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Timings & File Sizes

The four megapixel EOS-1D is the fastest shooting digital SLR currently available, with an amazing eight frames per second continuous drive mode it's clearly aimed at the news and spots photo journalist. The EOS-1Ds pushes resolution up to an amazing eleven megapixels and so considering the extra data (almost three times as much) which must be moved the cameral manages a respectable three frames a second continuous drive with a 'buffer depth' of ten frames in any image quality mode. The only notable delay was the one second startup time which we would have expected to have been addressed since the EOS-1D.

Timing Notes: All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 4064 x 2704 FINE JPEG image (approx. 3.7 MB per image).

The media used for this test was:

  • 512 MB Lexar Pro 24x Type I Compact Flash card
  • 512 MB SimpleTech Type II Compact Flash card
  • 1 GB IBM Microdrive Type II Compact Flash card
Action Details Time, seconds
(Lexar)
Time, seconds
(SimpleTech)
Time, seconds
(Microdrive)
Power: Off to On   1.2 1.2 1.2 *1
Power: On to Off *1   < 0.5
Record: Review *2 RAW 3.3
Record: Review *2 JPEG 3.4
Play: Image to Image *3 RAW < 0.5 < 0.5 1.1
Play: Image to Image *3 JPEG < 0.5 < 0.5 1.2

*1 If this is the first power up after inserting the card this time is 3.1 seconds.
*2 This is the amount of time between pressing the shutter release and the image being displayed on the LCD monitor.
*3 If the images viewed have been taken in the current 'session' (power up) they will be displayed virtually instantly (thumbnails appear to be cached in an internal buffer). Otherwise they are read back from the card, this adds only a very small delay.


Continuous Drive mode

To test continuous mode the camera had the following settings: Manual Focus, Manual Exposure (1/500s, F4.0), ISO 400. The camera was aimed at a high speed stopwatch, the watch was started and a burst of frames were taken until the cameras buffer filled, the shutter release was held down to take another shot as soon as space became available in the buffer and the stopwatch was stopped as soon as a full flush (write of all buffered images) was complete.

The media used for this test was:

  • 512 MB Lexar Pro 24x Type I Compact Flash card
  • 512 MB SimpleTech Type II Compact Flash card
  • 1 GB IBM Microdrive Type II Compact Flash card

In the timings below the 'Next shot' is the time (in seconds) to the next shot after a burst of 10, 'Flush' is the amount of time to flush a full burst of 10 images to the Compact Flash card.

Image type Measured rate Frames Next *1 shot Flush *2
(Lexar)
Flush *2
(SimpleTech)
Flush *2
(Microdrive)
RAW 3.3 fps 10 1.9 51.3 59.5 55.6
RAW + JPEG 3.3 fps 10 1.9 72.3 84.7 85.2
Large / Fine 3.3 fps 10 1.9 25.6 28.8 35.2
Small / Fine 3.3 fps 10 1.9 10.2 10.9 12.5

*1 Enabling P.Fn 30 (Magnification) adds 50% to this time.
*2 Enabling P.Fn 30 (Magnification) adds 6% to full flush times.
Enabling P.Fn 31 (Data Verification) adds 100% to full flush times.

When you consider the huge amount of data being moved around each time you take a shot it's pretty impressive to see this camera shooting at 3 frames per second for up to 10 frames. This means huge bandwidth and a huge internal buffer. Very impressive.


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-1Ds will begin writing images as soon as it can and continue to write 'in the background' while you take further shots / change settings. You can not browse other images or enter the camera menu while images are being written to the Compact Flash card.

Below the number in (brackets) equates to the JPEG quality level which can be set through the camera's parameter menu. The quality level of 8 is the default for FINE quality, level 3 is the default for NORMAL quality. Higher numbers mean higher quality and less compression.

The media used for this test was:

  • 512 MB Lexar Pro 24x Type I Compact Flash card
  • 1 GB IBM Microdrive Type II Compact Flash card
Store Time, seconds
(Lexar CF)
Time, seconds
(Microdrive)
Approx.
File size
*1
Approx. on an
1 GB Microdrive
4064 x 2704 RAW *2 6.7 7.8 9,200 KB 87
4064 x 2704 RAW + JPEG *3 8.5 10.2 12,900 KB 70
4064 x 2704 JPEG FINE (10) 5.1 6.3 5,400 KB 171
4064 x 2704 JPEG FINE (8) 4.3 5.6 3,900 KB 234
4064 x 2704 JPEG FINE (6) 3.6 4.7 2,200 KB 380
4064 x 2704 JPEG NORM (3) 3.3 4.3 1,300 KB 535
2032 x 1352 JPEG FINE (8) 2.9 3.6 980 KB 662

*1 JPEG 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 (especially the amount of detail captured). For example, take a photograph of a fairly empty wall and you'll get a small JPEG, take a photograph of a bush with a lot of detail and you'll get a larger image. File sizes here are closer to the later, the larger size of file you should expect.
*2 The EOS-1Ds uses a lossless compression (similar to Zip compression) on RAW files, thus they can vary slightly in size depending on ISO sensitivity and the amount of detail in the image.
*3 File size reported here is the size of the RAW and JPEG files added together. For our tests we chose Large JPEG FINE.


Battery life

The EOS-1Ds has large NP-E3 battery specified as 1650 mAh at 12 V, this works out as 19.8 Wh (or about 2.5 times the power of the EOS-D60's Lithium-Ion battery. Unlike the EOS-D60 this battery pack uses NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) battery technology. Canon claim longer battery life for the EOS-1Ds because of its use of a CMOS sensor (which requires less power).

It would be interesting if Canon could produce a Lithium-Ion based battery in the same format, this would make the camera slightly lighter in use and deliver even longer battery life.

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