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"Picky Details" for the Sony DSC-P93 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 DSC-P93:

Sony DSC-P93 Timings
Operation
Time
(secs)
Notes
Power On -> First shot
2.6
LCD turns on and lens extends forward. About average.
Shutdown
3.4 - 10
First time is time to retract lens, second time is worst-case buffer-clearing time. average to a bit slower than average.
Play to Record, first shot
0.2
Time until first shot is captured. Very fast.
Record to play
2.6/0.2
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 fast side of average, second time is very fast.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.31/0.38
First time is at full wide-angle, second is full telephoto. Very fast, one of the fastest cameras I've tested.
Shutter lag, manual focus 0.20 Very fast.
Shutter lag, prefocus
0.011
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button. Blazingly fast.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution

1.36/1.34

First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" mode (640x480) images. Times are averages. In both modes, there's no apparent buffer memory, as the camera shoots this fast for 30 shots or more. Very fast, particularly for a modestly-priced point & shoot.
Cycle Time, continuous mode, max/min resolution 0.80 / 0.71
(1.3 / 1.4 fps)
First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" size images. Times are averages. Shoots this fast for 4 frames in large/fine mode, for 30 TV-sized images at "normal" quality. Buffer clears in 3 seconds for large/fine images, 6 seconds for lowest resolution. Good performance, good buffer capacity.
Cycle Time, Multi-Burst 7.5, 15, 30 frames/second In multi-burst mode, the camera captures 16 320x240-pixel images very rapidly, storing them in a single frame of memory. Three different frame rates can be selected via the Record menu, and the camera does indeed shoot at exactly the frame rate selected, apparently with very consistent timing.

Overall, the DSC-P93 is a very fast little camera. Startup and shutdown are quick enough, if not exactly spectacular, but its shutter response places it among the fastest consumer-level digicams on the market, regardless of price. Cycle time is quite good as well, and (at least with a Memory Stick Pro card) there appears to be no need for buffer memory. Finally, although it produces low-resolution images, the 30 frame/second Multi-Burst mode should be great for analyzing golf swings, etc, providing slow-motion playback of action captured as fast as 30 frames/second.

Power
Because it uses a non-standard power connector, I wasn't able to conduct my usual power tests on the DSC-P93. Sony's own figures in the manual show a power consumption of 1.2 watts when in capture mode with the LCD display turned on. That's a very low number and should translate into worst-case run times of more than three hours with good-quality NiMH AA cells. (And the cells that Sony ships with the camera are indeed of good quality.) I still strongly recommend that you purchase a couple of sets of spare cells though, so you'll always have a pair ready to go. Read my Battery Shootout page for information on how well various brands of NiMH batteries perform under actual test conditions.

Storage Capacity
The DSC-P93 stores its photos on Memory Stick and Memory Stick Pro memory cards, and a 32 MB card is included with the camera. (I strongly recommend buying at least a 128MB card, preferably a 256MB 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
2,592 x 1,944 Images
(Avg size)
11
2.7 MB
22
1.4 MB
Approx.
Compression
6:1 10:1
2,048 x 1,536 Images
(Avg size)
18
1.7 MB
33
952 KB
Approx.
Compression
6:1 10:1
1,280 x 960 Images
(Avg size)
45
705 KB
82
387 KB
Approx.
Compression
5:1 10:1
640 x 480
Images
(Avg size)
181
176 KB
454
70 KB
Approx.
Compression
5:1 13:1

Download Speed
The DSC-P93 connects to a host computer via a USB v2.0 interface. Downloading files to my Sony desktop running Windows XP (Pentium IV, 2.4 GHz), I clocked it at 2.4 MegaBytes/second. This is very fast, even among cameras with USB v2.0 interfaces. (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.)

P93 Review
P93 Test Images
P93 Specifications
P93 "Picky Details"
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