Timing & Performance
Overall the Z5 feels very responsive in use (something all the Z series cameras have been noted for), with focus very fast indeed (though in our shoot-out it failed to beat the Panasonic FZ5 in High Speed focus mode). Power up is a little leisurely at just under two and a half seconds, but our only serious complaint is that the focus can take a really long time to find its mark in low light or when the subject is too low contrast, especially at the wide end of the zoom.
All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 2560 x 1920 Fine JPEG image (approx. 1,965 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 512MB SanDisk Extreme (aka Ultra II) SD card.
|Power: Off to Record||2.4|
|Power: Off to Play||Image displayed||2.9|
|Power: Record to Off||All activity ceased||4.5|
|Power: Play to Off||When buffer is empty||3.5|
|Record Review||Image displayed||1.5|
|Mode: Record to Play||2.1|
|Mode: Play to Record||~1.2|
|Play: Magnify||To full magnification (4x)||~2.8 *1|
|Play: Image to Image||Time to display each saved image||<0.1|
|Play: Thumbnail view||2 x 3 thumbnails||~0.8|
|Zoom from Wide to Tele||35 to 420 mm (12 x)||1.5|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Wide angle||~0.2 *2|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Telephoto||~0.3 - 0.6 *2|
|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||~ 0.35|
|Off to Shot Taken||LCD live view||2.9|
|Shot to Shot||Flash off||2.4|
|Shot to Shot||Flash on (red-eye reduction off)||2.4|
|Shot to Shot||Flash on (red-eye reduction on)||3.7|
|*1||The Z5 uses caching in playback mode, so this figure is for the first time you magnify - it reduces to about 2.8 secs the next time you magnify.|
|*2||Measurements taken in continuous AF mode. The focus speed at telephoto is excellent as long as the camera finds the subject first time. When it hunts (maybe 30% of the time) the time taken stretches to 0.6 seconds or longer (sometimes taking over 1.5 seconds).|
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 512MB SanDisk Extreme (aka Ultra II) SD card. Shutter speed was kept above 1/200 sec during these tests.
Continuous drive mode
The Z5 has three burst modes; Continuous (around 2fps) and ultra-high speed, which offers an amazing 10.5 frames per second for 20 shots (though resolution is fixed at 1024x768 pixels). Finally there is a 'progressive' mode that allows you to hold your finger down and shoot at 10.5 fps, indefinitely, but only saves the final 20 frames in the burst when you release the shutter button. Again, image size is fixed at 1024 x 768 pixels.
Frames in a burst *1
|2560 x 1920 JPEG Fine||Continuous||2 fps||3 *2||0.9 fps|
|2560 x 1920 JPEG Standard||Continuous||1.7 fps||unlimited||N/A|
|2560 x 1920 JPEG Economy||Continuous||2.2 fps||unlimited||N/A|
|2048 x 1536 JPEG Fine||Continuous||2.1 fps||unlimited||N/A|
|1600 x 1200 JPEG Fine||Continuous||2 fps||unlimited||N/A|
|1024 x 768 JPEG Fine||Ultra High Speed||~10.5 fps||20||stalls for ~ 6 secs|
|1024 x 768 JPEG Fine||Progessive||~10.5 fps||20||stalls for ~ 6 secs|
|*1||In a single "burst" (finger held down on shutter release).|
|*2||It is possible to continue shooting with the finger held down at around 0.9 frames per second. If you want to keep the 2 fps performance you have to wait around 3.3 seconds after the initial burst whilst the buffer clears.|
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.
Time to store
File size *1
Images on a *2
|2560 x 1920 JPEG Fine||~ 3.2||~0.1||1,965 KB||190|
|2560 x 1920 JPEG Standard||~ 2.8||~0.1||1,000 KB||363|
|2560 x 1920 JPEG Economy||~ 2.6||~0.1||670 KB||659|
|2048 x 1536 JPEG Fine||~ 2.7||~0.1||1,261 KB||288|
|1600 x 1200 JPEG Fine||~ 1.9||~0.1||881 KB||449|
|*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).|
With write times averaging around 3.2 seconds for a 5MP Fine JPEG the Z5 is no slouch, though the transfer rate - approximately 615KB/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.