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"Picky Details" for the Canon PowerShot A300 digital camera
(Timing, Power, and Storage Info)

Timing
I measure both cycle times and shutter delay times, using a test system I designed and built for the purpose. (Crystal-controlled, with a resolution of 01 second.) Here are the numbers I collected for the Canon PowerShot A300:

NOTE: My qualitative characterizations of camera performance below (that is, "reasonably fast," "about average," etc.) are meant to be relative to other cameras of similar price and general capabilities. Thus, the same shutter lag that's "very fast" for a low-end consumer camera might be characterized as "quite slow" if I encountered it on a professional model. The comments are also intended as only a quick reference: If performance specs are critical for you, rely on the absolute numbers to compare cameras, rather than my purely qualitative comments.

Canon PowerShot A300 Timings
Operation
Time
(secs)
Notes
Power On -> First shot
0.97
Canon startup screen appears - time to first shot. No lens to extend, so startup is very fast.
Shutdown
1.52
Time for camera to finish writing to the memory card. (No lens to retract, so you could drop it in your pocket immediately.)
Play to Record, first shot
1.59
Time until first shot is captured. About average.
Record to play
1.48
Time to display a large/fine file after capture. Fairly fast.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
1.130
On the slow side of average. (No separate numbers for wide/tele, as on most cameras, because the A300's lens is a fixed focal length design.)
Shutter lag, prefocus
0.171
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button. Average to a bit faster than average.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution
2.50 /2.42
First numbers are for large/fine files, second number is time for small/basic images. Times are averages. The camera displays an auto review of each shot, which cannot be canceled. Camera has about a 7 frame buffer memory in large/fine mode - After that, the cycle time stretches to 4.5 seconds. Fairly fast overall for an entry-level camera.
Cycle Time, continuous mode
0.5
(2.0 frames/sec)
Same cycle time for large/fine or small/basic images. Large/fine must pause after 7 frames to write to the card, while small/basic can keep going for 90+ frames. Pretty fast, particularly for an entry-level camera.


The PowerShot A300 is a bit of a mixed bag in terms of performance. Shutter lag is on the long side of average, but cycle times are very good for an entry-level model, and the camera sports enough buffer memory to hold 7 frames at the large/fine resolution setting. Continuous-mode performance is quite good as well. Overall, not the camera you'd choose for sports photography (you'd really want a zoom lens anyway), and you'll need to learn to use the prefocus mode when shooting fleeting subjects. (Half-press and hold the shutter button in advance of the exposure itself.) Apart from the long shutter delay though, a fairly responsive camera.


Power
The PowerShot A300 uses two AA-size batteries for power. The table below shows the PowerShot A300's power consumption in various modes, and approximate run times for each, based two NiMH AA batteries with a (true, not advertised) 1600 mAh capacity:

 

Operating Mode
Power
(@2.4 volts on the external power terminal)
Est. Minutes
(Two 1600mAh true capacity NiMH cells)
Capture Mode, w/LCD
702 mA
106
Capture Mode, no LCD
154 mA
484
Half-pressed shutter w/LCD
663 mA
112
Half-pressed w/o LCD
420 mA
177
Memory Write (transient)
772 mA
n/a
Flash Recharge (transient)
1412 mA
n/a
Image Playback
405 mA
183



Overall, the A300 shows surprisingly good battery life for a camera powered by only two AA cells. (And my numbers above are based on 1600 mAh cells for the sake of providing a valid comparison to older cameras. - The best NiMH AA batteries currently available have true capacities as high as 2000 mAh.) As always though, I still strongly recommend purchasing a couple of sets of high-capacity NiMH batteries and a good charger, and keeping a spare set of batteries charged at all times. Click here to read my "battery shootout" page to see which batteries currently on the market are best, or here for my review of the Maha C-204F charger, my longtime favorite.

 

Storage Capacity
The PowerShot A300 stores its photos on CompactFlash memory cards, and a 16MB card is included with the camera. (I strongly recommend buying at least a 64MB card, preferably a 128MB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings.) The chart below shows how many images can be stored on the included 16MB card at each size/quality setting.

 

Image Capacity vs
Resolution/Quality
16MB Memory Card
Fine
Normal
Economy
2,048 x 1,536 Images
(Avg size)
9
1,652KB
17
924KB
34
465KB
Approx.
Compression
6:1 10:1 20:1
1,600 x 1,200 Images
(Avg size)
15
1,036KB
27
580KB
54
294KB
Approx.
Compression
6:1 10:1 20:1
1,024 x 768 Images
(Avg size)
27
593KB
47
335KB
87
184KB
Approx.
Compression
4:1
7:1
13:1
640 x 480
Images
(Avg size)
60
256KB
98
163KB
170
94KB
Approx.
Compression
4:1
6:1
10:1

 

Download Speed
The PowerShot A300 connects to a host computer via a USB interface. Downloading files, I clocked it at 477 KBytes/second on my 2.4 GHz Sony VAIO desktop, running Windows XP. (Cameras with slow USB interfaces run as low as 300 KB/s, cameras with fast ones run as high as 600 KB/s.)

 

A300 Review
A300 Test Images
A300 Specifications
A300 "Picky Details"
Up to Imaging Resource digital cameras area

 

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