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Timings & File Sizes

The D50 is very fast, startup is as good as instant and the camera always feels ready to shoot, other user functions such as playback and the menu system are snappy and again never leave you waiting. In use it's pretty hard to distinguish a performance difference between the D50 and the D70, there are some subtle changes (continuous frame rate slower) but nothing that would be that noticeable.

Timing Notes: All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a Large (3008 x 2000) Fine JPEG image (approx. 2,300 KB per image).

The media used for this test were:

  • 512 MB Lexar 'Hi-Speed' SD card
  • 1 GB SanDisk Extreme III SD card
Action
Details
Time, secs
(Lexar 512 MB)
Time, secs
(SanDisk 1 GB)
Power Off to On *1   <0.1 <0.1
Power On to Off   <0.2 <0.2
Record Review *2
RAW
1.0 1.0
Record Review *2
JPEG
1.0 1.0
Play
RAW
~0.3 ~0.3
Play
JPEG
~0.3 ~0.3
Play Image to Image
RAW
~0.2 ~0.2
Play Image to Image
JPEG
~0.2 ~0.2

*1

This timing was taken from the moment the power switch was turned to on to the moment the camera took a shot (by holding down the shutter release from power on, manual focus).

*2 This is the amount of time between pressing the shutter release and the image being displayed on the LCD monitor.

Continuous Drive mode

To test continuous mode the camera had the following settings: Manual Focus, Manual Exposure (1/200 sec, F5.6), ISO 200. Measurements were taken from audio recordings of the tests.

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

  • Frame rate - Initial frame rate, this was always 2.5 fps (+/- 0.05 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 full burst - How soon after you can take another full burst

The media used for these tests were:

  • 512 MB Lexar 'Hi-Speed' SD card
  • 1 GB SanDisk Extreme III SD card

Burst of JPEG Fine images

Timing
512 MB Lexar SD
1 GB SanDisk SD
Frame rate 2.5 fps 2.5 fps
Number of frames 16 16
Buffer full rate 1.6 fps 1.6 fps
Next full burst 5.0 sec 5.0 sec

Burst of RAW images

Timing
512 MB Lexar SD
1 GB SanDisk SD
Frame rate 2.5 fps 2.5 fps
Number of frames 4 4
Buffer full rate 0.7 fps (1.4 sec) 0.7 fps (1.4 sec)
Next full burst 5.5 sec 5.4 sec

The D70 shoots at a rate of 2.9 fps for up to 12 images then slows to 2.4/2.2 fps. Although its continuous rate is slower the D50 puts in a pretty impressive performance, you can shoot continuously for six seconds (16 images) before the camera slows to a still usable 1.6 fps rate.

File Flush Timing

Timings shown below are the time taken for the camera to process and "flush" the image out to the storage card. Timing was taken from the instant the shutter release was pressed to the time the SD activity indicator beside the SD door went out. The D50 will begin writing images as soon as it can and continue to write 'in the background' while you take further shots / change settings. You cannot enter play mode while buffered images are being written to the storage card (the 'egg timer' icon is shown).

The media used for this test were:

  • 512 MB Lexar 'Hi-Speed' SD card
  • 1 GB SanDisk Extreme III SD card
Image type
Time, secs
(Lexar 512 MB)
Time, secs
(SanDisk 1 GB)
Approx.
size
3008 x 2000 RAW + JPEG Basic 2.8 2.7 6,000 KB
3008 x 2000 RAW 2.5 2.4 5,300 KB
3008 x 2000 (L) JPEG Fine 1.8 1.8 2,300 KB
3008 x 2000 (L) JPEG Normal 1.6 1.6 1,500 KB
2256 x 1496 (M) JPEG Fine 1.5 1.5 1,400 KB

*1 File size reported here is the size of the RAW and JPEG files added together.
*2 The D50 begins writing approximately 0.5 seconds after the shutter release is pressed so you must subtract 0.5 seconds from the above timings to get the actual write time.

The D50 puts in an almost identical performance to the D70, despite the switch in media type. This hints that write performance on this camera is more a function of image processing rather than actual interface throughput. Taking no longer than two seconds to write a full resolution JPEG is very fast and shouldn't cause any complaints among owners, it means there's virtually always space in the camera's large buffer for the next shot.

Card performance: High quality JPEG burst

Card Nikon D50, write speed (JPEG Large/Fine files)
512 MB Lexar 'Hi-Speed' SD 4,020 KB/sec
1 GB SanDisk Extreme III SD 4,091 KB/sec

Card performance: RAW burst

Card Nikon D50, write speed (RAW files)
512 MB Lexar 'Hi-Speed' SD 3,712 KB/sec
1 GB SanDisk Extreme III SD 3,746 KB/sec

Cardbus 32-bit adapter benchmark (Panasonic SD adapter)

Card Cardbus 32-bit Adapter, write speed (JPEG & RAW files)
512 MB Lexar 'Hi-Speed' SD 5,720 KB/sec
1 GB SanDisk Extreme III SD 9,735 KB/sec

The results above were produced by measuring the write time for a burst of shots, this gives a more accurate measurement of actual throughput.

Battery life

The D50 uses the same EN-EL3 Lithium-Ion battery as the D70, it has a capacity of 1400 mAh at 7.4 V (10.3 Wh) which in our experience of using the camera means hours of usage without even a low battery warning. Nikon state battery life as the following (taken with permission from the D50 manual):

Example 1: 2000 shots

AF-S DX ED 18–55 mm f/3.5–5.6G lens; continuous shooting mode; continuous-servo autofocus; image quality set to JPEG Basic; image size set to M; shutter speed 1/250 s; shutter-release pressed half way for three seconds and focus cycled from infinity to minimum range three times; after six shots, monitor turned on for five seconds and then turned off; cycle repeated once exposure meters have turned off.

Example 2: 400 shots

AF-S DX ED 18–55 mm f/3.5–5.6G lens; single-frame shooting mode; single-servo autofocus; image quality set to JPEG Normal; image size set to L; shutter speed 1/250 s; shutter-release pressed half way 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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