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"Picky Details" for the Olympus Camedia D-580 Zoom 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 Olympus D-580:

Olympus D-580 Timings
Operation
Time
(secs)
Notes
Power On -> First shot
3.6
LCD turns on and lens extends forward. About average.
Shutdown
2.5 - 22
First time is time to retract lens, second time is worst-case buffer-clearing time. Fairly fast for lens retraction, buffer clearing time is long, but it has a large capacity in continuous mode, with small files.
Play to Record, first shot
1.2
Time until first shot is captured. Fairly fast.
Record to play
8.2 / 1.4
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. First time is rather slow, second is fairly fast.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
1.00/1.07
First time is at full wide-angle, second is full telephoto. Both are on the slow side of average. (Average is a range from 0.8 to 1.0 seconds.)
Shutter lag, prefocus
0.155
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button. Fairly fast.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution

2.10 /
2.26

First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" mode (640x480) images. Neither is terribly fast, but not bad for an inexpensive model. Times are averages. In large/fine mode, shoots the first three this fast, then shoots groups of three averaging 4.5 seconds per shot, and the buffer clears in 7 seconds. In TV mode, the buffer never fills, and takes 5 seconds to clear.
Cycle Time, continuous mode, max/min resolution 0.85/0.78
(1.18/1.29 fps)
First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" mode images. Times are averages. Not blazingly fast, but once again, not bad for a bargain-priced camera. In large/fine mode, shoots three this fast, then stops, and the buffer clears in 7 seconds. In TV mode, the buffer holds more than 50 shots, but takes 22 seconds to clear.

The D-580 Zoom isn't a speed demon of a camera, but on the whole, it's probably faster than you'd normally expect for one selling in the price range that it does, with the features that it has.

 

Power

The Olympus D-580 runs on two AA batteries or a CR-V3 lithium battery for power. Two ordinary alkaline AA are provided, though NiMH rechargeable AA's are recommended. The test numbers below are for a pair of NiMH AA's, with the standard 1600 mAh capacity that I've used to allow both old and new models of cameras to be compared to each other. (With today's high-capacity NiMH cells having upwards of 2100 mAh of true (vs advertised) capacity, you should experience run times a fair bit longer than those shown below.)

Operating Mode
Power
(@3.4 volts on the external power terminal)
Est. Minutes
(two 1600 mA cells)
Capture Mode, w/LCD
663 mA
102
Capture Mode, no LCD
8.3mA
135 hours (!)
Half-pressed shutter w/LCD
635 mA
107
Half-pressed w/o LCD
8.2 mA
137 hours (!)
Memory Write (transient)
500 mA
n/a
Flash Recharge (transient)
1166 mA
n/a
Image Playback
397 mA
171

In capture mode with the LCD turned on, the D-580's worst-case run time of 102 minutes is a bit on the short side by current standards. Its secret weapon in the battery-life war though, is its almost zero power drain when you turn the LCD off. This means you can leave the camera on and ready to go at a moment's notice all day long, yet hardly make a dent in its battery life. This is a great feature that would be even better if the D-580's optical viewfinder were more accurate. As it is, the D-580's optical viewfinder is so tight that you'll find yourself having to resort to the LCD more often than not. Definitely plan on buying a couple of sets of high-capacity NiMH AA cells and a good-quality charger. Check out my Battery Shootout page for details on the actual, measured performance of various AA batteries. - Read my review of the Maha C-204F charger, to learn why it's my longtime favorite.



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

Image Capacity vs
Resolution/Quality
16 MB Memory Card
Fine Normal
2,288 x 1,712 Images
(Avg size)
5
2.8 MB
16
985 KB
Approx.
Compression
4:1 12:1
1,600 x 1,200 Images
(Avg size)
32
500 B
n/a
Approx.
Compression
11:1 n/a
640 x 480
Images
(Avg size)
166
96 KB
n/a
Approx.
Compression
10:1 n/a

 

Download Speed
The Olympus 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 709 KBytes/second. This is faster than cameras with USB v1.1 interfaces can go, but on the slower end of the scale for USB v2.0-based models. - Still more than fast enough that you needn't worry about buying a separate card reader. (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.)

 

D-580 Review
D-580 Test Images
D-580 Specifications
D-580 "Picky Details"
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