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Timing & Performance

Sony cameras have long offered excellent performance where it really matters, and the W7 is no exception. Focus speed is excellent - and very reliable - and everything else feels responsive enough in use not to get in the way of your picture taking. The burst mode is nothing to write home about, but for most everyday photography 1.1 frames per second is more than enough.

Timing Notes

All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 3072 x 2304 Fine JPEG image (approx. 2,700 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 512MB Sony Memory Stick PRO.

Action Details
Time, secs
Power: Off to Record   1.4
Power: Off to Play Image displayed 2.2
Power: Record to Off All activity ceased 1.5
Power: Play to Off When buffer is empty, lens retracted ~0.0
Power: Play to Off When buffer is empty, lens extended 1.5
Record Review Image displayed ~0.65
Mode: Record to Play   ~1.2
Mode: Play to Record Lens already extended ~1.2
Mode: Play to Record Lens retracted ~1.4
Play: Magnify To full magnification (5x) 3.0
Play: Image to Image Time to display each saved image ~0.25 *1
Play: Thumbnail view 3 x 3 thumbnails *2 ~0.4

Action Details
Time, seconds
Zoom from Wide to Tele 38 to 114 mm (3 x) 2.0
Half-press Lag (0->S1) Wide angle *3 ~0.25
Half-press Lag (0->S1) Telephoto *3 ~0.5
Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2) LCD live view <0.1
Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2) Viewfinder <0.1
Full-press Lag (0->S2) LCD live view, wide angle ~0.35
Off to Shot Taken LCD live view ~1.9
Shot to Shot Flash off 1.4
Shot to Shot Flash on (with red eye reduction on) 3.3
Shot to Shot Flash on (with red eye reduction off) 1.7
*1 The W7 uses caching and low-res previews to speed up scrolling. You can scroll through images at high speed, but the first time an image is displayed it takes around 0.9 seconds to load the full res image (7MP/Fine) if you want to zoom in.
*2 4x4 thumbnails also available, another 0.4 seconds to switch
*3 Multi-AF mode. You can reduce these figures slightly (about 10%) by switching to center AF.

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. The media used for these tests was a 512MB Sony Memory Stick PRO card. Shutter speed was kept above 1/160 sec during these tests.

Continuous drive mode

The W7 has one burst mode plus a 'multi burst' setting, which produces a single 1280x960-pixel image containing a grid of 16 consecutive exposures in a very short period (selectable from 1/7.5 to 1/30 of a second). The burst mode is nothing special - at best managing around 1.1 frames per second (7MP, Fine JPEG). You can only take a limited number of shots in a single burst - 5 at the 7MP/fine setting, rising to 11 at 3MP/Standard.

Image Type
Mode
Avg. frames
per sec
Frames in a burst *1
After
burst
*2
3072 x 2304 (7MP) JPEG Fine Burst 1.08 fps 5 ~4.5s delay
2304 x 1728 (7MP) JPEG Standard Burst 1.09 fps 8 ~4.5s delay 
2592 x 1944 (5MP) JPEG Fine Burst 0.96 fps 6 ~4.5s delay 
2592 x 1944 (5MP) JPEG Standard Burst 1.07 fps 11 ~4.5s delay 
2048 x 1536 (3MP) JPEG Fine Burst 1.08 fps 9 ~4.5s delay 

*1 In a single "burst" (finger held down on shutter release).
*2 Once the buffer is full the W7 will pause for between 4.0 and 5.0 seconds before another burst of shots can be taken - most of this time is taken up with the process of autofocus and auto exposure.

Interestingly the W7 performs better in burst mode than Sony's published spec would have you believe (they quote 0.9 fps, though I suspect this is a simple typo, as the camera actually manages around 0.9 seconds per frame). That said, 1.1 frames per second is hardly class-leading, so if you're looking for a really fast shooting rate there are other 7MP cameras that will offer better performance.

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 Sony Memory Stick PRO card.

Image Type
Time to store
(secs)

Time to display
(secs)

File size *1
(approx.)
Images on a *2
512 MB Card
3072 x 2304 (7MP) JPEG Fine ~1.8 ~0.25 *3 2,700 KB 141
2304 x 1728 (7MP) JPEG Standard ~1.4 ~0.25 *3 1,650 KB 277
2592 x 1944 (5MP) JPEG Fine ~1.3 ~0.25 *3 1,960 KB 194
2592 x 1944 (5MP) JPEG Standard ~1.2 ~0.25 *3 1,250 KB 365
2048 x 1536 (3MP) JPEG Fine ~1.2 ~0.25 *3 1,300 KB 311

*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 W7 uses caching and low-res previews to speed up scrolling. You can scroll through images at high speed, but the first time an image is displayed it takes around 0.9 seconds to load the full res image (7MP/Fine)

At around 1.8 seconds to write and process a 2.7MB image, the W7 is no slouch, though with write speeds of just over 1500KB/s - at best - you'll only really need a fast 'PRO' card if you intend to shoot movies or lots of images in rapid succession or want to record high resolution movies.

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