The Timing Tests

* NOTE: For all of our time tests, the camera is reset to its factory default settings and set to record using the highest resolution and quality setting. It is set to record in Auto mode. Auto Review is set to Off. A Sandisk 512 MB Memory Stick Pro Duo is used.

Before reading our results, please refer to our Testing Procedures page.

Startup Time

The startup time is recorded from the moment that the power button is pushed to the moment that the shutter sounds. The camera is set to record in Auto mode.

 Startup time (seconds)

The L1 takes just 2.54 seconds to start up and take a picture. This is a very impressive time for a camera with an extending lens.

Shutter Lag

To record shutter lag, we perform two tests with the lens at its widest angle setting. For the first test, we pre-focus the lens and measure the amount of time that it takes the camera to take a picture after the shutter button is pressed. The second test measures the time that it takes for the camera to take a picture after we press the shutter button without pre-focusing. Each test is performed 3 times and the results are averaged. For more information regarding our testing procedures, please refer to our Testing Procedures page.

 With Pre-focus (seconds)  Without Pre-focus (seconds)
‹0.01 0.31

We were very impressed with the L1's shutter lag. Since our timer only provides us with hundredths of seconds, we can only state that the L1 has a pre-focused shutter lag of ‹0.01sec. When we allowed the camera to perform a full auto-focus, the time lag time was just 0.31 sec. Indeed, this is the fastest camera that we have tested so far with respect to shutter lag.

Write Times

We recorded 5 different write times with a Sandisk 512 MB Memory Stick Pro Duo:

Single Shot - The time that it takes for a single picture to be written completely to the flash card (the time that the "activity light" is on).
Shot To Shot (STS) - The time until the second shot is able to be taken after the first (shutter to shutter).
Shot To Shot w/Flash - The time that it takes for the camera to take two pictures with the flash, starting from the moment that the first flash is fired to the moment that the second is fired.
Buffer Full to Next Burst - The time from the sound of the last shutter of a burst until the first shutter of another burst.

We performed each test three times and averaged the results. Below are the resolution, quality setting, and average file size used for the tests.

 Resolution (pixels)  Quality setting  Avg. file size (MB)
2304x1728 Fine 1.64

 Single Shot  Shot To Shot  Shot to Shot w/Flash  Buffer Full to Next Burst
0.76 1.53 4.70 4.52

The Sony DSC-L1 proves to be a fairly speedy little camera. It is able to write a single file in just 0.76 sec. and can shoot at 1.53 sec. between frames endlessly without filling its buffer. When the flash is used, the camera slows down considerably to 4.70 sec. between shots. When set to Burst mode, the L1 can shoot up to 4 frames at 1.4 fps, at 4M/Fine quality. After filling its buffer, the L1 needs 4.52 sec. before it is able to shoot another 4 frames. The camera will not let you shoot more frames until the entire buffer is cleared out to the flash card. In general, we are very impressed with the speed of the L1. Even with a slower shot-to-shot w/flash time of 4.70, this camera is on par or faster than other ultra-compact cameras in its class. For example, in a previous review, we found the Olympus Stylus Verve needed nearly 11.50 seconds between flash shots.

Battery Performance Resolving Fine Lines


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  • ksherman - Sunday, January 30, 2005 - link

    BTW #6-- to get to contact information, click on 'about' on the left hadn menu (second down) and then click on 'contactAnandtech' Reply
  • Xmate - Saturday, January 29, 2005 - link

    Good review, camera seems weak to me (being a photographer) but for a digicam its good, and a good review of it.

    I notice that Anandtech has taken a liking to digital photography, having several reviews and essays on how to take better photographs and what to take them with. This is all very good. I am really happy that more people are getting involved into the world of photography.

    What I ask of Anandtech now, is to continue on their photography reviews, but to add some computer software preformance reviews. I am in the market for a new computer, and i am completely torn as to what CPU, motherboard, ram, graphics card HD to get. I will be using almost exclusively Adobe products on the computer (photoshop, illustrator, Golive Indesign, The whole Creative suite). I'd GREATLY aoreicate if Anandtech could have some benchmarkings of how different Hardware preforms in photoshop and more importantly their ram converter.

    Also, I ask that you could perhaps have some reviews of colour calibration devices, such as the Gretagmacbeth ones ( and also if you could tell us what monitors are the best to use for the most acurate colour rendition.

    It's great that you have more photographers articles, but people like me (you'd be surprised how many of us visit this site) really need advice on what PC hardware to get for the best and faster results, from cpu to graphics card to monitor to printer. I hope you take this into consideration.


    PS: I was looking for the 'Contact Us' for Anandtech, but I was unable to find it. If someone could tell me how to contact them directly then I'd greatly apreciate it. Thank you once again.
  • melgross - Friday, January 28, 2005 - link

    As far as I am concerned, all of the test pictures are unacceptable. The outdoor pics aren't bad, though there are better images from others cameras in this price range.

    The indoor pics are all underexposed badly, and the flash calibration esp. at close distances is very poor.
  • segagenesis - Thursday, January 27, 2005 - link

    Better and less than half the price of my old (4 years old?) DSC-P1. Guess it shows how quickly cameras are evolving.

    There will always be some edge distortion in smaller cameras, so when buying one this is a given. The lens is just too damn small!
  • stephencaston - Thursday, January 27, 2005 - link

    #1 thanks, its corrected now Reply
  • arfan - Thursday, January 27, 2005 - link

    Maybe it will be better if there is review for all digital camera from entry level until high-end. What about Canon A75 compare with this Sony ? Reply
  • cosmotic - Thursday, January 27, 2005 - link

    Are you sure you meant that the release date was Feb 2004? Reply

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