Olympus 790 SW Review

 
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Olympus Stylus 790 SW Performance


Timing and Performance

Slower than average speed for a consumer camera.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

1.3 seconds

Time it takes for LCD to turn on and lens to deploy.

Shutdown

1.5 seconds

How long it takes to retract lens.

Buffer clearing time

1.0 second
(1 second buffer clearing in LF JPEG)

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.

Startup time is about average, though buffer clearing times are quite good.


Mode switching

Play to Record,
first shot

1.1 seconds

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to play

0.9 second

Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

1.4 seconds

Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.

Mode switching is a bit sluggish.


Shutter response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus Wide

0.99 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide-angle position.

Full Autofocus Tele

1.00 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at telephoto position.

Pre-focused

0.107 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Shutter response lags behind (pun intended), at about one second for full autofocus lag. "Pre-focusing" the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure results in a lag time of 0.107 second, not overly slow, but slower than average.


Cycle time (shot-to-shot)
Single Shot mode
Large Fine JPEG
2.57 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Single Shot mode
640 x 480 JPEG

2.57 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras refuse to snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
Large Fine JPEG

0.98 second (1.03 frames per second);
20 frames total;
1 second to clear

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.

Continuous mode
640 x 480 JPEG

0.98 second (1.02 fps);
20 frames total;
0.5 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.

Continuous mode
High Speed

2048 x 1536 JPEG
0.25 second (4.06 fps);
20 frames total;
0.5 seconds to clear
Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.

Flash recycling

5.0 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a high speed Olympus 1GB Type H xD-picture card. Slower cards may produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity also affects cycle times and burst mode performance, with higher ISOs generally increasing cycle times and reducing burst performance.

Shot-to-shot cycle times are markedly slow, at about 2.57 seconds regardless of resolution, but the camera does fire continuously at this rate without stopping to empty the buffer. Continuous mode is also slow, at about one frame-per-second, regardless of resolution. However, in High Speed mode, the camera is quite fast, capturing 4.06 frames per second but at reduced resolution (2048 x 1536 pixels). The flash takes 5 seconds to recharge after a full-power shot, which is about average.


Download speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

4,416 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Very fast download times.

Overall, the Stylus 790 SW is quite slow, though its High Speed Continuous shooting mode and fast download times do stand out. Thus, the camera would be a little sluggish in normal shooting conditions, but would perform quite well at capturing fast paced action, if you don't mind the reduced resolution of High Speed mode. A mixed bag, but overall on the slow side.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Battery
Fair battery life for a lithium-ion design.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery,
(CIPA standard)
200

The Olympus Stylus 790 SW uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a charger. Battery life is below average, so we recommend you pick up a spare battery and keep it freshly charged and on-hand for extended outings.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on either a fresh set of disposable batteries or a fully-charged rechargeable battery as appropriate), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

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

Storage
The Olympus Stylus 790 SW accepts xD Picture cards, and includes about 15MB of internal memory.

Image Capacity with
15MB Internal Memory
Fine Normal
3,072 x 2,304
Images
4
8
File Size
3.5MB
1.7MB
2,560 x 1,920
Images
-
12
File Size
-
1.2MB
2,304 x 1,728
Images
-
14
File Size
-
993 KB
2,048 x 1,536
Images
-
18
File Size
-
785 KB
1,600 x 1,200
Images
-
22
File Size
-
656 KB
1,280 x 960
Images
-
35
File Size
-
416 KB
1,024 x 768
Images
-
54
File Size
-
272 KB
640 x 480
Images
83
-
File Size
176 KB
-

We strongly recommend buying a large capacity xD memory card at least a 1GB card, preferably a 2GB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings. (Check the shopping link above, cards are really cheap these days, so no reason to skimp.)

 

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