Fortunately I stopped using it well before I developed the costly tic of hurling it against the nearest wall."