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"Picky Details" for the Sony DSC-T33 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-T33:

Sony DSC-T33 Timings
Power On -> First shot
LCD turns on. Very fast, as there's no lens to extend out first.
1.3 - 26
First time is simple shutdown, second time is worst-case buffer-clearing time. Pretty fast, worst-case time corresponds to clearing 11 large/fine shots from the buffer.
Play to Record, first shot
Time until first shot is captured. Very fast.
Record to play
3.0 / 0.2
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. First time is about average, second is very fast.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.24 / 0.32
First time is at full wide-angle, second is full telephoto. Very fast, the T33 is one of the fastest-shooting consumer cameras on the market, regardless of size. (Even faster than its "little" brother, the T7.)

Shutter lag, continuous autofocus

As usual, there's no advantage to continuous autofocus with stationary subjects.
Shutter lag, manual focus
A bit faster than average.
Shutter lag, prefocus
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button. Extremely fast.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution

1.07 / 1.17

Times are averages. First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" mode (640x480) images. Times are averages. In large/fine mode, shoots 11 shots this fast, then slows to 1.77 seconds per shot. Buffer clears in 10 seconds. In TV mode, clears buffer after each shot, and continues at this pace indefinitely. Quite fast, especially for a subcompact model. (Times are measured with a Memory Stick PRO Duo, non-PRO cards could be slower.)
Cycle Time, Flash exposures 5 Flash at maximum power output. Pretty fast, but then it's also a pretty underpowered flash.
Cycle Time, continuous "Burst" mode, max/min resolution 0.80 / 0.70
(1.25 / 1.42 fps)
First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" size images. Times are averages. Shoots a burst of 9 frames in large/fine mode before stopping to clear the buffer. Shoots 100 frames in TV mode before buffer fills. Buffer clears in 16 seconds for large/fine images, 25 seconds for lowest resolution. Times are measured with a Memory Stick PRO Duo, non-PRO cards could be slower. Pretty good for a subcompact camera (although not quite as fast as the T7), and buffer capacity is also much larger than average.
Cycle Time, continuous "Speed Burst" mode, max/min resolution 0.32
(3.09 fps)
Times are averages. Shoots a burst of 4 frames at this pace regardless of resolution. Buffer clears in 8 seconds for large/fine shots, in 3 seconds for "TV" sized images. Really excellent speed for a subcompact. Four frames isn't a lot, but should be enough to catch most fast-breaking action. Nice.
Cycle Time, "Multi Burst" mode 0.03
(30 fps)
Camera captures 320 x 240 pixel images, stores them in 4x4 arrays inside normal 1280 x 960 pixel files. Frame rate can be set to 30, 15, or 7.5 fps. Buffer clears in only a second, and it's ready for another burst. Very fast, great for analyzing golf and tennis swings, etc.

Surprising speed for a consumer camera, very surprising in a subcompact model. More so than most digital camera makers, Sony seems to have really gotten a handle on autofocus speed. All of their current cameras focus quite quickly, and the Sony T33 is really very fast, particularly for a subcompact model, but quick even when compared to the best full-sized cameras. Full-autofocus shutter lag ranged from 0.24 - 0.32 seconds depending on the zoom setting, and prefocus shutter lag was a blazing 11 milliseconds (0.011 seconds). This is even faster than the T33's "little" brother the T7 could manage, and is excellent by any standards, regardless of camera size. (Big kudos to Sony for getting one of the most annoying digicam shortcomings under control.) The Sony DSC-T33 was also quite fast from shot to shot, managing a shot every 1.07 seconds in single-shot mode (also better than the T7), and capturing up to nine large/fine images at a time in burst mode, at a rate of 1.25 frames/second (a little slower than the T7). Also on the T33 is the standard Sony "Multi-Burst" feature, which captures sixteen 320x240 images at up to 30 frames/second, and stores them in a single full-sized image. (Great for checking tennis and golf swings.) The Sony T33 has one more trick up its sleeve though, with its "Speed Burst" mode, in which it can capture up to four frames of any size or quality at a rate of just over three frames/second. Really quite impressive, especially for a subcompact camera.



The Sony DSC-T33 uses a custom rechargeable LiIon battery for power.

Its custom power connector prevented me from conducting my usual direct power measurements, but Sony's InfoLithium battery technology is quite accurate in its run time estimates, so I report those below, for a fully charged battery.

Operating Mode
Battery Life
Still-image capture mode 103 minutes
Movie capture mode:
640 Fine
72 minutes
Movie capture mode:
640 Standard
74 minutes
Movie capture mode:
82 minutes
Playback mode
203 minutes

Better than average battery life for such a small camera. With a worst-case run time of 103 minutes in record mode, and playback run time of 203 minutes, the Sony T33 does quite a bit better than average among the subcompact cameras I've tested. I still highly recommend purchasing a second battery right along with the camera and keeping a charged spare on hand, but the T33's battery life at least isn't so short that you'll find yourself running out after just an hour or so.


Storage Capacity

The Sony DSC-T33 stores its photos on Memory Stick Duo memory cards, and a 32 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 32 MB card at each size/quality setting.

Image Capacity vs
32 MB Memory Card
Fine Normal
2592 x 1944
(Avg size)
2.5 MB
1.3 MB
6:1 11:1
2048 x 1536
(Avg size)
1.6 MB
859 KB
6:1 11:1
1280 x 960
(Avg size)
634 KB
340 KB
6:1 11:1
640 x 480
(Avg size)
162 KB
65 KB
6:1 14:1


Download Speed

The Sony DSC-T33 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 2032 KBytes/second, an excellent rate of speed. (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.)

T33 Review
T33 Test Images
T33 Specifications
T33 "Picky Details"
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