Sony DSC-HX1 Review
Timing & Performance
One of the standout features in the HX1 is its continuous shooting speed (achieved by a combination of the CMOS sensor and a very fast shutter). It's able to shoot at up to 10 frames per second for up to 10 images (in fact the HX1 is limited to 10 continuous shots no matter what shooting speed is selected), and it takes advantage of this speed in the sweeping panorama, twilight, and anti-shake modes.
The downside to continuous shooting on the HX1 is that as soon as you let go of the shutter it has to write all the images it is holding in its buffer to the Memory Stick before you can shoot another burst. This can take up to 17 seconds for 10 images, making the camera feel frustratingly sluggish if you're desperate to take another shot. Other aspects of the HX1's performance, such as shot-to-shot speed, are about par for the current generation of superzooms which means that, while it may have improved from the last generation, anyone who is expecting SLR-like responsiveness to go along with the looks will be disappointed.
All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 3456 x 2592 JPEG image (approx. 3,972 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 2.0GB Sony Memory Stick PRO Duo.
Power: Off to Record
|Power: Off to Play||Image displayed||1.4|
|Power: Record to Off||Lens retracted and all activity ceased||2.0-4.7*1|
|Power: Play to Off||When buffer is empty||0.5|
|Record Review||Image displayed||1.6|
|Mode: Record to Play||1.9|
|Play: Magnify||To full magnification (8x)||2.2|
|Play: Image to Image||Time to display each saved image||~ 0.3|
|Zoom from Wide to Tele||28 to 560 mm (20 x) full speed||2.7|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||LCD, Wide angle||~ 0.3|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||LCD, Telephoto||0.6-1.0|
|Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2)||LCD||~ 0.1|
|Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2)||Electronic Viewfinder||~ 0.2|
|Full-press Lag (0->S2)||LCD, wide angle||~ 0.5|
|Off to Shot Taken||LCD||2.3|
|Shot to Shot||Flash off||~ 1.5|
|Shot to Shot||Flash on *2||2.0|
|*1||The camera takes longer to turn off when the lens is extended further out, taking the full 4.7 seconds when the lens is zoomed to the 560mm setting.|
|*2||In this test the subject distance is only 3 feet (0.9 m) - the recycle time will increase at greater subject distances, and if the batteries are running low.|
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 frame and how long you would have to wait before you could take another shot. Media used for these tests was a 2.0GB Sony Memory Stick PRO Duo. Shutter speed was kept above 1/200 sec during these tests.
Continuous drive mode
The HX1 has three continuous shooting speeds - 10fps, 5fps, and 2 fps. The camera has a maximum butter size of 10 frames no matter what speed you are shooting at. After the camera hits the limit of 10 frames, it has to save all the files to the Memory Stick before you can shoot any more images.
Frames in a burst
Time till next burst secs
|3456 x 2592 JPEG||Continuous||10 fps||10||17|
|2592 x 1944 JPEG||Continuous||10 fps||10||17|
|2048 x 1536 JPEG||Continuous||10 fps||10||17|
|640 x 480 JPEG||Continuous||10 fps||10||17|
While the 10 fps is very impressive for a camera of this class, the 17 seconds waiting for the camera to be ready to take another shot can be very frustrating. It is possible to cancel the saving of images by pressing the set button, but you also loose any unsaved images being processed.
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 2.0GB Sony Memory Stick PRO Duo.
Time to store
File size *1
Images on a *2
|3456 x 2592 JPEG||1.2||1.6||3,972 KB||455|
|2592 x 1944 JPEG||0.9||1.6||2,998 KB||604|
|2048 x 1536 JPEG||0.9||1.6||1,438 KB||1,271|
|640 x 480 JPEG||0.9||1.6||139 KB||>9999|
|*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).|
Interestingly the time it takes for the HX1 to display an image is 1.6 seconds no matter what file size you choose, which is consistent with the 17 seconds it takes for the camera to save 10 images. The time taken to save files is pretty average, but at least the camera does not lock you out while writing to the card, as it does with continuous shooting.