Canon PowerShot Pro1 Review
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.
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.
|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|
|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).
|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)
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.
per sec *1
|Frames in one burst *2||
|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.
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).|
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.
at focal len.
|Lowest light focus||Time
|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.
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
Batteries are fully discharged and recharged before the test and all cameras were reset to their factory default settings. Here are the results:
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.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Specifications
- 3 Body & Design
- 4 Body & Design
- 5 Operation & Controls
- 6 Operation & Controls
- 7 Displays
- 8 Menus
- 9 Menus
- 10 Timings & Sizes
- 11 Features
- 12 Features
- 13 Software
- 14 Software
- 15 Photographic tests
- 16 Photographic tests
- 17 Compared to...
- 18 Compared to...
- 19 Compared to...
- 20 Conclusion
- 21 Samples