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"Picky Details" for the Sony DSC-S40 digital camera
(Timing, Power, and Storage Info)



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 Sony DSC-S40:

Sony DSC-S40 Timings
Power On -> First shot
LCD turns on and lens extends forward.
1.8 - 8
First time is time to retract lens, second time is worst-case buffer-clearing time.
Play to Record, first shot
Time until first shot is captured.
Record to play
1.6 / 0.3
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.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.34 / 0.41
First time is at full wide-angle, second is full telephoto.
Shutter lag, prefocus
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution

1.40 / 1.13

First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" mode (640x480) images. Times are averages. In both modes, clears the buffer after each shot, and continues at this pace indefinitely.
Cycle Time, Flash exposures (Flash at maximum power output) 8
Cycle Time, continuous mode, max/min resolution 0.82 / 0.53
(1.22 / 1.87 fps)
First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for small/basic images. Times are averages. Shoots a burst of 4 frames this fast in large/fine mode, or 30 frames in TV mode. Buffer clears in 3 seconds in large/fine mode, 6 seconds in TVmode, and it's ready for another burst.
Cycle Time, continuous Multi 16 mode 0.03
(30 fps)
Camera captures 320 x 240 pixel images, stores them in 4x4 arrays inside normal 1280 x 960 files. Frame rate is selectable at 30, 15, or 7.5 fps. Buffer clears in less than a second.



The Sony DSC-S40 uses two AA batteries for power, and ordinary alkaline batteries are included with the camera. We were unable to measure the power drain levels of the S40; however, given the manual's listing of power consumption at a rate of 0.9W while shooting with the LCD on, the expected battery life would be about 256 minutes. That's using our relatively conservative benchmark of 1600mAh batteries. Not bad at all.


Storage Capacity

The Sony DSC-S40 stores its photos on Memory Stick memory cards or in approximately 32 MB of internal memory, and no 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 in the internal memory at each size/quality setting.

Image Capacity vs
16 MB Memory Card
Fine Normal
2304 x 1728
(Avg size)
2.1 MB
1.2 MB
6:1 10:1
2048 x 1536
(Avg size)
1.7 MB
952 KB
6:1 10:1
1280 x 960
(Avg size)
705 KB
387 KB
5:1 10:1
640 x 480
(Avg size)
176 KB
70 KB
5:1 13:1


Download Speed

The Sony DSC-S40 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 3058 KBytes/second. (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.)

S40 Review
S40 Test Images
S40 Specifications
S40 "Picky Details"
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