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Timings & File Sizes

As expected the G3 is a quick camera, most actions such as auto focus, shot to shot and lag timings are as fast as we have seen for this level of camera. The major delay point is startup, because of the G3's extending lens there is always a delay of at least four seconds while the lens extends.

Timing Notes: All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 2272 x 1704 Super-Fine JPEG image (approx. 1.8 MB per image).

The media used for these tests were:

  • 256 MB Canon High Speed CompactFlash card
  • 512 MB Viking Type I CompactFlash card
  • 1 GB IBM Microdrive Type II CompactFlash card
Legend
  Quickest
  Noticeably slower

Action Details Time, seconds
(Canon CF)
Time, seconds
(Viking CF)
Time, seconds
(Microdrive)
Power: Off to Record Lens extension 4.2 4.3 4.2

Power: Off to Play *1

Image displayed 3.4 3.5 6.2
Power: Record to Off Lens extended 2.5 2.5 2.5
Power: Play to Off *1 Lens retracted 0.9 0.8 1.8
Mode: Record to Play *2 Image displayed 2.2 / 0.5 2.1 / 0.5 3.9 / 0.5
Mode: Play to Record Lens extended 1.9 1.9 1.9
Play: Magnify To 10x magnification 1.0 1.0 1.0
Rec: Thumbnail view 1.3 1.1 1.9

Action Details Time, seconds
Zoom from Wide to Tele Full zoom from 35 mm to 140 mm (4 x) 2.7
Auto Focus LAG Wide angle 0.7 - 0.9
Auto Focus LAG Telephoto 1.0 - 2.2
Shutter Release LAG Using viewfinder <0.1
Shutter Release LAG Using LCD monitor 0.1
Total LAG Wide angle *3 0.8 - 1.0
Total LAG Telephoto *3 1.1 - 1.5
Off to Shot Taken Using 256 MB Canon High Speed CF 4.4
Shot to Shot Identical with or without record review 1.9

*1 You need to 'hold' the PLAY lever in its right most position for at least 1.0 second for the camera to recognize that as a change of power state (on or off), this is to avoid accidental knocks of the lever. The timings shown for this measurement are excluding this 1.0 second.
*2 The G3 appears to buffer an image once displayed in play mode. This means that if you return to play mode for a second time the display time is just half a second, compared to two seconds for the first display of a new image.
*3 The G3's Auto focus proved to be very fast, especially if the subject distance was near or the same as the previous shot taken. Even at telephoto zoom Total LAG was less than a second if the subject distance was similar.

Auto Focus LAG is (roughly) the amount of time it takes the camera to autofocus (a half-press and hold of the shutter release button), this timing is normally the most variable as its affected by the subject matter, current focus position, still or moving subject etc. This timing is an average.

Shutter Release LAG is the amount of time it takes to take the shot from the moment you fully depress the shutter release button, measured both as a time including auto focus and a time assuming you have already pre-focused by holding a half-press of the shutter release.


Continuous modes

The G3 has two different continuous drive modes. The first (Continuous) shoots at approximately 1.5 fps and displays each frame on the LCD monitor as it is taken. The second (Continuous H) shoots at approximately 2.5 fps but blanks out the LCD monitor while shooting.

The table below shows 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. Timings taken using the 256 MB Canon High Speed CompactFlash card.

Mode Image Type Frames per sec
Avg. / 2
nd onwards *1
Max no. of frames *2

Wait before
next shot
*3

Continuous 2272 x 1704 RAW 0.50 / 0.50 fps 3 6.5 sec
Continuous 2272 x 1704 Super-Fine 1.41 / 1.50 fps 8 4.3 sec
Continuous 2272 x 1704 Fine 1.47 / 1.50 fps 14 6.7 sec
Continuous 1024 x 768 Fine 1.49 / 1.50 fps 38 12.0 sec
Continuous H 2272 x 1704 RAW 0.50 / 0.50 fps 3 6.5 sec
Continuous H 2272 x 1704 Super-Fine 2.20 / 2.40 fps 9 4.2 sec
Continuous H 2272 x 1704 Fine 2.25 / 2.40 fps 15 6.3 sec
Continuous H 1024 x 768 Fine 2.39 / 2.40 fps 65 18.7 sec

*1 Delay after first frame is always longer than shooting speed for subsequent frames, this drags the average fps down.
*2 In a single "burst" (finger held down on shutter release)
*3 You can take a frame as soon as there is space in the cameras internal buffer (writing continues "in the background").

