Timings & File Sizes

The Olympus C-50 Zoom would rate as 'average' for overall timing performance. The biggest difference experienced was in startup times which varied from 4.4 seconds to 6.7 seconds depending on whether the zoom was positioned at wide or telephoto at power off, the camera returns to the previous zoom position at startup. Otherwise auto focus times were respectable, write and playback times were average and shot to shot was fairly good. I was a little disappointed to see a 0.2 second shutter release lag when using the LCD monitor.

Timing Notes: All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 2560 x 1920 SHQ JPEG image (approx. 2,100 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 128 MB xD-Picture Card.

Action Details Time, seconds
Power: Off to On Lens extension, Wide angle 4.4
Power: Off to On Lens extension, Telephoto 6.7
Power: On to Off Lens extended, Wide angle 3.5
Mode: Play mode Image displayed 2.1
Play: Magnify To first magnification level (1.5x) <0.5
Play: Thumbnail view Nine image displayed (3x3) 1.4

Action Details Time, seconds
Zoom from Wide to Tele Full zoom from 38 mm to 114 mm (3 x) 2.3
Auto Focus LAG Wide angle 0.8 - 1.0
Auto Focus LAG Telephoto 0.9 - 1.5
Shutter Release LAG Using Viewfinder 0.1
Shutter Release LAG Using LCD Monitor 0.2
Total LAG Wide angle 0.8
Total LAG Telephoto 0.9
Off to Shot Taken Wide angle 4.6
Shot to Shot Wide angle 2.6

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 from the moment you fully depress the shutter release button, measured both as a time including auto focus and a time assuming you have already pre-focused by holding a half-press of the shutter release.

Continuous modes

The table below shows 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 128 MB xD-Picture Card.

Image Type Frames per sec Max no.
of frames

Wait before
next shot

2560 x 1920 SHQ JPEG 1.0 fps 3 7.4 sec
2560 x 1920 HQ JPEG 1.0 fps 4 6.7 sec
1600 x 1200 SQ2 JPEG 1.1 fps 17 4.4 sec
1024 x 768 SQ2 JPEG 1.1 fps 34 0.9 sec

*1 In a single "burst" (finger held down on shutter release)
*2 You can take a frame as soon as there is space in the cameras internal buffer (writing continues "in the background").

A pretty disappointing performance, I would have hoped for 1.5 or 2.0 frames per second. Additionally the camera's buffer doesn't appear to be particularly large meaning you're not going to be able to fire off many shots before having to wait for it to write. Not the best. With Continuous AF enabled the burst rate slows to approximately 0.6 fps (1 shot every 1.6 seconds).

File Write / Display and Sizes

Timings shown below are the time taken for the camera to process and "flush" the image out to the SD card, the timer was started as soon as the shutter release was pressed and stopped when green buffer indicator on the LCD monitor disappeared. This means the timings also include the cameras processing time and as such are more representative of the actual time to "complete the task". The media used for these tests was a 128 MB xD-Picture Card.

Image Type Time to write

Time to display
File size *1
Images on a *2
128 MB xD
2569 x 1920 TIFF 25.5 7.2 15,488 KB 8
2560 x 1920 SHQ JPEG 5.6 1.6 2,100 KB 52
2560 x 1920 HQ JPEG 3.9 1.3 1,000 KB 105
1600 x 1200 SQ2 JPEG 2.7 0.7 450 KB 266
1024 x 768 SQ2 JPEG 2.2 0.5 200 KB 614

*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 (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.
*2 Camera estimation.

Two megabytes for a five megapixel JPEG is about what we would have expected, you're very unlikely to be able to spot any artifacts at such low compression levels. The slight disappointment must be the combined processing and write speed, just 375 KB/sec for an SHQ JPEG. It looks as though 2560 x 1920 HQ would be most peoples first choice, a good image size (image quality compromise) and acceptable write speeds.

Low Light Auto Focus

This test is designed to measure the minimum amount of light under which the camera can still focus. The focus target is our lens distortion test chart (shown here on the right), camera is positioned exactly 2 m (6.6 ft) away.

Light levels are gradually dropped until the camera can no longer focus. This is carried out at both wide angle and telephoto zoom positions (as more light reaches the focusing systems with a larger aperture).

