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Timings & File Sizes

Timing Notes: All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 2160 x 1440 JPEG image (around 900 KB per image).

File Size Notes: 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.

Just like many digital cameras the DC4800 uses an "initial image" (blown up thumbnail) to produce the first image shown in review mode, this (often small embedded JPEG) is displayed very quickly while the camera loads the rest of the image from the CF card, once this is loaded the rough image is replaced by a detailed image which looks sharper and cleaner and can be magnified. For JPEG images the DC4800 was pretty quick taking just under a second to load the detailed image, for TIFF's a little slower.

Lag times were calculated using the viewfinder and LCD in both normal (30 fps) or power save (15 fps) modes.

Complete Timings

Symbols: ~ = roughly / approximately.

Action Time taken
(seconds)
Notes
OFF to REC 4.5  
OFF to PLAY 4.2 "Initial image" is displayed
REC to OFF 3.0  
PLAY to OFF 1.2 Lens not extended
REC to PLAY 1.8 "Initial image" is displayed
PLAY to REC 2.8 Lens already extended
PLAY to REC 5.4 Lens not extended
PLAY: Image to Image 3.1 MP JPEG <0.5 "Initial image" is displayed
0.9 Detailed image is displayed
PLAY: Image to Image 3.1 MP TIFF <0.5 "Initial image" is displayed
12.2 Detailed image is displayed
PLAY: thumbnail view (press MENU) <0.5 Row of 3 thumbnails displayed
PLAY: Zoom-in <1.0 Virtually instant
Auto Focus LAG 1.1 Almost always the same lag *
Shutter Release LAG (viewfinder) 0.2 Average to slow *
Shutter Release LAG (LCD @ 30 fps) 0.3 Average to slow *
Shutter Release LAG (LCD @ 15 fps) 0.4 Average to slow *
Total LAG (viewfinder) 0.9 No pre-focus, one complete press *
OFF to First Shot Taken 4.4 Switch on + Press shutter release *

* LAG times are often misunderstood and so are described below

Auto Focus LAG is (roughly) the amount of time it takes the camera to auto focus (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.

For a camera with an extending lens the DC4800 starts up relatively quickly. Operationally it feels fairly quick, data is buffered and written out in the background and this hardly ever effects your ability to take the next shot. Shutter release lag was disappointing, we really expected the DC4800 to be at least as fast as the competition which regularly put in times of less than 0.1 seconds, if you use the LCD to frame the scene and have power save switched on this lag time can be as long as 0.4 seconds.


File Flush Timing

Timings shown below are the time taken for the camera to "flush" the image out to the CF card (when the green CF activity light stops flashing). This doesn't in any way affect your ability to take the next shot (as the camera buffers images before writing them) it's simply a timing of write speed. The estimated number of images per 16 MB CompactFlash card is given as a guide to beginners (as that's what's bundled with the camera - differs with region).

Action Time taken
(seconds)
Average
File size
Images on a
16 MB CF card
Store 2160 x 1440 TIFF 51.0 9,123 KB 1
Store 2160 x 1440 JPEG 13.1 ~900 KB 17
Store 2160 x 1440 JPEG (Low quality) 13.0 ~350 KB 45
Store 1800 x 1200 JPEG 16.3 ~540 KB 29
Store 1536 x 1024 JPEG 14.0 ~380 KB 42
Store 1080 x 720 JPEG 14.5 ~250 KB 64

How bizarre.. I can't explain why it takes much longer to store a lower resolution image, my only theory is that the camera always pushes a 3.1 megapixel image into its buffer which it then has to down-sample to produce the lower resolution image. However, lots of other cameras do this and do it far quicker than the DC4800.


Continuous Mode

All tests below were carried out with the LCD switched on, when shooting a sequence of shots the LCD is blanked and no image can be seen (so there's no difference in performance turning the LCD off).

Image Type Frames per sec
Max no. of frames Wait before restarting
2160 x 1440 TIFF 3.2 4 51.0 secs
2160 x 1440 JPEG 3.2 4 14.1 secs
2160 x 1440 JPEG Low quality 3.2 4 10.3 secs
1800 x 1200 JPEG 3.2 4 15.1 secs
1536 x 1024 JPEG 3.2 4 14.0 secs
1080 x 720 JPEG 3.2 4 13.0 secs

The results above speak for themselves, proof if it were needed that the DC4800's internal buffer contains the full RAW 3.1 megapixel image data rather than the JPEG image, and so reducing image size / quality does not enable you to take any more shots in continuous mode.


Battery life

Humph! Not as good as I would have liked. Same complaint I had with the Fujifilm 4900Z, they both use the same battery (branded differently, but the exact same battery all the same). This lithium battery may be small and light but it simply doesn't have the power to drive a digital camera, rated at 3.7V 1100mAh that works out at just 4.1Wh compared to a set of 4 x AA NiMH 1300mAh (the average) batteries which provide 7.8Wh, Sony's InfoLithium battery packs (S70) which also provide about the same amount of power and Canon's BP-511 (G1, D30) which is also around the 8Wh mark.

On a shooting session I could just about squeeze 65 frames out of the standard battery (with Power Save set to On). It's worth noting that other DC4800 owners have resorted to buying a Toshiba battery which has a higher power output (1300mAh) and is said to last longer.

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