Sony DSC-W55 Review

 
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Sony DSC-W55 Performance


Timing and Performance

Good to average speed for a consumer camera.

Startup/Shutdown
Power on
to first shot
1.7 seconds
Time it takes for LCD to turn on and lens to deploy
Shutdown
1.2 seconds
How long it takes to retract lens
Buffer clearing time
3 seconds
(Four large/fine shots)
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
0.2 seconds
Time until first shot is captured
Record to play
2.2 seconds
Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture
Display
recorded image
0.3 second
Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.
Shutter response (Lag Time):
Full Autofocus Wide
0.32 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide angle position.
Full Autofocus Tele
0.55 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
0.32 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to reliably measure performance with moving subjects
Manual focus
0.21 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
1.43 seconds
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots
Single Shot mode
640x480 JPEG
1.30 seconds
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots
Early shutter
penalty?
No, in single shot mode
Yes, in burst mode
Some cameras won'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
0.92 second (1.09 frames per second);
4 frames total;
3 seconds to clear
Time per shot, averaged over 4-shot buffer depth.
Continuous mode
640x480 JPEG
0.78 second (1.28 frames per second);
buffer clears between shots
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.
Flash recycling
4.8 seconds
Flash at maximum output
Download speed
Windows Computer, USB 2.0
5,167 KBytes/sec
Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-770=USB 2.0 Low;
More than 770=USB 2.0 High

The DSC-W55's performance ranges from quite fast to just average here, depending on the task at hand. It starts up fairly quickly, and has a very fast shutter response when the lens is set to wide angle, dropping to merely fast at telephoto. If you "prefocus" the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure, it's blazingly fast, with a shutter delay of only 0.012 second, currently among the fastest on the market. Shot to shot cycle times are good, at about 1.43 seconds for large/fine JPEGs, and it can capture 20 shots or more this quickly without having to slow down and wait for the memory card to catch up. Where the W55 slows down a little is in its Continuous-mode, which we clocked at a bit over one frame/second, for up to four shots in succession for large/fine JPEGs. The flash takes about five seconds to recharge after a full-power shot, also on the slow side, and the W55's flash is fairly limited in its power and range. Download speeds are extremely fast. Bottom line, the W55 is quite responsive for day to day shooting, despite its slightly slow Continuous mode. It should do quite well for average family and travel photography needs.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Battery
Pretty good battery life.

Operating Mode
Number of Shots
Li-Ion rechargeable battery
LCD On
380 shots
Li-Ion rechargeable battery
LCD Off
490 shots

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W55 uses a custom rechargeable LiIon battery for power. The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of, based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions. Though battery life is pretty good, I still recommend picking up a separate battery and keeping it freshly charged and on-hand for extended outings.

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

Storage
No card is included with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W55, although it accepts Memory Stick Duo memory cards; approximately 56MB RAM is built into the camera.

Image Capacity with
56MB 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 906 KB
1,632 x 1,224
Images
59 111
File Size
1.0 MB 537 KB
640 x 480
Images
358 894
File Size
168 KB 67 KB

Despite the relatively generous amount of memory built into the Sony W55, we strongly recommend buying a large capacity Memory Stick PRO Duo, at least a 512MB card, preferably a 1GB one, to give yourself plenty of space for extended outings and movie recording.

 

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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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