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"Picky Details" for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P72 digital camera
(Timing, Power, and Storage Info)

I measure both cycle times and shutter delay times, 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 DSC-P72:

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-P72 Timings
Power On -> First shot
About average.
About average.
Play to Record, first shot
Time until first shot is captured. Pretty fast.
Record to play
Time to display a large/fine file after capture. Pretty fast.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
First time is for lens at full wide angle, second for full telephoto. MUCH faster than average! (Average is 0.8-1.0.)
Shutter lag, prefocus
Time to capture, after half-pressing Shutter button. Much faster than average.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution
1.24-2.17/ 1.47
First numbers are for large/fine files, second number is time for small/basic images. With large/fine files, the camera captures the first four shots at 1.24-second intervals, then slows to a minimum of 2.17-second intervals. Cycle times are constant with small/basic files. Cycle times are quite fast for this class of camera.
Cycle Time, continuous mode, max/min resolution
0.44-5.97 /0.43-3.37
First pair of numbers is for large/fine, second set for small/basic files. Numbers beneath are corresponding frames per second. Camera captures a maximum of two frames per burst. In both large/fine and small/basic settings, burst cycle time is 0.44~0.43 second. Larger number is the time required between bursts to empty the buffer memory. Cycle time of 0.43 seconds corresponds to a frame rate of 2.27 frames/second.

Overall, the DSC-P72 is a pretty fast little camera. Its cycle time between shots is quite good, and its shutter delay is much better than average. A great choice if you're concerned about relatively capturing relatively fast-paced action. 

The DSC-P72 uses two AA cells for its power source. (Provided that is, that you use high-capacity NiMH cells, coupled with a good charger. Read my NiMH Battery Shootout page for the latest on actual battery performance, or my review of the Maha C204F to see why it's my favorite charger.)

The table below shows the DSC-P72's power consumption in various modes, and approximate run times for each, based a set of NiMH batteries with a (true, not advertised) 1600 mAh capacity. (The P72 ships with 1850 mAh cells, but I continue to use batteries with a true capacity of 1600 mAh as the basis of comparison, to keep the numbers here comparable to those for cameras I tested back when 1600 mAh was the highest capacity available):


Operating Mode
(@4.3 volts on the external power terminal)
Est. Minutes
(4 1600 mAh NiMH cells)
Capture Mode, w/LCD
903 mA
Capture Mode, no LCD
399 mA
Half-pressed shutter w/LCD
693 mA
Half-pressed w/o LCD
428 mA
Memory Write (transient)
971 mA
Flash Recharge (transient)
1721 mA
Image Playback
668 mA

Considering that it's powered by only two AA cells, the P72 shows pretty good battery life. That said, 98 minutes of run time in its worst-case power drain mode isn't very long when you're out and about snapping photos. Definitely plan on purchasing a couple of sets of high-capacity NiMH AA cells at the same time as the camera, to supplement the set that Sony includes in the box. (Kudos to Sony for including rechargeables and a decent charger right in the box with the camera though!)

Storage Capacity
The DSC-P72 stores its photos on Sony Memory Sticks, and a 16MB card is included with the camera. (I strongly recommend buying at least a 32 MB card and preferably a 64 MB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings.) Note that the P72 is compatible with both the original Memory Stick media as well as Sony's new Memory Stick PRO, which currently offers capacities as large as 512 MB. The chart below shows how many images can be stored on the included 16MB card at each size/quality setting.


Image Capacity vs
16MB Memory Card
Full Resolution
(3.1 MP)
2048 x 1536
(Avg size)
1,561 KB
865 KB
6:1 11:1
2.0 MP
1632 x 1224
(Avg size)
970 KB
520 KB
6:1 12:1
1.2 MP Resolution
1280 x 960
(Avg size)
634 KB
342 KB
VGA Resolution
640 x 480
(Avg size)
162 KB
65 KB


Download Speed
The DSC-P72 connects to a host computer via a USB interface. Downloading files to my 2.4 GHz Sony VAIO desktop (running Windows XP), I clocked it at 968 KBytes/second. This is very fast, indicating that the P72 actually has a USB 2.0 interface. - You'd see slower downloads on computers not equipped with version 2.0 USB ports. (Cameras with slow USB interfaces generally run as low as 300 KB/s, cameras with fast ones run as high as 600 KB/s.)


P72 Review
P72 Test Images
P72 Specifications
P72 "Picky Details"
Up to Imaging Resource digital cameras area


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