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"Picky Details" for the Kodak EasyShare P850 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 Kodak EasyShare P850:

Kodak EasyShare P850 Timings
Operation
Time
(secs)
Notes
Power On -> First shot
3.8
LCD turns on and lens extends forward. A little slow, but not too bad for a camera with a telescoping lens.
Shutdown
3.3 - 30
First time is time to retract lens, second time is worst-case buffer-clearing time. Second time corresponds to clearing more than 40 small/basic quality images from the buffer and as such isn't too bad. The camera clears its buffer slowly though, as even four large/fine images take a good 15 seconds to clear, even with a very fast memory card.1
Play to Record, first shot
1.1
Time until first shot is captured. About average.
Record to play
3.2 / 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. First time is on the slow side, second is quite fast.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.70 / 0.55
First time is at full wide-angle, second is full telephoto. Pretty good autofocus speed, unusual in that wide angle is slower than telephoto. (What's annoying though, is that the lens goes through a full autofocus cycle every time you touch the zoom lever.)
Shutter lag, prefocus
0.095
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button. Very fast.
Shutter lag, continuous autofocus
0.74
As usual, no benefit from continuous focus with stationary targets, and we have no good way to measure focus performance with a moving subject.
Shutter lag, manual focus
0.40
A bit on the slow side.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution

1.84 / 1.75

First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for small/basic files. Times are averages. In large/fine mode, shoots 4 frames this fast, then slows to a very irregular pace of about 8 seconds per shot. Buffer clears in 15 seconds. In small/basic mode, shoots over 40 frames this fast without stopping, but takes 27 seconds to clear the buffer. On the slow side.1
Cycle Time, Flash exposures 3 (Flash at maximum power output)
Cycle Time, RAW / TIFF, max resolution 15.7 / 26.2 First number is for RAW files, second number is time for TIFF files. Times are averages. Buffer clears after each shot in either mode, in 15 seconds for RAW files, 25 seconds for TIFFs. Quite slow, but a lot of cameras in the P850's price range don't offer RAW or TIFF options at all.1
Cycle Time, continuous mode, max/min resolution 0.56 / 0.57
(1.80 / 1.75 fps)
First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for small/basic files. Times are averages. In large/fine mode, shoots 5 frames this fast, then stops for 11 seconds to clear the buffer. In small/basic mode, shoots 30 frames this fast and stops, then takes 23 seconds to clear the buffer. Fairly fast for a camera of its class, and five-frame buffer capacity is pretty good as well.1
1All times above were measured with a very fast (133x) Kingston SD memory card. Slower cards would likely produce longer buffer-clearing times and longer cycle times in RAW and TIFF modes.

 The P850 ranked among both the faster and the slower models currently on the market, depending on what it is you're trying to do. For example, startup time is rather slow, as the camera takes a while to startup the LCD and extend the 12x zoom lens. However, shutter lag is fairly fast, with good times at wide angle and telephoto, and excellent results with prefocus (accomplished by halfway pressing the Shutter button to set focus). Cycle times are about average for large/fine files, though Continuous mode proved reasonably fast. It was rather slow clearing its buffer though, even when using a very fast memory card. (Kingston 133x SD card.) The camera had an annoying habit of performing a full autofocus cycle every time we touched the zoom lever though, in many cases delaying the framing of our shots. Connected to a computer, download speeds are really quite slow, although the convenience of the Kodak EasyShare Camera Dock and the auto-download feature of the EasyShare Software somewhat make up for this.

 

Power

The Kodak EasyShare P850 uses a custom rechargeable LiIon battery for power.

Operating Mode
Power
(@5 volts on the external power terminal)
Est. Minutes
(1800 mA LiIon cells)
Capture Mode, w/LCD
552 mA
145
Capture Mode, no LCD
521 mA
153
Half-pressed shutter w/LCD
552 mA
145
Half-pressed w/o LCD
521 mA
153
Memory Write (transient)
438 mA
n/a
Flash Recharge (transient)
1333 mA
n/a
Image Playback
292 mA
274

The Kodak EasyShare P850 uses a custom rechargeable LiIon battery for power, and delivers fairly good run times for a camera in its class. The table above shows maximum run times based on our power measurements and the rated performance of its battery. While a run time of almost two and a half hours isn't bad, we still highly recommend purchasing a second battery to pack along on extended outings.

 

Storage Capacity

The Kodak EasyShare P850 stores its photos on SD / MMC memory cards or in approximately 32MB of internal memory, and no 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 internal memory at each size/quality setting.

Image Capacity vs
Resolution/Quality
32 MB Internal Memory
Fine Normal
Basic
RAW
TIFF
2592 x 1944 Images
(Avg size)
9
3.6 MB
16
2.0 MB
26
1.2 MB
3
9.5 MB
1
16.5 MB
Approx.
Compression
4:1 7:1 12:1 1.6:1 1:1
2048 x 1536 Images
(Avg size)
15
2.2 MB
26
1.2 MB
40
817 KB
- 2
11.1 MB
Approx.
Compression
4:1 7:1 12:1 - 1:1
1664 x 1248 Images
(Avg size)
22
1.4 MB
38
849 KB
60
549 KB
- 5
6.5 MB
Approx.
Compression
4:1 7:1 11:1 - 1:1
1280 x 960 Images
(Avg size)
37
883 KB
63
516 KB
94
349 KB
- 8
4.1 MB
Approx.
Compression
4:1 7:1 11:1 - 1:1

 

Download Speed

The Kodak EasyShare P850 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 394 KBytes/second, quite slow by current standards. (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.)

P850 Review
P850 Test Images
P850 Specifications
P850 "Picky Details"
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