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Timings & File Sizes

Anyone how has used the DiMAGE 7 is going to find the 7i much faster. Indeed it looks like Minolta has spent a lot of time improving the overall performance of the camera. Startup times are approximately one second faster, notably startup time with a Microdrive has improved considerably.

Most noticeable when you're shooting are the obvious improvements to the 7i's AF system, focus locks at wide angle now seldom take longer than one second and things aren't much slower at telephoto. This is a considerable improvement over the DiMAGE 7. There are other improvements in the use of the cameras buffer which have improved shot to shot and total lag times. Overall the DiMAGE 7i is a fast and responsive camera which will almost never keep you waiting, it is notably quicker than the DiMAGE 7.

Timing Notes: 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. 2.0 MB per image).

The media used for these tests were:

  • 16 MB SanDisk Type I Compact Flash card (as supplied)
  • 512 MB Viking Type I Compact Flash card
  • 1 GB IBM Microdrive Type II Compact Flash card
Legend for CF card timings
  Noticeably quicker
  Noticeably slower

Action Details Time, seconds
(Supplied CF)
Time, seconds
(Viking CF)
Time, seconds
(Microdrive)
Power: Off to Record   2.5 2.5 2.3
Power: Off to Play *1 Accessing n/a n/a 2.5
Power: Off to Play *1 Displayed 3.1 2.5 5.9
Power: Record to Off *2   2.5 2.5 2.5
Power: Play to Off   2.2 2.2 2.3
Mode: Record to Play   2.1 1.5 3.0
Mode: Play to Record   1.4 1.3 1.4
Play: Magnify to x2.0   5.1 3.5 5.1
Rec: Thumbnail view 3 x 3   1.1 0.9 1.0

Action Details Time, seconds
(average)
Auto Focus LAG *4 Full wide angle (28 mm equiv.) 0.9 *3
Auto Focus LAG *4 Full telephoto (200 mm equiv.) 1.1 *3
Shutter Release LAG *5 Using LCD monitor / EVF 0.1
Total LAG *6 Lens @ 50 mm equiv. 0.8 - 1.2
Off to Shot Taken Media: 512 MB Viking CF card 3.0
Off to Shot Taken Media: 1 GB IBM Microdrive 5.4
Shot to Shot Instant playback enabled 1.5
Shot to Shot Instant playback disabled 1.4

*1 First timing is the time (from OFF) before "Accessing files..." is shown the LCD. Second timing is the time (from OFF) before the first image is displayed.
*2 No images remaining in internal buffer. Timer is stopped when top LCD display disappears.
*3 Add approximately 0.5 seconds in lower light.
*4 Auto Focus LAG is (roughly) the amount of time it takes the camera to autofocus (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.
*5 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.
*6 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.


Continuous modes

The table below shows 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 the 512 MB Viking CF card.

Standard Continuous drive mode

Standard continuous drive mode shoots as quickly as the camera can respond, between each shot the LCD/EVF live view returns momentarily before the next shot is taken. RAW and TIFF (Super-Fine) modes are not available when continuous drive mode is selected.

Image Type Frames per sec Frames in one burst *1

Wait before
next shot
*2

2560 x 1920 FINE 3.0 fps 3 6.8 secs
2560 x 1920 STANDARD 2.5 fps 4 3.7 secs
2560 x 1920 ECONOMY 2.4 fps 5 2.6 secs
1600 x 1200 STANDARD 1.4 fps 15 1.6 secs
1280 x 960 STANDARD 1.4 fps 37 1.6 secs

UHS Continuous drive mode

UHS Continuous drive mode appears to use the CCD's ability to capture images using an 'electronic shutter'. That is you do not hear the mechanical shutter opening and closing during the burst of shots. After capturing a burst of shots the LCD screen goes blank while images are stored. UHS mode does capture very quickly and also provides the ability to turn the captured sequence into a movie file instead of separate JPEG images.

Image Type Frames per sec Frames in one burst *1

Wait before
next shot
*2

1280 x 960 FINE 8.0 fps 9 11.8
1280 x 960 STANDARD 7.6 fps 17 12.8
1280 x 960 ECONOMY 7.5 fps 25 14.0

*1 In a single "burst" (finger held down on shutter release), exact number of frames may vary depending on size of JPEG file (detail in the image).
*2 You can take a frame as soon as there is space in the cameras internal buffer (writing continues "in the background").


File Flush Timing

Timings shown below are the time taken for the camera to process and "flush" the image out to the Compact Flash card, the timer was started as soon as the shutter release was pressed (shutter click was heard) and stopped when activity indicator LED beside the storage compartment went out. This means the timings also include the cameras processing time and as such are more representative of the actual time to "complete the task".

The media used for these tests were:

  • 16 MB SanDisk Type I Compact Flash card (as supplied)
  • 512 MB Viking Type I Compact Flash card
  • 1 GB IBM Microdrive Type II Compact Flash card
Image Type Time to store *1
(seconds)
Supplied CF Viking CF Microdrive
2560 x 1920 S.FINE TIFF 35.9 15.6 18.8
2560 x 1920 RAW 25.4 11.8 14.8
2560 x 1920 FINE 11.2 6.0 10.8
2560 x 1920 STANDARD 7.6 4.7 9.2
2560 x 1920 ECONOMY 6.5 4.3 9.2
1600 x 1200 FINE 6.8 4.4 8.8
1280 x 960 FINE 6.2 4.1 8.3
640 x 480 FINE 4.8 3.5 8.0

*1 This is the amount of time it takes to write a single image away, it is taken from the moment of shutter release to the activity indicator LED beside the storage compartment going out. RAW and TIFF modes both blank the LCD/EVF during this time and no more shots can be taken until this time has elapsed.

It's fairly clear to see that the supplied SanDisk card is a pretty poor performer, outpaced by an 'affordable brand' card like the Viking. The Microdrive does better with large files and less well if you take lots and lots of small images. Still, Microdrive performance should be acceptable enough for those who plan to shoot a lot of RAW files.


File Sizes

Here's a comparison of the average byte size of each of different image size / quality combinations.

Image Size Quality Image format File size
(~ = approx.)
No. on supplied 16 MB CF Card No. on
1 GB Microdrive
2560 x 1920 S. FINE TIFF 14,438 KB 1 72
2560 x 1920 RAW MRW 9,704 KB 1 107
2560 x 1920 FINE JPEG ~1,900 KB 7 520
2560 x 1920 STANDARD JPEG ~900 KB 14 994
2560 x 1920 ECONOMY JPEG ~530 KB 21 1,491
1600 x 1200 FINE JPEG ~780 KB 17 1,207
1280 x 960 FINE JPEG ~500 KB 27 1,917
640 x 480 FINE JPEG ~190 KB 76 5,396

* 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.


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

All batteries had been 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

What a big difference. The DiMAGE 7i managed to last over twice as long as its predecessor, Minolta has clearly taken the power usage issue very seriously and have resolved the problem. Battery life is now in line with the average for a camera which uses AA NiMH batteries.

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