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Timings & File Sizes

After throwing the power switch the LCD monitor is on in around a second and a half although we found that you couldn't actually shoot until about a second after that, compared to other digital SLR's (notably the Canon EOS 20D and Nikon D70) that's a little slow (it's similar to the EOS 10D). In use however the camera feels quick enough, record review (instant playback) images pop up quickly enough, playback is fast and browsing too (the 7D appears to utilize caching during playback). Continuous shooting has been transformed by a new firmware update, the 7D manages to buffer around 40 frames in a full burst (although at a speed slower than advertised). Also improved is Compact Flash write speed, which is now as good (and better) than other digital SLR's.

Timing Notes: All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on an Large (3008 x 2000) JPEG Fine image (approx. 2,100 KB per image).

UPDATE 27/02/2005: All the timings on this page are now representative of a 7D with the newer 1.1 firmware loaded.

The media used for this test were:

  • 1 GB SanDisk Extreme III CF card (Type I)
  • 1 GB Lexar Pro 80x CF card (Type I)
  • 4 GB Lexar Pro 80x CF card(Type I, FAT32)
Action
Details
Time, secs
(SanDisk 1 GB)
Time, secs
(Lexar 1 GB)
Time, secs
(Lexar 4 GB)
Power Off to On *1   1.4 1.4 1.4
Power Off to Shot taken *2
2.4 2.4 3.2
Power On to Off *3   2.0 2.0 2.0
Record Review
RAW
1.2 1.2 1.2
Record Review
JPEG
1.2 1.2 1.2
Play *4
RAW
1.0 / 0.5 1.1 / 0.5 1.8 / 0.5
Play *4
JPEG
1.0 / 0.5 1.1 / 0.5 1.8 / 0.5
Play Image to Image
RAW
<0.3 <0.3 <0.3
Play Image to Image
JPEG
<0.3 <0.3 <0.3

*1

This timing was taken from the moment the power switch was turned on to the moment the LCD monitor displayed the recording information.

*2 This timing was taken from the moment the power switch was turned on to the moment a shot was taken, with finger held down on the shutter release button.
*3 The 7D continues to access the CF card after the LCD monitor has gone out, as indicated by the CF activity lamp.
*4 The first timing is if the image hasn't been viewed recently, the second is if it has, the 7D appears to cache JPEG images which have been recently viewed and hence can display them more quickly.

Continuous Drive mode

During continuous shooting the 'frames remaining' indicator on the viewfinder display counts down as the camera's buffer fills. With a very fast card and shooting in JPEG mode this counter will 'hover' around the '3 frames' mark as images are being written to the CF card at roughly the same speed as raw data from the CCD is coming in to the buffer.

To test continuous mode the camera had the following settings: Manual Focus, Manual Exposure (1/250s, F4.5), ISO 400. Measurements were taken from audio recordings of the tests. The tests carried out below measured the following parameters for both JPEG (Large/Fine) and RAW:

  • Frame rate - Initial frame rate, this was always 2.7 fps (+/- 0.05 fps)
  • Number of frames - Number of frames in a burst
  • Buffer full rate - Frame rate if shutter release held down after burst (buffer full)
  • Next full burst - How soon after you can take another full burst (indicator shows 9)

The media used for these tests were:

  • 1 GB SanDisk Extreme III CF card (Type I)
  • 1 GB Lexar Pro 80x CF card (Type I)
  • 4 GB Lexar Pro 80x CF card(Type I, FAT32)

Burst of JPEG (Large/Fine) images

Timing
1 GB SanDisk
1 GB Lexar
4 GB Lexar
Frame rate 2.7 fps 2.7 fps 2.7 fps
Number of frames 43 36 35
Buffer full rate 2.2 fps 1.9 fps 1.9 fps
Next full burst 6.1 sec 7.1 sec 6.9 sec

Burst of RAW images

Timing
1 GB SanDisk
1 GB Lexar
4 GB Lexar
Frame rate 2.7 fps 2.7 fps 2.7 fps
Number of frames 10 9 9
Buffer full rate 0.7 fps (1.4 sec) 0.6 fps (1.6 sec) 0.6 fps (1.6 sec)
Next full burst 12.1 sec 14.9 sec 14.8 sec

Interpreting the above results we can see that the frame rate for the intial burst of shots is always 2.7 frames per second. Shooting JPEG Large/Fine you can expect to be able to shoot between 35 and 40 frames in a burst (with a fast CF card), after this the burst rate will drop to approximately 2.0 frames per second continuously.

