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"Picky Details" for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P150 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P150:

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P150 Timings
Operation
Time
(secs)
Notes
Power On -> First shot
1.5
LCD turns on and lens extends forward. Quite fast.
Shutdown
1.5- 14.5
First time is time to retract lens, second time is worst-case buffer-clearing time. Also quite fast, and worst-case buffer clearing is pretty speedy too.
Play to Record, first shot
1.8
Time until first shot is captured. Fairly fast.
Record to play
5.8 / 2.3
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. Average.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.31 / 0.54
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

1.82 /
1.68

First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" mode (640x480) images. Times are averages. No buffer: All shots are this fast, regardless of how many captured. Quite fast.
Cycle Time, Burst mode, max/min resolution 1.06 / 0.91
(0.95 / 1.09 fps)
First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" size images. Times are averages. Shoots 5 large/fine this fast, clears the buffer in 8 seconds, and shoots 5 more. In TV mode, shoots more than 50 at this rate, and takes 13 seconds to clear the buffer. Moderately fast, but not by any means exceptional.
Cycle Time, Multi-burst mode 0.03
(30 fps)
Camera captures 320 x 240 pixel images, stores them in 4x4 arrays inside normal 1280x960 files. Frame rate can be set to 7.5, 15 or 30 frames/second. Buffer clears in 1 second, and it's ready for another burst. Extremely fast.

 

The DSC-P150 is a surprisingly nimble little camera. It starts up and shuts down quickly, but its best attribute is how responsive it is to the shutter button. With shutter lag ranging from 0.35-0.54 second, it's one of the fastest cameras on the market. (Particularly impressive for a subcompact model.) It's reasonably fast from shot to shot as well, at just under two seconds between frames. More impressive is that it can maintain this pace indefinitely (or at least until the card is filled), as the buffer memory never fills in single-shot mode. In continuous shooting mode, the camera captures about one frame per second, a rather leisurely pace by current standards, but again, not bad for a subcompact model.

 

Power

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P150 uses a custom rechargeable LiIon battery for power. Its custom power connector prevented me from measuring its power drain directly, but Sony's InfoLITHIUM battery technology is very accurate when predicting remaining battery life. The numbers in the table below were what the camera displayed as remaining run time with a fully-charged battery.

Operating Mode
Battery Life
Still-image capture mode 181 minutes
Movie capture mode
131 minutes
Playback mode
389 minutes (!)

 

Thanks to Sony's InfoLithium battery technology, the P150 shows really excellent battery life compared to other compact digicams (actually, it's very good compared to any size digicam), with 181 minutes projected runtime in capture mode with the LCD on, and 389 minutes in playback mode. As always though, I still recommend purchasing a second battery along with the camera, but with the P150, this is much less of a consideration than it normally is.

 

Storage Capacity

The Sony Cyber-shot stores its photos on Memory Stick / 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
3072x 2304 Images
(Avg size)
8
3.6 MB
17
1.8 MB
Approx.
Compression
6:1 12:1
2592x 1944 Images
(Avg size)
12
2.6MB
23
1.4 MB
Approx.
Compression
6:1 11:1
2048 x 1536 Images
(Avg size)
19
1.6 MB
35
911 KB
Approx.
Compression
6:1 10:1
1280 x 960 Images
(Avg size)
47
674 KB
86
370 KB
Approx.
Compression
6:1 10:1
640 x 480
Images
(Avg size)
190
168 KB
475
67 KB
Approx.
Compression
6:1 14:1

 

Download Speed

The Sony Cyber-shot P150 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 976 KBytes/second, a pretty good clip. (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.)

P150 Review
P150 Test Images
P150 Imatest Results
P150 Specifications
P150 "Picky Details"
Up to Imaging Resource digital cameras area

 

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