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"Picky Details" for the Konica Minolta DiMAGE X31 digital camera
(Timing, Power, and Storage Info)

Timing
When you press the shutter release on a camera, there's usually a lag time or delay before the shutter actually fires. This corresponds to the time required for the autofocus and autoexposure mechanisms time to do their work, and can amount to a fairly long delay in some situations. Since this number is rarely reported on (and even more rarely reported accurately), and can significantly affect the picture taking experience, I routinely measure both shutter delay and shot to shot cycle times for all cameras I test, using a test system I designed and built for the purpose. (Crystal-controlled, with a resolution of 0.001 second.) Here are the numbers I collected for the Konica Minolta DiMAGE X31:

Konica Minolta DiMAGE X31 Timings
Operation
Time
(secs)
Notes
Power On -> First shot
1.6
Pretty fast, as no lens to telescope out before shooting.
Shutdown
1.7 - 8
First time is simple shutdown, second time is worst-case buffer-clearing time. Fairly fast, but then buffer is pretty small.
Play to Record, first shot
1.3
Time until first shot is captured. Pretty fast.
Record to play
5.4/1.4
First time is that required to display a large/fine file immediately after capture, second time is that needed to display a large/fine file that has already been processed and stored on the memory card. Both numbers are on the slow side.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.65/0.77
First time is at full wide-angle, second is full telephoto. Quite fast, particularly for a compact model. (Average is 0.8-1.0 second.)
Shutter lag, prefocus
0.164
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button. Fairly fast.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution

4.33 /
2.71

First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" mode (640x480) images. Times are averages. Rather slow (although not unusual for a subcompact camera), and there's no buffer memory, so all shots take this long, regardless of how many have been shot in sequence.
Cycle Time, continuous mode, max/min resolution 1.30 / 1.12
(0.77 / 0.89 fps)
First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" size images. Times are averages. Shoots 3 large/fine images this fast, clears the buffer in about 6 seconds, and is starts three more. Shoots a string of 30 "TV" size images, but takes only a second to clear the buffer and start 30 more. Modest speed for an inexpensive subcompact model.
Cycle Time, continuous Multi 9 mode 0.33
(3.0 fps)
Camera captures 9 small images, stores them in 3x3 arrays inside normal sized files. Frame rate is the same for any size file chosen. Buffer clears in about 5 seconds for large/fine files, only slightly faster for "TV" size files. Quite fast, but note that the resolution of the captured files will be fairly low.

Like many subcompact digicams, the X31 wouldn't be your first choice for sports or other fast-paced action. That said though, its shutter lag is actually quite decent, actually faster than the majority of cameras on the market today. Startup time is very good as well, thanks to its internal zoom lens, which means you don't have to wait for the lens to telescope out when you turn it on, before you can shoot. The most noticeable limitation when dealing with rapid action is its sluggish 4.3 second time between shots in single-shot mode. Overall, not bad for a subcompact digicam, and better than most in terms of shutter lag, but probably not a first choice for sports and other action.

Power

The Konica Minolta DiMAGE X31 two AA batteries for power. The table below shows the power consumption I measured in various operating modes, and the projected run times with a set of 1600 mAh capacity NiMH cells. (I continue to use 1600 mAh cells as a basis of comparison, so people can compare the performance of current cameras with ones I tested years ago. These days though, many batteries have true (vs advertised) capacities of 2000 mAh or greater, so you can expect run times a good 25% better than those shown below.)

Operating Mode

Power
(@3
volts on the external power terminal)

Est. Minutes
(two 1600 mA cells)
Capture Mode
781 mA
98
Half-pressed shutter
791 mA
97
Memory Write (transient)
833 mA
n/a
Flash Recharge (transient)
1448 mA
n/a
Image Playback
604 mA
127

These are actually pretty decent run times for a camera running on only two AA cells. (And as noted above, you should actually see run times 25% better than this if you buy the best high-capacity rechargeable AA NiMH cells you can find.) I do still strongly advise that you purchase at least two sets of high-capacity NiMH cells and a good-quality charger though, so you'll always have a fresh set of spares waiting in the charger for you, not to mention having ample capacity for extended outings. Check out my Battery Shootout page for the latest in actual, measured performance of various AA batteries. - Read my review of the Maha C-204F charger, to learn why it's my longtime favorite.



Storage Capacity
The Konica Minolta DiMAGE stores its photos on SD/MMC memory cards, and a 16 MB card is included with the camera. (I strongly recommend buying at least a 64 MB card, preferably a 128 MB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings.) The chart below shows how many images can be stored on the included 16 MB card at each size/quality setting.

Image Capacity vs
Resolution/Quality
16 MB Memory Card
Fine Normal
2,048 x 1,536 Images
(Avg size)
11
1.3 MB
18
868 KB
Approx.
Compression
7:1 11:1
1,600 x 1,200 Images
(Avg size)
28
559 KB
 -
Approx.
Compression
10:1  -
1,280 x 960 Images
(Avg size)
41
386 KB
 -
Approx.
Compression
10:1  -
640 x 480
Images
(Avg size)
103
154 KB
 -
Approx.
Compression
6:1  -

 

Download Speed
The Konica Minolta DiMAGE connects to a host computer via a USB interface. Downloading files to my Sony desktop running Windows XP (Pentium IV, 2.4 GHz), I clocked it at 198 KBytes/second. This is very slow, even among other cameras with USB v1.1 interfaces. You may want to consider an external card reader for downloading images more rapidly. (Cameras with slow USB interfaces run as low as 300 KB/s, cameras with fast v1.1 interfaces run as high as 600 KB/s. Cameras with USB v2.0 interfaces run as fast as several megabytes/second.)

 

X31 Review
X31 Test Images
X31 Specifications
X31 "Picky Details"
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