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Timings & File Sizes

For a camera which operates in almost the same way as most compact cameras (the inherent delay of having to supply a video feed to an LCD or EVF to provide a 'through the lens' view) and the fact that as it has no mirror it has to use contrast detect AF the DMC-G1 is surprisingly snappy in use. Its power on times are as good as instant, auto focus speed is at least as good as an entry level digital SLR and there are virtually no instances in the everyday use of the camera where you're left waiting for the camera to perform some function. Indeed I think it would be fair to say we've used DSLR's that haven't felt as quick.

Timing Notes: All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 4000 x 3000 JPEG Fine (approx. 2,250 KB per image).

The media used for these tests were:

  • 8 GB SanDisk Extreme III 30MB/sec SDHC card
  • 8 GB Lexar Pro 133x SDHC card
Action
Details
Time, secs
(8 GB SanDisk)
Time, secs
(8 GB Lexar)
Power Off to On   ~0.3 ~0.3
Power Off to Shot   0.8 0.8
Sleep to On   0.5 0.5
Power On to Off   1.6 1.6
Record Review *1
RAW
0.6 0.6
Record Review
JPEG
0.6 0.6
Play *2   0.6 / 0.3 0.6 / 0.3
Play Image to Image
RAW
<0.1 <0.1
Play Image to Image
JPEG
<0.1 <0.1

*1 Time taken from the shutter release being pressed to the review image being displayed on the LCD monitor.
*2 First figure is time to display if the camera has been off (image isn't cached), second figure is if the image is still in the camera's internal cache.

Continuous Drive mode

To test continuous mode the camera had the following settings: Manual Focus, Manual Exposure (1/320 sec, F5.6), ISO 100. Measurements were taken from audio recordings of the tests. Media used were the same as above.

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

  • Frame rate - Initial frame rate
  • Number of frames - Number of frames in a burst
  • Buffer full rate - Frame rate if shutter release held after burst (buffer full)
  • Next burst - How soon after the burst it is fully written to the card (indicator goes out)

Burst of JPEG Large Fine images

Panasonic quotes three frames per second as the maximum continuous speed for it's G1. It was only possible to achieve this speed shooting in JPEG mode, with image review turned off, and the lens aperture set as wide open as possible. In other situations, the maximum frame rate was around 2.8 frames per second.

Unlike many DSLRs (and some compacts), the G1 does not give any indication of the amount of buffer available during continuous shooting, instead once the buffer is full (using a fast card this only occurs when shooting RAW) the camera simply slows down its continuous rate or stops. A gauge or 'water tank' type display indicating how much buffer space is available would be useful.

Timing
8 GB SanDisk
Extreme III SD
8 GB Lexar
Pro 133x SD
Frame rate (average) 3.0 fps 3.0 fps
Number of frames Unlimited Unlimited
Buffer full rate - -
Next burst - -
Buffer clear time - -

Burst of RAW images

Timing
8 GB SanDisk
Extreme III SD
8 GB Lexar
Pro 133x SD
Frame rate (average) 2.9 fps 2.9 fps
Number of frames 6 6
Buffer full rate 0.6 fps 0.6 fps
Next burst 7.1 sec 7.1 sec

Burst of RAW+JPEG Large Fine images

Timing
8 GB SanDisk
Extreme III SD
8 GB Lexar
Pro 133x SD
Frame rate (average) 2.9 fps 2.9 fps
Number of frames 5 5
Buffer full rate 0.5 fps 0.5 fps
Next burst 13.8 sec 10.9 sec

We were frankly a bit disappointed that the specified continuous shooting rate was only available with a fairly specific setup and that typically users should expect around 2.8 frames per second. Shooting continuously was also slightly worse than advertised, six images instead of the specified seven (not that we expect this to bother many G1 owners).

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 on the LCD monitor disappears (note that this is unlikely to be as accurate as an LED lamp). Media used were the same as above.

Image type
Time, secs
(8 GB SanDisk)
Time, secs
(8 GB Lexar)
Approx.
size
4288 x 2848 RAW + JPEG Fine 2.5 2.5 16,070 KB *1
4288 x 2848 RAW 1.7 1.7 13,830 KB
4288 x 2848 JPEG Fine 0.8 0.8 2,250 KB
4288 x 2848 JPEG Normal 0.7 0.7 0,900 KB

*1 File size reported here are the size of the RAW and JPEG files added together.

The G1's write speed is pretty impressive at around 7.6 MB/sec on a fast card such as the 8 GB SanDisk. This means that in a typical scenario write times will have virtually no impact on usage of the camera (as most JPEG writes take less than a second and good buffering / image processing means everything occurs in the background.

USB transfer speed

To test the G1's USB transfer speed we transferred approximately 512 MB of images (mixed RAW and JPEG) from a 8 GB SanDisk Extreme III 30MB/sec SDHC card.

Method
Transfer rate
Panasonic DMC-G1 (PTP device) 1.5 MB/sec
Panasonic DMC-G1 (Mass storage device) 7.4 MB/sec
SanDisk Extreme IV USB 2.0 card reader 15.1 MB/sec

In the typical 'mass storage device' mode the G1 delivers a fairly good performance (which is remarkably similar to its internal write time, which hints that it's the limit of its SD bus). PTP mode was as ever amazingly slow and disappointing, why the manufacturers continue to support this obviously ill-conceived concept I have no idea (it doesn't even support RAW).

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Comments

marc petzold

I still like to have my G1 as a walk-around tool, for just the photograph by accident. the kitlens still performs well, even with the distortions, but therefore PTlens comes in way handy, all in all, even 2014 a good walk-by setup for the unexpected shot.

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