Sony DSC-W70 Review

 
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Sony W70 Performance

We were quite impressed with the Sony DSC-W70's responsiveness. It starts up and shuts down quickly enough, and its shutter response is quite a bit faster than average these days, particularly among relatively compact digital cameras. It's faster than average from shot to shot in single-shot mode, but its continuous-mode speed is a little laggardly by current standards. It's ultra high-speed (but lower resolution) Multi-Shot mode makes up for this though, giving frame rates as high as 30 frames/second, albeit for only 16 frames in a series. Another plus in the W70's favor is its excellent battery life, particularly impressive for such a compact camera model.

Timing and Performance

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W70 Timing
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
1.7 seconds
How long it takes to retract lens
Buffer clearing time
4 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
4.2 seconds
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.
Shutter response (Lag Time):
Full Autofocus Wide
0.28 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
0.011 second
Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.
Continuous AF
0.29 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
0.22 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
1.27 seconds
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots
Single Shot mode
640x480 JPEG
1.14 seconds
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots
Early shutter
penalty?
No
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;
4 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
6 seconds
Flash at maximum output
Download speed
Windows Computer, USB 2.0
5,179 KBytes/sec
Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-770=USB 2.0 Low;
Greater than 771=USB 2.0 High

The DSC-W70'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 0.011 second, currently among the fastest on the market. Shot to shot cycle times are good, at about 1.27 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 W70 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 six seconds to recharge after a full-power shot, also on the slower side, and the W70's flash is fairly limited in its power and range. Download speeds are extremely fast. Bottom line, the W70 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 with the LCD on, even better with LCD off.

Test Conditions
Number of Shots
LiIon rechargeable battery, LCD on
360 shots
LiIon rechargeable battery, LCD off
470 shots
Playback Mode
390 minutes

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W70 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-W70, although it accepts Memory Stick Duo memory cards; approximately 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

Despite the relatively generous amount of memory built into the Sony W70, we strongly recommend buying at least a 512MB card, preferably a 1GB one, to give yourself plenty of space for extended outings.

 

Sony DSC-W70

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