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Digicams: New Little Megapixel Monsters, Part II



Sony U101.3
Casio EX-M21.5
Minolta Xi1.4
Toshiba PDR-T306.3
Canon S230/Ixus V33.0

The smallest camera, the U10, is also the fastest, with Casio and Minolta some tenths of a second behind.

The Canon and Toshiba are not so good, being respectively two and four times slower than the others, so it would not be easy to snap an expression or some other fleeting situation.

Compared to conventional cameras that are operational more or less immediately, one and half seconds can be far too long. So what about three, four or six seconds? The ball will be out of sight, the bike on the ground, the ant will have fled, it will have started to rain, the bride will have already signed the register, your kids will have grown up... in other words, you will have missed the photo.

This test also points out an ergonomics failing in the PDR-T30. You have to slide its cover open before you can boot it by pressing the button on top. The Sony uses a similar system, but when you open the cover, it boots automatically without having to press another button.

Recording And Autofocus

Sony U102.0
Casio EX-M21.2
Minolta Xi1.6
Toshiba PDR-T301.8
Canon S230/Ixus V31.8

The cameras were all set to the same format: JPEG in top resolution with low compression, but retaining the sensors' optical resolution. Just out of curiosity, we also tested them in lower resolutions like 640x480 and discovered that reducing the size does not speed up processing.

The recording speed test results were better. All the cameras come in about level.

Another reason to be happy is that the S230 (Ixus V3) and Dimage Xi are hardly any slower than their earlier 2-megapixel versions.


Sony U100.8
Casio EX-M2N.A.
Minolta Xi1.2
Toshiba PDR-T301.2
Canon S230/Ixus V31.2

Once again, the Sony U10 leaves the others standing. After that, the three 3-megapixels are level-pegging, though the Canon focuses on nine points in the same time it takes the others to focus on one.

The Casio has no autofocus so did not take part. If you look at the indoor test results, you'll see this is the one that blurs in close-up.

To sum up, it takes at least three to four seconds to boot and snap with the Sony, Casio and Minolta, six with the Canon and over nine with the Toshiba.