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"Picky Details" for the Sony DSC-P100 digital camera
(Timing, Power, and Storage Info)

Timing
Since they're rarely reported on (and even more rarely reported accurately), I measure both cycle times and shutter delay 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 DSC-P100:

 

Sony DSC-P100 Timings
Operation
Time
(secs)
Notes
Power On -> First shot
1.5
LCD turns on and lens extends forward. Very fast.
Shutdown
1.3 / 13
First time is time to retract lens, second time is worst-case buffer-clearing time. Quite fast, buffer-clearing time is on the fast side of average, particularly considering how deep the buffer is.
Play to Record, first shot
0.2
Time until first shot is captured. Very fast.
Record to play
3.0 / 0.2
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. Both times are pretty fast.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.28/0.58
First time is at full wide-angle, second is full telephoto. Very fast.
Shutter lag, prefocus
0.011
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button. Very(!) fast.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution

3.47

Cycle time is the same for both large/fine images and "TV" mode (640x480) images. Times are averages. Buffer takes 3 seconds to clear for either size. Reasonably fast, but could be a lot better with use of buffer memory. (NOTE: The P100 is a camera that "penalizes" you for pressing the shutter button before it's ready - For best results, pause a moment after snapping each shot, before pressing the shutter button again.
Cycle Time, Continuous mode, max/min resolution 0.80 / 0.70
(1.25 / 1.42 fps)
First number is for large/fine images, second number is for "TV" size images. Times are averages. In large/fine mode, 9 shots were captured and the buffer cleared in 7 seconds. In TV mode, over 60 shots clicked off without filling the buffer, and it cleared in 12 seconds. Excellent performance, particularly for a subcompact camera.
Cycle Time, Multi Burst (16) mode 0.03
(30 fps)
Camera captures 320 x 240pixel images, stores them in 4x4 arrays inside normal 1280 x 960 files. User can set frame rate to 7.5, 15 or 30 frames/second. Stops shooting after 16 shots, the buffer clears in 1 second, and it's ready for more.


The DSC-P100 is a surprisingly fast little camera, with really excellent shutter response, as well as very quick startup/shutdown times. Cycle time in single shot mode is on the slow side, but its continuous-mode performance is very good for a compact digicam. (I have to admit though, that I really don't understand why the camera doesn't make use of its relatively capacious buffer memory when shooting in single-shot mode. Also disconcerting is that the P100 is a camera that "penalizes" you for pressing the shutter button too quickly after a previous shot. If you mash down the shutter button immediately after capturing an image, the camera will just sit there until you let up on the shutter button and press it again. A number of cameras do this, but I consider it to be a pretty significant design flaw.)

Power

The Sony DSC-P100 uses a custom rechargeable LiIon battery for power, and uses a custom external power connector. I couldn't perform my usual detailed power-consumption tests on it, but Sony's InfoLithium battery technology provides very accurate run-time projections. The numbers below reflect the projected run times with a freshly-charged battery:

Operating Mode
Battery Life
Still-image capture mode 202 minutes
Movie capture mode
151 minutes
Playback mode
379 minutes (!)

Thanks to Sony's InfoLithium battery technology, the P100 shows really excellent battery life compared to other compact digicams (actually, it's very good compared to any size digicam), with 202 minutes projected runtime in capture mode with the LCD on, and 379 minutes in playback mode. As always though, I still recommend purchasing a second battery along with the camera, but with the P100, this is much less of a consideration than it normally is.


Storage Capacity
The Sony stores its photos on Memory Stick or Memory Stick Pro memory cards, and a 32 MB 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 the included 32 MB card at each size/quality setting.

 

Image Capacity vs
Resolution/Quality
32 MB Memory Card
Fine Normal
2,592 x 1,944 Images
(Avg size)
11
2.7 MB
22
1.4 MB
Approx.
Compression
6:1 10:1
2048 x 1,536 Images
(Avg size)
18
1.7 MB
33
952 KB
Approx.
Compression
6:1 10:1
1,280 x 960 Images
(Avg size)
45
705 KB
82
387 KB
Approx.
Compression
5:1 9:1
640 x 480
Images
(Avg size)
181
176 KB
454
70 KB
Approx.
Compression
5:1

13:1


 

Download Speed
The Sony 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 2288 KBytes/second, an excellent performance, even for a USB 2.0 camera. (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.)

 

P100 Review
P100 Test Images
P100 Specifications
P100 "Picky Details"
Up to Imaging Resource digital cameras area

 

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