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Timing & Performance

The overall impression when using the DSC-F828 is that it is a very fast prosumer digital camera, thanks to a non-extending lens system the camera is ready to shoot in around 1.5 seconds, the mechanically linked zoom means that you can pick your zoom as quickly as you can turn the dial. The majority of operations are either very quick or virtually instant, especially switching the camera off and switching between record and play modes. Auto focus in good light was very fast and even in low light was respectable for a prosumer digital camera. As with the F717 the F828's storage interface is very fast delivering write speeds over 2 MB/sec (considerably better than most competitive prosumer digital cameras).

Two negative points are firstly the frustrating action of the shutter release button with or without auto review, if you press it slightly too quickly the camera simply ignores it, not good. Secondly the fact that RAW images are not buffered and you must wait over 10 seconds before you can take another shot in RAW mode. Other than that a very solid performance.

Timing Notes

All times calculated as an average of three operations (all cards formatted before testing). Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 8 MP / Fine JPEG image (approx. 3,500 KB).

Media used for these tests:

  • 512 MB Lexar Pro 24x Type I Compact Flash card
  • 1 GB SanDisk Ultra II Type I Compact Flash card
  • 1 GB Sony Memory Stick Pro
Action Details Time, secs (Lexar) Time, secs
(SanDisk)
Time, secs
(MS Pro)
Power: Off to Record AF brackets appear 1.3 1.3 1.5
Power: Off to Play Initial image displayed 2.6 2.4 2.5
Power: Record to Off Feels instant <0.1 <0.1 <0.1
Power: Play to Off Feels instant <0.1 <0.1 <0.1
Auto Review Image displayed 1.1 1.1 1.0
Mode: Record to IR Image displayed 0.6 0.5 0.5
Mode: Record to Play Initial image displayed 0.1 0.1 0.1
Mode: Play to Record   0.1 0.1 0.1
Play: Magnify To initial 2.0x view 0.4 0.4 0.4
Play: Thumbnail view 3 x 3 thumbnails 0.9 0.9 0.6

Action Details Time, seconds
Half-press Lag (0->S1) Wide angle (Multi / Center AF Area) 0.4 - 0.6
Half-press Lag (0->S1) Telephoto (Multi / Center AF Area) 0.6 - 1.2
Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2) Wide angle (LCD / EVF) 0.1
Full-press Lag (0->S2) Wide angle (LCD / EVF) 0.2
Off to Shot Taken Wide angle 1.6
Shot to Shot Wide angle, Auto Review Off 1.3
Shot to Shot Wide angle, Auto Review On 3.0

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. Note that continuous shooting modes are not available for RAW or TIFF image formats. Media used for these tests was a 1 GB SanDisk Ultra II card.

The F828's two full frame continuous shooting modes, Speed Burst and Framing Burst are essentially the same other than Speed Burst doesn't provide a review of images shot, Framing Burst briefly displays each image after it is taken (hence it's slightly slower).

Speed Burst continuous mode

Image Type Frames
per sec
Frames in
a burst

Wait before
next burst

3264 x 2448 (8M) JPEG Fine 2.6 fps 7 11.5 sec
2592 x 1944 (5M) JPEG Fine 2.6 fps 7 10.6 sec
2048 x 1536 (3M) JPEG Fine 2.6 fps 7 8.5 sec
1280 x 960 (1M) JPEG Fine 2.6 fps 7 5.9 sec

Framing Burst continuous mode

Image Type Frames
per sec
Frames in
a burst

Wait before
next burst

3264 x 2448 (8M) JPEG Fine 2.4 fps 7 11.3 sec
2592 x 1944 (5M) JPEG Fine 2.4 fps 7 10.8 sec
2048 x 1536 (3M) JPEG Fine 2.4 fps 7 8.4 sec
1280 x 960 (1M) JPEG Fine 2.4 fps 7 6.0 sec

As you can see the F828 is limited by its buffer to seven frames no matter what the output image size. Considering the amount of data being moved around the 2.6 frames per second delivered in Speed Burst mode is actually fairly respectable.


File Write Time 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 LED beside the storage compartment stopped blinking. This means the timings also include the cameras processing time and as such are more representative of the actual time to "complete the task".

