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Timing & Performance

No major complaints here; the overall impression you get when using the GR-D is of a responsive and speedy camera, and one that won't get in the way of your photography. The focus can struggle on occasion in low light, but in good conditions it's very fast, and the 'snap' option (which fixes the focus at around 2.5 meters and lets depth of field take care of the rest) is an ideal solution for street photography, reducing the entire lag to an impressive 0.2 seconds.

As usual with non SLR digicams the raw performance is awful (roughly 12 - 13 seconds between shots), which is a real pity given the image quality advantages you get. I was also slightly disappointed with the shutter lag (something Ricoh advocates have made much of over the last couple of years); it is very low if you use the optional viewfinder (i.e. the shutter lag itself is very short), but if you use the live preview the video lag of around 0.1 seconds negates this.

Timing notes

All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 2816 x 2112 Fine JPEG image (approx. 2,850 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 1.0GB SanDisk Extreme III SD card.

Action Details
Time, secs
Power: Off to Record   1.8
Power: Off to Play Image displayed 2.6 
Power: Record to Off All activity ceased 2.3
Power: Play to Off When buffer is empty, lens extended 2.3
Power: Play to Off When buffer is empty, lens already retracted 1.4
Record Review Image displayed ~0.6
Mode: Record to Play   0.5 
Mode: Play to Record Lens already extended ~0.7
Mode: Play to Record Lens retracted ~1.9
Play: Magnify To full magnification (8x) ~2.6 
Play: Image to Image Time to display each saved image ~0.3 *1
Play: Thumbnail view 3 x 3 thumbnails 1.3

Action Details
Time, seconds
Half-press Lag (0->S1) Multi AF ~0.3*2
Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2) LCD live view ~0.13 *3
Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2) Using external viewfinder ~0.03 *3 
Full-press Lag (0->S2) Multi AF ~0.4 *2
Full-press Lag (0->S2) Snap AF ~0.2 *4
Off to Shot Taken LCD live view ~2.4
Shot to Shot Flash off 1.4 
Shot to Shot Flash on (red eye off) 1.6 
*1 The GR-D uses low resolution proxies when first displaying images in playback mode, meaning you can scroll through images quickly. A full image takes around 1.6 seconds to load (allowing you to magnify)
*2 In good light the GR-D focuses very quickly, but in lower light or with a low contrast subject it drops to 0.6 seconds or longer (mild hunting)
*3 The GR-D has a very low shutter lag, but there is a video lag on the preview screen. You need to use the optional external viewfinder if you want a very short shutter lag.
*4 Snap mode uses fixed focus, and therefore doesn't have to wait for the AF to work before a picture is taken.

Continuous mode

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. Media used for these tests was a 1.0GB SanDisk Extreme III SD card. Shutter speed was kept above 1/200 sec during these tests.

Continuous drive mode

The GR-D has three continuous shooting modes, though only one that records at full resolution (the other two combine 16 shots into a single 8MP frame in around 2 seconds). The standard continuous mode doesn't show a preview or review image during the burst, meaning you're shooting 'blind' unless you've bought the external viewfinder. If you drop the resolution to 1 megapixel the continuous shooting speed leaps to almost 6 frames per second.

Image Type
Mode
Avg. frames
per sec
Frames in a burst *1
After
burst
*2
3264 x 2448 JPEG Fine Continuous 2.6 4 ~ 0.6 fps  
3264 x 2448 JPEG Normal Continuous 2.7 4 ~ 0.6 fps  
2592 x 1944 JPEG N Continuous 2.9 5 ~ 0.6 fps  
2048 x 1536 JPEG N Continuous 2.7 4 ~ 0.6 fps  
1280 x 960 JPEG N Continuous 5.8 13 ~ 2.6 fps  

*1 In a single "burst" (finger held down on shutter release).
*2 Once the buffer is full (4 or 5 shots at most resolutions) the camera continues to shoot indefinitely, but at a lower frame rate, as shown here.
*2 The delay of around one and a half seconds is mainly down to the need to refocus before the next burst. By switching the focus trigger to the focus button you can reduce this to ~0.8s.

Pretty impressive stuff for a compact in this class. Despite the slightly larger file sizes the number of images per burst has increased (presumably due to a larger buffer), and the speed remains excellent - over three frames per second in continuous H mode. There is only a slight delay after each burst (some of which is taken up with refocusing when you press the button again), and overall there's nothing to complain about.

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 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 1.0GB SanDisk Extreme III SD card.

Image Type
Time to store
(secs)

Time to display
(secs)

File size *1
(approx.)
Images on a *2
1.0GB Card
3264 x 2448 Raw ~12.5 ~1.5 *3 11,900 KB  66
3264 x 2448 JPEG Fine ~2.6 ~1.5 *3 2,790 KB 312
3264 x 2448 JPEG Normal ~2.3 ~1.3 *3 1,690 KB 543
2592 x 1944 JPEG N ~2.4 ~0.9 *3 1,080 KB 848
2048 x 1536 JPEG N ~1.9 ~0.6 *3 680 KB 1,347
1280 x 960 JPEG N ~1.6 ~0.3 *3 360955 KB 2,383

*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).
*2 Camera estimation.
*3 The GR-D uses low resolution proxies when first displaying images in playback mode, meaning you can scroll through images quickly. These take only 0.3 seconds to display, but you can't edit or magnify images until the full resolution version has loaded.

With write times averaging around 12.5 seconds for a 11.9 MB raw file, the GR-D is not the fastest camera in its class, and the write speed (just under 1MB/s) means there will be little if anything to be gained from the use of a fast card.

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