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Timing & Performance

Overall performance of the G10 is roughly the same as the G9, which is generally speaking a good thing - in most respects the G9 was a very speedy camera. While some of the sizes and time taken for operation might have changed, in use the G10 feels the same as the G9, and if you weren't paying attention, you could easily forget if you were shooting with the G10 or the G9.

The focus performance of the G10 in good lighting conditions, is quite acceptable. It focuses faster at wider angles than it does at telephoto zoom settings. In low light or in macro mode, the G10 is quite slow, and even with the focus assist lamp activated, it can have problems focusing at all in very low light (but this is the same with almost all compacts). Shutter lag with LCD live view activated is not too bad, but we are still far from DSLR territory, and this is certainly not a camera to use if you want to capture the decisive moment, or shoot action. The shutter lag with Flash remains firmly in average compact territory.

The increase in resolution from 12.1MP to 14.7MP has not had much impact on shooting speed or storage time - the time to store a RAW + Jpeg has only increased by 0.5 seconds. The continuous shooting speed is slightly slower than the G9. A compact that can shoot RAW continuously at just under one frame a second is quite impressive, especially considering the almost 15 mp resolution. The G10 remains one of the few compacts on the market with a RAW mode that is usable (and not just a gimmick).

Timing Notes

All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 4416 x 3312 Super-Fine JPEG image (approx. 5,100 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 4.0GB SanDisk Extreme III SD card.

Action Details
Time, secs

Power: Off to Record

  1.0
Power: Off to Play Image displayed 0.6
Power: Record to Off Lens retracted and all activity ceased 1.2
Power: Play to Off When buffer is empty (lens extended) 0.9
Power: Play to Off When buffer is empty (lens already retracted) < 0.2
Record Review Image displayed 1.6
Mode: Record to Play   1.8
Mode: Play to Record   1.3
Play: Magnify To full magnification (10x) 0.9
Play: Image to Image Time to display each saved image (fade effect transition) ~ 0.5
Play: Image to Image Time to display each saved image (no effect) *1 ~ 0.3
Play: Thumbnail view 3 x 3 thumbnails < 0.3

Action Details
Time, seconds
Zoom from Wide to Tele 28 to 140 mm (5 x) 1.6
Half-press Lag (0->S1) Wide angle (AiAF or FlexiZone focus) 0.2 - 0.4 *2
Half-press Lag (0->S1) Telephoto (AiAF or FlexiZone focus) 0.7 - 0.9 *2
Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2) LCD live view ~ 0.17 *3
Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2) Optical Viewfinder ~ 0.15
Full-press Lag (0->S2) LCD live view, wide angle ~ 0.2
Off to Shot Taken LCD live view 1.8
Shot to Shot Flash off, JPEG Super Fine 2.0
Shot to Shot Flash off, RAW + JPEG 2.5
Shot to Shot Flash on (red-eye reduction off) *4 2.3
Shot to Shot Flash on (red-eye reduction on) *4 2.7
*1 You can also hold down the left or right buttons and scroll very quickly through images at approx 5 frames per second.
*2 Under ideal conditions. The G10 focus slows down in low light at longer focal lengths and when shooting at or near the closest focus distance.
*3 With the flash on the shutter lag extends to around 0.3 seconds
*4 In this test the subject distance is only 3 feet (0.9 m) - the recycle time will increase at greater subject distances and after a few consecutive shots.

Lag Timing Definitions

Half-press Lag (0->S1)
Many digital camera users prime the AF and AE systems on their camera by half-pressing the shutter release. This is the amount of time between a half-press of the shutter release and the camera indicating an auto focus & auto exposure lock on the LCD monitor / viewfinder (ready to shoot).
 

(Prime AF/AE)
Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2)
The amount of time it takes from a full depression of the shutter release button (assuming you have already primed the camera with a half-press) to the image being taken.
 

(Take shot, AF/AE primed)
Full-press Lag (0->S2)
The amount of time it takes from a full depression of the shutter release button (without performing a half-press of the shutter release beforehand) to the image being taken. This is more representative of the use of the camera in a spur of the moment 'point and shoot' situation.
 

