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We show that a field emission tip electron source that is triggered with a femtosecond laser pulse can generate electron pulses shorter than the laser pulse duration (100 fs). The emission process is sensitive to a power law of the laser intensity, which supports an emission mechanism based on multiphoton absorption followed by over-the-barrier emission. Observed continuous transitions between power laws of different orders are indicative of field emission processes. We show that the source can also be operated so that thermionic emission processes become significant. Understanding these different emission processes is relevant for the production of sub-cycle electron pulses.