Timing & Performance
Although there are a couple of aspects of the W80's performance that we found to be slightly under par (flash recycling is higher than we'd expect for a camera with a Lithium Ion battery and the menu system feels very sluggish) overall the responsiveness and speed of operation is comparable with other cameras in its class, and it feels snappy enough in use. As mentioned elsewhere in the review the big issue is how much it slows down in low light, when everything from screen refresh rate to focus speed gets progressively slower as light levels drop.
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. 4,000 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 1.0 GB Sony Memory Stick DUO PRO card.
|Power: Off to Record||1.8|
|Power: Off to Play||Image displayed (lens doesn't extend)||1.4|
|Power: Record to Off||All activity ceased||1.7|
|Power: Play to Off||When buffer is empty, lens retracted||~0.7|
|Record Review||Image displayed||~0.9|
|Mode: Play to Record||1.0|
|Play: Magnify||To full magnification (5x)||4.0|
|Play: Image to Image||Time to display each saved image||0.4|
|Play: Thumbnail view||2 x 3 thumbnails||1.7|
|Play: Thumbnail view||4 x 3 thumbnails||2.3|
|Zoom from Wide to Tele||35 to 105 mm (3 x)||1.7|
|Half-press Lag (Focus time)||Wide angle, Multi AF *1||~0.3 - 0.9*2|
|Half-press Lag (Focus time)||Telephoto, Multi AF *1||~0.4 - 1.3 *2|
|Pre-focus Lag (S1>S2)||LCD live view||~0.09|
|Pre-focus Lag (S1>S2)||Optical Viewfinder||~0.04|
|Full-press Lag (0->S2)||LCD live view, wide angle||~0.35|
|Off to Shot Taken||LCD live view||~3.2|
|Shot to Shot||Flash off||~ 1.2|
|Shot to Shot||Flash on ( red eye reduction off)||4.5*3|
|Shot to Shot||Flash on ( red eye reduction on)||5.1*3|
|*1||Focus speed is fractionally faster if you use center AF rather than Multi AF, though only if your subject is in the center of the frame!|
|*2||Focus speed varies greatly according to the amount of light in the scene and the focus distance. In good light outdoors focus is pretty speedy but indoors in low light it can get painfully slow.|
|*3||Flash recycle times vary according to subject distance and battery condition (if the subject is more than a few feet away this figure will get longer).|
Continuous drive mode
The W80 has a single continuous shooting mode that we measured to be around 2.1 frames per second (at 7MP setting) for the first 12 frames, after which it dropped to around 0.8 fps. This isn't bad for a camera of this type but is noticeably slower than the quoted speed of 2.8 frames per second for 100 frames!
File writing / playback performance
The W80 takes around 0.8 seconds to save a 2.5MB 7MP JPEG, which isn't the fastest card writing we've ever seen (this is, after all, Memory Stick) - but the camera's fast buffering means you're never left waiting between shots. Playback isn't bad either, at around half a second per frame.
According to Sony the W80's battery life is rated at up to 340 shots using the CIPA standard, but we found that in normal use you'll be lucky to get 200 shots per charge. To be fair this isn't terrible, and you can extend the battery life considerably by turning the continuous stabilization off and limiting your use of the screen.