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Timings & File Sizes

Timing Notes: All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 2048 x 1536 JPEG image (around 1,300 KB per image).

File Size Notes: 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.

When the DSC-S70 displays an image in play mode it displays the Image details first (filename, date & time) then displays the photo a few seconds later, this can be interrupted by pressing the 4-way controller left or right.

Symbols: ~ = roughly / approximately.

Action Time taken
(seconds)
Notes
OFF to Record (Still) 6.3 Lens extension takes 3.4 seconds
OFF to Play 3.7 Image details displayed (no photo)
Record (Still) to OFF 5.3 Lens retraction takes 3.4 seconds
Play to OFF 1.0 (Lens already retracted)
Record (Still) to Play 1.0 Image details displayed (no photo)
Play to Record (Still) (lens extended) 1.0  
Play to Record (Still) (lens not extended) 5.5 Lens extension takes 2.2 seconds
Play: Image to Image (2048 x 1563 JPEG) 3.6 (First image can take 4.6 secs)
Play: Image to Image (2048 x 1563 TIFF) 3.6  
Play: Image to Image (1280 x 960 JPEG) 1.4  
Play: INDEX thumbnail view (3 x 2) 2.6  
Play: Zoom-in <1.0 Full 5.0x zoom takes 6.3 seconds
Play: Resize 2048 x 1536 to 1280 x 960 5.0  
Play: Resize 2048 x 1536 to 640 x 480 3.8  
Auto Focus LAG 1.6 - 2.8 Best case is 1.6 seconds *
Shutter Release LAG 0.2 Average *
Total LAG ~1.5 - 2.4 No pre-focus, one complete press *
OFF to Shot Taken 7.4  

One word. Slow. The S70 is a poor performer for "the latest 3mp camera from Sony". Even some of last years cameras are faster. Let down by a slow lens extension, very slow Auto Focus system and lack of a large internal buffer (ever wonder why the S70 is $100 cheaper than the competition?) all these factors add together, don't get me wrong the S70 can take some beautiful pictures but it often left me frustrated that it wasn't ready at that moment I wanted the shot.

* LAG times are often misunderstood and so are described below:

Auto Focus LAG is (roughly) the amount of time it takes the camera to autofocus (a half-press and hold of the shutter release button), this timing is normally the most variable as its affected by the subject matter, current focus position, still or moving subject etc. This timing is an average.

Shutter Release LAG is the amount of time it takes to take the shot after autofocus, this timing assumes you have already focused (half-pressed the shutter release) and now press the shutter release button all the way down to take the shot. This timing is an average.

Total LAG is the total time it takes (not just the two above added together) if you haven't pre-focused, that is no finger touching the shutter release button, press it all the way down in one movement, this new timing is how long it would take if you were in one of those spur-of-the-moment situations. This timing is an average.

Maximum Shots in a Row

Typically at this part of the review I'd be measuring the maximum number of shots you can take in a row before the cameras internal buffer was full, then how long you have to wait before that buffer is flushed out to the storage card before you can shoot again.

Well, I would, but the DSC-S70 doesn't seem to have very much internal buffer (if any) which means you can't "click click click" like you would with some of the competitions cameras (Coolpix 990, Olympus C-3030Z come to mind). You have to wait between shots, that combined with the slow Auto Focus system means that the quickest shot-to-shot times are:

  • Auto Focus: 4.7 seconds
  • Manual Focus: 4.3 seconds

UPDATED: Thanks to Ulysses for pointing out that our original timings (over 5 seconds) were much too slow, we tracked the problem down to WHEN we were performing the timing and the method. Previously I believe we were caught by constantly tapping the shutter release in an attempt to get the next shot out, this has the effect of pausing the write (the camera thinks you want to hold the previous shot on the screen) and thus lengthens the time between shots. This problem did NOT affect any other timings in the review.

File Flush Timing

Timings shown below are the time taken for the camera to "flush" the image out to the Memory Stick. The estimated number of images per 8 MB Memory Stick is given as a guide to beginners.

Action Time taken
(seconds)
Average
File size
Images on a
8 MB MS
Store 2048 x 1536 TIFF 39.0 9,219 KB 0
Store 2048 x 1536 JPEG 2.9 ~ 1,200 KB 6
Store 2048 x 1536 TEXT (GIF) 29.0 ~30 KB 266
Store 2048 x 1360 (3:2) JPEG 2.9 ~ 1,150 KB 7
Store 1600 x 1200 JPEG 2.9 ~ 800 KB 10
Store 1280 x 960 JPEG 2.7 ~ 560 KB 14
Store 640 x 480 JPEG 2.5 ~ 65 KB 123

It has to be said Sony are simply the kings of accessory sales. The pathetic 8MB Memory Stick which comes with the camera will only leave you wondering why the they'd supply a camera which by default generates 1.2 MB images with an 8 MB storage device (hey look mom I took 6 pictures).. duh? I can understand them wanting to keep the overall "price of the package" down but it's almost like hiding the true cost of ownership of the camera. Almost EVERY owner will need to go out and buy a 32MB or 64MB Memory Stick.


Battery life

One Word. Great. Ok, so here Sony can bring out all trumpets and blow them together. As ever, Sony use their (did I say buy-it-only-from-Sony?) proprietary InfoLithium battery packs which not only offer great battery life and easy charging (just plug in the AC adapter, battery charges in the camera) but also an accurate read out of remaining battery life in minutes. This all adds up to the easiest to use and longest lasting battery system of any digital camera.

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