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Timing & Performance

To be honest the camera's overall speed is probably one of its biggest disappointments. When you first read about or see the Pro1 you expect a certain level of performance only to be faced with similar startup, image display and auto focus speeds as most other prosumer digital cameras. Of course the slowest function is startup and that's because of the extending lens design, although having said that it doesn't extend far so it's difficult to see why it takes so long (hit the power button on the C-8080 Wide Zoom to see real fast startup on an extending lens camera). Probably the only saving grace is repeated auto focus at similar focus distances which is fairly quick.

Timing Notes

All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 3264 x 2448 Super-Fine JPEG image (approx. 3,300 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 1 GB SanDisk Ultra II Type I Compact Flash card.

Action Details Time, seconds
Power: Off to Record Live view appears 3.0
Power: Off to Play Image displayed 2.6
Power: Record to Off 2.1
Power: Play to Off <0.1
Record Review Image displayed 1.1
Mode: Record to Play Depends on image size 1.0
Mode: Play to Record Lens already extended 1.5
Mode: Play to Record Lens not extended 2.6
Play: Magnify To first level of magnification <0.1
Play: Thumbnail view 3 x 3 thumbnails 1.3

Action Details Time, seconds
Half-press Lag (0->S1) Wide angle 0.8 - 1.0
Half-press Lag (0->S1) Telephoto 0.9 - 1.5
Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2) Wide angle (LCD / EVF) 0.1
Full-press Lag (0->S2) Wide angle 0.6
Off to Shot Taken Wide angle 3.4
Shot to Shot Record Review in any mode 1.5

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 GB SanDisk Ultra II card. Shutter speed was kept above 1/250 sec during these tests.

High / Standard speed continuous drive modes

In High speed continuous mode the preview is not shown between each exposure, in standard speed continuous mode the preview image appears briefly between each exposure.

Image Type Continuous
mode
Avg. frames
per sec
*1
Frames in one burst *2

Delay before
next shot
*3

3264 x 2448 RAW High 0.7 fps 4 13.6 sec
3264 x 2448 Super-Fine High 1.8 fps 8 1.6 sec
3264 x 2448 Fine High 1.7 fps 12 1.5 sec
2272 x 1704 Super-Fine High 1.3 fps 12 1.3 sec
1600 x 1200 Super-Fine High 1.5 fps 24 1.0 sec
3264 x 2448 RAW Standard 0.5 fps 4 14.7 sec
3264 x 2448 Super-Fine Standard 0.9 fps 16 3.5 sec
3264 x 2448 Fine Standard 0.9 fps 28 2.1 sec
2272 x 1704 Super-Fine Standard 0.8 fps 31 2.8 sec
1600 x 1200 Super-Fine Standard 0.8 fps 42 1.4 sec

*1 This is an average over the entire burst. In High speed mode for JPEG images the first four frames are taken approximately 0.4 seconds apart (approx. 2.5 fps), after this the speed drops to around 1.5 fps.
*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") - apart from RAW mode.

About average for an eight megapixel digital camera, somewhere around 1.7 frames per second at its highest speed. Disappointing when you consider the Pro1 is promoted as having a 2.5 frames per second continuous shooting rate (which it does, for the first four frames not even the six frames talked about in marketing material).


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 beside the Compact Flash compartment door went out. 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 was a 1 GB SanDisk Ultra II Type I Compact Flash card.

Image Type Time to store
(secs)
*1
Time to display
(secs)
File size *2
(approx.)
Images on a *3
1 GB Card
3264 x 2448 RAW 9.2 0.9 7,641 KB 109
3264 x 2448 JPEG Super-Fine 4.8 1.4 3,300 KB 288
3264 x 2448 JPEG Fine 3.8 1.1 1,900 KB 480
3264 x 2448 JPEG Normal 2.8 0.9 850 KB 991
2272 x 1704 JPEG Super-Fine 3.7 0.9 1,700 KB 491
1600 x 1200 JPEG Super-Fine 2.8 0.7 830 KB 975

*1 Subtract 1.8 seconds for the actual CF write time.
*2 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).
*3 Camera estimation.

Total storage time was longer than we were expecting, taking around five seconds per image at Super-Fine full resolution. That said if we subtract the 'processing time' we get a moderate throughput of around 1 MB/sec for a good card like this SanDisk Ultra II.


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. This is carried out at both wide angle and telephoto zoom positions (as more light reaches the focusing systems with a larger aperture).

No AF assist lamp

Like the Pro90 but unlike G series digital cameras the Pro1 doesn't have an AF assist lamp. While it does have an external AF sensor this doesn't appear to help in low light. This means that in low light or complete darkness the Pro1 will struggle to focus lock.

Focal length Aperture
at focal len.
Lowest light focus Time to focus
from min.
Wide (28 mm equiv.) F2.4 Darkness *1 2.1 sec
Tele (200 mm equiv.) F3.5 2.2 EV 1.9 sec

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

At full wide angle (28 mm equiv.) the Pro1 displayed the green 'AF lock' indicator even in complete darkness, examining test images showed them to be sharp. The only assumption we can make is that the Pro1 uses the 'estimated distance' from the external passive AF sensor to place the lens at the approximate AF distance and then relies on the huge depth of field at this wide angle to achieve a focus (a bit like a 'focus free' lens on a cheap digital camera would). Zoom in a little and you appreciate that the Pro1 really could do with a real AF assist lamp.


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

Batteries are 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

A disappointing performance, and no doubt about it. We certainly didn't expect a modern prosumer level camera with a 10 Wh battery to last just two and a half hours, but that's exactly what happened when we tested the Pro1. Personally I suspect this is a problem with the way the camera measures a 'low battery' as we had no battery warning before the camera shut down and wouldn't come back on. Our results are supported by the experiences of other reviewers and camera owners.

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