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"Picky Details" for the Sony DSC-P32 digital camera
(Timing, Power, and Storage Info)

Since they're rarely reported on but very important to the picture-taking experience, I measure both cycle times and shutter delay times for all the cameras I review, 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-P32:

NOTE: My qualitative characterizations of camera performance below (that is, "reasonably fast," "about average," etc.) are meant to be relative to other cameras of similar price and general capabilities. Thus, the same shutter lag that's "very fast" for a low-end consumer camera might be characterized as "quite slow" if I encountered it on a professional model. The comments are also intended as only a quick reference: If performance specs are critical for you, rely on the absolute numbers to compare cameras, rather than my purely qualitative comments.

Sony DSC-P32 Timings
Power On -> First shot
Time from power-up to first shot captured. Pretty fast, as the lens doesn't have to telescope out.
Time for camera to finish writing to the Memory Stick. A little slow.
Play to Record, first shot
Time until first shot is captured. Very (!) fast.
Record to play
Time to display an image immediately after capture. First number is for maximum resolution, second is for minimum. The max-res time is quite slow. (If the camera has finished saving an image to the Memory Stick though, the switch to playback mode is quite fast, less than a second.)
Shutter lag, full autofocus
Only one number for this measurement on the P32, as there's no zoom lens, hence no separate wide/telephoto measurements. Very fast, much faster than average. (Average is about 0.8 seconds.)
Shutter lag, manual focus
Time to capture, using one of the P32's focus presets. Pretty fast.
Shutter lag, prefocus
Time to capture, after half-pressing Shutter button. Much (!) faster than average.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution
First number is for maximum resolution, fine-quality files, second number is time for minimum res, normal-quality. Both are quite fast. At max res, the camera shoots this fast for the first two frames, then drops to an average cycle time of 2.18 seconds, still quite good. At small/normal resolution the camera can shoot a great many files without waiting for the Memory Stick to catch up.
Cycle Time, continuous mode 0.44
(2.28 frames/sec)
No difference in continuous mode cycle time for large or small files, but large images take 5.4 seconds to write to the memory card after a burst of two, vs 2.6 seconds for small ones.

Based on the timing results above, the P32 shows itself to be a pretty fast camera. Shutter lag in particular is much better than average. Despite its speed though, it isn't ideally suited for sports shooting, because most sporting events require the photographer to sit a good ways from the action, and so benefit greatly from a zoom lens.

The DSC-P32 uses standard AA-cell batteries. It ships with two high-capacity (1850 mAh) Sony-branded cells and a nice little battery charger. I strongly recommend purchasing at least one additional set of rechargeable NiMH AA cells though, to provide added power for extended outings.

Since it doesn't have an external power connector, I couldn't measure the P32's power consumption as I normally do. Using the rather unscientific approach of just running it on a normal set of batteries until it stopped, I came up with a worst-case run time of roughly 2 hours 10 minutes on true 1600 mAh batteries, or 2 hours 37 minutes on the 1850 mAh-rated cells that Sony ships with it. Excellent battery life, but I still strongly recommend purchasing a second set of cells.

Storage Capacity
The FinePix F410 stores its photos on xD-Picture cards, and a 16 MB card is packed with the camera. As always, I strongly recommend buying at least a 32MB card, preferably a 64MB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings. (Particularly given the large size of the F410's maximum-resolution images.) The chart below shows how many images can be stored on the included 16MB card at each size/quality setting, and the approximate amount of image compression applied in each mode. (The more image compression that's applied, the smaller the image files, but the lower quality the photos will be.)


Image Capacity vs
16 MB Memory Stick
Full Resolution 2,048 x 1,536 Images
(Avg size)
1,560 KB
865 KB
6:1 11:1
1,632 x 1,224 Images
(Avg size)
970 KB
520 KB
1,280 x 960
(Avg size)
634 KB
383 KB
640 x 480
(Avg size)
162 KB
65 KB


Download Speed
The P32 connects to a host computer via a USB interface. Unfortunately, in my rush to get it shipped back to Sony (I was running late on my loan period), I neglected to check its download speed. (FWIW though, Sony digicams tend to have fairly fast transfer rates.)


P32 Review
P32 Test Images
P32 Specifications
P32 "Picky Details"
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