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"Picky Details" for the Sony DSC-S600 digital camera
(Timing, Power, and Storage Info)



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 Sony DSC-S600:


Sony DSC-S600 Timings
Power On -> First shot
LCD turns on and lens extends forward.
1.8 - 39
First time is time to retract lens, second time is worst-case buffer-clearing time.
Play to Record, first shot
Time until first shot is captured.
Record to play
2.2 / 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.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.41 / 0.71
First time is at full wide-angle, second is full telephoto.
Shutter lag, prefocus
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button.
Shutter lag, continuous autofocus
(Generally no increase in speed for static subjects, and we have no way to consistently measure performance with moving subjects.)
Cycle Time, max/min resolution

1.63 / 1.54

First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" mode (640x480) images. Times are averages. In both modes, shoots this fast continuously, clearing the buffer after each shot.
Cycle Time, Flash exposures 10 (Flash at maximum power output)
Cycle Time, continuous mode, max/min resolution 0.77 / 0.66
(1.30 / 1.52 fps)
First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" size images. Times are averages. Shoots 7 large/fine frames this fast, clears the buffer in 8 seconds, and shoots 7 more. In TV mode, shoots over 100 frames without slowing, but takes 37 seconds to clear the buffer.
Cycle Time, continuous Multi 16 mode 0.03
(30 fps)
Camera captures sixteen 320 x 240 pixel images, stores them in 4x4 arrays inside normal 1280 x 960 files. User can choose frame rate of 30, 15, or 7.5 fps. Buffer clears in about a second.



The Sony DSC-S600 uses AA batteries for power. Because it doesn't have an external power connector though, we weren't able to conduct our usual power consumption tests on it. The run time and shots-captured figures below are from Sony, based on the CIPA standard test procedure.

Shooting (Still Images):
Battery LCD # of Shots Batt. Life
On 160 80
Off 220 110
(Sony 2500 mAh)
On 460 230
Off 580 290


Storage Capacity

The Sony DSC-S600 stores its photos on Memory Stick Duo memory cards or in approximately 32MB of internal memory, and no card is included with the camera. (I strongly recommend buying at least a 64 MB card, preferably a 128 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
32 MB Internal Memory
Fine Normal
2816 x 2112 Images
(Avg size)
3.2 MB
1.7 MB
6:1 10:1
2048 x 1536 Images
(Avg size)
1.7 MB
929 KB
6:1 10:1
1632 x 1224 Images
(Avg size)
1.0 MB
551 KB
6:1 11:1
640 x 480
(Avg size)
172 KB
69 KB
5:1 13:1


Download Speed

The Sony DSC-S600 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 4347 KBytes/second, a very fast clip. (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.)

S600 Review
S600 Test Images
S600 Specifications
S600 "Picky Details"
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