Timings & File Sizes

No surprises here, the A20 is just as fast as the IXUS 300 which solidifies our conclusion that both cameras are based on the same "engine". As I commented in the IXUS 300 review the A20 shows a turn of speed which puts some of the "bigger brothers" in the Powershot range and most of its competitors to shame. This is a nice, quick camera.

Timing Notes: All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 1600 x 1200 Super-Fine JPEG image (approx. 850 KB per image).

Action Details Time taken
Power: Off to Record   3.4 Lens takes 1.2 secs *1
Power: Off to Play   1.8 "Busy" displayed *1 *2
Power: Record to Off   1.8 Lens retract
Power: Play to Off   0.7  
Mode: Record to Play   1.1 "Busy" displayed *2
Mode: Play to Record   2.3  
Play: Magnify   <0.5  
Rec: Thumbnail view 3 x 3 thumbnails 1.5  
Auto Focus LAG   0.5 - 1.2 Fast *3
Shutter Release LAG   0.1 Fast
Total LAG   0.7 - 1.5 Fast to Average
Off to Shot Taken   3.5 Very fast
Shot to Shot 1600 x 1200 JPEG Super-Fine 1.6 Very fast

*1 This time includes the 1.2 second power button hold required to initiate power-up.
*2 Camera displays "Busy", image is displayed about 1.5 seconds later
*3 Generally autofocus times are below 1 second, this tends be longer for macro focus or when the AF assist lamp comes on.

Continuous drive mode

The table below shows the results of our continuous shooting test, indicating the actual frame rate along with maximum number of frames at a selection of image resolution / quality settings and how long you would have to wait after taking the maximum number of frames before you could take the next shot.

Image Type Frames per sec
(review off) *
Max no. of frames

Wait before

1600 x 1200 Super-Fine 1.25 fps 7 3 secs
1600 x 1200 Fine 1.25 fps 10 3 secs
1600 x 1200 Normal 1.25 fps 24 3 secs
1024 x 768 Fine 1.30 fps 23 3 secs
640 x 480 Fine 1.62 fps 43 3 secs

* (At 1600 x 1200) the camera shot one frame every 0.8 seconds AFTER the second frame which was taken 1.1 seconds after the first (e.g.. 0 sec, 1.1 sec, 1.9 sec, 2.6 sec, 3.4 sec etc.).

File Flush / Display Timing

Timings shown below are the time taken for the camera to process and "flush" the image out to the Compact Flash card, the timer was started as soon as the shutter release was pressed (shutter noise was heard) and stopped when activity indicator LED beside the viewfinder went off. This means the timings also include the cameras processing time and as such are more representative of the actual time to "complete the task".

If you hold your finger down on either the left or right arrows the camera will very quickly scroll through the images using a rough image to represent them (we timed this display as about 4 images per second).

Store file of type Time to store

Time to
File size *
Approx. images
on a 8 MB
Compact Flash card
1600 x 1200 JPEG Super-Fine 3.7 0.8 ~800 KB  7
1600 x 1200 JPEG Fine 2.9 0.6 ~450 KB   11
1600 x 1200 JPEG Normal 2.1 <0.5 ~160 KB   24
1024 x 768 JPEG Super-Fine 2.8 0.6 ~320 KB  16
1024 x 768 JPEG Fine 2.0 <0.5 ~190 KB   24
1024 x 768 JPEG Normal 2.0 <0.5 ~100 KB   46
640 x 480 JPEG Super-Fine 1.8 <0.5 ~150 KB  35
640 x 480 JPEG Fine 1.8 <0.5 ~90 KB   50
640 x 480 JPEG Normal 1.8 <0.5 ~45 KB   87

* With JPEG it's difficult to predict the exact size of an image file 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.

Battery life

Battery life with a good set of NiMH rechargeables was surprisingly good. We used a set of 1450 mAh NIMH's which just seemed to last and last, over half a days shooting and around 120 shots and not a low battery indicator in sight.