This test target is the optimum type of subject for most "contrast detect" AF systems (as it has a vertical line at its center), you should consider the results below the best you could expect to achieve.

Lens position Aperture Lowest light focus
Wide angle (38 mm) F2.8 0.6 EV (3.8 Lux, 0.35 foot-candle)
Telephoto (114 mm) F4.8 2.0 EV (10.0 Lux, 0.93 foot-candle)

Light intensity (Lux) = 2.5 x 2^EV (@ ISO 100), 10.76391 Lux = 1 foot-candle (fc)

For a camera without an AF assist lamp the C-50 Zoom performed very well at wide angle, 0.6 EV is really quite dark and around the average performance at telephoto. An AF assist lamp would have helped a lot at the telephoto end.

Battery life

We ran the camera through our new battery life test. This test is designed to be fair and comparative to each camera and battery type:

  • Take 4 shots without flash
  • Wait 2 minutes (50% of the time powering the camera off)
  • Take 1 shot with flash
  • Wait 1 minute
  • Repeat

Batteries are fully discharged and recharged before the test and all cameras were reset to their factory default settings. Here are the results:

Compact / Ultra compact
Battery Power Battery life Number of shots
Kyocera S3 BP-800S 2.1 Wh 54 mins 95
Canon PowerShot S300 NB-1L 2.5 Wh 1 hr 26 mins 155
Pentax Optio 430 D-LI2 3.3 Wh 1 hr 33 mins 160
Olympus C-40Z 2 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 3.6 Wh 1 hr 33 mins 165
Nikon Coolpix 3100 2 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 3.6 Wh 1 hr 42 mins 175
Minolta DiMAGE F100 2 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 3.3 Wh 1 hr 42 mins 175
Minolta DiMAGE X NP-200 2.8 Wh 1 hr 45 mins 180
Pentax Optio 330 D-LI2 3.3 Wh 1 hr 48 mins 185
Canon PowerShot S330 NB-1LH 2.5 Wh 1 hr 48 mins 185
Sony DSC-P71 2 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 3.6 Wh 1 hr 50 mins 185
Kodak DX4900 2 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 3.5 Wh 1 hr 51 mins 190
Sony DSC-P5 NP-FC10 2.4 Wh 1 hr 51 mins 190
Nikon Coolpix 3500 EN-EL2 4.1 Wh 1 hr 54 mins 195
Sony DSC-P9 NP-FC10 2.4 Wh 1 hr 59 mins 200
Nikon Coolpix SQ EN-EL2 3.7 Wh 2 hr 03 mins 210
Minolta DiMAGE Xt NP-200 2.8 Wh 2 hr 12 mins 225
Canon PowerShot S400 NP-1LH 2.5 Wh 2 hr 17 mins 230
HP Photosmart 812 2 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 3.6 Wh 2 hr 21 mins 240
Nikon Coolpix 885 EN-EL1 4.8 Wh 2 hr 21 mins 240
Nikon Coolpix 775 EN-EL1 4.8 Wh 2 hr 27 mins 250
Canon PowerShot SD100 NB-3L 2.9 Wh 2 hr 29 mins 250
Pentax Optio S D-LI8 2.6 Wh 2 hr 33 mins 260
Nikon Coolpix 2500 EN-EL2 4.1 Wh 2 hr 33 mins 260
Fujifilm FinePix F601Z NP-60 3.7 Wh 2 hr 47 mins 275
Casio EXILIM EX-Z3 NP-20 2.5 Wh 2 hr 48 mins 285
Casio EXILIM EX-S3 NP-20 2.5 Wh 2 hr 48 mins 285
Olympus C-50Z LI-10B 4.0 Wh 2 hr 54 mins 295
HP Photosmart 935 2 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 3.6 Wh 3 hr 09 mins 320
Canon PowerShot A70 4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 7.7 Wh 5 hr 08 mins 515
Other test notes:
 • LCD monitor is left on during the battery test
 • The camera is powered off half of the time and left on half of the time (switch every 10 iterations)
 • There are now higher capacity AA NiMH batteries available, however in the interests of fair
    comparison we will continue to use our 1600 mAh test set

The Olympus C-50 Zoom and its 1090 mAh Lithium-Ion battery pack put in a good performance of almost three hours, this would translated to a single fully charged battery lasting a days worth of average shooting.