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"Picky Details" for the Panasonic DMC-LZ1 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 Panasonic DMC-LZ1:

Panasonic DMC-LZ1 Timings
Operation
Time
(secs)
Notes
Power On -> First shot
1.7
LCD turns on and lens extends forward. Pretty fast for a camera with a telescoping lens.
Shutdown
2.0 - 3.5
First time is time to retract lens, second time is worst-case buffer-clearing time. Both times are pretty fast.
Play to Record, first shot
0.7
Time until first shot is captured. Pretty fast.
Record to play
1.5 / 0.7
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. Also good speeds.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.81 / 0.92
First time is at full wide-angle, second is full telephoto. Right in the middle of average, but not bad for a long-zoom camera.
Shutter lag, prefocus
0.015
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button. Extremely fast.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution

1.73 / 1.80

First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" mode (640x480) images. Times are averages. In both modes, clears the buffer after each shot and continues at this pace indefinitely. Not terribly fast, but not bad for a camera in the LZ1's price range.
Cycle Time, Flash exposures (Flash at maximum power output) 9 On the slow side.
Cycle Time, continuous High mode, max/min resolution 0.27
(3.7 fps)
Times are averages. Shoots a burst of 4 frames in large/fine mode or 7 frames in "TV" mode, before stopping to clear the buffer. Cycle time is 0.27 seconds, and buffer clears in about 2.5 seconds regardless of resolution. Quite fast. (Measured with a Lexar 32x SD card, slower cards may take longer to clear the buffer memory.)
Cycle Time, continuous Low mode, max/min resolution 0.53
(1.88 fps)
Times are averages. Shoots a burst of 4 frames in large/fine mode or 7 frames in "TV" mode, before stopping to clear the buffer. Cycle time is 0.53 seconds, and buffer clears in about 2.5 seconds regardless of resolution. Still pretty fast. (Measured with a Lexar 32x SD card, slower cards may take longer to clear the buffer memory.)
Cycle Time, continuous "Infinite" mode, max/min resolution 0.63
(1.58 fps)
Times are averages. Continues at this rate indefinitely in large/fine mode or "TV" mode. Buffer clears in about a second regardless of resolution. Slower, but not bad for an "infinite" mode, where the buffer never fills.

Good speed for an inexpensive camera, average shutter response. Overall, the LZ1 is surprisingly quick, starting up and shutting down very quickly, and showing good to excellent shot to shot speed in continuous shooting modes. Full-autofocus shutter response is smack in the middle of average at 0.8-0.9 second, although that's better than many long-zoom models manage. Shutter lag virtually disappears when you "prefocus" the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the shot itself. (Lag drops to an amazing 0.015 second.) Single-shot cycle time is also fairly good at 1.7 seconds. These days, there are a number of higher-end long-zoom models (including several from Panasonic) that have faster shutter response, but for its price, the LZ1 does quite well.

 

Power

The Panasonic DMC-LZ1 uses a two AA batteries for power, and ordinary alkaline batteries are included with the camera. The table below shows the power drain I measured in various operating modes, and the corresponding run times to be expected from a standard set of 1600 mAh NiMH cells.

Operating Mode
Power
(@3.0 volts on the external power terminal)
Est. Minutes
(two 1600 mA cells)
Capture Mode, w/LCD
583 mA
132
Half-pressed shutter w/LCD
635 mA
121
Memory Write (transient)
719 mA
n/a
Flash Recharge (transient)
1177 mA
n/a
Image Playback
249 mA
308

Good battery life, particularly for a 2-cell AA-powered camera. Running from just two standard AA cells, the Panasonic LZ1 did better in our power-drain tests than I'd normally expect. Worst-case run time in capture mode with the LCD enabled was a bit over two hours, even using "standard" 1600 mAh batteries. Current high-powered cells will give as much as 25% longer run times. It still pays though, to get a couple of sets of the highest-powered NiMH rechargeable AA cells you can find, and a good-quality charger to go along with them. Read my NiMH battery shootout page for a listing of NiMH cells with their true capacities based on actual tests, and see the review of the Maha C-204W charger to read why it's my current favorite.

 

Storage Capacity

The Panasonic DMC-LZ1 stores its photos on SD / MMC memory cards or in approximately 14 MB of internal memory, and no 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 in the internal memory at each size/quality setting.

Image Capacity vs
Resolution/Quality
14 MB Internal Memory
Fine Normal
2308 x 1728
Images
(Avg size)
8
1.8 MB
15
926 KB
Approx.
Compression
7:1 13:1
1600 x 1200 Images
(Avg size)
14
1.0 MB
27
529 KB
Approx.
Compression
6:1 11:1
1280 x 960
Images
(Avg size)
22
661 KB
40
364 KB
Approx.
Compression
6:1 10:1
640 x 480
Images
(Avg size)
68
215 KB
111
132 KB
Approx.
Compression
4:1 7:1

 

Download Speed

The Panasonic DMC-LZ1 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 713 KBytes/second, a respectable if not exactly impressive rate. (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.)

LZ1 Review
LZ1 Test Images
LZ1 Specifications
LZ1 "Picky Details"
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