Media used for these tests:

  • 512 MB Lexar Pro 24x Type I Compact Flash card
  • 1 GB SanDisk Ultra II Type I Compact Flash card
  • 1 GB Sony Memory Stick Pro
Image Type Time, secs (Lexar)
Time, secs (SanDisk) Time, secs (MS Pro) File size *1
(approx.)
On a 512 MB card
3264 x 2448 RAW *2 14.1 (6.2 + 7.9) 13.5 (6.2 + 7.3) 11.3 (6.2 + 5.1) 16,900 KB 24
3264 x 2448 TIFF *2 12.1 (1.9 + 10.2) 10.9 (1.9 + 9.0) 11.6 (1.9 + 9.7) 23,400 KB 18
3264 x 2448 JPEG Fine 1.6 1.4 1.4 3,500 KB 130
2592 x 1944 JPEG Fine 1.4 1.1 1.0 2,000 KB 203
2048 x 1536 JPEG Fine 0.9 0.9 0.6 1,300 KB 325

*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 (especially the amount of detail captured). For example, take a photograph of a fairly empty wall and you'll get a small JPEG, take a photograph of a bush with a lot of detail and you'll get a larger image. File sizes here are closer to the later, the larger size of file you should expect.
*2 This is the total time from shutter release to the light beside the storage compartment to go out. In the case of RAW and TIFF this is also the soonest you can take another shot, JPEG images are buffered and written 'in the background'. The timing is split into two values, the first is the time the camera takes to process the image, the second the actual time the compartment light is lit (write time).

The F828's storage interface throughput is impressive, both for Compact Flash and Memory Stick. It consistently delivered a write throughput greater than 2 MB/sec, and peaked with RAW images on Memory Stick Pro at around 3 MB/sec. There was no appreciable gain using Memory Stick Pro for JPEG images. The biggest disappointment is that RAW and TIFF images are not buffered and processed 'in the background' and thus you must wait over 10 seconds between each RAW shot.

Approximate write throughput (RAW)

  • 512 MB Lexar Pro 24x: 2.1 MB/sec
  • 1 GB SanDisk Ultra II: 2.3 MB/sec
  • 1 GB Memory Stick Pro: 3.2 MB/sec


Low Light Auto Focus

This test is designed to measure the minimum amount of light under which the camera can still focus. The focus target is our lens distortion test chart (shown here on the right), camera is positioned exactly 2 m (6.6 ft) away.

Light levels are gradually dropped until the camera can no longer focus. This is carried out at both wide angle and telephoto zoom positions (as more light reaches the focusing systems with a larger aperture).

This test target is the optimum type of subject for most "contrast detect" AF systems (as it has a vertical line at its center), you should consider the results below the best you could expect to achieve.

Lens position Aperture Hologram AF assist Lowest light focus Time to AF lock
28 mm equiv. F2.0 Yes Darkness 1.8 sec
No -0.5 EV 1.4 sec
200 mm equiv. F2.8 Yes Darkness 2.3 sec
No 0.4 EV 2.8 sec

Light intensity (Lux) = 2.5 x 2^EV (@ ISO 100), 10.76391 Lux = 1 foot-candle (fc)

As you can see from the results above the F828 can happily focus in complete darkness thanks to its Hologram (laser pattern) AF assist system. Without AF assist the F828 still performed well managing to auto focus at both wide angle and telephoto in very low light. This is no doubt thanks to the large maximum aperture of the lens.


Battery life

We ran the camera through our new battery life test. This test is designed to be fair and comparative to each camera and battery type:

  • Take 4 shots without flash
  • Wait 2 minutes (50% of the time powering the camera off)
  • Take 1 shot with flash
  • Wait 1 minute
  • Repeat

Batteries are fully discharged and recharged before the test and all cameras were reset to their factory default settings. Here are the results:

