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Timing & Performance

The Digilux 2 is a very recent five megapixel digital camera and that its priced at the very highest end of the prosumer market and so naturally we will have very high performance expectations. Compared to last years five megapixel digital cameras the Digilux 2 does perform quite well, most notably with short startup (although considering no extending lens it could have been even better) and good shot to shot times. Auto focus and off to shot take times were average, nothing spectacular. The biggest disappointment however must be the supplied 64 MB SD card which really does cause a bottleneck in performance because of its very slow read and write times.

Timing Notes

All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a (2560 x 1920) Fine quality JPEG image (approx. 2,000 KB).

Media used for these tests:

  • 64 MB Leica SD card (as supplied)
  • 512 MB SanDisk Ultra II SD card
Action Details Time, secs
(Leica)
Time, secs
(SanDisk Ultra)
Power: Off to Record Live view appears 1.8 1.8
Power: Off to Play Image displayed 3.2 2.5
Power: Record to Off   1.9 1.9
Power: Play to Off   1.9 1.9
Record Review Image displayed 1.3 1.3
Mode: Record to Play Depends on image file size 2.3 1.4
Mode: Record to Review Depends on image file size 2.2 1.3
Mode: Play to Record   0.8 0.8
Play: Magnify To initial magnification <0.1 <0.1
Play: Thumbnail view 3 x 3 thumbnails 1.6 1.2

Action Details Time, seconds
Half-press Lag (0->S1) Wide angle 0.8 - 1.4
Half-press Lag (0->S1) Telephoto 0.8 - 2.0
Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2) Wide angle (LCD / EVF) 0.2
Full-press Lag (0->S2) Wide angle 0.9
Off to Shot Taken Wide angle 3.8
Shot to Shot Wide angle, Record Review 1.6
Shot to Shot Wide angle, No Review 1.6

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. Note that continuous shooting is not available for RAW image format.

Media used for these tests:

  • 64 MB Leica SD card (as supplied)
  • 512 MB SanDisk Ultra II SD card

High speed continuous mode

Image Type Avg. frames
per sec
Frames in one
burst
Next shot (Leica) Next shot (SanDisk)
2560 x 1920 Super-Fine JPEG 2.7 fps 3 14.4 sec 2.6 sec
2560 x 1920 Fine JPEG 2.7 fps 5 11.6 sec 2.2 sec
2560 x 1920 Standard JPEG 2.7 fps 9 9.9 sec 2.2 sec
1600 x 1200 Super-Fine JPEG 2.7 fps 8 15.7 sec 2.3 sec
1600 x 1200 Fine JPEG 2.7 fps 15 17.4 sec 2.0 sec

Low speed continuous mode

Image Type Avg. frames
per sec
Frames in one
burst
Next shot (Leica) Next shot (SanDisk)
2560 x 1920 Super-Fine JPEG 1.0 fps 3 12.1 sec 2.5 sec
2560 x 1920 Fine JPEG 1.0 fps 5 10.3 sec 2.0 sec
2560 x 1920 Standard JPEG 1.0 fps 9 7.5 sec 2.0 sec
1600 x 1200 Super-Fine JPEG 1.0 fps 8 7.2 sec 2.2 sec
1600 x 1200 Fine JPEG 1.0 fps 15 3.9 sec 2.1 sec

The Digilux 2's continuous shooting frame rate was exactly as specified, 2.7 fps in High speed mode and 1.0 fps in Low speed mode. The number of frames in one burst was also consistent no matter what storage media was used, personally I consider the camera's buffer to be on the small size, this camera could really do with about twice the buffer space. The biggest difference in performance was noted in the time to next shot between the supplied Leica SD card and the SanDisk Ultra II card, a rather astounding speed improvement from the SanDisk.


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 on the LCD monitor disappeared. This means the timings also include the cameras processing time and as such are more representative of the actual time to "complete the task".

Media used for these tests:

  • 64 MB Leica SD card (as supplied)
  • 512 MB SanDisk Ultra II SD card

Write speed / Sizes

Image Type Time, secs (Leica) *1 Time, secs
(SanDisk)
*1
File size *2
(approx.)
On a 512 MB card
2560 x 1920 RAW 17.6 6.3 9,672 KB 38
2560 x 1920 Super-Fine JPEG 7.0 2.5 4,000 KB 103
2560 x 1920 Fine JPEG 4.5 2.2 2,000 KB 206
2560 x 1920 Standard JPEG 3.2 1.9 1,000 KB 332
1600 x 1200 Super-Fine JPEG 3.3 1.6 1,200 KB 801

Display speed

Image Type Time, secs
(Leica)
Time, secs
(SanDisk)
2560 x 1920 RAW 1.5 1.1
2560 x 1920 Super-Fine JPEG 3.5 1.6
2560 x 1920 Fine JPEG 2.2 1.3
2560 x 1920 Standard JPEG 1.6 1.0
1600 x 1200 Super-Fine JPEG 1.4 1.0

*1 Subtract 1.2 seconds for the actual SD write time.
*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 (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.

Leica really need to talk to SanDisk about bundling a decent SD card with their camera. As you can see from the figures above there's a massive difference in performance between the bundled 64 MB SD card and a quality SanDisk Ultra II SD card. Waiting seven seconds for a Super-Fine JPEG to write or even worse almost eighteen seconds for a RAW file simply isn't acceptable on a modern camera. A buffer capable of buffering multiple RAW images would also help.

Approximate write throughput (RAW | Super-Fine JPEG)

  • 64 MB Leica SD card (as supplied): 550 KB/sec | 570 KB/sec
  • 512 MB SanDisk Ultra II SD card: 1,535 KB/sec | 1,600 KB/sec


Low Light Auto Focus

This test is designed to measure the minimum amount of light under which the camera can still focus. The focus target is our lens distortion test chart (shown here on the right), camera is positioned exactly 2 m (6.6 ft) away.

Light levels are gradually dropped until the camera can no longer focus. This is carried out at both wide angle and telephoto zoom positions (as more light reaches the focusing systems with a larger aperture).

This test target is the optimum type of subject for most "contrast detect" AF systems (as it has a vertical line at its center), you should consider the results below the best you could expect to achieve.

Focal length Aperture
at focal len.
Lowest light focus Time to focus
from min.
Wide (28 mm equiv.) F2.0 0.3 EV 1.0 sec
Tele (90 mm equiv.) F2.4 0.3 EV 1.5 sec

Light intensity (Lux) = 2.5 x 2^EV (@ ISO 100), 10.76391 Lux = 1 foot-candle (fc)

Despite not having an AF assist lamp the Digilux 2 still managed to focus even in fairly dim conditions and did so without too much delay. It would of course have been preferable for Leica to fit a small lamp to the camera to provide AF even in complete darkness.


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

Batteries are 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

the Digilux 2 lasted an impressive five hours, this wasn't that surprising considering that the camera doesn't have a motorized zoom lens and the relatively high capacity of its Lithium-Ion battery. Overall however we can't help but be impressed, five hours of non-stop use is very good.

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