Previous page Next page

Timings & File Sizes

In use the E-500 doesn't ever leave you waiting, with most operations carried out within about two seconds. My initial disappointment was that the camera doesn't have an 'instant on', instead there's a 1.7 second delay which includes the SSWF CCD clean (I've already commented on how I'd like to see this optimized). Sleep to on time is better at just under a second, so you could always leave the camera on with a short sleep time. Auto focus felt fast and responsive, shutter lag was very short and the E-500 always felt 'keen' to shoot. Media write speeds were good, especially with high performance cards such as the SanDisk Extreme III.

Timing Notes: All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 3264 x 2448 JPEG HQ 1/8 (approx. 1,800 KB per image).

The media used for these tests were:

  • 512 MB xD-Picture card
  • 1 GB SanDisk Extreme III CF card
  • 2 GB Lexar Pro 80x CF card
  • 4 GB SanDisk Ultra II CF card
Action
Time, secs
(512 MB xD)
Time, secs
(1 GB SanDisk)
Time, secs
(2 GB Lexar)
Time, secs
(4 GB SanDisk)
Power Off to On *1 1.7 1.6 1.7 1.7
Power Off to Shot *2 2.2 1.7 1.8 1.7
Sleep to On 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.9
Power On to Off 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Record Review RAW *3 1.2 1.1 1.1 1.1
Record Review JPEG *3 1.2 1.1 1.1 1.1
Play RAW 0.6 <0.3 <0.3 <0.3
Play JPEG 1.0 0.7 0.8 0.8
Image to Image RAW 0.4 <0.3 <0.3 <0.3
Image to Image JPEG 0.8 0.5 0.6 0.7

*1 With the start-up animation disabled. Time from on to control panel screen displayed.
*2 With the start-up animation disabled. Time from on to shot taken (holding shutter release, manual focus, manual exposure).
*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.

Unlike many other digital SLR's the E-500 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 2.7 fps (+/- 0.01 fps)
  • Number of frames - Number of frames in a burst
  • Next full burst - How soon after 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
2 GB Lexar
Pro 80x CF
4 GB SanDisk
Ultra II CF
Frame rate 2.7 fps 2.7 fps 2.7 fps 2.7 fps
Number of frames 8 Unlimited Unlimited 15
Next full burst 11.1 sec 2.3 sec 2.4 sec 4.5 sec

Burst of RAW images

Timing
512 MB xD-Picture card
1 GB SanDisk
Extreme III CF
2 GB Lexar
Pro 80x CF
4 GB SanDisk
Ultra II CF
Frame rate 2.7 fps 2.7 fps 2.7 fps 2.7 fps
Number of frames 4 4 4 4
Next full burst 44.0 sec 5.6 sec 9.6 sec 30.0 sec

The E-500's continuous shooting rate is right in the middle of the average speed for affordable digital SLR's (between 2.5 and 3.0 fps). What's impressive is the unlimited shooting capability in JPEG HQ mode when using a fast CF card. Here both the SanDisk Extreme III and Lexar Pro 80x cards achieve this. Less dramatic is the buffering capability of JPEG images on slower cards and RAW images on all cards, around 15 JPEG's or 4 RAW's.

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
(2 GB Lex)
Time, secs
(4 GB San)
Approx.
size
3264 x 2448 TIFF 18.9 3.1 5.2 5.8 23,902 KB
3264 x 2448 RAW+HQ 1/4 15.3 3.7 5.3 5.8 17,697 KB
3264 x 2448 RAW 11.5 2.4 3.6 3.9 13,797 KB
3264 x 2448 JPEG SHQ 5.9 2.3 2.7 3.1 5,300 KB
3264 x 2448 JPEG HQ 1/4 4.9 2.2 2.5 2.7 3,900 KB
3264 x 2448 JPEG HQ 1/8 2.8 1.5 1.7 1.8 1,800 KB
2560 x 1920 JPEG SQ 1/8 2.8 1.5 1.7 1.8 1,090 KB

*1 File size reported for RAW+HQ is the size of the RAW and JPEG files added together.
*2 The E-500 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.

As you can see there is a pretty stark difference between the performance of xD-Picture Card and Compact Flash. The SanDisk Extreme III Compact Flash card was over four times faster than xD-Picture Card when writing a RAW+JPEG pair. Between the Compact Flash cards the Extreme III and Lexar Pro 80x were the fastest.

The graphs below clearly demonstrate the difference between xD and CF for the E-500, in my opinion you'd really only want to use xD as a backup in case your CF fills. One performance in these completely threw out the scale of these graphs and that was a burst of RAW files written to the SanDisk Extreme III card. At 9,854 KB/sec this is one of the fastest in-camera write speeds we've measured.

Card performance: JPEG Fine continuous burst write

Card Olympus E-500 write speed (JPEG HQ 1/8)
512 MB xD-Picture card 1,152 KB/sec
1 GB SanDisk Extreme III CF 4,677 KB/sec
2 GB Lexar Pro 80x CF 4,531 KB/sec
4 GB SanDisk Ultra II CF 4,009 KB/sec

Card performance: RAW continuous burst write

Card Olympus E-500 write speed (8 MP RAW files)
512 MB xD-Picture card 1,346 KB/sec
1 GB SanDisk Extreme III CF 9,854 KB/sec
2 GB Lexar Pro 80x CF 5,689 KB/sec
4 GB SanDisk Ultra II CF 4,883 KB/sec

Cardbus 32-bit Adapter benchmark

Card Cardbus 32-bit Adapter, write speed (8 MP RAW files)
512 MB xD-Picture card *1 1,881 KB/sec
1 GB SanDisk Extreme III 8,779 KB/sec
2 GB Lexar Pro 80x 8,081 KB/sec
4 GB SanDisk Ultra II 4,816 KB/sec

*1 Via a xD -> CF adapter.

Battery life

The E-500 uses the same Olympus BLM-1 Lithium-Ion battery we saw in the E-1, E-300 and C-8080, it delivers 1500 mAh at 7.2V (10.8 Wh). Olympus quote battery life as approximately 400 shots, while we found no reason to disagree with this it isn't clear if this measurement was made with the 'Control Panel' information display shown on the LCD monitor or not. Having the LCD monitor on all of the time will obviously be more of a drain on the battery than a camera with a separate information LCD panel.

Alternatively you can use the LBH-1 Lithium battery holder which takes three CR123A batteries, useful as an emergency backup.

Previous page Next page

Comments