The average continuous shooting speed appears to be spoilt by the first frame delay which was always slightly slower than the rest of the burst. Removing the first frame from the equation revealed 1.5 and 2.4 fps for Continuous and Continuous H modes. A good performance with a good sized buffer.


File Flush / Display Timing

Timings shown below are the time taken for the camera to process and "flush" the image out to the Compact Flash card, the timer was started as soon as the shutter release was pressed (shutter click was heard) and stopped when activity indicator LED beside the viewfinder stopped blinking. This means the timings also include the cameras processing time and as such are more representative of the actual time to "complete the task".

The media used for these tests were:

  • 256 MB Canon High Speed CompactFlash card
  • 512 MB Viking Type I CompactFlash card
  • 1 GB IBM Microdrive Type II CompactFlash card
Image Type Time to store
(seconds)
Time to display
(seconds)
Canon Viking Microdrive Canon Viking Microdrive
2272 x 1704 RAW 6.5 5.9 7.2 1.0 0.8 2.0
2272 x 1704 Super-Fine 3.6 3.5 4.0 1.8 1.6 2.5
2272 x 1704 Fine 2.6 2.6 3.4 1.3 1.2 2.0
1024 x 768 Fine 1.9 1.9 2.5 0.8 0.7 1.4

As expected the two flash memory based devices performed roughly the same, they're both fast enough for any delay to be caused by the G3's processing speed. The Microdrive suffers because of the time taken to 'wake from sleep' (for the disk to spin up).


File Sizes

Here's a comparison of the average byte size of each of different image size / quality combinations (identical to the PowerShot S45).

Image Type Image format File size *1
(approx.)
Number on a
1 GB Microdrive
2272 x 1704 RAW CRW 3,800 KB  272
2272 x 1704 Super-Fine JPEG 1,800 KB  512
2272 x 1704 Fine JPEG 1,000 KB  910
1600 x 1200 Fine JPEG 580 KB  1726
1024 x 768 Fine JPEG 250 KB  2982
640 x 480 Fine JPEG 120 KB  5468

*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 (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.


Battery life

We ran the camera through our new battery life test. This test is designed to be fair and comparative to each camera and battery type:

  • Take 4 shots without flash
  • Wait 2 minutes (50% of the time powering the camera off)
  • Take 1 shot with flash
  • Wait 1 minute
  • Repeat

This test routine was carried out on five different cameras simultaneously. All batteries had been fully discharged and recharged before the test and all cameras were reset to their factory default settings. Here are the results:

