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Canon Powershot G6

By: Dave Etchells

The next generation of Canon's popular "G" model updates the line with a larger, 7.1-megapixel CCD and a redesigned camera body.

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Page 8:Shutter Lag & Cycle Time Tests

Review First Posted: 09/28/2004

Shutter Lag/Cycle Times

When you press the shutter release on a digital camera, there's usually a delay or lag time before the shutter actually fires. This time allows the autofocus and autoexposure mechanisms to do their work and can amount to a significant delay in some situations. Since this number is rarely reported by manufacturers or reviewers, and can significantly affect the picture-taking experience, I now measures shutter lag and cycle times using an electronic test setup I built for this purpose. It has crystal-controlled timing, with resolution to 0.001 second.

PowerShot G6 Timings
Operation
Time (secs)
Notes
Power On -> First shot
3.92
Time from power-up to first shot. About average.
Shutdown
2.75
Time for lens to retract. A bit faster than average.
Play to Record, first shot
2.22
Time until first shot is captured. Average to a bit slower than average.
Record to play (max/min res)
1.3/0.9
1.1/0.5
Top times are for max res JPEGs, bottom times for min res. First number is for immediate review after capturing an image (hold down the shutter button), second is for camera at rest, after having finished processing.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.78/0.73
Longer time is for telephoto, shorter for wide angle. On the fast side of average. ("Average" runs from 0.8 to 1.0 seconds, but many current high-end models manage 0.6 sec or better.)
Shutter lag, continuous autofocus 0.83 Continuous AF may help for moving subjects, but is slower than single AF for stationary ones.
Shutter lag, manual focus
0.47
About average. (Average is about 0.5 second, but again, many current high-end models do better.)
Shutter lag, prefocus
0.077
Very fast.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution
1.93/1.87/2.44
First number is for large/fine files, second for small/economy. Last time is for full res CCD RAW+Large JPEG files. Buffer holds minimum of 11 shots at max JPEG size/quality, essentially unlimited shots at lowest size/quality, and four shots in RAW+JPEG mode. Buffer takes about 46 seconds to clear for JPEGs, about 41 seconds for RAW+JPEG files with Lexar 80x card.
Cycle time, continuous mode 0.95/0.95/1.48 First number is for large/fine JPEG, second for small/basic JPEG, third is for RAW+Large JPEG. Buffer holds minimum of 10 large/fine files, many small/fine (100 or more), four RAW+JPEG files. Buffer clears in ~46 seconds for large/fine JPEGs, 34 seconds for small/basic JPEGs, and 33 seconds for RAW+Large JPEG with a Lexar 80x card.
Cycle time, high-speed continuous mode
0.64/0.61/1.45
First number is for large/fine JPEG, second for small/basic JPEG, third is for RAW+Large JPEG. Buffer holds minimum of 8 large/fine files, many small/fine (85 or more), four RAW+JPEG files. Buffer clears in ~37 seconds for large/fine JPEGs, 31 seconds for small/basic JPEGs, and 35 seconds for RAW+Large JPEG with a Lexar 80x card.


While not as fast as recent digicams using hybrid IR/contrast-detect autofocus systems, the G6's full-autofocus shutter lag times of 0.73-0.78 second represents a significant improvement over the 1.04-1.17 second range of the earlier G5. (Impressive, given the G6's larger sensor, which means more data has to be clocked off for each iteration of the autofocus adjustment cycle.) At 1.93 seconds/frame in single-shot mode, shooting large/fine JPEG files, cycle time is almost exactly the same as that of the G5, although the G6's buffer now holds 11 shots, vs the meager 4 shot of the G5. Continuous mode cycle times have slipped a little bit, to just under 1 second per shot, down from 0.72 second on the G5 for normal continuous mode, and 0.64 second, down from 0.51 second for high-speed continuous mode. Not bad, but probably not a first choice for sports or other fast-paced action.

 

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