Canon T1i Performance


Timing and Performance

Very good speeds for a consumer digital SLR.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

0.3 second

Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot. (Short enough that it's hard to measure.)

Shutdown

~0 second

How long it takes camera to turn off before you can remove the memory card. Enabling sensor cleaning on shut-down will increase delay.

Buffer clearing time
7 seconds
after 20 large/fine JPEGs*
Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card.
1 second
after 20 small/normal JPEGs*
14.5 seconds
after 8 RAW files*
12.7 seconds
after 5 RAW+L/F JPEG files*
*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme 8GB SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

The Canon T1i turned in fast startup and shut-down times, fast enough that they're difficult to measure. Enabling sensor cleaning on shut-down will add some delay, but we didn't test that. The Canon T1i's buffer clearing times are quite good, but depend on the image quality and size, as well as the speed of the memory card.

Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

0.3 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to play

1.3 second

Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

0.5 second

Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.

The Canon T1i's mode switching times are good, though Record to play is a bit sluggish.

Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus
Single-point AF
Optical Viewfinder

0.159 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture. (Except where otherwise noted, all AF timing measured with Sigma 70mm f/2.8 Macro lens. - One that cameras seem able to judge focus very quickly with, even if its mechanical AF drive is slower when it actually comes to changing the focus.)

Full Autofocus
Single-point AF
TTL flash enabled
Optical Viewfinder
0.273 second
Time to capture while forcing flash to fire. Metering pulses from flash sometimes slow shutter response. In the case of the Canon T1i, using the built-in flash in TTL mode increases shutter lag about 0.11 second.

Prefocused
Optical Viewfinder

0.089 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Continuous AF
Optical Viewfinder
0.208 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual Focus
Optical Viewfinder
0.111 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".
Full Autofocus
Live View
"Quick Mode"
(Phase Detect)
1.342 seconds
This is phase-detect autofocus, the camera drops the mirror to focus, then raises it to grab the shot.
Full Autofocus
Live View
"Live Mode"
(Contrast Detect)
2.591 seconds
This is contrast-detect autofocus, the camera reads Live View data from the image sensor to determine focus.

The Canon T1i's full autofocus shutter response is very good at 0.159 second using our standard single-point AF test. Enabling the built-in flash increased full AF lag just slightly to 0.273 second: that small an increase is excellent. "Prefocusing" the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure results in a lag time of only 0.089 second. Manual focus was slower, at 0.111 second, and Continuous focus was slower still, at 0.208 second.

The Canon T1i's AF lag time in Live View mode was longer, as expected. We measured 1.342 seconds using "Quick Mode" (phase-detect AF), and 2.591 seconds using Live Mode (contrast-detect). The "*" button is used to autofocus in the Canon T1i's Live View mode, so it must be pressed first before the shutter release. The above times include pressing the "*" button and waiting for focus confirmation before tripping the shutter.


Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
Large/Fine JPEG

0.40 second

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, 7 seconds to clear.

Single Shot mode
Small Normal JPEG

0.42 second

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, 1 second to clear.

Single Shot mode
RAW

0.38 second

Time per shot, averaged over 8 shots, 14.5 seconds to clear.

Single Shot mode
RAW + Large/Fine JPEG
0.41 second

Time per shot, averaged over 5 shots, 12.7 seconds to clear.

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
Large Fine JPEG

0.30 second (3.39 frames per second);
20+ frames total;
5 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots (buffer capacity was more than 20 shots).

Continuous mode
Small Normal JPEG

0.30 second (3.38 frames per second);
20+ frames total;
1 second to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots (buffer capacity was more than 20 shots).

Continuous mode
RAW

0.29 second (3.40 frames per second);
8 frames total;
12 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 8 frames, then slows to about 1.49s or 0.67 fps.

Continuous mode
RAW + Large Fine
JPEG

0.30 second (3.37 frames per second);
4 frames total;
7 secs to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 4 frames, then slows to 2.18s or 0.46 fps.

Flash recycling

3.2 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme 8GB SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Shot-to-shot cycle times in the Canon T1i's single-shot mode were quite good, at about 0.4 second for any quality. Buffer length was more than 20 shots for JPEGs, but dropped to 8 for RAW and 5 for RAW+JPEG.

Continuous mode speeds were good, especially considering the large files, at about 3.4 frames/second in any mode. Measured buffer depths were more than 20 frames for large/fine or small/normal JPEGs, 8 frames for RAW mode and 4 frames for RAW+JPEG. (Note that in our cycle time testing we shoot a target consisting of a fine-grained digital noise pattern, designed to be very hard to compress. This gives us worst-case buffer capacity numbers: You're likely to see greater buffer capacity when shooting more normal subjects.)

The Canon T1i's flash took 3.2 seconds to recharge after a full-power pulse, which is also good.

Download Speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

6,786 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Connected to a computer or printer with USB 2.0, the Canon T1i's download speeds are fast.

Bottom line, the Canon T1i is pretty fast in just about every aspect of its operation. While continuous mode speeds aren't state-of-the-art, they are fast enough for most moving subjects, and shutter lag and cycle times are quite fast. Very good performance overall for a consumer model.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Battery
Below average battery life for a lithium-ion SLR design.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery,
(CIPA standard, Optical Viewfinder)
400
Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery,
(CIPA standard, Live View LCD)
170

The Canon T1i uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a charger. Battery life is below average, even when using the optical viewfinder, so we recommend you pick up a spare battery and keep it freshly charged and on-hand for extended outings.

The table above shows the number of shots the Canon T1i is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

Storage
The Canon T1i accepts SD/SDHC memory cards, and does not ship with a card.

Image Capacity with
1GB Memory Card
Fine Normal RAW RAW
+
L/F JPG
4,752 x 3,168
Images
(Avg Size)
186
5.5 MB
372
2.8 MB
46
22.2 MB
36
27.7 MB
Approx.
Comp.
8:1
16:1
1.2:1
-
3,456 x 2,304
Images
(Avg Size)
311
3.3 MB
598
1.7 MB
-
-
Approx.
Comp.
7:1
14:1
-
-
2,352 x 1,568
Images
(Avg Size)
545
1.9 MB
1020
1.0 MB
-
-
Approx.
Comp.
6:1
11:1
-
-

We strongly recommend buying a large capacity SD/SDHC memory card for the Canon T1i: at least a 1GB card, preferably a 4 or 8GB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings, or when shooting RAW files. (Check the shopping link above, cards are really cheap these days, so no reason to skimp.)

 

Canon T1i

Your purchases support this site

Buy the Canon T1i


Enter this month to win:

1 $300 Adorama Gift Certificate

2 $200 Adorama Gift Certificate

3 $100 Adorama Gift Certificate