Timings & File Sizes

The SD10 appears to have had no changes which lead to any kind of performance improvement in our timing tests. Startup appears almost instant although you do have to wait for the camera to check the CF card (about half a second for a normal flash card) before taking the first shot. It's certainly not a camera aimed at sports photography, it has a weak two frames per second continuous shooting speed with a maximum of six frames in the buffer at a time and a fairly slow processing / CF output stage. That said in normal everyday use the SD10 doesn't normally leave you waiting for it and is nearly always ready to shoot when you need it.

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Timing Notes: All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 2268 x 1512 HI X3F image (approx. 7.0 MB per image).

The media used for these tests were:

  • 512 MB Lexar Pro 24x Type I Compact Flash card
  • 2 GB SanDisk Ultra II Type I Compact Flash card
  • 1 GB IBM Microdrive Type II Compact Flash card
Action Details Time, seconds
(Lexar CF)
Time, seconds
(SanDisk CF)
Time, seconds
Power: Off to On *1   0.5 0.5 2.5
Power: On to Off *2   <0.1 <0.1 <0.1
Record: Preview *3   2.2 2.2 2.2
Record: View   1.1 1.1 1.1
Play: Image to Image *4   <0.1 <0.1 <0.5
Play: Thumbnail view 3 x 3   0.9 0.9 2.4
Play: Magnify mode   <0.1 <0.1 <0.1
Shot to shot Single drive 0.5 0.5 0.5

*1 The photographic portion of the camera comes on almost instantly but you can not take a shot until the camera has checked the CF card and displayed the number of remaining frames. This timing is the time from turning on the camera to the number of remaining frames being displayed.
*2 Assuming all buffered images have been written out to storage card, otherwise camera will remain on until images have been written away ('CF' will be shown on top status panel).
*3 Time taken from the shutter release being pressed to the review image being displayed on the LCD monitor.

This is the amount of time between each image, as you can see it is virtually instant (with or without histogram).

Continuous drive mode

To test continuous mode the camera had the following settings: Manual Focus, Manual Exposure (1/350s, F3.5), ISO 100. Here is a brief description of each measurement made:

  • Frames per second - The number of frames shot in one second (average)
  • Number of frames - How many shots can be taken before the buffer fills
  • Next shot - How soon after a burst of shots you can take the next shot
  • Full write - How long a burst of shots takes to be processed and written to the CF

The media used for these tests was a 2 GB SanDisk Ultra II Compact Flash card.

Image size Frames per second Number of frames Next shot *1 Full write *1
2268 x 1512 (HI) 1.9 fps 6 7.6 sec 54 sec
1512 x 1008 (MED) 2.2 fps 14 4.5 sec 1 min 25 sec
1134 x 756 (LOW) 2.5 fps 30 4.7 sec 2 min 13 sec

*1 This is dependent on the speed of the CF card and size of the image (higher ISO = more noise = larger file size), although these timings should be fairly typical.

The SD10 puts in an identical performance to the SD9, the important figure here being the relatively slow 1.9 frames per second for a maximum of 6 frames, this is slower than most similarly priced digital SLR's.

File Flush Timing

Timings shown below are the time taken for the camera to process and "flush" the image out to the storage media. The SD10 continues to process images in the buffer and write data out to the storage media in parallel to you composing (and taking) the next shot. Unlike some other digital SLR's you can continue to modify settings and enter the menu while images are being flushed from the buffer.

The media used for these tests were:

  • 512 MB Lexar Pro 24x Type I Compact Flash card
  • 2 GB SanDisk Ultra II Type I Compact Flash card
  • 1 GB IBM Microdrive Type II Compact Flash card
Image size Time, secs
Time, secs
Time, secs
File size
Approx. on a 1 GB card
2268 x 1512 (HI) 10.4 10.2 10.0 7,700 KB 167
1512 x 1008 (MED) 7.8 7.8 7.7 4,500 KB 250
1134 x 756 (LOW) 6.3 6.3 6.2 2,600 KB 494

*1 Timer was started as soon as the storage compartment light came on and stopped when this light went off. This was seen as the actual recording time.

Because of it's "RAW only" philosophy the SD10 will have longer write times than a camera with internal JPEG. The SD10 was actually slower than the SD9 at processing and writing its losslessly compressed RAW files delivering an overall average 653 KB/sec throughput on an average flash card (less than half what we expect from most digital SLR's).

Battery life

As noted earlier in this review the SD10 lasts longest on the CR-V3 Lithium (non-rechargeable) batteries, it really did just keep going and going for several days on one set.