Timings & File Sizes

The DSC-S85's slowest function is powering up, slowed by the extension of the lens. Otherwise the camera is fairly quick, the larger image size doesn't seem to have made a lot of difference to any of our timings. Indeed most notably power up time is faster for the S85 than the S75. Occasionally if you take several shots in a row you may find yourself waiting (only 2 or 3 seconds) for the camera to finish flushing the image away to the Memory Stick.

Timing Notes: All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 2270 x 1704 FINE JPEG image (approx. 1.7 MB per image).

Action Details Time taken
Power: Off to Record   5.6 Lens takes 3.4 secs
Power: Off to Play   3.5 Image loading *1
Power: Record to Off   4.6 Lens retract
Power: Play to Off   <0.5 Lens already retracted
Mode: Record to Play   1.1 Image loading *1
Mode: Play to Record   0.5  
Play: Magnify From x1 to x5.0 7.8 (17 steps)
Rec: Thumbnail view 3 x 3 thumbnails 1.4  
Auto Focus LAG   0.7 - 1.4 Average
Shutter Release LAG   0.1 Fast
Total LAG   1.1 Average to Slow
Off to Shot Taken   6.9 Average
Shot to Shot 2270 x 1704 JPEG FINE 3.6 Fast
Shot to Shot 2270 x 1704 JPEG STANDARD 3.4 Fast

*1 Camera displays rough image (enough detail to see what the image is), you can interrupt the rest of the loading process by pressing the left or right cursor or rolling the jog-dial.

Burst 3 Mode

The S85 allows you to shoot a burst of three shots (compared to two of the S75) 0.4 seconds apart (2.3 frames per second). This is almost twice as fast as the S75 but then you have to wait twice as long before you can take the next burst. Pressing the shutter release just once fires off all three shots. In summary:

  • Three frames at 2.3 frames per second, wait 13 seconds before you can take the next burst

File Flush / Display Timing

There are three timings below, I'll describe each in turn:

  • Time to process - this is the amount of time after pressing the shutter release button before the camera returns control to you, the image may still be being written away to the Memory Stick but you can begin to take the next shot.
  • Time to flush - this is the amount of time it takes the camera to process and flush; complete writing the image to the Memory Stick. It is taken from the moment the shutter release is pressed to the moment the red light beside the Memory Stick slot (inside the compartment) goes out. This timing includes the time to process.
  • Time to display - this is the amount of time it takes the camera to display the image, most digital cameras first display a rough version of the image (a thumbnail from the file header) and then load the full resolution image, you can't manipulate the image until it is fully loaded (magnify etc.) however you can interrupt this loading process skip to the next image.

The S85 appears to have enough buffer space to hold a maximum of three images at a time (which makes sense when you consider the Burst 3 mode), so it's possible to snap two shots and still have space for one more.

File Type Time to process
Time to flush

Time to
File size
Approx. images
on a 64 MB
Memory Stick
2270 x 1704 TIFF 37.2 37.2 4.4 11,345 KB   5
2270 x 1704 TEXT (GIF) ** 33.3 33.3 46.6 ~200 KB   300
2270 x 1704 FINE 2.8 6.1 4.3 ~1,700 KB  32
2270 x 1704 STANDARD 2.8 4.8 3.3 ~950 KB   64
1600 x 1200 FINE 2.8 4.5 2.6 ~830 KB   66
1280 x 960 FINE 2.6 3.8 2.0 ~550 KB   100
640 x 480 FINE 2.3 2.6 1.2 ~140 KB   393

* 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.
** The majority of this time is spent processing (generating) the GIF file.

Battery life

During the "development" of my Nikon Coolpix 995 review it became apparent that we needed to devise a reliable, repeatable battery test. This is what I came up with:

  • 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

This test routine was carried out on five different cameras simultaneously. All batteries had been fully discharged and recharged before the test and all cameras were reset to their factory default settings. Here are the results:

Camera Battery Power Battery life Number of shots
Nikon Coolpix 995 EN-EL1 4.8 Wh 2 hr 30 mins 255
Canon PowerShot G1 BP-511 8.1 Wh 3 hr 00 mins 300
Sony DSC-S75 NP-FM50 8.6 Wh 3 hr 15 mins 330
Sony DSC-S85 NP-FM50 8.6 Wh 3 hr 50 mins 400

Amazing, just when we'd finished getting excited about the S75's 3 hours 15 minutes under our test conditions the S85 adds another 45 minutes and some 70 photos onto that total. Obviously either the new 4.1 megapixel CCD is more power efficient than the 3.3 megapixel and/or Sony have implemented some new power saving features into the camera. Which ever way it's fair to say the S85 has amazing lasting power.