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Timing & Performance

Performance-wise the Pro815 is something of a curate's egg - good in parts, not so good in others. In fact, overall the timings are broadly in line with what we'd expect from a camera in this class (comparable to, for instance, the Panasonic FZ30). Unfortunately there are a couple of key areas where the Pro815 lags seriously behind the competition, most crucially shutter lag (the delay between pressing the button and the picture being taken), which at 0.25 seconds is long enough to cause serious issues if you shoot anything that moves. The focusing - especially as you move up the zoom range - is also slow, and can hunt excessively in low light. Finally the shot-to-shot time in Raw mode is an agonizing 16 or 17 seconds.

Timing Notes

All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 3264 x 2448 Super Fine JPEG image (approx. 3,500 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 4.0 GB SanDisk Ultra II CompactFlash card.

Action Details
Time, secs
Power: Off to Record   1.3
Power: Off to Play Image displayed 5.1 *1
Power: Record to Off All activity ceased 1.5
Power: Play to Off When buffer is empty 1.5
Record Review Image displayed ~1.0
Mode: Record to Play   1.1 *2
Mode: Play to Record   ~1.0
Play: Magnify To full magnification (10x) ~4.0
Play: Image to Image Time to display each saved image ~0.4
Play: Thumbnail view 2 x 2 thumbnails 0.7
Play: Thumbnail view 3 x 3 thumbnails 1.4
Play: Thumbnail view 4 x 4 thumbnails 2.5
Play: Thumbnail view 5 x 5 thumbnails 4.5

Action Details
Time, seconds
Half-press Lag (0->S1) Wide angle ~0.5 - 0.7 *3
Half-press Lag (0->S1) Telephoto ~1.0 - 1.7 *3
Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2) LCD live view or EVF ~0.25
Full-press Lag (0->S2) LCD live view, wide angle ~0.9
Off to Shot Taken LCD live view ~2.4
Shot to Shot Flash off 1.8 *4
Shot to Shot Flash on (red-eye reduction off) 2.3
Shot to Shot Flash on (red-eye reduction on) 2.5
*1 There is a delay of around 3.5 seconds when pressing the play button to power up in play mode (presumably to prevent accidental activation).
*2 Around 2.0 seconds if ISO 400 used (noise reduction).
*3 In good light the average times are 0.5 sec (wide), 1.0 sec (tele).The focus takes a lot longer in low light or with difficult subjects, when it can hunt, especially at the long end of the zoom.
*4 If you switch to manual focus this drops to around 1.3 seconds.

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).
 

(Prime AF/AE)
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)

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 4.0 GB SanDisk Ultra II CompactFlash card. Shutter speed was kept above 1/200 sec during these tests.

Continuous drive mode

In standard continuous mode the Pro815 shows a brief preview image for each frame taken (and refocuses between frames too), but the live preview does not work between frames in High Speed mode. There are three continuous drive modes; Continuous (C), High Speed (HS) and Ultra High Speed (UHS). The UHS mode averages around 10 frames per second, but is limited to a 1 megapixel and 30 shots maximum. Burst mode cannot be used with TIFF or Raw images.

Image Type
Mode
Avg. frames
per sec
Frames in a burst *1
After
burst
*3
3264 x 2448 JPEG Super Fine Continuous 0.56 fps *2 unlimited n/a 
3264 x 2448 JPEG Fine Continuous 0.53 fps *2 unlimited n/a 
3264 x 2448 JPEG Normal Continuous 0.55 fps *2 unlimited n/a 
2400 x 1800 JPEG Super Fine Continuous 0.51 fps *2 unlimited n/a 
1632 x 1244 JPEG Super Fine Continuous 0.53 fps *2 unlimited n/a 
3264 x 2448 JPEG Super Fine High Speed 2.2 fps 11 ~ 0.5 fps  
3264 x 2448 JPEG Fine High Speed 2.0 fps 13 ~ 0.8 fps  
3264 x 2448 JPEG Normal High Speed 2.3 fps 13 ~ 0.5 fps  
2400 x 1800 JPEG Super Fine High Speed 2.4 fps 11 ~ 0.8 fps  
1632 x 1244 JPEG Super Fine High Speed 2.3 fps 13 ~ 1.2 fps  

*1 In a single "burst" (finger held down on shutter release).
*2 As the Pro815 refocuses between each shot in continuous mode by default, the shooting speed is dependant on how quickly it focuses. If you switch to manual focus or continuous AF, continuous shooting speeds up to around 1.0 frames per second.
*3 In high speed mode the Pro815 keeps shooting as long as you keep your finger held down on the shutter release, but at a much lower rate. It takes around 20 seconds to completely clear the buffer at the highest quality setting, after which you can take another full speed burst.

Continuous shooting performance isn't too bad (as long as you switch to High Speed mode), though we failed to achieve the 2.5 fps quoted by Samsung in the Pro815 literature.

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 512MB SanDisk Extreme (aka Ultra II) SD card. .

Image Type
Time to store
(secs)

Time to display
(secs)

File size *1
(approx.)
Images on a *2
256 MB Card
3264 x 2448 RAW ~15.9 ~0.25 *3 16,000 KB 15
3264 x 2448 TIFF ~25.0 ~0.25 *3 23.520 KB 10
3264 x 2448 JPEG Super Fine ~3.8 ~0.4 3,480 KB 61
3264 x 2448 JPEG Fine ~2.8 ~0.3 1,920 KB 117
3264 x 2448 JPEG Normal ~2.4 ~0.3  1,320 KB 169
2400 x 1800 JPEG Super Fine ~2.5 ~0.3  1,980 KB 109
1632 x 1244 JPEG Super Fine ~1.7 ~0.3  895 KB 216

*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 Pro815 uses the embedded JPEG for display. You cannot magnify raw or tiff images.

Write speeds are certainly on the slow side (around 1MB/sec at best), but unless you're shooting in Raw or TIFF mode you're unlikely to notice thanks to a fairly generous buffer.

 
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