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"Picky Details" for the Nikon Coolpix 3200 digital camera
(Timing, Power, and Storage Info)

Timing
Because they're rarely reported on (and even more rarely, reported accurately), I measure both cycle times and shutter delay times for 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 Coolpix 3200:

 

Nikon Coolpix 3200 Timings
Operation
Time
(secs)
Notes
Power On -> First shot
3.5
LCD turns on and lens extends forward. About average.
Shutdown
2 / 44
First time is for lens to retract. Second time is worst case memory buffer clear (finishes writing to the memory card) before you can remove the card. About average for lens retract, quite long for memory clear.
Play to Record, first shot
1.2
Time until first shot is captured. Pretty good.
Record to play
0-0.3/4.0
Time to display a large/fine file. First time is for display with camera sitting idle, having finished processing the last image shot, second time is for immediate switch to playback after capture. First time is pretty good, second is somewhat slow.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.61/ 0.97
First time is at full wide-angle, second is full telephoto. Both times are faster than average, the wide angle time in particular is pretty fast.
Shutter lag, prefocus
0..136
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button. Somewhat faster than average.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution

2.20 /
2.31

First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" mode (640x480) images. Times are averages. In large/fine mode, shoots this fast in pairs of 2 shots, with intervals of 7.4 seconds between bursts. In TV mode, the buffer never fills. Buffer takes 4 seconds to clear in either mode. A cycle time of 2 seconds isn't the fastest on the market, but is pretty good for an entry-level digicam. Likewise, a 2-shot buffer is limited,
Cycle Time, continuous High mode, max/min resolution 0.76 / 0.50
(1.32 / 2 fps)
First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" size images. Times are averages. In large/fine mode, cycle time is this fast for three frames, then slows to one frame every three seconds. In TV mode, 2 fps is maintained as the buffer slowly fills. Buffer holds many TV-resolution shots in continuous shooting mode, I stopped measuring after 36 shots. Buffer clears in 7 seconds for large/fine images, takes up to 44 seconds in TV mode.
Cycle Time, continuous Multi 16 mode 0.44
(2.29 fps)
Camera captures 512 x 384 pixel images, stores them as 4x4 arrays inside normal 2048x1536 files. Interval between shots varies slightly, but averages 0.44 seconds for a frame rate of 2.29 frames/second.

The Coolpix 3200's speed ranges from average to somewhat better than average for most operations, a pretty good performance for an inexpensive entry-level camera. Shutter delay ranges from very good at the wide angle end of the zoom range, to better than average at the telephoto end. At two seconds between shots, the cycle time is also pretty good for an entry level model, although the camera can only take two shots that quickly before having to wait for the memory card. Continuous-mode speeds are likewise pretty good for a low-end camera. Overall, pretty good speed for an inexpensive digicam. Perhaps not a first choice for sports or other fast action, but frankly, nothing else in the 3200's price range will be much faster.

Power

Because the Coolpix 3200 uses a custom "dummy battery" power adapter, I couldn't conduct my usual direct power measurements on it. I did measure its runtime with a set of batteries calibrated to the standard 1600 mAh capacity that I use as a reference for my runtime measurements, and found a worst-case runtime (capture mode with the LCD on) of 140 minutes. (I use a standard battery capacity of 1600 mAh to maintain consistency with older cameras I've reviewed. Rechargeable NiMH batteries are currently available with true (vs advertised) capacities of over 2000 mAh, so you can expect run times as much as 25% longer than mentioned above, if you use the best-quality batteries.)

The Coolpix 3200's worst-case run time of 140 minutes with 1600 mAh NiMH cells is quite good for a compact model powered by only two AA cells. Regardless of the 3200's long battery life though, I still strongly recommend that you purchase several sets of high-capacity NiMH AA cells and a good charger to go along with them. To see which NiMH cells are best, see my battery shootout page. Read my review of the Maha C-204F charger, to learn why it's my longtime favorite.



Storage Capacity

The Coolpix 3200 comes equipped with approximately 16.5 MB of internal memory for image storage. It also has a slot for an SD memory card, but no card is packed in the box with it. The table below shows the image sizes and resulting storage capacity with the 16.5 MB of built-in memory, but I strongly recommend (I strongly buying at least a 32 MB card, preferably a 64 MB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings.

Image Capacity vs
Resolution/Quality
16.5 MB Internal Memory
Fine Normal
2,048 x 1,536 Images
(Avg size)
9
1.8 MB
18
889 KB
Approx.
Compression
5:1 11:1
1,600 x 1,200 Images
(Avg size)
  28
571 KB
Approx.
Compression
  10:1
1,024 x 768 Images
(Avg size)
  61
267 KB
Approx.
Compression
  9:1
640 x 480
Images
(Avg size)
  132
125 KB
Approx.
Compression
  7:1

 

Download Speed
The Coolpix connects to a host computer via a USB interface. Downloading files to a Sony desktop running Windows XP I clocked it at 647 KBytes/second. (Pentium IV processor at 2.4 GHz, 512 MB RAM, USB v2.0-compatible port.) This is about as fast as cameras with USB v1.1 interfaces get. (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.) Again, quite good for an inexpensive digicam.

 

CP3200 Review
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CP3200 "Picky Details"
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