Sony W170 Performance

Timing and Performance

Average to above average speed for a consumer camera.


Power on
to first shot

2.8 seconds

Time it takes for LCD to turn on, lens to deploy, and take a shot.


2.2 seconds

How long it takes to retract lens.

Buffer clearing time

2.0 seconds
(after 20 large JPEGs)

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.

Startup and shutdown times are on the slow side of average.


Mode switching

Play to Record,
first shot

1.3 seconds

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to Play

1.3 seconds

Time to display a large file immediately after capture.

recorded image

1.9 seconds

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

Mode switching times are about average for this class.


Shutter response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus Wide

0.36 second

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

Full Autofocus Tele

0.40 second

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

Full Autofocus with flash enabled

0.62 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with flash enabled.


0.008 second

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

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

Shutter response is very good at both wide angle and telephoto, at 0.36s and 0.40s respectively. "Prefocusing" the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure results in an impressive lag time of only 0.008 second (among the fastest on the market).


Cycle time (shot to shot)
Single Shot mode
Large JPEG
1.64 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Single Shot mode
640x480 JPEG

1.92 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Early shutter


Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
Large JPEG

0.62 second (1.62 frames per second);
20+ frames total;
2 seconds to clear

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

Continuous mode
640x480 JPEG

0.61 second (1.63 frames per second);
20+ frames total;
1.5 seconds to clear

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

Flash recycling

11.62 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme III PRO Duo memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity also affects cycle times and burst mode performance, with higher ISOs generally increasing cycle times and reducing burst performance.

Shot-to-shot cycle times are about average, at about 1.64 seconds for large JPEGs, and the camera appears to capture shots continuously in single-shot mode without having to slow down to clear the buffer. Oddly, when capturing low resolution JPEGs, the cycle time slows to 1.92 seconds, unusual for this test. Continuous mode performance is about average (perhaps slightly above for a 10-megapixel model), at 1.62 frames-per-second, and the camera was able to maintain that pace for over 20 large frames. The flash takes 11.62 seconds to recharge after a full-power shot, which is very slow indeed, especially considering the flash is not very powerful and the battery is a lithium-ion type.


Download speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

8,170 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 much faster than most digital cameras on the market today.


Overall, the Sony W170 is above average in terms of speed; fast enough for most family and travel photo opportunities, but flash recycling is markedly slow.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Above average battery life for a lithium-ion design.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery,
Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery,

The Sony W170 uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a charger. Though battery life is pretty good, we still recommend picking up a separate battery and keeping 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 W170 accepts Memory Stick Duo or Duo Pro memory cards. Though no card is included, the camera has about 15MB of internal memory usable for storage. The table below shows the approximate capacity of the internal memory at each resolution setting. (The Sony W170 does not have a compression level option.)

Image Capacity with
15MB Internal Memory
3,648 x 2,736
File Size
4.0 MB
2,592 x 1,944
File Size
2.5 MB
2,048 x 1,536
File Size
1.6 MB
640 x 480
File Size
169 KB

We strongly recommend buying a large capacity Memory Stick Pro Duo card at least a 1GB card, preferably a 2 or 4GB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings and video. (Check the shopping link above, cards are really cheap these days, so no reason to skimp.)


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