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"Picky Details" for the Ricoh Caplio RR30 digital camera
(Timing, Power, and Storage Info)

Timing
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 RR30:

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.

Ricoh Caplio RR30 Timings
Operation
Time
(secs)
Notes
Power On -> First shot
2.62
Time for lens to extend and startup screen to disappear. Fairly fast.
Shutdown
3.1
Lens retracts. A little slow.
Play to Record, first shot
0.83
Time until first shot is captured. Quite a bit faster than average.
Record to play
0.75
Time to display a large/fine file after capture. Faster than average.
Shutter lag, full autofocus (wide/tele)
0.215 / 0.188
Much faster than average! (I think the fastest non-pro camera I've tested to date.) Interestingly, lag time in telephoto mode was slightly faster than at wide angle. (Usually, the opposite is true.)
Shutter lag, prefocus
0.173
Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding the shutter button. Faster than average, but not as dramatically so as the full-autofocus time above.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution
2.7 / 2.5
First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for small/basic images. Average to a bit slower than average these days. The camera captures two high res images quickly, but slows to ~12-15 seconds per shot afterwards. (That's *very* slow.) In low-res mode, the camera captures quite a few (more than 13) images before slowing.
Cycle Time, Continuous mode. (max/min resolution) 1.12 / 0.31 In its normal continuous shooting mode, the RR30 captures up to three large/fine frames or up to 9 small/basic frames very quickly. After a run of large frames though, you need to wait for nearly 35 seconds for the buffer memory to clear, although only about 11 seconds for small/basic frames.
Cycle Time, continuous S-mode and M-mode.
0.134
(7.5 fps)
The RR30's S- and M-modes only capture sub-frame images, arranged in a 4x4 grid inside a single full frame file. It's very fast in this mode, and delivers 16 shots very rapidly, but the resolution is quite low. (512x384 pixels per sub-image.) M-mode is interesting, in that the camera captures frames continuously while you hold down the shutter button, only saving the last two seconds' worth when you let up. - It thus captures the last two seconds of action from *before* you release the trigger!


Shutter response is where the RR30 really (!) shines. It has what I believe is by far the fastest shutter lag of any consumer camera I've tested. - But its cycle time stretches interminably if you need to shoot more than two shots in rapid succession. Likewise, it's quite fast in its normal continuous shooting mode for bursts of three frames, but has a buffer-clearing time of 35 seconds before you can shoot the next burst.

The RR30 does have two interesting, very high-speed continuous modes, which shoot sub-frame (512x384 pixel) images, storing them as a 4x4 array within a single full-frame image file. In these modes, the frame rate is 7.5 frames/second, great for analyzing golf and tennis swings, etc. Its "S-mode" works as usual, starting capture when you press the shutter button and ceasing after it's captured 16 frames, or when you release the shutter button, whichever comes first. Its "M-mode" is a bit of a portable time machine though. It starts capturing images as soon as you press the shutter button, but waits until you release the shutter button before recording the last two seconds of action. - It thus records the last two seconds of action before the critical instant. - Great for those of us with aging reflexes! 

Power
The RR30 uses two AA cells or a single lithium battery for its power source. (I recommend 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.) Because the RR30 has no external power connector, I couldn't conduct my normal exacting power measurements on it. I think it's power consumption is pretty good though, as I did slap in a set of high-capacity AA batteries, and found that it ran for nearly two hours in the typically worst-case condition of record mode with the LCD illuminated.

 

Storage Capacity
The RR30 stores its photos on SD memory cards, or its 8 megabytes of internal memory. (I strongly recommend buying at least a 32MB card, preferably a 64MB one, to give yourself enough space for extended outings. - 8 megabytes of memory for a 3 megapixel camera is woefully inadequate.) The chart below shows how many images can be stored in the camera's 8 megabytes of internal memory at each size/quality setting.

 

Image Capacity vs
Resolution/Quality
8MB Internal Memory
Fine
Normal
2,048 x 1,536 Images
(Avg size)
5
1,600 KB
5
821 KB
Approx.
Compression
6:1
12:1
1,280 x 960
Images
(Avg size)
9
842 KB
17
460 KB
Approx.
Compression
4.4:1
8:1
640 x 480
Images
(Avg size)
-
48
164 KB
Approx.
Compression
-
5.6:1

 

Download Speed
The RR30 connects to a host computer via a USB interface. Downloading files to my Sony VAIO desktop, 2.4 GHz Pentium IV, running Windows XP ("VAIO"), I clocked it at 486 KBytes/second. (Cameras with slow USB interfaces run as low as 300 KB/s, cameras with fast ones run as high as 600 KB/s.)

 

RR30 Review
RR30 Test Images
RR30 Specifications
RR30 "Picky Details"
Up to Imaging Resource digital cameras area

 

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