Camera
Prosumer / SLR-Like
Battery Power Battery life Number of shots
Minolta DiMAGE 7 4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 7.7 Wh 1 hr 14 mins 125
Minolta DiMAGE 5 4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 7.7 Wh 1 hr 56 mins 195
Nikon Coolpix 5700 EN-EL1 4.8 Wh 2 hr 08 mins 215
Canon PowerShot S40 NB-2L 3.9 Wh 2 hr 13 mins 225
Minolta DiMAGE S304 4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 7.7 Wh 2 hr 18 mins 235
Canon PowerShot S45 NB-2L 3.9 Wh 2 hr 28 mins 240
Nikon Coolpix 4500 EN-EL1 4.8 Wh 2 hr 27 mins 250
Fujifilm FinePix 6900Z NP-80 4.1 Wh 2 hr 29 mins 250
Nikon Coolpix 990 4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 7.7 Wh 2 hr 30 mins 255
Nikon Coolpix 995 EN-EL1 4.8 Wh 2 hr 30 mins 255
Nikon Coolpix 5000 EN-EL1 4.8 Wh 2 hr 32 mins 260
Minolta DiMAGE 7Hi 4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 7.7 Wh 2 hr 33 mins 260
Canon PowerShot Pro1 BP-511A 10.2 Wh 2 hr 36 mins 265
Canon PowerShot S50 NB-2L 3.9 Wh 2 hr 39 mins 270
Minolta DiMAGE S404 4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 7.7 Wh 2 hr 39 mins 270
Sony DSC-V1 NP-FC11 2.8 Wh 2 hr 39 mins 270
Olympus C-7000 Zoom LI-12B 4.5 Wh 2 hr 44 mins 280
Nikon Coolpix 8700 EN-EL1 5.0 Wh 2 hr 45 mins 280
Minolta DiMAGE 7i 4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 7.7 Wh 2 hr 46 mins 270
Olympus E-20 4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 7.7 Wh 2 hr 48 mins 285
Canon PowerShot G1 BP-511 8.1 Wh 3 hr 00 mins 300
Nikon Coolpix 5400 EN-EL1 4.8 Wh 3 hr 06 mins 315
HP Photosmart 850 4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 7.7 Wh 3 hr 12 mins 325
Sony DSC-S75 NP-FM50 8.6 Wh 3 hr 15 mins 330
Nikon Coolpix 8800 EN-EL7 8.1 Wh 3 hr 27 mins 350
Fujifilm FinePix S602Z 4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 7.7 Wh 3 hr 29 mins 350
Canon PowerShot G2 BP-511 8.1 Wh 3 hr 32 mins 355
Casio QV-4000 4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 7.7 Wh 3 hr 38 mins 365
Olympus C-5050 Zoom 4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 7.7 Wh 3 hr 48 mins 380
Casio EXILIM EX-P700 NP-40 4.5 Wh 3 hr 48 mins 385
Sony DSC-S85 NP-FM50 8.6 Wh 3 hr 50 mins 400
Sony DSC-F717 NP-FM50 8.6 Wh 4 hr 02 mins 405
Pentax Optio 750Z D-LI7 6.6 Wh 4 hr 03 mins 415
Sony DSC-V3 NP-FR1 4.4 Wh 4 hr 05 mins 415
Nikon Coolpix 8400 EN-EL7 8.1 Wh 4 hr 09 mins 420
Sony DSC-F707 NP-FM50 8.6 Wh 4 hr 20 mins 440
Fujifilm S7000 Zoom 4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 7.7 Wh 4 hr 23 mins 445
Konica Minolta DiMAGE A2 NP-400 11.1 Wh 4 hr 26 mins 450
Canon PowerShot G3 BP-511 8.1 Wh 4 hr 32 mins 455
Canon PowerShot G5 BP-511 8.1 Wh 4 hr 33 mins 460
Pentax Optio 550 D-LI7 6.6 Wh 4 hr 36 mins 465
Minolta DiMAGE A1 NP-400 11.1 Wh 5 hr 02 mins 515
Leica Digilux 2 BP-DC1-E 10.1 Wh 5 hr 05 mins 515
Sony DSC-F828 NP-FM50 8.6 Wh 5 hr 28 mins 540
Fujifilm FinePix S5000 4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 7.7 Wh 5 hr 31 mins 555
Canon PowerShot G6 BP-511A 10.3 Wh 5 hr 38 mins 570
Olympus C-8080 WZ BLM-1 10.8 Wh 5 hr 52 mins 595
Other test notes:
 • LCD monitor is left on during the battery test
 • The camera is powered off half of the time and left on half of the time (switch every 10 iterations)
 • There are now higher capacity AA NiMH batteries available, however in the interests of fair
    comparison we will continue to use our 1600 mAh test set

Superb! The PowerShot G3 leaps into the lead with no less than an hour longer battery life than the G2 and twelve minutes more than the previous champion, Sony's DSC-F707. Lasting over four hours is no mean feat but the G3 kept going and going. This is hardly surprising, Canon's BP-511 Lithium-Ion battery pack delivers excellent long life no matter what camera it's used in.

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