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Timings & File Sizes

It's clear that Olympus has put thought into those areas of the camera which normally produce a 'usability delay' and addressed them. This means that in use the camera feels snappy enough with good record review, playback and menu operation times. Our disappointments were in the startup time of around 1.6 seconds (mostly due we assume to the SSWF cleaning) and the additional shutter lag in 'B mode' live view caused by the mirror having to drop down again and then come back up (around 0.6 seconds) and the relatively small four frame buffer. Media write speeds (as with the E-500) were extremely impressive.

Timing Notes: All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 3136 x 2352 JPEG HQ 1/4 (approx. 3,600 KB per image) with live view (mode A) enabled.

The media used for these tests were:

  • 512 MB xD-Picture card
  • 1 GB SanDisk Extreme III CF card
  • 2 GB Lexar Pro 133x CF card
  • 4 GB SanDisk Ultra II CF card
Action
Time, secs
(512 MB xD)
Time, secs
(1 GB SanDisk)
Time, secs
(1 GB Lexar)
Time, secs
(4 GB SanDisk)
Power Off to On *1 1.6 1.5 1.5 1.7
Power Off to Shot *2 2.1 2.0 2.0 2.1
Sleep to On 1.4 1.4 1.4 1.4
Power On to Off ~0.0 ~0.0 ~0.0 ~0.0
Record Review RAW *3 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1
Record Review JPEG *3 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1
Play RAW 0.8 0.5 0.5 0.5
Play JPEG 0.8 0.5 0.5 0.5
Image to Image RAW 0.4 0.2 0.2 0.3
Image to Image JPEG 0.4 0.2 0.2 0.3

*1 With the start-up animation disabled. Time from on to live view (mode A) displayed.
*2 With the start-up animation disabled. Time from on to shot taken (holding shutter release, manual focus, manual exposure) with live view (mode A) enabled. Without live view this timing is reduced by approximately 0.2 seconds.
*3 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 (1/200 sec, F5.6), ISO 200. Measurements were taken from audio recordings of the tests. Media used were the same as above. Live view was disabled during this test, with it on continuous shooting slows down considerably.

Unlike many other digital SLR's (but just like the E-300 and E-500) the E-330 does not continue shooting once its buffer is full, instead you need to release the shutter release button and re-press it. Hence there is no 'Buffer full rate' measurement for this camera.

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

  • Frame rate - Initial frame rate, this was always 3.1 fps (+/- 0.025 fps)
  • Number of frames - Number of frames in a burst
  • Next frame - How soon after a burst you can take another single shot
  • Next full burst - How soon after a bursty you can take another full burst

Burst of JPEG HQ (1/8) images

Timing
512 MB xD-Picture card
1 GB SanDisk
Extreme III CF
1 GB Lexar
Pro 133x CF
4 GB SanDisk
Ultra II CF
Frame rate 3.1 fps 3.1 fps 3.1 fps 3.1 fps
Number of frames 8 Unlimited Unlimited 11
Next frame 1.1 sec n/a n/a 1.0 sec
Next full burst 9.7 sec n/a n/a 4.1 sec

Burst of RAW images

Timing
512 MB xD-Picture card
1 GB SanDisk
Extreme III CF
1 GB Lexar
Pro 133x CF
4 GB SanDisk
Ultra II CF
Frame rate 3.1 fps 3.1 fps 3.1 fps 3.1 fps
Number of frames 4 4 4 4
Next frame 8.9 sec 1.4 sec 1.3 sec 2.2 sec
Next full burst 40.0 sec 4.5 sec 4.3 sec 10.0 sec

As you can see with small enough file size (HQ 1/8; approx. 1.6 MB) you can shoot continuously to a fast card. However at HQ 1/4 or SHQ you will get just four frames in the camera's small buffer before the burst stops. This left me both disappointed by the buffer size and also Olympus's decision to require a re-press of the shutter release button to taek the next shot.

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 storage card activity indicator beside the storage compartment went out. Writing appears to begin approximately half a second after the shutter release is pressed, writing continues 'in the background' and doesn't affect any camera function. Media used were the same as above.

Image type
Time, secs
(512 xD)
Time, secs
(1 GB San)
Time, secs
(1 GB Lex)
Time, secs
(4 GB San)
Approx.
size
3136 x 2352 TIFF 20.3 3.2 3.3 5.6 23,902 KB
3136 x 2352 RAW+HQ 1/4 16.5 3.4 3.5 5.4 17,697 KB
3136 x 2352 RAW 12.4 2.3 2.4 3.4 13,797 KB
3136 x 2352 JPEG SHQ 5.8 2.3 2.4 3.2 5,300 KB
3136 x 2352 JPEG HQ 1/4 5.1 2.2 2.2 3.1 3,900 KB
3136 x 2352 JPEG HQ 1/8 3.0 1.6 1.7 1.9 1,800 KB

*1 File size reported for RAW+HQ is the size of the RAW and JPEG files added together.
*2 The E-330 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.

Once more we see a huge void in the performance difference between xD-Picture Card and Compact Flash. The SanDisk and Lexar 1 GB high speed cards were some five to six times faster when writing a large file. There's almost no difference (worth talking about) between the SanDisk Extreme III and the Lexar Pro 133x.

The graphs below clearly demonstrate the difference between xD and CF for the E-330. With the SanDisk and Lexar CF cards these RAW speeds of over ten megabytes per second are some of the fastest in-camera write speeds we have measured. It's a pity that the camera appears to be CPU limited (compression) in JPEG mode.

Card performance: JPEG Fine continuous burst write

Card Olympus E-330 write speed (JPEG HQ 1/4 files)
512 MB xD-Picture card 1,220 KB/sec
1 GB SanDisk Extreme III CF 5,320 KB/sec
1 GB Lexar Pro 133x CF 5,156 KB/sec
4 GB SanDisk Ultra II CF 3,214 KB/sec

Card performance: RAW continuous burst write

Card Olympus E-330 write speed (RAW files)
512 MB xD-Picture card 1,349 KB/sec
1 GB SanDisk Extreme III CF 10,770 KB/sec
1 GB Lexar Pro 133x CF 10,348 KB/sec
4 GB SanDisk Ultra II CF 5,555 KB/sec

Cardbus 32-bit Adapter benchmark

Card Cardbus 32-bit Adapter, write speed (RAW files)
512 MB xD-Picture card *1 1,881 KB/sec
1 GB SanDisk Extreme III 9,368 KB/sec
1 GB Lexar Pro 80x 9,043 KB/sec
4 GB SanDisk Ultra II 4,816 KB/sec

*1 Via a xD -> CF adapter.

Battery life

The E-330 uses the same Olympus BLM-1 Lithium-Ion battery we saw in the E-1, E-300, E-500 and C-8080, it delivers 1500 mAh at 7.2V (10.8 Wh). Olympus quote battery life as 400 shots with live view off, 250 in "A mode" and 200 in "B mode". In the field I admit that I tended to use the camera more as a traditional SLR (using the viewfinder) and so can't verify the second set of figures, that said during testing in our studio the camera was used almost exclusively in live view mode and we didn't experience any serious battery drain.

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