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Timings & File Sizes

Timing Notes: All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 2048 x 1536 JPEG image @ HQ quality (around 750KB per image).

File Size Notes: 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.

When the C-3030Z replays an image it displays the Image details first (filename, date & time) then displays the photo a few seconds later, this can be interrupted by pressing the jog dial left or right. This operation is different than most digital cameras which display a rough thumbnail first (preferable).

Symbols: ~ = roughly / approximately.

Action Time taken
(seconds)
Notes
OFF to Record (P) 5.5 Lens extension takes 2.2 seconds
OFF to Play 2.5 Image details displayed (no photo)
Record (P) to OFF 5.0 Lens retraction takes 2.2 seconds
Record (P) to Play 1.2 Image details displayed (no photo)
Play to Record (P) (lens extended) 1.5  
Play to Record (P) (lens not extended) 5.5 Lens extension takes 2.2 seconds
Play: Image to Image (HQ JPEG) 2.0  
Play: Image to Image (SHQ JPEG) 3.8  
Play: Image to Image (TIFF) 31.2  
Play: INDEX thumbnail view 0.9 Full page of 9 thumbnails displayed
Play: Zoom-in <1.0 Almost instant
Auto Focus LAG 0.5 - 1.0 Dependent on focus subject *
Auto Focus LAG (Full-time AF) 0.5 - 1.0 Dependent on focus subject *
Shutter Release LAG 0.05 - 0.1 Very fast *
Total LAG ~1.1 No pre-focus, one complete press *
Total LAG (Full-time AF) ~1.1 No pre-focus, one complete press *

As you can see startup and shutdown times are affected by the 2.2 seconds taken extending or retracting the lens. If the lens were fixed we'd be up and running in 3.3 seconds (in theory).

* LAG times are often misunderstood and so are described below:

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.

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.

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 would take if you were in one of those spur-of-the-moment situations. This timing is an average.

File Flush Timing

Timings shown below are the time taken for the camera to "flush" the image out to the SmatMedia card (when the SmartMedia activity light goes out). The C-3030Z continues to write data out from the internal buffer to the SmartMedia card in parallel to your shooting the next shot.

This is a significant improvement over what normally happens on a digital camera. For example the 990 seems to depend on the same processor to write data out to the CF card, thus it can get tied up writing data not allowing you to shoot.

The table below defines the maximum number of shots which can be taken in a row before the camera makes you wait (measured as "wait before restarting") for space to become available in the internal buffer. Camera settings: Manual Focus (to remove any focus delays), No Image Review.

Size / Resolution
 
Maximum shots in a sequence Wait before restarting
2048 x 1536 HQ 29 3 secs
2048 x 1536 SHQ 11 6 secs
2048 x 1536 TIFF 1 10 secs

I have to say the above results are particularly impressive, and they're what makes the C-3030Z feel fast because you're never waiting for the camera to write out data (something which plagues other digital cameras). Even when the buffer is full you only have to wait for there to be enough space to take the next shot, the 990 makes you wait until all data has been flushed (tsk tsk!).

The estimated number of images per 16 MB SmartMedia card is given as a guide to beginners (as that's what's bundled with the camera - differs with region).

Action Time taken
(seconds)
Average
File size
Images on a
16 MB SM card
Store 2048 x 1536 TIFF 30.3 9,231 KB 1
Store 2048 x 1536 SHQ 5.6 ~ 2,048 KB 6
Store 2048 x 1536 HQ 2.7 ~750 KB 20
Store 1600 x 1200 TIFF 18.4 5,640 KB 2
Store 1600 x 1200 HIGH (SQ1) 3.5 ~ 1,024 KB 11
Store 1600 x 1200 NORM (SQ1) 2.8 ~ 400 KB 31
Store 1280 x 960 TIFF 12.0 3,615 KB 4
Store 1280 x 960 HIGH (SQ1) 2.8 ~ 770 KB 17
Store 1280 x 960 NORM (SQ1) 1.8 ~ 470 KB 49
Store 1024 x 768 TIFF 8.2 2,319 KB 6
Store 1024 x 768 HIGH (SQ2) 2.3 ~ 470 KB 26
Store 1024 x 768 NORM (SQ2) 1.8 ~ 240 KB 76
Store 640 x 480 TIFF 3.9 915 KB 17
Store 640 x 480 HIGH (SQ2) 1.8 ~ 240 KB 66
Store 640 x 480 NORM (SQ2) 1.5 ~ 60 KB 165


Continuous / Movie Modes

The C-3030Z features two continuous shooting modes plus Movie mode. Under test conditions they equated to:

Continuous Mode Frame Size File Quality Approx. frames
per sec (LCD on)
Approx. frames
per sec (LCD off)
Max no. of frames
Sequence* 2048 x 1536 HQ 3.9 fps 3.9 fps 5
Sequence AF* 2048 x 1536 HQ 0.8 fps 0.8 fps 5
Sequence ** 1024 x 768 SQ2 NORM 4.1 fps 4.1 fps 5
Sequence AF ** 1024 x 768 SQ2 NORM 0.8 fps 0.8 fps 5
Sequence ** 640 x 480 SQ2 NORM 4.1 fps 4.1 fps 5
Sequence AF ** 640 x 480 SQ2 NORM 0.8 fps 0.8 fps 5
Movie 320 x 240 MOV 15.0 fps n/a n/a

* Shot with HQ quality
** Shot with SQ2 NORMAL quality

The Conclusion here is that because the C-3030Z sizes the images after they've been shot reducing resolution and / or quality doesn't affect the maximum number of frames or frame rate. For all sizes and qualities you'll get around 3.9 fps, however this also means that you can't shoot more than 5 shots in any one burst.


Battery life

Battery life on the C-3030Z appears to be very good with a good set of NiMH batteries. I did not test the supplied Olympus Lithium batteries because it appeared they had been used and so wouldn't provide a full life of battery.

I used the C-3030Z with 1300mAh GP NiMH's and could shoot for 3-4 hours (around 80 shots) turning the LCD off between shots before the batteries died. I think it's a real pity that Olympus have not shipped the C-3030Z with the charger and NiMH's seen on the C-2020Z. Now owners will have to source decent batteries and chargers themselves (not always an obvious task for someone new to digital cameras).

One VERY annoying problem with the camera is (as is stated in the manual) if you leave the camera without a set of batteries for more than one hour it loses its settings. Having to leave batteries in the camera simply to keep the settings and internal clock running is pretty sad these days.

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