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"Picky Details" for the Canon PowerShot A95 digital camera
(Timing, Power, and Storage Info)

 

Timing

When you press the shutter release on a camera, there's usually a lag time or delay before the shutter actually fires. This corresponds to the time required for the autofocus and autoexposure mechanisms time to do their work, and can amount to a fairly long delay in some situations. Since this number is rarely reported on (and even more rarely reported accurately), and can significantly affect the picture taking experience, I routinely measure both shutter delay and shot to shot cycle times for all cameras I test, using a test system I designed and built for the purpose. (Crystal-controlled, with a resolution of 0.001 second.) Here are the numbers I collected for the Canon PowerShot A95:

 

Canon PowerShot A95 Timings
Operation
Time
(secs)
Notes
Power On -> First shot
2.6
LCD turns on and lens extends forward. A bit better than average.
Shutdown
2.0 - 36
First time is time to retract lens, second time is worst-case buffer-clearing time. First time is pretty good, second time is very slow, but it corresponds to clearing more than 100 small/basic shots from the buffer memory in continuous shooting mode.
Play to Record, first shot
1.9
Time until first shot is captured. A bit faster than average.
Record to play
1.9/1.2
First time is that required to display a large/fine file immediately after capture, second time is that needed to display a large/fine file that has already been processed and stored on the memory card. Faster than average.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.87/0.86
First time is at full wide-angle, second is full telephoto. Just on the fast side of average. (Average is a range from 0.8-1.0 second.)
Shutter lag, prefocus
0.090
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button. Very fast.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution

2.05 /
2.09

First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" mode (640x480) images. Times are averages. In large/fine mode, shoots 8 shots this fast, then slows to about 4.4 seconds apart, and clears the buffer in 29 seconds. In TV mode, maintains this rate for over 50 shots, and clears the buffer in 14 seconds. Good speed, and the 8-shot buffer should be plenty for most consumers.
Cycle Time, continuous mode, max/min resolution 0.74
(1.36 fps)
Shoots at the same speed for large/fine or "TV" size images. Times are averages. In large/fine mode, shoots 8 shots this fast, then slows to about 3.5 seconds apart, and clears the buffer in 28 seconds. In TV mode, maintains this rate for over 100 shots, and clears the buffer in 34 seconds. Rather modest speed, nothing to write home about.
Cycle Time, continuous high mode, max/min resolution 0.53 / 0.45
(1.89 / 2.21 fps)
First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for small/basic images. Times are averages. In large/fine mode, shoots 7 shots this fast, then slows to about 2.8 seconds apart, and clears the buffer in 25 seconds. In TV mode, maintains this rate for over 100 shots, and clears the buffer in 34 seconds. Quite respectable speed, and 7-shot buffer depth is quite good as well.

Overall, the A95 is slightly faster than average in most aspects of its performance. Startup and shutdown are a bit quicker than most digicams with telescoping lenses manage, shutter lag is just on the fast side of average in full-autofocus mode (at 0.86-0.87 second), and very fast (0.09 second) when the camera is "prefocused" by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button prior to the shot itself. At just over two seconds, cycle times are good if not astounding, and the camera's seven- to eight-shot buffer memory should be more than enough for most consumers. Its "high speed" continuous mode gives respectable continuous-shooting speed of just under two frames/second. All in all, not blazing speed, but a solid performer all the same.

 

Power

The Canon PowerShot A95 uses four AA batteries for power.

Operating Mode
Power
(@4.8 volts on the external power terminal)
Est. Minutes
(four 1600 mA cells)
Capture Mode, w/LCD
521 mA
184
Capture Mode, no LCD
125 mA
768
Half-pressed shutter w/LCD
550 mA
175
Half-pressed w/o LCD
392 mA
245
Memory Write (transient)
646 mA
n/a
Flash Recharge (transient)
1350 mA
n/a
Image Playback
233 mA
411

Excellent battery life. With worst-case runtime of 184 minutes in capture mode with the rear panel LCD illuminated (based on "standard" 1600 mAh NiMH cells), and more than 13 hours with the LCD turned off, the A95's battery life is much better than average. I still recommend buying at least two sets of high-capacity NiMH AA cells and a good charger, but the A95 does a lot better than most cameras on the market in the battery-life department. (See my Battery Shootout page for test results from a variety of batteries, and read my review of the Maha C-204W to see why it's my new favorite AA-cell charger.)

 

Storage Capacity

The Canon PowerShot stores its photos on Compact Flash memory cards, and a 32 MB card is included with the camera. (I strongly recommend buying at least a 128 MB card, preferably a 256 MB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings.) The chart below shows how many images can be stored on the included 32 MB card at each size/quality setting.

Image Capacity vs
Resolution/Quality
32 MB Memory Card
Fine Normal
Basic
2592 x 1944 Images
(Avg size)
12
2.8 MB
22
1.4 MB
43
734 KB
Approx.
Compression
6:1 10:1 20:1
2048 x 1536 Images
(Avg size)
19
1.7 MB
34
929 KB
67
473 KB
Approx.
Compression
6:1 10:1 20:1
1600 x 1200 Images
(Avg size)
30
1.0 MB
54
587 KB
103
310 KB
Approx.
Compression
6:1 10:1
19:1
640 x 480
Images
(Avg size)
115
277 KB
178
179 KB
280
114 KB
Approx.
Compression
3:1 5:1
8:1


 

Download Speed

The Canon PowerShot connects to a host computer via a USB interface. Downloading files to my Sony desktop running Windows XP (Pentium IV, 2.4 GHz), I clocked it at 513 KBytes/second. This isn't bad, and is fast enough that you probably won't feel a need for an external card reader, but is on the slow side of average these days. (Cameras with slow USB interfaces run as low as 300 KB/s, cameras with fast v1.1 interfaces run as high as 600 KB/s. Cameras with USB v2.0 interfaces run as fast as several megabytes/second.)

A95 Review
A95 Test Images
A95 Imatest Results
A95 Specifications
A95 "Picky Details"
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