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Timing & Performance

Like the FZ5 before it, the FZ7 feels very responsive in use - and as the measurements below show, there is very little difference in the overall performance between the new model and its predecessor. Again focus (using the high speed AF mode) is very fast, shutter lag very low and continuous shooting performance excellent. Power up (and power down for that matter) is slightly faster, and only couple of playback functions are marginally slower.

Timing notes

All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 2816 x 2112 Fine JPEG image (approx. 2,850 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 1.0GB SanDisk Extreme III SD card.

Action Details
Time, secs
Power: Off to Record   2.5
Power: Off to Play Image displayed 1.6 
Power: Record to Off All activity ceased 3.2
Power: Play to Off When buffer is empty, lens extended 3.3
Power: Play to Off When buffer is empty, lens already retracted 1.8
Record Review Image displayed ~0.5
Mode: Record to Play   1.1 
Mode: Play to Record Lens already extended ~0.6
Mode: Play to Record Lens retracted 2.4
Play: Magnify To full magnification (16x) ~1.1*1
Play: Image to Image Time to display each saved image ~0.7
Play: Thumbnail view 3 x 3 thumbnails 1.7
Play: Thumbnail view 5 x 5 thumbnails 7.9

Action Details
Time, seconds
Zoom from Wide to Tele 36 to 432 mm (12 x) 2.5 
Half-press Lag (0->S1) Wide angle, nine point AF ~0.5
Half-press Lag (0->S1) Wide angle, High speed 3 point AF ~ 0.3 
Half-press Lag (0->S1) Telephoto, nine point AF ~0.6
Half-press Lag (0->S1) Telephoto, High speed 3 point AF ~0.5
Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2) LCD live view or EVF, IS mode 1 (or off) ~0.04 
Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2) LCD live view or EVF, IS mode 2 ~0.08 
Full-press Lag (0->S2) LCD live view, wide angle, High speed AF ~0.5
Off to Shot Taken LCD live view ~2.7
Shot to Shot Flash off 1.3 
Shot to Shot Flash on (red eye off) 1.8 
Shot to Shot Flash on (red eye on) 2.0 
*1 This is about as fast as you can do it using four separate presses of the zoom button

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 1.0GB SanDisk Extreme III SD card. Shutter speed was kept above 1/200 sec during these tests.

Continuous drive mode

In burst mode the FZ7 shows a brief review image for each frame taken, but the live preview does not work between frames. There are three continuous drive modes; High (H), Low (L) and No Limit (∞).

Image Type
Mode
Avg. frames
per sec
Frames in a burst *1
After
burst
*2
2816 x 2112 JPEG Fine Continuous H 3.2 fps 7 ~ 1.7s pause*3
2816 x 2112 JPEG Fine Continuous L 2.2 fps 7 ~ 1.7s pause*3
2816 x 2112 JPEG Fine Continuous ∞ 2.3 fps limited by card capacity n/a
2816 x 2112 JPEG Standard Continuous H 3.2 fps 13 ~ 1.7s pause*3
2816 x 2112 JPEG Standard Continuous L 2.2 fps 13 ~ 1.7s pause*3
2816 x 2112 JPEG Standard Continuous ∞ 2.3 fps limited by card capacity n/a
2304 x 1728 JPEG Fine Continuous H 3.2 fps 7 ~ 1.7s pause*3
2304 x 1728 JPEG Fine Continuous L 2.2 fps 7 ~ 1.7s pause*3
2304 x 1728 JPEG Fine Continuous ∞ 2.3 fps limited by card capacity n/a
1600 x 1200 JPEG Fine Continuous H 3.3 fps 7 ~ 1.7s pause*3
1600 x 1200 JPEG Fine Continuous L 2.3 fps 7 ~ 1.7s pause*3
1600 x 1200 JPEG Fine Continuous ∞ 2.3 fps limited by card capacity n/a

*1 In a single "burst" (finger held down on shutter release).
*2 In H and L mode continuous shooting stops when the buffer is full (4 or 7 frames according to the file size/quality setting. This is the delay before the next burst
*2 The delay of around one and a half seconds is mainly down to the need to refocus before the next burst. By switching the focus trigger to the focus button you can reduce this to ~0.8s.

Pretty impressive stuff for a compact in this class. Despite the slightly larger file sizes the number of images per burst has increased (presumably due to a larger buffer), and the speed remains excellent - over three frames per second in continuous H mode. There is only a slight delay after each burst (some of which is taken up with refocusing when you press the button again), and overall there's nothing to complain about.

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 1.0GB SanDisk Extreme III SD card.

Image Type
Time to store
(secs)

Time to display
(secs)

File size *1
(approx.)
Images on a *2
1.0GB Card
2816 x 2112 TIFF ~3.5 ~0.6 17,440 KB *3 52
2816 x 2112 JPEG Fine ~1.5 ~0.7 2,850 KB 334
2816 x 2112 JPEG Std ~1.2 ~0.6 1,295 KB 658
2304 x 1728 JPEG Fine ~1.1 ~0.5 1,750 KB 495
2048 x 1536 JPEG Fine ~0.7 ~0.5 1,425 KB 625
1600 x 1200 JPEG Fine ~0.6 ~0.4 955 KB 998

*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 All TIFF files are 14,416 KB, and each is saved with a 900KB (std quality) JPEG

With write times averaging around 3.5 seconds for a 6MP TIFF, the FZ7 is pretty fast - approximately 4900KB/s. Very impressive stuff, and proof that the Venus II engine is more than mere hype.

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