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"Picky Details" for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-M2 Digital Camera
(Timing, Power, and Storage Info)



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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-M2:

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-M2 Timings
Power On -> First shot
LCD turns on and lens extends forward.
1.5 - 9
First time is time to retract lens, second time is worst-case buffer-clearing time.
Play to Record, first shot
Time until first shot is captured.
Record to play
2.8 / 1.1
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.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.38 / 0.46
First time is at full wide-angle, second is full telephoto.
Shutter lag, prefocus
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution


Shoots at the same speed for large/fine files or "TV" mode (640x480) images. Times are averages. Buffer clears after each shot in TV mode, and in only 2 seconds after a long burst of large/fine frames.
Cycle Time, Flash exposures 6 (Flash at maximum power output)
Cycle Time, continuous mode, max/min resolution 0.32
(3.09 fps)
Shoots a burst of four frames at the same speed for large/fine files or "TV" mode (640x480) images. Times are averages. Buffer clears in 7 seconds for large/fine images, 5 seconds for lowest resolution.
Cycle Time, continuous Multi 16 mode 0.03
(30 fps)
Camera captures sixteen 320 x 240 pixel images, stores them in 4x4 arrays inside normal 1280 x 960 files. User can choose frame rate of 30, 15, or 7.5 fps. Buffer clears in about a second.



The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-M2 uses a custom rechargeable Li-Ion battery for power. Because it doesn't have a standard external power connector, I wasn't able to conduct my usual power consumption tests on it.

Sony's own numbers for the Cyber-shot DSC-M2 (based on the CIPA standard test procedure) indicate that you should be able to get about 210 shots from a freshly-charged battery with the LCD on in Normal mode, and 130 shots in Hybrid mode. With the LCD backlight off, you can get 250 in Normal, and 160 shots in Hybrid mode.


Storage Capacity

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-M2 stores its photos on Memory Stick Duo memory cards, and no 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 a 128 MB card at each size/quality setting.

Image Capacity vs
128 MB Memory Card
Fine Normal
2592 x 1944 Images
(Avg size)
2.7 MB
1.4 MB
6:1 11:1
2048 x 1536 Images
(Avg size)
1.7 MB
929 KB
6:1 10:1
1280 x 960 Images
(Avg size)
689 KB
379 KB
5:1 10:1
640 x 480
(Avg size)
172 KB
69 KB
5:1 13:1


Download Speed

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-M2 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 2007 KBytes/second. (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.)

M2 Review
M2 Test Images
M2 Specifications
M2 "Picky Details"
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