(Take shot, AF/AE not primed)

Continuous mode

The tables below show the results of our continuous shooting test, indicating the actual frame rate along with maximum number of frames and how long you would have to wait after taking the maximum number of frames before you could take another shot. Media used for these tests was a 8.0GB SanDisk Extreme III SD card. Shutter speed was kept above 1/200 sec during these tests. The aperture used in the testing of continuous drive mode was F3.5 (the wides aperture available at the zoom setting). ISO was kept at the auto setting.

Continuous drive mode

The continuous shooting speed of the G10 varies depending on the aperture selected. The larger the aperture, the slower the continuous shooting speed. The surprise here is that with the continuous shooting speed of Continuous AF RAW + JPEG is the same as that of normal continuous (no AF). The Continuous AF mode shows the normal live preview between frames (and attempts to refocus between shots), but the normal Continuous mode only shows a very brief review image after each shot (no live preview), and the focus is fixed after the first shot. It's worth noting that the figures below (and those quoted by Canon) are only for ISO settings of under 400; at higher ISO's the frame rate drops to around half these values.

Image Type
Mode
Avg. frames
per sec
Frames in a burst *1
After
burst
*2
14.7MP RAW + JPEG *3 Continuous 0.8 fps No Limit n/a
14.7MP RAW + JPEG *3 Continuous AF 0.8 fps*3 No Limit n/a
14.7MP/9MP/5MP Super-Fine Continuous 1.53 fps No limit n/a
14.7MP/9MP/5MP Super-Fine Continuous AF 0.94 fps *3 No limit n/a
14.7MP/9MP/5MP Super-Fine Continuous mode (flash on) 0.85 fps *4 No limit n/a

*1 In a single "burst" (finger held down on shutter release).
*2 With the shutter release held down. With a fast card it is impossible to fill the buffer
*3 Average speed - it will slow down if the camera has trouble focusing
*4 With the flash turned on, the time in between the first and second shot in continuous mode is quite long (around 2 seconds) but then the camera continues to shoot at the same speed as if the flash was not turned on, but the flash continues to fire, though with less power and duration.

Although the performance is a step down from the G9 it's not a bad showing at all, and the fact you can shoot at a reasonable rate in RAW mode is very impressive - as is the ability to shoot almost indefinitely at almost 1fps with the flash turned on (though this only works at short distances and in fairly good light).

File Write / Display and Sizes

Timings shown below are the time taken for the camera to process and "flush" the image out to the storage card, the timer was started as soon as the shutter release was pressed and stopped when activity indicator went out. This means the timings also include the camera's processing time and as such are more representative of the actual time to "complete the task". The media used for these tests was a 4.0GB SanDisk Extreme III SD card.

Image Type
Time to store
(secs)

Time to display
(secs)
*3

File size *1
(approx.)
Images on a *2
1.0GB Card
14.7MP RAW 3.0 ~0.3 16,500 KB 47
14.7MP RAW + JPEG 3.0 ~0.3 19,600 KB *4 39
14.7MP JPEG Super-Fine ~1.6 ~0.3 5,100 KB 155
14.7MP JPEG Fine ~1.5 ~0.3 2,900 KB 262
14.7MP JPEG Normal ~1.1  ~0.3 1,300 KB 543
9MP JPEG Super-Fine ~1.5 ~0.3 3,300 KB 253
5MP JPEG Super-Fine ~1.1 ~0.3 2,000 KB 391

*1 All file sizes are an average of three files. As is the case with JPEG it's difficult to predict the size of an image because it will vary a fair amount depending on the content of the image (detail and noise).
*2 Camera estimation.
*3 With transition effects turned off
*4 Combined size of RAW and JPEG files

The G10 can process and save a 5MB plus JPEG in around 1.1 seconds, and more impressively a 16.5MB RAW file in 3.0 seconds, and there is no speed penalty for shooting in RAW + JPEG vs RAW only. You will need a fast SD card to achieve these speeds.

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