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Timing & Performance

One of the main claims made by Konica Minolta for the Z2 is its speed of operation, and our tests - and real-life shooting experiences - certainly agreed. Focus - in normal conditions - is fast and fuss-free, with problems only really occurring at the long (10x) end of the zoom in lower light, when - unsurprisingly - there was some occasional hunting. The real-life shot-to-shot times were excellent - especially when using the flash (unless your batteries are running low or you are shooting at great distances, when the flash recycle time extends considerably). All-in-all a camera that feels fast and responsive in use, a feeling that our test figures bear out.

Timing Notes

All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 2272 x 1704 Fine JPEG image (approx. 1,200 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 512MB SanDisk Extreme (aka Ultra II) SD card.

Action Details
Time, secs
Power: Off to Record   3.1
Power: Off to Play Image displayed 2.1
Power: Record to Off All activity ceased 2.0
Power: Play to Off When buffer is empty 0.0
Record Review Image displayed 1.3
Mode: Record to Play   ~0.8
Mode: Play to Record   ~1.3
Play: Magnify To full magnification (6x) 4.5
Play: Image to Image Time to display each saved image ~0.3
Play: Thumbnail view 3 x 3 thumbnails ~0.9

Action Details
Time, seconds
Zoom from Wide to Tele 38 to 114 mm (10 x) full speed 1.7
Half-press Lag (0->S1) Wide angle ~0.6
Half-press Lag (0->S1) Telephoto ~1.9
Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2) LCD live view 0.1
Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2) Viewfinder 0.1
Full-press Lag (0->S2) LCD live view, wide angle ~0.7
Off to Shot Taken LCD live view 3.5
Shot to Shot Flash off 2.5
Shot to Shot Flash on 2.4

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 512MB SanDisk Extreme (aka Ultra II) SD card. . Shutter speed was kept above 1/200 sec during these tests.

Continuous drive mode

In burst mode the Z2 does not show a review image for each frame taken, but the live preview continues to work between frames. There is a 'progressive' mode that allows you to hold your finger down and shoot at 2fps indefinitely, but only saves the final five frames in the burst when you release the shutter button.

Image Type
Mode
Avg. frames
per sec
Frames in a burst *1
After
burst
*2
2272 x 1704 JPEG Fine Continuous 2 fps 5 0.45 fps
2272 x 1704 JPEG Standard Continuous 2 fps 5 0.45 fps
1600 x 1200 JPEG Fine Continuous 2 fps 5 0.45 fps
1280 x 960 JPEG Fine Continuous 2 fps 5 0.45 fps
1280 x 960 JPEG Fine UHS ~10 fps 15 stalls for 27 secs

*1 In a single "burst" (finger held down on shutter release).
*2 There is always a delay of about 4.3 seconds after the initial 5 frame burst. The camera will then continue to take pictures at a rate of around one every 2.2 seconds indefinitely. The buffer takes up to 25 seconds to completely clear at the highest quality setting.

Not a bad performance at all, though by no means class-leading. For short bursts (up to the 5 frame maximum) the Z2 is excellent, though not quite up to the 2.5fps the manual claims. The buffer is not particularly fast to clear once you have filled it with five frames - we recorded times of around 20 seconds (without taking any more pictures) before the buffer completely cleared and another 5 frame burst could be taken at the full 2fps speed.

A second ultra high speed drive mode is also offered. This mode (which only works at 1280x960 image size) offers capture rates of up to 10 frames per second, with a maximum burst of 15 frames.

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 went out. This means the timings also include the camera's processing time and as such are more representative of the actual time to "complete the task". The media used for these tests was a 512MB SanDisk Extreme (aka Ultra II) SD card. .

Image Type
Time to store
(secs)

Time to display
(secs)

File size *1
(approx.)
Images on a *2
512MB Card
2272 x 1704 JPEG Fine 2.5 ~1.4 1,250 KB 253
2272 x 1704 JPEG Standard 2.2 ~1.3 640 KB 491
1600 x 1200 JPEG Fine 2.1 ~1.2 770 KB 480
1280 x 960 JPEG Fine 2.1 ~1.2 550 KB 754

*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.

With write times averaging around 2.5 seconds for a 4MP Fine JPEG the Z2 is no slouch, though the transfer rate - approximately 500KB/s - is hardly stretching the capabilities of the Sandisk card (quoted write speed: 9MB/s), nor does it compare that well with some of its speedier competitors.

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