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Timing & Performance

Although it's not class-leading, the NV7 puts in a perfectly respectable performance in most areas, though there are a couple of key failings; telephoto focus speeds are pretty poor in anything but the best light, and we found some hunting even at the wide end (particularly slow is the Auto Macro setting). Shutter lag is also a bit on the slow side at 0.14 seconds (we consider anything under 0.1 seconds to be adequate), which isn't a huge problem unless you're trying to snap something moving fast.

Timing Notes

All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 3126 x 2345 Super-Fine JPEG image (approx. 3,200 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

  2.9
Power: Record to Off Lens retracted and all activity ceased 1.9
Power: Play to Off When buffer is empty (lens extended) 1.9
Power: Play to Off When buffer is empty (lens already retracted) ~ 0.6
Record Review Image displayed 0.9
Mode: Record to Play   0.3
Mode: Play to Record   0.8
Play: Magnify To full magnification (8x) 3.7
Play: Image to Image Time to display each saved image ~ 0.3
Play: Thumbnail view 3 x 3 thumbnails 0.6

Action Details
Time, seconds
Zoom from Wide to Tele 38 to 270 mm (7 x) full speed 2.2
Half-press Lag (0->S1) Wide angle ~ 0.5 *1
Half-press Lag (0->S1) Telephoto ~ 0.6 - 0.9 *2
Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2) LCD live view ~ 0.14
Full-press Lag (0->S2) LCD live view, wide angle ~ 0.6
Off to Shot Taken LCD live view 4.4
Shot to Shot Flash off 1.6
Shot to Shot Flash on (red-eye reduction off) *3 2.3
Shot to Shot Flash on (red-eye reduction on) *3 2.7
*1 Focus speed varies a bit according to shooting conditions - this is the average (it gets longer in low light and in macro mode)
*2 Telephoto focus speed varies even more widely, and in low light can hunt for well over a second.
*3 In this test the subject distance is only 3 feet (0.9 m) - the recycle time will increase at greater subject distances. If the battery is low recycle time can stretch to 5.0 seconds or more

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

Continuous drive mode

The NV7 has three continuous shooting options. The main 'continuous' mode lets you shoot at around 0.7 frames per second (approx one shot every 1.4 secs) until the card is full. A second High Speed mode manages around 2.5 frames per second but only for three shots (and with a slight delay whilst the images are saved). Finally there is a 'Motion Capture' mode which offers 1024 x 768 pixel shooting at 7.5 frames per second for 20 shots (ideal, we guess for analyzing the old golf swing)...

Image Type
Mode
Avg. frames
per sec
Frames in a burst *1
After
burst
*2
7MP/3MP/1MP JPEG Continuous 0.7 fps *3 No limit n/a
7MP JPEG Super Fine Continuous - H 2.2 fps   3 5.0
1024 x 768 JPEG Motion Capture 7.5 fps 20 7.2

*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 Performance is roughly identical for all file sizes / quality settings

Not class-leading, but unless you're a sports shooter (in which case you really need something with faster telephoto capture) it's perfectly adequate.

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
7MP JPEG Super-Fine ~1.8 ~0.3 3,200 KB 270
7MP JPEG Fine ~1.6  ~0.2 1,700 KB 510
7MP JPEG Normal ~1.3  <0.2 1,200 KB 725
3MP JPEG Super-Fine ~1.1 <0.2 1,250 KB 634
1MP JPEG Super-Fine ~1.2  <0.2 400 KB 1,658

*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.

At around 1.8 seconds to process and store a 3.2MB JPEG the NV7 is actually pretty speedy (around 1.7MB/sec), and if you like to take a lot of shots in rapid succession (or shoot extended movie clips) a faster card would probably be a good idea.

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