Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H3 Performance

Timing and Performance

Good to slightly slow speed for a consumer camera.


Power on
to first shot

2.3 seconds

Time it takes for LCD to turn on and lens to deploy.


2.9 seconds

How long it takes to retract lens.

Buffer clearing time

2 seconds
(2 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 retract their lenses and shut down until the buffer is cleared.

Mode switching

Play to Record,
first shot

0.8 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to play

1.3 seconds

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

recorded image

1.2 seconds

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

Shutter response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus Wide

0.31 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide angle position.

Full Autofocus Tele

1.36 seconds

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at telephoto position.


0.008 second (wow!)

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

Continuous AF
0.31 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual focus
0.23 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
1.67 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Single Shot mode
640x480 JPEG

1.78 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 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

0.51 second (1.96 frames per second);
11 frames total;
2 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.

Continuous mode
640x480 JPEG

0.51 second (1.95 frames per second);
20 frames total;
0.5 second to clear

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.

Flash recycling

10 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

Download speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

6,390 KBytes/sec

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

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a 1GB Sony Memory Stick PRO DUO card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H3's performance ranges from good to a little slower than average, depending on what you're trying to do. Startup time is hindered a little by the long lens, but isn't terrible. Shutter response of 0.31 second is pretty good at wide angle, though a little sluggish at full telephoto, at 1.36 seconds. "Prefocusing" the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure results in a blazing lag time of only 0.008 second. Shot-to-shot cycle times are a little on the slow side as well, at about 1.67 seconds for large/fine JPEGs, though the camera appears to capture shots continuously in single-shot mode without having to stop and clear the buffer. Continuous mode is actually good, at 1.96 frames-per-second for about 11 large/fine JPEG frames. The flash takes 10 seconds to recharge after a full-power shot, though, which is slower than average. Connected to a computer or printer with USB 2.0, download speeds are quite zippy, and fast enough that you shouldn't feel the need for a separate card reader. Overall, the DSC-H3 performs fairly well, with reasonably good continuous shooting times, though its standard lag time is a bit on the slow side. Still, the H3 should handle most average shooting situations fairly well.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Above average battery life for a Lithium-ion design.

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

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H3 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 Cyber-shot DSC-H3 accepts Sony Memory Stick DUO cards, and includes about 31MB of internal memory (no card is included).

Image Capacity with
31MB Internal Memory
3,264 x 2,448
File Size
3.3 MB
2,592 x 1,944
File Size
2.6 MB
2,048 x 1,536
File Size
1.6 MB
640 x 480
File Size
168 KB

We strongly recommend buying a large-capacity Memory Stick PRO DUO 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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