Sony A200 Performance

Timing and Performance

Very good speed for a consumer digital SLR.


Power on
to first shot

1.5 seconds

Time it takes for camera to turn on. (A bit on the slow side for an SLR.)


2.0 seconds

How long it takes to turn off. (Again, a little slow for an SLR.)

Buffer clearing time

14 seconds
(11 seconds buffer clearing in LF JPEG)

Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card. Some cameras won't shut down until the buffer is cleared.

The Sony Alpha 200's performance was quite fast overall, though it begins with a modest start-up and shutdown times. Buffer clearing time depends on the image size and quality, burst length and how fast the card can be written to.


Mode switching

Play to Record,
first shot

0.4 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to Play

1.8 seconds

Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture.

recorded image

0.4 second

Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.

Mode switching is about average for an SLR, though switching from Record to Play was a bit on the slow side.


Shutter response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus Tele

0.189 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture (with Sigma 70mm f/2.8 prime).


0.088 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Continuous AF
0.188 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual focus
0.180 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "pre-focused."

Full autofocus shutter response is excellent, at 0.189 second at telephoto, with a zippy "pre-focus" time as well at 0.088 second (pre-focusing means half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure). Manual focus wasn't much faster than full autofocus though.


Cycle time (shot-to-shot)
Single Shot mode
Large Fine JPEG
0.51 second

0.51 second for 6 shots, then 2.31 seconds for the next 14 shots.

Single Shot mode
640 x 480 JPEG

0.56 second

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Single Shot mode

0.50 second

0.50 second for 6 shots, then 2.32 seconds for the next 14 shots.

Early shutter


Some cameras refuse to 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
0.36 second (2.82 frames per second);
8 frames total;
11 seconds to clear
0.36 seconds for the first 8 frames, then 1.39 seconds (0.72 fps) for the remaining 12 shots.
Continuous mode
640 x 480 JPEG
0.36 second (2.81 frames per second);
20 frames total;
6 seconds to clear
Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.

Continuous mode

0.36 second (2.76 frames per second);
6 frames total;
14 seconds to clear

0.36 seconds for the first 6 frames, then 2.41 seconds (0.41 fps) for the remaining 14 shots.

Continuous mode

0.36 second (2.82 frames per second);
3 frames total;
13 seconds to clear

0.36 seconds for the first 3 frames, then 3.73 seconds (0.27 fps) for the remaining 17 shots.

Flash recycling

2.8 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a Kingston Ultimate 266x CompactFlash memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and other settings such as DRO or NR can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Shot-to-shot cycle times are also very good, at about 0.51 seconds for large/fine JPEGs, though the camera only captures six shots this quickly before slowing to 2.31 seconds between frames. Continuous speed is also very good, at about 2.76 fps for Raw files, and 2.82 fps for large JPEGs. However, again, the buffer is limited to 6 frames in Raw mode and 8 frames in large/fine JPEG mode before slowing down. You might want to avoid using Advanced DRO for action shots, as the extra processing can impact performance. The flash takes 2.8 seconds to recharge after a full-power shot, which is good considering its power.


Download speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

4,306 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Connected to a computer or printer with USB 2.0, download speeds are quite speedy as well.

Bottom line, the Alpha 200 is a very responsive camera, able to handle average family shots as well as faster action.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Excellent battery life for a lithium-ion design.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery,
(CIPA standard)

The Sony Alpha 200 uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a charger. Although battery life is above average, we recommend you pick up a spare battery and keep it freshly charged and on-hand for extended outings.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on either a fresh set of disposable batteries or a fully-charged rechargeable battery as appropriate), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

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

The Sony Alpha A200 accepts CompactFlash memory cards, and no card is included with the camera.

Image Capacity with
1GB Memory Card
Fine Normal Raw Raw + JPEG
3,872 x 2,592
(Avg size)
7:1 10:1 0.9:1
2,896 x 1,936
(Avg size)
6:1 8:1 -
1,920 x 1,280
(Avg size)
4:1 5:1 -

We strongly recommend buying either a large capacity CompactFlash memory card, at least a 1GB card, preferably a 2-4GB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings. (Check the shopping link above, cards are really cheap these days, so no reason to skimp.)


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