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"Picky Details" for the Sony DSC-P51 digital camera
(Timing, Power, and Storage Info)

 

Timing
I measure both cycle times and shutter delay times, using a special test system I built for the purpose. Here are the numbers I collected for the Sony DSC-P51:

Sony DSC-P51 Timings
Operation
Time (secs)
Notes
Power On -> First shot
2.2
Average to slightly slower than average for a camera with a non-telescoping lens.
Shutdown
1.2
Fairly fast, but slower than some cameras with non-telescoping lenses.
Play to Record, first shot
0.59
Time until first shot is captured. Very fast.
Record to play
1.1
Time to display a large/fine file after capture. Quite fast.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.92-0.93
About average
Shutter lag, manual focus
0.61
A bit slower than average. (Average is ~0.5)
Shutter lag, prefocus
0.17
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button. Quite fast. (Average is ~0.3)
Cycle Time, max/min resolution
1.7/1.7
Quite fast. First number is for large/fine files, second is for small/normal ones. There's either no buffer memory, or it has a capacity of more than 11 shots: There was no slowdown up to 11 shots.

Overall, the P51 is pretty fast camera, fairly quick in startup and shutdown times, and very fast between shots, although shutter delay is only about average.While I didn't try to exercise it beyond an 11-shot series, it appears that there's either no buffer memory, or the buffer holds more than 11 large/fine shots. Whatever the case, up to at least the 11 shot limit I tested, there was no slowdown in the very fast 1.7 second shot to shot cycle time. Quite impressive.

 

File Download
The P51 is also very fast when it comes to downloading images from it to a host computer. I clocked it at 629 KBytes/second on my aging Pentium II workhorse, making it among the fastest cameras on the market in terms of file transfer.

 

Power
Unlike most Sony digicams, the P51 (along with its siblings the P31 and P71) uses two AA cells for its power source. This normally means rather short run times, but Sony seems to have done an unusually good job of controlling power consumption in these latest P-series cameras. Worst-case runtime is a bit over two hours (!) with high-capacity NiMH batteries and the camera operating in capture mode with the LCD left on. With the LCD off, capture-mode power drops almost in half, yielding about three and a half hours of run time in that mode. Playback time is excellent too, at right around four hours. Very good indeed, but as always, I strongly recommend buying several sets of high-capacity NiMH batteries and a good charger.

Operating Mode
Power
(@4.2 volts)
Est. Minutes
(2 1600mAh AAs)
Capture Mode, w/LCD
390 mA
140
Capture Mode, no LCD
245 mA
223
Half-pressed shutter w/LCD
390 mA
140
Half-pressed w/o LCD
260 mA
210
Memory Write (transient)
448 mA
n/a
Flash Recharge (transient)
937 mA
n/a
Image Playback
227 mA
240

 

Overall, not too bad for a 2-battery camera. Get a set of high-capacity NiMH batteries and a good charger and you'll be able to shoot for quite a while on one charge. Click here to read a review of the battery charger I routinely recommend to readers.

 

Storage Capacity
Here's a table showing the number of images that can be stored on the included 16 MB Memory Stick, the corresponding file sizes, and the approximate compression ratios.

Image Capacity vs
Resolution/Quality
16 MB Memory Stick
Fine
Normal
Full Resolution 1600x1200 Images
(Avg size)
16
970 KB
30
525 KB
Approx.
Compression
6:1 11:1
XGA Resolution 1024x768 Images
(Avg size)
25
640 KB
46
344 KB
Approx.
Compression
6:1
11:1
VGA Resolution 640x480
Images
(Avg size)
97
164 KB
244
66 KB
Approx.
Compression
6:1
14:1

 

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