Although it's only a fraction difference it's a pity the 7D's continuous shooting rate wasn't up to its specified 3.0 fps. However on the positive side the camera buffered more images than it is specified, up to 40.

UPDATE 27/02/2005: Konica Minolta's new firmware 1.1 for the 7D has transformed the camera's continuous shooting capability now almost double the number of frames buffered and vastly improved the CF write speed (next full burst) compared to the old firmware. Kudos Konica Minolta.

File Flush Timing

Timings shown below are the time taken for the camera to process and "flush" the image out to the storage card. Timing was taken from the instant the shutter release was pressed to the time the CF activity indicator beside the CF door went out. The 7D will begin writing images as soon as it can and continue to write 'in the background' while you take further shots / change settings.

The media used for this test were:

  • 1 GB SanDisk Extreme III CF card (Type I)
  • 1 GB Lexar Pro 80x CF card (Type I)
  • 4 GB Lexar Pro 80x CF card(Type I, FAT32)
Image type
Time, secs
(SanDisk 1 GB)
Time, secs
(Lexar 1 GB)
Time, secs
(Lexar 4 GB)
Approx.
size
3008 x 2000 RAW + JPEG *1 3.8 4.1 4.6 11,000 KB
3008 x 2000 RAW 3.4 3.6 4.2 8,960 KB
3008 x 2000 JPEG Extra Fine 2.6 2.8 3.4 4,200 KB
3008 x 2000 JPEG Fine 2.2 2.6 3.2 2,100 KB
3008 x 2000 JPEG Standard 2.1 2.4 2.9 1,100 KB

*1 File size reported here is the size of the RAW and JPEG files added together.
*2 The 7D begins writing approximately 1.1 seconds after the shutter release is pressed so you must subtract 1.1 seconds from the above timings to get the actual write time.

UPDATE 27/02/2005: What difference firmware can make, with the original firmware the 7D struggled to manage 1.2 MB/sec (way below the digital SLR average of 4.0 MB/sec), with the new firmware the 7D manages around 4.5 MB/sec and up to 6.0 MB/sec in RAW on the fastest card. Comparing to other cameras this means that the 7D's CF write speed is now faster than our previous 'non-professional D-SLR' benchmark, the Canon EOS 20D.

Card performance: JPEG Fine burst

Card Konica Minolta 7D , write speed (JPEG SHQ files)
1 GB SanDisk Extreme III 5,593 KB/sec
1 GB Lexar Pro 80x 4,603 KB/sec
4 GB Lexar Pro 80x (FAT32) 4,465 KB/sec

Card performance: RAW burst

Card Konica Minolta 7D, write speed (RAW files)
1 GB SanDisk Extreme III 6,267 KB/sec
1 GB Lexar Pro 80x 5,304 KB/sec
4 GB Lexar Pro 80x (FAT32) 5,044 KB/sec

Cardbus 32-bit CF Adapter benchmark

Card Cardbus 32-bit CF Adapter, write speed (RAW files)
1 GB SanDisk Extreme III 10,091 KB/sec
1 GB Lexar Pro 80x 9,188 KB/sec
4 GB Lexar Pro 80x (FAT32) 9,279 KB/sec

The results above were produced by measuring the write time for a burst of shots, this gives a more accurate measurement of actual throughput. Note that the CF cards used were all high speed and in our fastest device (the Delkin Cardbus 32-bit CF Adapter) were capable of around 9.8 MB/sec.

Battery life

The 7D uses the same NP-400 Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery as the DiMAGE A2, it has a healthy specified capacity of 1500 mAh at 7.4 V (11.1 Wh) which appears to be more than sufficient to power the 7D for a long day's shooting. One thing it may be worth considering is that the 7D uses its LCD monitor more than other digital SLR's (because most have lower power control panel LCD's) and that the Anti-Shake system will use a certain amount of power (although obviously only actually during the shutter release itself). Konica Minolta specify a battery life of 400 frames (CIPA testing standard).

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