Olympus 720 SW Review

 
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Olympus Stylus 720 SW Performance


Timing and Performance

Olympus Stylus 720 SW Timing
Good to average speed for a consumer camera.

Startup/Shutdown
Power on
to first shot
1.8 seconds
Time it takes for LCD to turn on and capture the first image. (No lens to telescope out, it's internal to the body.)
Shutdown
~1.7 seconds
How long it takes the lens cover to close, so you can stow the camera in a pocket.
Buffer clearing time
7 seconds
(3M JPEG,
13 shots in
Continuous Hi mode)
Worst case buffer clearing time. This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card. Some cameras won't retract their lenses and shut down until the buffer is cleared.
Mode switching
Play to Record,
first shot
0.5 seconds
Time until first shot is captured
Record to play
0.7 seconds
Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture
Display
recorded image
2.7 seconds
Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.
Shutter response (Lag Time):
Full Autofocus Wide
1.07 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide angle position.
Full Autofocus Tele
1.12 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at telephoto position.
Prefocused
0.087 second
Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.
Cycle time (shot to shot)
Single Shot mode
Large Fine JPEG
2.00 seconds
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots (no apparent buffer limit)
Single Shot mode
640x480 JPEG
1.93 seconds
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots (no apparent buffer limit)
Early shutter
penalty?
No
Some cameras won't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.
Continuous Hi mode
3M Fine JPEG
(2048 x 1536 only)
0.27 second (3.74 frames per second);
13 frame buffer limit;
7 seconds to clear
Time per shot, averaged over 13-shot buffer length.
Continuous Hi mode
640x480 JPEG
0.27 second (3.74 frames per second);
19 frame buffer limit;
5 seconds to clear
Time per shot, averaged over 19-shot buffer length.
Continuous Lo mode
Large/Fine JPEG
0.97 second (1.03 frames per second);
4 frame buffer limit;
6 seconds to clear
Time per shot, averaged over 4-shot buffer length.
Continuous Lo mode
640x480 JPEG
0.90 second (1.12 frames per second);
No apparent buffer limit
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.
Flash recycling
6 seconds
Flash at maximum output
Download speed
Windows Computer, USB 2.0
839 KBytes/sec
Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-770=USB 2.0 Low;
771-4000=USB 2.0 High

The Stylus 720 SW's performance starts up fairly quickly, taking only 1.8 seconds from power-on to the first shot. Shutter response is quite sluggish by current standards at wide angle and telephoto lens settings though, but "prefocus" (half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure) results in a very fast lag of only 0.087 second. Shot to shot cycle times are average, at about 2.00 seconds for large/fine JPEGs, and it can apparently capture images at this pace indefinitely, without having to slow down and wait for the memory card to catch up. Continuous-mode speed is excellent at the High setting, at about 3.75 frames/second, for up to 13 medium-resolution shots in succession. (High-speed continuous mode only supports a maximum resolution of 2,048 x 1,536 pixels.) In Low speed continuous mode, the capture rate slows to 1.03 frames per second for the largest JPEG setting, capturing only four frames before needing to wait for the memory card. The flash takes about six seconds to recharge after a full-power shot, about average for this class of camera. Connected to a computer, download speeds are fast enough that you probably won't feel a need for a separate card reader, but nonetheless aren't as fast as many cameras currently on the market. Bottom line, while its continuous-mode speed is good when shooting with the "Hi" option, the Stylus 720 SW's sluggish shutter response will make it difficult to capture fast-paced action. (Unless of course, the shooting conditions are such that you can use the trick of prefocusing the camera before the critical moment arrives.)

Battery and Storage Capacity

Battery
Fairly short battery life.

Operating Mode
Number of Shots
LiIon rechargeable battery
180

The Olympus Stylus 720 SW uses a custom rechargeable LiIon battery for power. The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on CIPA battery-life standard test conditions. Given the short run time with the LCD enabled, you should definitely consider purchasing a second battery to pack along on extended outings. (Remember that you're likely to spend some time looking at the photos you've captured on the camera's LCD, which isn't factored into the shot count listed above.)

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

Storage
No card is included with the Olympus Stylus 720 SW, although it accepts xD-Picture Cards; 20MB RAM is built into the camera.

Image Capacity with
20MB Internal Memory
Fine Normal
3,072 x 2,304 Images 5 11
File Size 3.5 MB 1.7 MB
2,560 x 1,920 Images - 16
File Size - 1.2 MB
2,304 x 1,728 Images - 20
File Size - 994 KB
2,048 x 1,536 Images - 26
File Size - 785 KB
1,600 x 1,200
Images - 31
File Size - 657 KB
1,280 x 960
Images - 49
File Size - 417 KB
1,024 x 768
Images - 75
File Size - 272 KB
640 x 480
Images - 116
File Size - 176 KB

We strongly recommend buying at least a 256MB card, preferably a 512MB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings.

 

Olympus 720 SW

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