Sony DSC-T30 Review

 
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Sony T30 Performance

Compact digital cameras often trade off performance and responsiveness in an attempt to wring a few extra minutes of life out of their tiny batteries. The Sony T30 was a refreshing exception to this trend, offering very nimble performance as well as surprisingly good battery life. Shutter lag was particularly impressive, but shot to shot speeds were quite good as well. The only timing parameter that seemed at all sluggish was its continuous-mode speed, at just over one frame per second, for up to five frames in sequence. All in all, an impressive performer for such a compact model! Here are the results of our performance measurements:

Timing and Performance

Sony DSC-T30 Timing
Very good speed for a consumer camera, especially a subcompact.

Startup/Shutdown
Power on
to first shot
2.0 seconds
Time it takes for LCD to turn on and lens to deploy. (No lens to deploy on the T30, so you might expect it to be even faster than this, but two seconds is still quite fast.)
Shutdown
~0 second
How long it takes to retract lens and stow in your pocket. Effectively instant on the T30 because there's no lens to retract.
Buffer clearing time
9 seconds
(Large/Fine JPEG
5 shots in
continuous mode)
Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card. Some cameras won't retract their lenses and shut down until the buffer is cleared.
Mode switching
Play to Record,
first shot
1.1 seconds
Time until first shot is captured
Record to play
1.3 seconds
Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture
Display
recorded image
0.4 second
Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.
Shutter response (Lag Time):
Full Autofocus Wide
0.37 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide angle position.
Full Autofocus Tele
0.49 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at telephoto position.
Prefocused
0.012 second
Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.
Continuous AF
0.41 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects
Manual focus
0.35 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused"
Cycle time (shot to shot)
Single Shot mode
Large Fine JPEG
1.44 seconds
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots
Single Shot mode
640x480 JPEG
1.33 seconds
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots
Early shutter
penalty?
No
Some cameras snap won't 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
0.92 second (1.09 frames per second);
5 frames total;
9.1 seconds to clear
Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first
Continuous mode
640x480 JPEG
0.78 second (1.29 frames per second);
5 frames total;
4.8 seconds to clear
Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first
Flash recycling
7.16 seconds
Flash at maximum output
Download speed
Windows Computer, USB 2.0
6,394 KBytes/sec
Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-770=USB 2.0 Low;
771-4000=USB 2.0 High

The DSC-T30 is an excellent performer, starting up quickly at 2.0 second. Shutter lag at wide angle and telephoto are both very good, and "prefocusing" the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure results in a blazingly fast shutter response time of only 0.012 second. Shot to shot cycle times are also good, at about 1.44 seconds for large/fine JPEGs, and it captures shots continuously without having to wait on the memory card to catch up. (We tested with a Memory Stick PRO Duo card, non-PRO models may result in a delay after a few shots have been captured.) Continuous-mode speed is a little less than stellar though, at just over one frame per second, for up to five shots in succession. However, the camera's Multi Shot 16 mode makes up for this with as high as a 30 frame per second rate for up to 16 320 x 240 resolution images. The flash takes about seven seconds to recharge after a full-power shot, also a little slow (albeit typical for subcompact cameras). Connected to a computer, download speeds are among the very fastest in the market, at 5,394 KBytes per second. Bottom line, the DSC-T30 is quite responsive and suitable for a wide range of situations, though it's normal continuous shooting mode would be a little slow for sporting events.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Battery
Good battery life.

Battery Type
Number of Shots
Custom LiIon Rechargeable
420

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T30 uses a custom rechargeable LiIon battery for power, and both a battery and charger are included in the box with the camera.

The table above shows Sony's rating for the number of shots the camera is capable of on a fully-charged battery, based on CIPA battery-life standard test conditions, a very good performance for a subcompact camera model. Though run time is very good for an LCD-only camera, I always recommend picking up a second battery and keeping it freshly charged if you plan on extended outings longer outings.

Storage
No card is included with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T30, although it accepts Memory Stick Duo cards; 58MB RAM is built into the camera.

Image Capacity with
58MB Internal Memory
Fine Normal
3,072 x 2,304 Images 16 33
File Size 3.6 MB 1.8 MB
2,592 x 1,944 Images 23 43
File Size 2.6 MB 1.4 MB
2,048 x 1,536 Images 37 66
File Size 1.6 MB 924 KB
1,632 x 1,224 Images 59 111
File Size 1.0 MB 548 KB
640 x 480
Images 356 892
File Size 171 KB 68 KB

I strongly recommend buying at least a 512MB card, preferably a 1GB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings.

 

Sony DSC-T30

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