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Timings & File Sizes

It's pretty clear to see what a big improvement in performance the D200 is over the D100, with completely instant power on times, fast record review and virtually instant in-use (menus, playback etc.) Indeed for many of our metrics the D200 is just as fast as the D2X, and from that point of view will appeal to professionals. Continuous shooting was equally impressive, with a very useful five frames per second shooting speed and a large internal buffer. Finally media write speeds are as fast as we have seen from any other camera.

Timing Notes: All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 3872 x 2592 JPEG Fine (approx. 4,400 KB per image).

The media used for these tests were:

  • 1 GB SanDisk Extreme III CF card
  • 1 GB Lexar Pro 133x CF card
  • 8 GB SanDisk Ultra II CF card
Action
Details
Time, secs
(1 GB SanDisk)
Time, secs
(1 GB Lexar)
Time, secs
(8 GB SanDisk)
Power Off to On   0.0 0.0 0.0
Power Off to Shot   0.0 0.0 0.0
Sleep to On   0.0 0.0 0.0
Power On to Off   0.2 0.2 0.2
Record Review *1
RAW
1.5 1.5 1.5
Record Review *1
JPEG
1.3 1.3 1.3
Play
RAW
0.5 0.5 0.5
Play
JPEG
0.5 0.5 0.5
Play Image to Image
RAW
<0.2 <0.2 <0.2
Play Image to Image
JPEG
<0.2 <0.2 <0.2

*1 Time taken from the shutter release being pressed to the review image being displayed on the LCD monitor.

Continuous Drive mode

To test continuous mode the camera had the following settings: Manual Focus, Manual Exposure (1/400 sec, F5.6), ISO 200. Contiunuous shooting mode CH used (maximum speed). Measurements were taken from audio recordings of the tests. Media used were the same as above.

Next burst (r25 / r21 indicated)

The D200 uses its buffer memory for both data straight from the sensor as well as storing processed files not yet written to the storage card. Hence a JPEG image is first buffered as RAW (unprocessed) data from the sensor, processed and converted to JPEG file, placed back in the buffer (with the RAW then removed). All of this happens in parallel to the rest of camera operation, this means that in some circumstances there is enough buffer space for a complete burst even though the camera is still writing converted files to the storage card. This exact point is indicated by 'r25' (in JPEG) or 'r21' (in RAW) on the viewfinder LCD and top panel LCD.

The tests carried out below measured the following results for JPEG and RAW:

  • Frame rate - Initial frame rate, this was always 5.1 fps (+/- 0.02 fps)
  • Number of frames - Number of frames in a burst
  • Buffer full rate - Frame rate if shutter release held down after burst (buffer full)
  • Next burst - How long after the last shot before buffer space is indicated as 'r25 or r21'
  • Write complete - How long after the last shot before the CF compartment light goes out

Burst of JPEG Large/Fine images

Timing
1 GB SanDisk
Extreme III CF
1 GB Lexar
Pro 133x CF
8 GB SanDisk
Ultra II CF
Frame rate 5.1 fps 5.1 fps 5.1 fps
Number of frames 39 41 33
Buffer full rate 1.8 fps 1.9 fps 0.7 fps (1.4 fps)
Next burst (r25 indicated) 14.1 sec 12.6 sec 33.0 sec
Write complete 16.2 sec 14.5 sec 38.5 sec

Burst of RAW images

Timing
1 GB SanDisk
Extreme III CF
1 GB Lexar
Pro 133x CF
8 GB SanDisk
Ultra II CF
Frame rate 5.1 fps 5.1 fps 5.1 fps
Number of frames 22 22 21
Buffer full rate 0.5 fps (1.9 sec) 0.5 fps (1.9 sec) 0.3 fps (3.2 sec)
Next burst (r21 indicated) 38.9 sec 38.8 sec 64.0 sec
Write complete 38.9 sec 38.8 sec 64.0 sec

With a high speed card the D200 out-performs its specified maximum number of frames, managing around 40 frames in JPEG mode before slowing. The overall performance is very impressive, up to five frames per second shooting with a large buffer capable of storing around 30 JPEG or 20 RAW files.

File Flush Timing

Timings shown below are the time taken for the camera to "process and flush" the image to the storage card. Timing was taken from the instant the shutter release was pressed to the time the storage card activity indicator beside the storage compartment went out. The D200 takes between one and two seconds to 'process' the image after the shutter release is pressed (as noted below). Writing continues 'in the background' and doesn't affect any camera function. Media used were the same as above. JPEG Compression set to 'Size Priority'.

