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Timings & File Sizes

The EOS-10D feels far more responsive than the EOS-D60, this is probably down to the vastly improved auto focus (almost twice as fast and works in far lower light), shorter viewfinder blackout and shutter release lag. Operational timings (power on / off, record review) were approximately the same as the EOS-D60. Write times were slightly shorter, but more notable is that Microdrive performance is considerably better than on the D60, with the Microdrive drawing level with most flash memory CF. All of this adds up to a camera which (other than the power on delay) feels very responsive and is always ready for the next shot.

Timing Notes: All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 3072 x 2048 Large / Fine JPEG image (approx. 2,200 KB per image).

The media used for these tests were:

  • 256 MB Canon High Speed Type I Compact Flash card
  • 512 MB SimpleTech Type I Compact Flash card
  • 1 GB IBM Microdrive Type II Compact Flash card
Action Details Time, seconds
(Canon CF)
Time, seconds
(SimpleTech CF)
Time, seconds
(Microdrive)
Power: Off to On   2.3 2.5 2.3
Power: On to Off *1   <0.1 <0.1 <0.1
Record: Review *2 JPEG 1.8 1.8 1.6
Record: Review *2 RAW 2.4 2.3 2.4
Record: Review (Info) *2 JPEG 1.9 1.9 1.8
Record: Review (Info) *2 RAW 2.5 2.5 2.4
Play: Image to Image *3 JPEG 2.2 2.4 2.8
Play: Image to Image *3 RAW 1.6 1.3 2.1
Play: Thumbnail view 3 x 3   1.4 1.3 2.6
Play: Magnify to x10   3.5 3.5 3.5

*1 Assuming all buffered images have been written out to storage card, otherwise camera displays a "count down" bar on the top information LCD panel to indicate the buffer being emptied to the CF card (a full buffer of 9 JPEG's would take approximately 16 seconds).
*2 Time taken from the shutter release being pressed to the review image being displayed on the LCD monitor.
*3

This timing is the amount of time it takes the camera to load the 'finer' image, this is required for a histogram or for magnification. However, browsing quickly through the images using the quick control dial is virtually instant.


Smart buffering

When we reviewed the EOS-D60 we noted that it had a larger internal buffer than the D30 but also that it buffered images in a totally new way. The EOS-10D now has enough buffer space for a burst of nine images (compared to eight for the D60), the number of available images for a burst is shown on the viewfinder status information line.

The Smart buffering method improves both single shot and continuous drive shooting. The EOS-10D uses its internal buffer for two purposes: buffer the data as it comes from the image sensor (we will call this unprocessed data) and subsequently buffer converted image files before they are written to the CF card. Note that the camera will not write to the CF card unless it is "idle", this means that if you hold the shutter release button in the half-press position the camera will hold the converted image files in the internal buffer until you release.

Image processing sequence:

  1. Record data as it comes off the image sensor, unprocessed data (approx. 9.3 MB per shot)
  2. Store this unprocessed data in the SDRAM buffer
  3. Take unprocessed data and convert into image files (JPEG or compressed RAW)
  4. Buffer these converted image files (JPEG approx. 2.5 MB or RAW approx. 7.0 MB)
  5. Write JPEG / RAW image files to CF card

This means that although the buffer can be filled with a continuous burst of nine shots it quickly regains buffer space as the unprocessed images are converted into the JPEG or RAW image files. In a real life situation it's easy to believe that the stage 2 runs concurrently to new unprocessed data being buffered.

Take nine shots in a continuous burst, keep your finger half-pressed on the shutter release and despite the fact that nothing is being written to the CF card you will see the buffer space indicator fairly quickly count back up again. Remove your finger from the shutter release and the counter doesn't change but you can observe data being written to the CF card (indicator light on the CF compartment door flickers).

Repeating this test for both JPEG Large/Fine and RAW I discovered that the buffer has space (without writing any data to the CF card) for:

  • 9 x JPEG Large/Fine images and approx. 4.5 seconds later indicates space to shoot 9 more
  • 9 x RAW images and approx. 8 seconds later indicates space to shoot 6 more

The EOS-10D takes just 500 ms to convert the unprocessed data into a JPEG Large / Fine file, approximately 880 ms to for a compressed RAW file. This also means that the EOS-10D is approximately 30% faster than the EOS-D60 at the image compression stage.


Low Light Auto Focus

This test is designed to measure the minimum amount of light under which the camera can still focus. The focus target is our lens distortion test chart (shown here on the right), camera is positioned exactly 2 m (6.6 ft) away.

Light levels are gradually dropped until the camera can no longer focus. Before the shutter release is half pressed the lens is manually focused to the closest subject distance (typically 0.5 m) to "throw the focus out". This test target is the optimum type of subject for most AF systems (as it has a vertical line at its center).

Lens Focal
len.
Aperture
at focal len.
AF
assist?
Lowest light focus Time to focus
from min.
*1
EF 28 - 70 mm F2.8 L 70 mm F2.8 Yes Complete darkness 1.7 sec
EF 28 - 70 mm F2.8 L 70 mm F2.8 No -1.0 EV 2.7 sec
EF 28 - 135 mm F3.5 - 5.6 28 mm F3.5 Yes Complete darkness 1.7 sec
EF 28 - 135 mm F3.5 - 5.6 28 mm F3.5 No -0.7 EV 2.3 sec
EF 28 - 135 mm F3.5 - 5.6 135 mm F5.6 Yes Complete darkness 1.7 sec
EF 28 - 135 mm F3.5 - 5.6 135 mm F5.6 No -0.7 EV 3.4 sec
EF 50 mm F1.4 50 mm F1.4 Yes Complete darkness 1.7 sec
EF 50 mm F1.4 50 mm F1.4 No -0.9 EV 3.2 sec

*1

Lens was manually focused to minimum subject distance before AF was started. This is the maximum amount of time you should expect the camera to take to get an AF lock at this light level, with the lens pre-focused to 1 m focus times were halved.

