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Timings & File Sizes

Overall performance has been improved noticeably and the EOS 450D no longer feels as 'entry level' as its predecessor did, thanks no doubt to the new DIGIC III processor. We were impressed by how responsive the camera felt in use, with no discernible shutter lag and a very quick mirror return giving a very short viewfinder blackout. Continuous shooting has also been improved, and now offers 3.5 frames per second, whilst improved buffering means that even in raw mode the EOS 450D rarely gets in the way of the action.

Timing Notes: All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 4272 x 2848 JPEG Fine (approx. 3,400 KB per image).

The media used for these tests were:

  • 4 GB SanDisk Extreme Ducati Edition SD card
  • 2 GB Lexar Pro 133x SD card
Action
Details
Time, secs
(4 GB SanDisk)
Time, secs
(2 GB Lexar)
Power Off to On *1   1.1
Power Off to Shot   <0.1
Sleep to On   1.1
Sleep to Shot   <0.1
Switch to live view   1.1
Switch from live view   0.3
Power On to Off *2   1.6
Record Review *3
RAW
1.1 1.1
Record Review *3
JPEG
1.0 1.0
Play *4
RAW
~0.2 ~0.2
Play *4
JPEG
~0.2 ~0.2

*1 This is the time from turning the switch to the 'On' position to the status display appearing on the LCD monitor (as soon as you would be able to verify camera settings). As you can see from the 'Off to Shot' time this doesn't actually affect how quickly you can begin using the camera (as good as instant) assuming you knew the camera was in the correct mode.
*2 This is taken up with 'Sensor cleaning' (dust removal), if you disable automatic sensor cleaning the power off time is instant.
*3 Time taken from the shutter release being pressed to the review image being displayed on the LCD monitor.
*4

if you hold down the left or right keys you can scroll through images at approximately 5 frames per second.

Continuous Drive mode

To test continuous mode the camera had the following settings: Manual Focus, Manual Exposure (1/640 sec, F5.6), ISO 100. Measurements were taken from audio recordings of the tests. Media used were the same as above.

The tests carried out below measured the following results for JPEG and RAW:

  • Frame rate - Initial frame rate, this was always 3.5 fps (+/- 0.05 fps)
  • Number of frames - Number of frames in a burst (for JPEG there is no limit with a fast card)
  • Buffer full rate - Frame rate if shutter release held down after burst (buffer full)
  • Write complete - How long after the last shot before the CF lamp goes out

Burst of JPEG Large/Fine images

Timing
4 GB SanDisk
2 GB Lexar
Frame rate 3.5 fps 3.5 fps
Number of frames n/a n/a
Write complete ~ 1.0 sec ~ 1.0 sec

Burst of RAW images

Timing
4 GB SanDisk
2 GB Lexar
Frame rate 3.5 fps 3.5 fps
Number of frames 7 6
Buffer full rate 1.2 fps 1.0 fps
Write complete 4.6 sec 5.7 sec

The EOS 450D's continuous shooting is a noticeable improvement on its predecessor, despite the larger file sizes and move to SD storage; we presume this is down to the new version of the DIGIC processor. Not only can you now shoot at 3.5 fps until the card is full, the battery is dead or you've lost interest and gone home for dinner, but it handles buffering and file writing far better than the EOS 400D. Note that the shooting rate drops noticeably if you switch to RAW + JPEG mode (around 2.5 fps).

File Flush Timing

Timings shown below are the time taken for the camera to process and "flush" the image out to the storage card. Timing was taken from the instant the shutter release was pressed to the time the storage card activity indicator lamp went out. The activity indicator light comes on almost as soon as you press the shutter release, this either means that the EOS 450D begins writing immediately or that Canon is masking the delay to write. Writing continues 'in the background' and doesn't affect any camera function. Media used were the same as above.

Image type
Time, secs
(2 GB SanDisk)
Time, secs
(2 GB Lexar)
Approx.
size
3888 x 2592 RAW + JPEG *1 1.7 1.8 15,510 KB
3888 x 2592 RAW 1.6 1.7 12,110 KB
3888 x 2592 JPEG Fine 0.8 1.0 3,400 KB
3888 x 2592 JPEG Standard 0.7 0.7 1,500 KB

*1 File size reported here is the size of the RAW and JPEG files added together.

Single shot write times are fast enough to be unnoticeable, especially considering the background processing and buffering, and are a significant step up from the EOS 400D. Overall write performance was up to 9MB/s (although this is difficult to verify because of the way the activity indicator comes on as soon as the shot is taken).

USB transfer speed

To test the EOS 450D's USB speed we transferred approximately 350 MB of images (mixed RAW and JPEG) from a SanDisk Extreme Ducati Edition 4 SD CF card (the same card used in the other readers). With the 450D connected via USB cable, the only transfer method available is WIA - Canon doesn't provide a simple 'mass storage device' feature in the camera (enabling the camera to act as a normal card reader). Because of this you have to have EOS Utility installed to ensure the transfer of all your images (as drag-and-drop WIA doesn't support RAW), frankly the EOS Utility transfer speed was pretty poor.

Method
Transfer rate
EOS 450D USB 2.0 via EOS Utility (WIA) 2.8 MB/sec
Sandisk Ducati Edition (using built in USB connector) 20.2 MB/sec
SanDisk Extreme in USB 2.0 reader 18.0 MB/sec

Battery life

The EOS 450D uses a small Lithium-Ion LP-E5 battery that packs a far greater punch than the NB-2LH used in the EOS 400D and EOS 350D (due in part we'd guess to the inclusion of live view). The new battery is a 1080mAh / 7.4v Li-ion pack, much closer in capacity to the BP-511 supplied with higher-end EOS models. Unsurprisingly therefore, quoted CIPA test battery life is up significantly from the EOS 400D and, though we didn't test the battery life ourselves, it happily lasted for a couple of days' heavy shooting (though we didn't use live view much). Canon reports tested battery life as:

Temperature
No Flash
50% Flash use
At 23°C / 73 °F
600
500
At 0°C / 32°F
500
400
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