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Timings & File Sizes

The S40 is a nippy little operator, it doesn't keep you waiting, most operations are very quick. Indeed for major functions it's even faster than the G2, startup, switching between play / record modes are noticeably quicker. Other timings such as Auto Focus, Shutter Lag are identical to the G2.

Lens extension is faster and this makes a big difference to startup time (almost 2 seconds quicker). Another point which indicates that internal parts of the S40 are different to the G2 is its performance with the IBM Microdrive. The use of a Microdrive made less difference to startup and shutdown times but the S40's write times were longer (slower) than the G2 (although not by much).

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. 2.0 MB per image).

Power on tests were carried out with the lens cover 'almost fully open', there's a notch at the end of the covers travel, past this notch the camera powers up. Play power on test was carried out with the lens cover closed by simply sliding the 'PLAY lever' to the right.

The media used for these tests were:

  • 16 MB Canon Type I CompactFlash card (as supplied)
  • 320 MB Lexar Pro 12x Type I CompactFlash card
  • 1 GB IBM Microdrive Type II CompactFlash card
Legend
  Quickest
  Noticeably slower

Action Details Time, seconds
(Canon CF)
Time, seconds
(Lexar 12x CF)
Time, seconds
(Microdrive)
Power: Off to Record Lens extension 4.1 4.4 4.1

Power: Off to Play *1

Image displayed 2.2 1.8 4.8
Power: Record to Off Lens extended 1.9 1.9 2.0
Power: Play to Off *1 Lens retracted <0.5 <0.5 ~0.7
Mode: Record to Play Image displayed 2.0 2.1 2.4
Mode: Play to Record Lens extended 1.7 1.6 1.6
Play: Magnify 0.5 0.5 0.8
Rec: Thumbnail view 1.1 1.1 1.9

Action Details Time, seconds
Zoom from Wide to Tele Full zoom from 35 mm to 105 mm (3 x) 2.0
Auto Focus LAG Half zoom, Normal AF *3 0.9 - 1.0
Auto Focus LAG Half zoom, Macro AF *3 1.1 - 3.0
Shutter Release LAG Using viewfinder <0.1
Shutter Release LAG Using LCD monitor 0.1
Total LAG *3 ~1.0
Off to Shot Taken Using supplied 16 MB Canon CF card 5.5
Shot to Shot Same for LCD in review or preview modes (AF) 2.2

*1 You need to 'hold' the PLAY lever in its right most position for at least 1.3 seconds 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 1.3 seconds.
*2 AF was approximately 0.5 seconds slower at full telephoto and about 0.3 seconds faster at full wide angle. I did on a few odd occasions experience slower AF at telephoto, up to a second slower. If the AF assist lamp comes on this can add approximately 0.5 seconds to focus times.
*3 Depending on focus

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 after autofocus, this timing assumes you have already focused (half-pressed the shutter release) and now press the shutter release button all the way down to take the shot. This timing is an average.

Total LAG is the total time it takes (not just the two above added together) if you haven't pre-focused, that is no finger touching the shutter release button, press it all the way down in one movement, this new timing is how long it'd take if you were in one of those spur-of-the-moment situations. This timing is an average.


Continuous modes

The S40 features the same new 'High Speed' continuous shooting mode we saw on the G2 as well as normal continuous. The manual states normal continuous mode as 1.5 fps and high speed continuous as 2.8 fps. Our results show that this depends on the selected image size / quality.

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 a 320 MB Lexar Pro 12x Type I CompactFlash card.

Mode Image Type Frames per sec Max no. of frames *1

Wait before
next shot
*2

Continuous 2272 x 1704 Super-Fine 1.2 fps 6 4.3 sec
Continuous 2272 x 1704 Fine 1.2 fps 9 3.8 sec
Continuous 1024 x 768 Fine 1.3 fps 47 9.2 sec
Continuous H 2272 x 1704 Super-Fine 2.9 fps 4 2.7 sec
Continuous H 2272 x 1704 Fine 2.8 fps 5 1.6 sec
Continuous H 1024 x 768 Fine 2.5 fps 23 4.6 sec

*1 In a single "burst" (finger held down on shutter release)
*2 You can take a frame as soon as there is space in the cameras internal buffer (writing continues "in the background").

It's clear that the reported 1.5 fps is a little optimistic, having said that the high speed continuous is closer to the reported figure. These results are also far less consistent than we got from the G2, I'm not sure why that is.

Continuous mode Flush Timing

The timings above represent the speed of the camera and its internal buffer, however the speed of the Compact Flash card will also have an impact on shooting continuously, it defines how long we must wait before the "burst" of frames are written away to the card (flushed). The flush process happens in the background, you can still take a shot as long as there is space in the internal buffer.

Image Type No. images Time, seconds
(Canon CF)
Time, seconds
(Lexar 12x CF)
Time, seconds
(Microdrive)
2272 x 1704 Super-Fine 6 25.0 13.9 14.5
2272 x 1704 Fine 9 23.3 13.1 13.4
1024 x 768 Fine 47 25.6 18.4 19.6

These results are interesting, although the Lexar and IBM Microdrive are both faster than the supplied CF card the difference is not as significant as we observed with the G2. This is probably down to a higher performance CF interface in the G2.


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:

  • 16 MB Canon Type I CompactFlash card (as supplied)
  • 320 MB Lexar Pro 12x Type I CompactFlash card
  • 1 GB IBM Microdrive Type II CompactFlash card
Image Type Time to store
(seconds)
  Time to display
(seconds)
Canon Lexar Microdrive   Canon Lexar Microdrive
2272 x 1704 RAW 8.6 4.6 6.4   0.5 0.5 0.8
2272 x 1704 Super-Fine 5.6 3.3 4.5   1.9 1.8 3.0
2272 x 1704 Fine 3.3 2.5 3.6   1.4 1.3 2.4
1024 x 768 Fine 1.5 1.5 3.2   0.5 0.5 1.5

Once more the difference between the different media types is noticeable but there's less of a difference than we measured on the G2. Overall the Microdrive still offers the best $/MB even considering its slightly slower performance.


File Sizes

Here's a comparison of the average byte size of each of different image size / quality combinations.

Image Type Image format File size *1
(approx.)
No. on supplied 16 MB CF Card No. on 1 GB Microdrive
2272 x 1704 RAW CRW 3,300 KB  4 359
2272 x 1704 Super-Fine JPEG 2,200 KB  7 512
2272 x 1704 Fine JPEG 1,400 KB  13 910
1600 x 1200 Fine JPEG 760 KB  26 1726
1024 x 768 Fine JPEG 280 KB  47 2981
640 x 480 Fine JPEG 120 KB  96 5466

*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

With just under half the battery power of the G2 the S40 managed to last a respectable two hours and thirteen minutes, what's also clear as the results in this table build is that Lithuim-Ion batteries last significantly longer than NiMH batteries of equivalent power.

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