Image type
Processing time *2
Time, secs
(1 GB San)
Time, secs
(1 GB Lex)
Time, secs
(8 GB San)
Approx.
size
*1
RAW + 3872 [L] JPEG 1.9 4.5 4.5 6.3 20,505 KB
RAW 1.5 3.4 3.4 4.8 16,105 KB
3872 [L] JPEG Fine 1.4 2.1 2.0 2.8 4,400 KB
3872 [L] JPEG Normal 1.4 1.8 1.8 2.6 2,580 KB
2896 [M] JPEG Fine 1.2 1.6 1.6 2.3 2,580 KB

*1 File size for RAW+JPEG is the size of the RAW and JPEG files added together.
*2 The D200 begins writing between one and two seconds after the shutter release is pressed so you must subtract 'procesing time' from the timing to get the actual write time.

The two high performance FAT format cards (the 1 GB SanDisk Extreme III and 1 GB Lexar Pro 133x) both performed fairly similarly with the Lexar showing just a slight edge. The much larger FAT32 card (the 8 GB SanDisk Ultra II) proved to be slower, as we would expect, but even so still usable in all but the most demanding situations. Generally speaking you shouldn't expect the full "process and write" to take more than five seconds and of course all of this happens in the background.

As you can see from the graphs below the D200 gets fairly close to each cards maximum performance (in RAW mode), an extremely impressive performance.

Card performance: JPEG Fine continuous burst write

Card Nikon D200 write speed (JPEG Large / Fine)
1 GB SanDisk Extreme III 6,890 KB/sec
1 GB Lexar Pro 133x 7,285 KB/sec
8 GB SanDisk Ultra II 3,218 KB/sec

Card performance: RAW continuous burst write

Card Nikon D200 write speed (RAW files)
1 GB SanDisk Extreme III 8,557 KB/sec
1 GB Lexar Pro 133x 8,498 KB/sec
8 GB SanDisk Ultra II 4,902 KB/sec

Cardbus 32-bit Adapter benchmark

Card Cardbus 32-bit Adapter, write speed (RAW files)
1 GB SanDisk Extreme III 9,368 KB/sec
1 GB Lexar Pro 133x 9,043 KB/sec
8 GB SanDisk Ultra II 4,692 KB/sec

USB transfer speed

To test the D200's USB transfer speed we used sixteen standard images (eight RAW, eight JPEG) totaling 109 MB and transferred them from a SanDisk Extreme III 1 GB CF card via four different methods. The D200 turned in a very impressive performance, over 30% faster than a standard USB 2.0 card reader and almost twice as fast as Canon's EOS 5D (which is crippled by a lack of a mass storage device support).

Method Time taken Transfer rate
USB 2.0 Card reader 31.9 sec 3.4 MB/sec
Nikon D200 USB 2.0 20.6 sec 5.3 MB/sec
Lexar Pro Firewire Card reader 11.3 sec 9.6 MB/sec
CardBus 32 PCMCIA adapter 10.3 sec 10.6 MB/sec

Battery life

The D200 uses a slightly upgraded version of the battery utilized by the D100/D70/D70s/D50, the EN-EL3e Lithium-Ion has a capacity of 1500 mAh at 7.4 V (11.1 Wh). Just like the much larger EN-EL4 Lithium-Ion used in the D2X this new 'e' suffixed battery communicates a variety of information back to the camera including current charge status and battery life (based on number of recharges carried out). We had no issues with battery life on the D200 and found the more detailed readout of current charge status very useful.

These two battery life tests are from the Nikon D200 manual (reproduced with permission):

Example 1: 1800 shots
Zoom Nikkor AF-S VR 70-200 mm F2.8G IF ED lens (VR off); continuous shooting mode; continuous-servo autofocus; image quality set to JPEG Basic; image size set to M; shutter speed 1/240 sec; shutter-release pressed halfway for three seconds and focus cycled from infinity to minimum range three times with each shot; after six shots, monitor turned on for five seconds and then turned off; cycle repeated once exposure meters have turned off.

Example 2: 340 shots
Zoom Nikkor AF-S VR 24-120 mm F3.5-5.6G IF ED lens (VR off); single-frame shooting mode; single-servo autofocus; image quality set to JPEG Normal; image size set to L; shutter speed 1/250 sec; shutter-release pressed halfway for five seconds and focus cycled from infinity to minimum range once with each shot; built-in Speedlight fired at full power with every other shot; AF-assist illuminator lights when Speedlight is used; cycle repeated once exposure meters have turned off; camera turned off for one minute with every ten shots.

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Comments

CagomoC
By CagomoC (3 weeks ago)

Two of awesome creative machines that I still use. I'll never give them up. I haven't reached 20,000 shutter counts yet! had these babies since 2006.

Comment edited 48 seconds after posting
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