Camera
Prosumer / SLR-Like
Battery Power Battery life Number of shots
Minolta DiMAGE 7 4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 7.7 Wh 1 hr 14 mins 125
Minolta DiMAGE 5 4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 7.7 Wh 1 hr 56 mins 195
Nikon Coolpix 5700 EN-EL1 4.8 Wh 2 hr 08 mins 215
Canon PowerShot S40 NB-2L 3.9 Wh 2 hr 13 mins 225
Minolta DiMAGE S304 4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 7.7 Wh 2 hr 18 mins 235
Canon PowerShot S45 NB-2L 3.9 Wh 2 hr 28 mins 240
Nikon Coolpix 4500 EN-EL1 4.8 Wh 2 hr 27 mins 250
Fujifilm FinePix 6900Z NP-80 4.1 Wh 2 hr 29 mins 250
Nikon Coolpix 990 4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 7.7 Wh 2 hr 30 mins 255
Nikon Coolpix 995 EN-EL1 4.8 Wh 2 hr 30 mins 255
Nikon Coolpix 5000 EN-EL1 4.8 Wh 2 hr 32 mins 260
Minolta DiMAGE 7Hi 4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 7.7 Wh 2 hr 33 mins 260
Canon PowerShot Pro1 BP-511A 10.2 Wh 2 hr 36 mins 265
Canon PowerShot S50 NB-2L 3.9 Wh 2 hr 39 mins 270
Minolta DiMAGE S404 4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 7.7 Wh 2 hr 39 mins 270
Sony DSC-V1 NP-FC11 2.8 Wh 2 hr 39 mins 270
Olympus C-7000 Zoom LI-12B 4.5 Wh 2 hr 44 mins 280
Nikon Coolpix 8700 EN-EL1 5.0 Wh 2 hr 45 mins 280
Minolta DiMAGE 7i 4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 7.7 Wh 2 hr 46 mins 270
Olympus E-20 4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 7.7 Wh 2 hr 48 mins 285
Canon PowerShot G1 BP-511 8.1 Wh 3 hr 00 mins 300
Nikon Coolpix 5400 EN-EL1 4.8 Wh 3 hr 06 mins 315
HP Photosmart 850 4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 7.7 Wh 3 hr 12 mins 325
Sony DSC-S75 NP-FM50 8.6 Wh 3 hr 15 mins 330
Nikon Coolpix 8800 EN-EL7 8.1 Wh 3 hr 27 mins 350
Fujifilm FinePix S602Z 4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 7.7 Wh 3 hr 29 mins 350
Canon PowerShot G2 BP-511 8.1 Wh 3 hr 32 mins 355
Casio QV-4000 4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 7.7 Wh 3 hr 38 mins 365
Olympus C-5050 Zoom 4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 7.7 Wh 3 hr 48 mins 380
Casio EXILIM EX-P700 NP-40 4.5 Wh 3 hr 48 mins 385
Sony DSC-S85 NP-FM50 8.6 Wh 3 hr 50 mins 400
Sony DSC-F717 NP-FM50 8.6 Wh 4 hr 02 mins 405
Pentax Optio 750Z D-LI7 6.6 Wh 4 hr 03 mins 415
Sony DSC-V3 NP-FR1 4.4 Wh 4 hr 05 mins 415
Nikon Coolpix 8400 EN-EL7 8.1 Wh 4 hr 09 mins 420
Sony DSC-F707 NP-FM50 8.6 Wh 4 hr 20 mins 440
Fujifilm S7000 Zoom 4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 7.7 Wh 4 hr 23 mins 445
Konica Minolta DiMAGE A2 NP-400 11.1 Wh 4 hr 26 mins 450
Canon PowerShot G3 BP-511 8.1 Wh 4 hr 32 mins 455
Canon PowerShot G5 BP-511 8.1 Wh 4 hr 33 mins 460
Pentax Optio 550 D-LI7 6.6 Wh 4 hr 36 mins 465
Minolta DiMAGE A1 NP-400 11.1 Wh 5 hr 02 mins 515
Leica Digilux 2 BP-DC1-E 10.1 Wh 5 hr 05 mins 515
Sony DSC-F828 NP-FM50 8.6 Wh 5 hr 28 mins 540
Fujifilm FinePix S5000 4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 7.7 Wh 5 hr 31 mins 555
Canon PowerShot G6 BP-511A 10.3 Wh 5 hr 38 mins 570
Olympus C-8080 WZ BLM-1 10.8 Wh 5 hr 52 mins 595
Other test notes:
 • LCD monitor is left on during the battery test
 • The camera is powered off half of the time and left on half of the time (switch every 10 iterations)
 • There are now higher capacity AA NiMH batteries available, however in the interests of fair
    comparison we will continue to use our 1600 mAh test set

With its powerful 8.6 Wh Lithium-Ion battery the DSC-F828 lasted a hugely impressive five and a half hours in our battery test. That's an hour and a half longer than the camera it replaces (the DSC-F717) which uses the exact same battery pack. Kudos Sony.

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