Timings & File Sizes

The DSC-P9 performs just as well as we have come to expect from Sony digital cameras. Fast startup times, good auto focus speeds and average shutter lag. The cameras slowest function is startup (and even that is pretty quick for this type of camera). Shot to shot times are very fast and the camera leaves you after each shot feeling as though you could easily fire off another without delay. The only thing you have to be careful of is not being caught out by the review preview 'hold' feature, if you hold the shutter release down after taking a shot (or re-press it too quickly) the record preview image is held until you let go of the shutter release. This is fairly easy to get used to.

Timing Notes: All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 2272 x 1704 Fine JPEG image (approx. 1,400 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 128 MB Sony Memory Stick.

Action Details Time, seconds
Power: Off to Record Lens extension 3.4

Power: Off to Play *1

Image displayed 3.2
Power: Record to Off Lens retraction 3.2
Power: Play to Off *1 Lens already retracted <0.5
Mode: Record to Play Image displayed 0.8
Mode: Play to Record   <0.5
Play: Thumbnail view 9 images 1.5
Play: Image to image 2272 x 1704 Fine <0.5

Action Details Time, seconds
Zoom from Wide to Tele Full zoom from 39 mm to 117 mm (3 x) 2.1
Auto Focus LAG Wide angle (39 mm) *1 0.7 - 1.1
Auto Focus LAG Telephoto (117 mm) *1 0.9 - 1.1
Shutter Release LAG Using viewfinder 0.1
Shutter Release LAG Using LCD monitor 0.2
Total LAG *2   0.9 - 1.6
Off to Shot Taken   3.9
Shot to Shot   1.9

*1 Focusing with the AF assist lamp can take between 1.4 and 2.2 seconds
*2 Depending on focus and light levels

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 after autofocus, this timing assumes you have already focused (half-pressed the shutter release) and now press the shutter release button all the way down to take the shot. This timing is an average.

Total LAG is the total time it takes (not just the two above added together) if you haven't pre-focused, that is no finger touching the shutter release button, press it all the way down in one movement, this new timing is how long it'd take if you were in one of those spur-of-the-moment situations. This timing is an average.

File Write / Display and Sizes

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 click was heard) and stopped when activity indicator beside the Memory Stick slot stopped blinking. 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 Sony Memory Stick.

The P9 also features the "read ahead" feature we first saw in the DSC-P71. The camera"reads ahead", that is while you're looking at one image it's loading the high resolution copies of the next few images. Maximum load time was 2.5 seconds for a 2272 x 1704 Fine, but typically there is no delay when display images.

Image Type Time to store

File size *1
Approx. on 128 MB Memory Stick
2272 x 1704 Fine 5.5 1,600 KB 65
2272 x 1704 Standard 3.8 950 KB 121
1600 x 1200 Fine 3.8 830 KB 133
1280 x 960 Fine 3.1 580 KB 202
640 x 480 Fine 1.9 140 KB 789

*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.

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

As we would expect (and thankfully) the DSC-P9 performed almost identically to last years DSC-P5, providing around two hours of life from its small, lightweight battery.