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"Picky Details" for the Canon PowerShot A40 digital camera
(Timing, Power, and Storage Info)

Timing
I measure both cycle times and shutter delay times, using a proprietary Imaging Resource test system. Here are the numbers I collected for the Canon PowerShot A40:

 

Canon PowerShot A40 Timings
Operation
Time
(secs)
Notes
Power On -> First shot
3.13
About average for a camera with a zoom lens.
Shutdown
4.4
Average to a little slower than average.
Play to Record, first shot
2.7
Time until first shot is captured. About average.
Record to play
2.0
Time to display a large/fine file after capture. Pretty fast.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.86/1.36
First time is for wide angle zoom setting, second is for telephoto. Wide angle time is about average, tele time is a bit slower than average.
Shutter lag, prefocus
0.09
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button. Very fast!
Cycle Time, max/min resolution
2.2-2.4/2.1
First numbers are for large/fine files, second number is time for small/basic images. Very fast. There may be a buffer memory, as the first three shots generally came in with cycle times around 2.2 seconds, subsequent ones averaged 2.4, but even the 2.4 is quite fast.
Cycle Time, continuous mode, max/min resolution
1.24-0.83
0.91- 0.65 (1.2/1.5 fps)
First pair of numbers is for large/fine, second set for small/basic files. Numbers beneath are corresponding frames per second. Quite fast. Seven large/fine frames before pausing, 63 small/basic ones. Oddly, delay between first two frames is longer than between subsequent ones. (1.24 vs 0.83 for large/fine, 0.91 vs 0.65 for small/basic.)

 

The PowerShot A40 is average to somewhat faster than average, depending on the parameter you're looking at. Startup and shutdown times are about average. Shutter lag in full autofocus is average at wide angle, a bit slower than average at telephoto. Prefocus shutter delay is blazingly fast though, at only 90 milliseconds. Cycle times are very good, a bit over two seconds for both large/fine and small/basic files. Continuous mode cycle times are also quite good for a more or less entry-level camera.

Power
The PowerShot A40 uses four AA cells for its power source, and displays good to excellent battery life. (Provided that is, that you use high-capacity NiMH cells, coupled with a good charger. Read my NiMH Battery Shootout page for the latest on actual battery performance, or my review of the Maha C204F to see why it's my favorite charger.)

As noted, the A40's battery life is very good overall, and exceptional when you run it with the LCD screen turned off. - You could confidently leave it on all day with the LCD turned off, and have well over half your original battery charge left by evening. Even in its worst-case power consumption mode (capture mode with LCD turned on), it should run for well over three hours on a set of high-capacity NiMH batteries. The table below shows the A40's power consumption in various modes, and approximate run times for each, based a set of NiMH batteries with a (true, not advertised) 1600 mAh capacity:

 

Operating Mode
Power
(@4.3 volts on the external power terminal)
Est. Minutes
(4 1600 mAh NiMH cells)
Capture Mode, w/LCD
501 mA
214
Capture Mode, no LCD
85mA
(~20.9 hours)
Half-pressed shutter w/LCD
514 mA
209
Half-pressed w/o LCD
343 mA
313
Memory Write (transient)
503 mA
n/a
Flash Recharge (transient)
1040 mA
n/a
Image Playback
290 mA
369

 

Overall, really good battery life for a fairly compact camera.

 

Storage Capacity
The PowerShot A40 stores its photos on CF (CompactFlash) memory cards, and an 8 MB card is included with the camera. (I strongly recommend buying at least a 16MB card, preferably a 32 MB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings. - Heck, these days memory cards are so cheap, there's no reason not to get a 64 MB card, which could store 65 images at maximum size and quality!) The chart below shows how many images can be stored on the included 8 MB card at each size/quality setting.

 

Image Capacity vs
Resolution/Quality
8 MB Memory Card
Super
Fine
Fine
Normal
Full Resolution 1600x1200 Images
(Avg size)
8
973 KB
12
623 KB
25
313 KB
Approx.
Compression
6:1 9:1 18:1
XGA Resolution 1024x768 Images
(Avg size)
17
462 KB
26
305 KB
48
165 KB
Approx.
Compression
5:1
8:1
14:1
VGA Resolution 640x480
Images
(Avg size)
36
217 KB
52
152 KB
90
88 KB
Approx.
Compression
4:1
6:1
10:1

 

Download Speed
The PowerShot A40 connects to a host computer via a USB interface. Downloading files to my 500 MHz PowerMac G4 (OS 9.1), I clocked it at 417 KBytes/second. This is a fairly typical figure. (Cameras with slow USB interfaces run as low as 300 KB/s, cameras with fast ones run as high as 600 KB/s.)

 


Back to the Main PowerShot A40 Review

 

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