Olympus Stylus Verve (μ-mini) Digital Review
Timing & Performance
Overall performance from the 'TruePic TURBO' image processor is good, though compared to the fastest ultra-compact cameras (various Sony Cyber-shots spring to mind) it's nothing special. That said it feels responsive in use, despite a shutter lag approaching 0.2 seconds and sluggish buffering (it takes around 20 seconds to completely clear the buffer after a full burst). For casual snap-shots the Stylus Verve isn't going to feel like it's slowing you down unless you like to take flash shots in fairly rapid succession - as noted earlier - as the flash can take an agonizing five or six seconds to recharge.
All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 2272 x 1704 SHQ JPEG image (approx. 2,610 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 512MB xD-Picture Card.
|Power: Off to Record||1.9|
|Power: Off to Play||Image displayed||3.2|
|Power: Record to Off||All activity ceased||2.5|
|Power: Play to Off||When buffer is empty||0.8|
|Record Review||Image displayed||~1.2|
|Mode: Record to Play||1.1|
|Mode: Play to Record||0.8|
|Play: Magnify||To full magnification (4x) *1||1.1|
|Play: Image to Image||Time to display each saved image||~1.0|
|Play: Thumbnail view||3 x 3 thumbnails *2||~0.6|
|Zoom from Wide to Tele||35 to 70 mm (2 x)||2.2|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Wide angle||~0.6|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Telephoto||~0.6|
|Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2)||LCD live view||~0.18|
|Full-press Lag (0->S2)||LCD live view, wide angle||~0.8|
|Off to Shot Taken||LCD live view||~2.7|
|Shot to Shot||Flash off||2.2|
|Shot to Shot||Flash on (with red eye reduction on)||6.5|
|Shot to Shot||Flash on (with red eye reduction off)||6.0|
|*1||The Stylus Verve can also display thumbnails in a 4x4 or 2x2 grid.|
|*2||This is dependant on how quickly you can repeatedly press the right zoom key.|
Lag Timing Definitions
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)
Many digital camera users prime the AF and AE systems on their camera by half-pressing the shutter release. This is the amount of time between a half-press of the shutter release and the camera indicating an auto focus & auto exposure lock on the LCD monitor / viewfinder (ready to shoot).
|Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2)
The amount of time it takes from a full depression of the shutter release button (assuming you have already primed the camera with a half-press) to the image being taken.
(Take shot, AF/AE primed)
|Full-press Lag (0->S2)
The amount of time it takes from a full depression of the shutter release button (without performing a half-press of the shutter release beforehand) to the image being taken. This is more representative of the use of the camera in a spur of the moment 'point and shoot' situation.
(Take shot, AF/AE not primed)
The tables below show the results of our continuous shooting test, indicating the actual frame rate along with maximum number of frames and how long you would have to wait after taking the maximum number of frames before you could take another shot. The media used for these tests was a 512MB xD-Picture Card. Shutter speed was kept above 1/200 sec during these tests.
Continuous drive mode
The Stylus Verve Digital has a single burst mode that averages around 1.2 frames per second (slightly lower than the quoted 1.3 fps).The number of shots in a burst depends on the image size/quality used, and appears to be limited only by the size of the card once you drop to 2MP or below.
Frames in a burst *1
|2272 x 1704 JPEG SHQ||Burst||1.2 fps||7||~3.5s delay *2|
|2272 x 1704 JPEG HQ||Burst||1.1 fps||23||~3.5s delay *2|
|2048 x 1546 JPEG SQ||Burst||1.2 fps||26||~3.5s delay *2|
|1600 x 1200 JPEG SQ||Burst||1.2 fps||40+||~3.5s delay *2|
|*1||In a single "burst" (finger held down on shutter release).|
|*2||Once the buffer is full the camera stops for around 3.5 seconds, during which time no pictures can be taken. After this one picture can be taken every few seconds. To completely clear the buffer (and take another burst) takes approx. 20 secs).|
Obviously most buyers of the Stylus Verve are unlikely to be looking for class-leading continuous shooting performance, and if they are they're looking in the wrong place. It's nice to see a decent buffer allowing over 20 shots in a burst (there's so little difference between SHQ and HQ modes this is not a major issue). It's a pity the buffer takes so long (around 20 seconds) to clear completely, but unless you intend to shoot in burst mode on a regular basis (in which case you're unlikely to buy this camera), you're unlikely to find this affecting your everyday photography.
File Write / Display and Sizes
Timings shown below are the time taken for the camera to process and "flush" the image out to the storage card, the timer was started as soon as the shutter release was pressed and stopped when the activity indicator went out. This means the timings also include the camera's processing time and as such are more representative of the actual time to "complete the task". The media used for these tests was a 512MB xD-Picture Card.
Time to store
Time to display
File size *1
Images on a *2
|2272 x 1704 JPEG SHQ||~3.9||~1.1||2,610 KB||65|
|2272 x 1704 JPEG HQ||~2.2||~0.6||888 KB||121|
|2048 x 1546 JPEG SQ||~2.0||~0.5||732 KB||82|
|1600 x 1200 JPEG SQ||~1.9||~0.35||580 KB||203|
|*1||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 (detail and noise).|
The Stylus Verve is processing and writing data at around 670 KB/s, which is on the low side of average for this kind of camera, and well below the capabilities of an xD-Picture card. That said, shooting using the HQ setting feels pretty fast and it is unlikely that the typical user of the Stylus Verve will be too affected by the buffer-clearing bottleneck.
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