  Light intensity (Lux) = 2.5 x 2^EV (@ ISO 100), 10.76391 Lux = 1 foot-candle (fc)

For reference purposes the 28 - 70 mm L took 0.9 seconds to do this test in medium light (about 4.0 EV). The performance of the new AF system in the EOS-10D is very impressive, managing to focus without any AF assist (flash strobe) down to very low light levels. Enable the AF assist and the camera manages an AF lock in a remarkably consistent 1.7 seconds (with our test target).

Compared to the EOS-D60

The table below shows the huge difference in speed (and ability) between the EOS-10D's new AF system and that found on the EOS-D60. As you can see in moderate and low light the EOS-10D was about twice as fast as the EOS-D60.

Light level EOS-D60 time to AF lock EOS-10D time to AF lock
-1.0 EV Fail 2.7 sec
0.0 EV Fail 1.6 sec
1.0 EV 2.4 sec 1.2 sec
3.0 EV 1.7 sec 0.8 sec
5.0 EV 1.0 sec 0.6 sec


Continuous drive mode

To test continuous mode the camera had the following settings: Manual Focus, Manual Exposure (1/250s, F3.5), ISO 400. No matter what image output format the shooting rate is always 3.3 fps (+/- 0.1 fps). With this in mind we decided to test a different set of parameters:

  • Next shot - How soon after a burst of nine shots you can take the next
  • Next burst - How soon after a burst of nine shots you can take another eight
  • Full write - How long a burst of nine shots takes to be processed and written to the CF

The media used for these tests were:

  • 256 MB Canon High Speed Type I Compact Flash card
  • 512 MB SimpleTech Type I Compact Flash card
  • 1 GB IBM Microdrive Type II Compact Flash card

Burst of nine JPEG images

Timing 256 MB Canon 512 MB SimpleTech 1 GB Microdrive
Next shot 1.1 sec 1.2 sec 1.2 sec
Next burst 6.0 sec 6.0 sec 6.5 sec
Full write 18.7 sec 19.4 sec 18.7 sec

Burst of nine RAW images

Timing 256 MB Canon 512 MB SimpleTech 1 GB Microdrive
Next shot 1.9 sec 1.9 sec 1.9 sec
Next burst 24.2 sec 27.2 sec 24.5 sec
Full write 53.7 sec 63.3 sec 55.0 sec

Because of the increased processing performance of the EOS-10D the 'wait before next burst' (for JPEG) is still six seconds, the same as the EOS-D60 which could buffer only eight images. Also interesting was the performance of the Microdrive, notably better than the same test carried ou on the EOS-D60.


File Flush Timing

Timings shown below are the time taken for the camera to process and "flush" the image out to the storage media. The EOS-10D continues to process images in the buffer and write data out to the storage media in parallel to you composing (and taking) the next shot. It only pauses this writing if you half-press the shutter release.

The media used for these tests were:

  • 256 MB Canon High Speed Type I Compact Flash card
  • 512 MB SimpleTech Type I Compact Flash card
  • 1 GB IBM Microdrive Type II Compact Flash card
Store Time, secs
(Canon)
Time, secs
(SimpleTech)
Time, secs
(Microdrive)
Approx. *2
File size
Approx. *2 512 MB card
L 3072 x 2048 RAW 5.4 6.2 5.0 6.6 MB 80
L 3072 x 2048 Fine 2.2 2.3 2.0 2.2 MB 203
L 3072 x 2048 Normal 1.1 1.2 1.1 1.1 MB 418
M 2048 x 1360 Fine 1.2 1.2 1.1 1.1 MB 384
S 1536 x 1024 Fine 0.8 0.9 0.8 0.6 MB 582

*1 Timer was started as soon as the storage compartment light came on and stopped when this light went off. This was seen as the ACTUAL recording time. Add approximately 1.2 seconds to these times to get the amount of time from moment of shutter release to image flushed away to the storage card.
*2 At ISO 100. Note that the EOS-10D changes its estimated remaining frame count based on the current ISO sensitivity (due to the fact that higher ISO images have more noise and will therefore make larger JPEG files).

These timings are mostly a factor of the media used and the speed of the EOS-10D's CF interface. What was interesting this time around is the fact that the Microdrive outperformed the flash memory cards, this is the opposite of our observations of the EOS-D60. Here are the approximate write throughput figures for each card (slightly faster than the EOS-D60):

  • 256 MB Canon High Speed: 1.2 MB/sec
  • 512 MB SimpleTech: 1.1 MB/sec
  • 1 GB IBM Microdrive: 1.3 MB/sec


Battery life

Canon has stuck with its powerful BP-511 battery pack, this Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery is rated at 7.4 V, 1100 mAh (8.1 Wh). It's small and lightweight and charges quickly, battery life proved to be every bit as good as the EOS-D30 and EOS-D60. We have no reason to dispute Canon's test results which are reproduced below from the EOS-10D manual.

Canon supplied battery life data

Temperature Shooting conditions
No flash use 50% flash use
Normal (20°C / 68°F) Approx. 650 Approx. 500
Low (0°C / 32°F) Approx. 500 Approx. 400
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