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"Picky Details" for the Contax TVS 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 01 second.) Here are the numbers I collected for the Contax TVS:

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.

Contax TVS Timings
Operation
Time
(secs)
Notes
Power On -> First shot
4.14
Lens extends. About average.
Shutdown
3.58
Lens retracts. About average.
Play to Record, first shot
2.45
Time until first shot is captured, a little slow.
Record to play
1.5
Time to display a large/fine file after capture. About average.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.997
1.347
First time is in wide angle mode, second is in telephoto. On the slow side of average, particularly the telephoto figure.
Shutter lag, prefocus
0.131
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button. Very fast.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution
2.27/2.26
First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for small/basic images. Both are about average for higher-end cameras, the small/basic number a tad slow. In large/fine mode, the first three shots are captured this fast, after which the interval stretches to 5.27 seconds. In small/basic mode, I didn't find the limits of the buffer, but it was something greater than 15 frames.
Cycle Time, continuous mode, max/min resolution
0.43/0.43
2.27fps
First pair of numbers is for large/fine, second set for small/basic files. Number beneath are corresponding frames per second. Regardless of resolution, the TVS captures a maximum of three frames in a continuous series. For large/fine files, cycle times slow dramatically, to anywhere from 5 to 21 seconds. For small/basic files, cycle times slow to around 2-3 seconds.

Overall, the TVS is about average in terms of speed. Its shutter lag at full autofocus is slower than average, but its prefocus lag and continuous-mode performance are both fairly fast. Memory buffer space is fairly limited, with room for only two or three images before you have to wait for the files to dump to the memory card. All in all, OK but not impressive.

 

Power
The TVS uses a single lithium-ion battery pack for its power source. The table below shows power consumption by the TVS in various modes, and approximate run times for each, based on a single lithium-ion battery pack with a (true, not advertised) 1500 mAh capacity:

 

Operating Mode
Power
(@5 volts on the external power terminal)
Est. Minutes
(3.7 1500 lithium-ion pack)
Capture Mode, w/LCD
547 mA
122
Capture Mode, no LCD
434 mA
154
Half-pressed shutter w/LCD
553 mA
121
Half-pressed w/o LCD
440 mA
151
Memory Write (transient)
572 mA
n/a
Flash Recharge (transient)
750 mA
n/a
Image Playback
278 mA
240

The TVS' power drain and projected run times are quite good relative to much of the competition. I still highly recommend purchasing a second battery right along with the camera, but a worst case continuous run time of two hours is pretty good.

Storage Capacity
The TVS stores its photos on SD/MMC memory cards, and a 16MB SD card is included with the camera. (I strongly recommend buying at least a 64MB card or larger, given the large maximum resolution of the TVS.) The chart below shows how many images can be stored on the included 16MB card at each size/quality setting.

Image Capacity vs
Resolution/Quality
16 MB Memory Card
Fine
Normal
Full Resolution 2,560 x 1,920 Images
(Avg size)
6
2,560KB
12
1,313KB
Approx.
Compression
6:1 11:1
1,600 x 1,200 Images
(Avg size)
15
1,041KB
28
554KB
Approx.
Compression
6:1
10:1
1,280 x 960
Images
(Avg size)
23
690KB
42
378KB
Approx.
Compression
5:1
10:1
640 x 480
Images
(Avg size)
72
222KB
110
144KB
Approx.
Compression
4:1
6:1

 

Download Speed
The TVS 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 235 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, so the TVS is quite slow indeed in this department.)

 

TVS Review
TVS Sample Pictures
TVS Specifications
TVS "Picky Details"
Up to Imaging Resource digital cameras area

 

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