Timings & File Sizes

Like the E-410, the E-510's performance was on the whole good; in use the camera focused relatively quickly and had short shutter lag. Good buffering means that you can 'pump' the shutter release button firing off one shot each time. Continuous shooting was actually better than specified and media write times were short. The only negative side could be the slightly longer than average startup time (primarily due to the SSWF sequence) and the delay introduced when using live view (see the differences in the second table below). Note also that if you shoot a lot of burst sequences you're much better off using CF cards than xD, which slow the write process down noticeably.

Timing Notes: All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 3648 x 2736 JPEG SHQ (approx. 9,100 KB per image).

The media used for these tests were:

  • 512MB Fujifilm xD-Picture Card Type H
  • 2 GB Lexar Pro 133x CF card
  • 8 GB SanDisk Extreme IV CF card

Media comparison

Time, secs
(512 MB Fuji xD)
Time, secs
(2 GB Lexar)
Time, secs
(8 GB SanDisk)
Power Off to On *1 1.0 1.4 1.2
Power Off to Shot 0.8 1.3 1.0
Sleep to On 0.8 1.2 0.8
Power On to Off <0.1 <0.1 <0.1
Record Review RAW *2 0.9 1.0 1.0
Record Review JPEG *2 0.9 1.0 1.0
Play Image to Image RAW <0.1 0.1 <0.1
Play Image to Image JPEG ~0.1 0.1 ~0.1

Live view off / on (8 GB SanDisk Extreme IV)

As you can see enabling live view adds between a half to one second to most operations, this is primarily due to the time it takes the camera to raise the mirror, open the shutter and initialize the sensor for live view.

Time, secs
(Live view off)
Time, secs
(Live view on)
Power Off to On *1 1.2 1.8
Power Off to Shot 1.0 2.0
Sleep to On 0.8 1.5
Power On to Off <0.1 0.9
Record Review RAW *2 1.0 1.5
Record Review JPEG *2 1.0 1.5
Record to Play (JPEG) <0.1 0.7
Record to Play (RAW) ~0.1 0.7

*1 This is the amount of time before the status screen is shown on the LCD monitor, as shown by the next measurement you can actually take a shot fractionally earlier than this.
*2 Time taken from the shutter release being pressed to the review image being displayed on the LCD monitor.

Continuous Drive mode

To test continuous mode the camera had the following settings: Manual Focus, Manual Exposure (1/400 sec, F4.0), ISO 200. Measurements were taken from audio recordings of the tests. Media used were the same as above. (Note that we also tested with Noise Reduction on / off without any difference in performance).

The tests carried out below measured the following results for JPEG and RAW:

  • Frame rate - Initial frame rate, this was always 3.3 fps (+/- 0.01 fps) with CF, 3.1 fps with xD
  • Number of frames - Number of frames in a burst
  • Buffer full rate - Frame rate if shutter release held after burst (buffer full)

Burst of JPEG SHQ images

8 GB SanDisk
Extreme IV
2 GB Lexar
Pro 133x
512MB Fujifilm xD (Type H)
Frame rate (average) 3.3 fps 3.3 fps 3.1 fps
Number of frames 15 25 10
Buffer full rate 1.8 fps 2.7 fps 0.6 fps

Burst of RAW images

8 GB SanDisk
Extreme IV
2 GB Lexar
Pro 133x
512MB Fujifilm xD (Type H)
Frame rate (average) 3.3 fps 3.2 fps 3.2 fps
Number of frames 9 10 7
Buffer full rate 1.3 fps 1.4 fps 0.6 fps

Like the E-410, the E-510 actually performs slightly above spec, managing around 3.3fps with a decent card (the buffering is slightly better than advertised too). With a fast card you can shoot continuously JPEG HQ at full speed until the card is full.

File Flush Timing

Timings shown below are the time taken for the camera to process and "flush" the image out to the storage card. Timing was taken from the instant the shutter release was pressed to the time the storage card activity lamp beside the compartment door went out. Media used were the same as above.

Image type
Time, secs
(8 GB SanDisk)
Time, secs
(2 GB Lexar)
Time, secs
Fuji xD)
3648 x 2736 RAW + HQ *3 2.1 1.8 3.0 10,800 KB *1
3648 x 2736 RAW 1.5 1.3 2.7 9,100 KB
3648 x 2736 JPEG SHQ 1.7 1.3 1.9 4,900 KB
3648 x 2736 JPEG HQ *3 1.0 0.8 1.1 1,700 KB

*1 File size reported here is the size of the RAW and HQ quality JPEG files added together.
*2 The E-510 begins writing around 0.3 seconds after the shutter release is pressed so you must subtract 'processing time' from the timing to get the actual write time.
*3 'HQ' file sizes will depend on the compression level set in the setup menu; figures shown here (and measurement elsewhere on this page) are for the middle '1/8' compression setting.

The E-510 delivers extremely fast write times with high performance cards, an approximation based on the above times would be up to 7 MB/sec for RAW and RAW+JPEG images, in addition the camera also has good buffering which allows you to 'pump' the shutter release and get a shot every time. As mentioned earlier the performance with xD Picture Cards is considerably less impressive.

USB transfer speed

To test the E-510's USB transfer speed we transferred approximately 450 MB of images (mixed RAW and JPEG) from a SanDisk Extreme IV 8 GB CF card.

Transfer rate
Olympus E-510 (MTP device mode) 3.1 MB/sec
Olympus E-510 (Mass storage device mode) 5.1 MB/sec
CardBus PCMCIA adapter 10.5 MB/sec
SanDisk Extreme IV USB 2.0 card reader 15.0 MB/sec

The E-510 delivers average if not stunning transfer rates ins mass storage device mode. Switch to MTP (PTP) mode and as we've seen with other cameras the transfer rate drops by about 50%. As you can see the best performance (some three times faster) was achieved using a relatively inexpensive SanDisk USB 2.0 card reader, this would always be our recommendation.