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Timings & File Sizes

As you will clearly see from the timings below the D100 is one of the fastest digital SLR's we've had the pleasure to test. Power on is instant no matter what media used, indeed the camera hints that it will always be ready because of its always visible top panel remaining frame counter. Other functions are equally quick, review images appear in a second or so, browsing images is instant and entering magnify mode takes not more than two seconds (unless you try to magnify a RAW file). Remarkable considering the amount of data being shunted around the onboard circuitry.

Timing Notes: All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 3008 x 2000 Large / Fine JPEG image (approx. 2,500 KB per image).

The media used for these tests were:

  • 512 MB SimpleTech Type II Compact Flash card
  • 512 MB Lexar 16x Pro Type I Compact Flash card
  • 1 GB IBM Microdrive Type II Compact Flash card
Action Details Time, seconds
(SimpleTech CF)
Time, seconds
(Lexar 16x CF)
Time, seconds
(Microdrive)
Power: Off to On   <0.1 <0.1 <0.1
Power: On to Off *1   <0.1 <0.1 <0.1
Record: Review *2 JPEG 1.2 1.2 1.3
Record: Review *2 RAW 2.3 2.3 3.2
Play: Image to Image *3 JPEG <0.5 <0.5 0.5
Play: Image to Image *3 RAW <0.5 <0.5 0.7
Play: Thumbnail view 3 x 3   1.6 1.3 1.9
Play: Magnify mode *4 JPEG 2.1 2.1 2.7
Play: Magnify mode *4 RAW 5.2 5.2 6.1

*1 Assuming all buffered images have been written out to storage card, otherwise camera will remain 'on' until images have been written away.
*2 Time taken from the shutter release being pressed to the review image being displayed on the LCD monitor. If you have histogram display mode enabled the histogram is overlaid approximately half a second after the image is shown.
*3

This is the amount of time between each image, as you can see it is virtually instant. If you have histogram display mode enabled the histogram is overlaid approximately half a second after the image is shown.

*4 The D100 operates by having a separate 'magnify' mode, this is executed by pressing the ENTER button in play mode. Once in magnify mode you can magnify and scroll at will using a combination of the thumbnail icon button and the main or sub command dials.


Continuous drive mode

To test continuous mode the camera had the following settings: Manual Focus, Manual Exposure (1/350s, F3.5), ISO 400. It was soon discovered that no matter what image output setting the shooting rate was always 3.3 fps (+/-0.2 fps). So, instead of testing the shooting rate I instead measured three different parameters:

  • Number of frames - How many shots can be taken before the buffer fills
  • Next shot - How soon after a burst of shots you can take the next shot
  • Full write - How long a burst of shots takes to be processed and written to the CF

The media used for these tests was a 512 MB SimpleTech Type II Compact Flash card.

Image Number of frames Next shot *1 Full write *1
RAW 4 5.8 sec 26.8 sec
Large JPEG Fine 7 1.3 sec 16.1 sec
Large JPEG Normal 7 0.4 sec 11.8 sec
Medium JPEG Fine 7 0.6 sec 12.9 sec
Small JPEG Fine 8 0.7 sec 8.2 sec

*1 This is dependent on the speed of the CF card and size of the image (higher ISO = more noise = larger JPEG size), although these timings should be fairly typical.

The D100 has a parallel CF writing system, this ensures that when there are images in the internal buffer they are being written out to the CF card no matter what the camera is doing. This is a better approach than the EOS-D60 which unfortunately pauses buffer writing while the shutter release is half or fully depressed. As long as their is space in the buffer the camera will take the next shot, you do not need to re-depress the shutter release.

Because of this the camera nearly always manages to get at least one image written out while you're taking a burst, this meant that in our tests the camera achieved one more than its specified burst buffer ability (3 for RAW, 6 for JPEG). Indeed for Small Fine JPEG files the camera was able to write two images away and thus achieved 8 frames in a burst.


File Flush Timing

Timings shown below are the time taken for the camera to process and "flush" the image out to the storage media. The D100 continues to process images in the buffer and write data out to the storage media in parallel to you composing (and taking) the next shot. During the write process the following menu options / settings can not be modified: Bank Select, Image Quality, Resolution.

The media used for these tests were:

  • 512 MB SimpleTech Type II Compact Flash card
  • 512 MB Lexar 16x Pro Type I Compact Flash card
  • 1 GB IBM Microdrive Type II Compact Flash card
Store image Time, secs
(SimpleTech)
Time, secs
(Lexar 16x)
Time, secs
(Microdrive)
Approx.
File size
Approx. 512 MB card
3008 x 2000 RAW 6.6 6.3 8.1 9.5 MB 51
3008 x 2000 RAW comp. 40.3 40.8 42.5 4.5 MB 102
3008 x 2000 TIFF 29.7 29.5 29.2 17.3 MB 28
3008 x 2000 Fine 3.5 3.6 4.1 2.5 MB 151
3008 x 2000 Normal 2.3 2.6 3.7 1.4 MB 297
2240 x 1488 Fine 3.2 3.4 4.3 1.5 MB 269
1504 x 1000 Fine 1.6 1.6 2.2 0.7 MB 571

*1 Timer was started as soon as the storage compartment light came on and stopped when this light went off. This was seen as the actual recording time.

As you can see you pay a large time penalty when using compressed RAW mode, over forty seconds per image. JPEG write figures are around one second slower than Canon's EOS-D60 which took just 2.2 seconds to store a 2.5 MB 3072 x 2048 Fine JPEG.


Battery life

The D100's EN-EL3 1400 mAh battery pack provides plenty of stamina, this relatively small and light battery goes on and on from just a single charge. It's clear that the use of this small high powered battery pack has helped Nikon keep down the overall size of the D100.

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