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"Picky Details" for the Nikon Coolpix P2 Digital Camera
(Timing, Power, and Storage Info)

 

Timing

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 Nikon Coolpix P2:

Nikon Coolpix P2 Timings
Operation
Time
(secs)
Notes
Power On -> First shot
3.6
LCD turns on and lens extends forward.
Shutdown
3.6 - 13
First time is time to retract lens, second time is worst-case buffer-clearing time.
Play to Record, first shot
1.0
Time until first shot is captured.
Record to play
2.7 / 0.5
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.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.52 / 0.64
First time is at full wide-angle, second is full telephoto.
Shutter lag, prefocus
0.089
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button.
Shutter lag, continuous autofocus
0.54
Rarely any faster than normal autofocus, at least for stationary subjects. (We have no way of reliably testing shutter lag with moving subjects.)
Shutter lag, flash
0.84
Metering flash generally increases shutter lag somewhat.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution

2.32 /
2.10

First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" mode (640x480) images. Times are averages. In large/fine mode, shoots more than 25 shots this fast, then takes 10 seconds to clear the buffer. In TV mode, shoots this fast continuously, clearing the buffer after each shot.
Cycle Time, Flash exposures 6 (Flash at maximum power output)
Cycle Time, continuous mode, max/min resolution 0.46 / 0.44
(2.20 / 2.28 fps)
First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" size images. Times are averages. In large/fine mode, shoots 5 shots this fast, then takes 5 seconds to clear the buffer. In TV mode, shoots at a somewhat irregular rate continuously, clearing the buffer after each shot. 5-shot buffer mode
Cycle Time, 5-shot buffer mode, max resolution 0.84
(1.19 fps)
Times are averages. Shoots 5 shots this fast, then takes 6 seconds to clear the buffer.
Cycle Time, Multi 16 mode 0.49
(2.06 fps)
Camera captures 648 x 486 pixel images, stores them in 4x4 arrays inside normal 2592 x 1944 files. Buffer takes 2 seconds to clear between bursts.

A range of performance, from slightly slow to faster than average for a consumer camera.
The Coolpix P2's performance ranges from slow to faster than average, depending on what you're trying to do. Start-up time is on the slow side, but shot to shot times in normal single-shot mode are average to a bit better than average for cameras of its class, and it can capture a long sequence of large/fine JPEG images at that rate without slowing down. (Provided of course that you equip it with a suitably fast SD memory card: Our results here were measured with a fast 133x card from Kingston Memory.) Shutter response is faster than average, and positively blazing when you "prefocus" the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure. Continuous-mode speed is about average, at a bit over two frames/second, for up to five shots in succession. The flash takes about six seconds to recharge after a full-power shot, again on the slower side of average. Connected to a computer, download speeds are slow by current standards, but most users won't feel the need for a separate card reader. Bottom line, the Coolpix P2 probably isn't the camera for capturing high-speed action, but should be able to handle most normal family and travel situations just fine.

 

Power

Proprietary lithium-ion battery with average capacity.
The Coolpix P2 uses a custom rechargeable EN-EL8 Lithium Ion battery rated at 730 mAh for power. Because it has no external power connector, we couldn't perform our usual direct measurements of power consumption. Using the CIPA standard, Nikon claims approximately 190 shots on a fully charged battery for it, a number that's a bit on the low side. - And WiFi usage undoubtedly takes more power to drive the radio link. (We managed to completely drain a fresh battery in just over an hour of playing with the camera, with WiFi active about half of the time.) Overall, our standard recommendation that you purchase a second battery right along with the camera applies doubly to the P2.

 

Storage Capacity

The Nikon Coolpix P2 stores its photos on SD / MMC memory cards or in approximately 13.5MB of internal memory, and no card is included with the camera. (We strongly recommend buying a large capacity SD/MMC memory card. -- These days, 128 - 256 MB is a good trade-off between cost and capacity.) The chart below shows how many images can be stored internal memory at each size/quality setting.

 

Image Capacity vs
Resolution/Quality
13.5 MB Internal Memory
Fine Normal
Basic
2592 x 1944 Images
(Avg size)
5
2.6 MB
10
1.3 MB
20
678 KB
Approx.
Compression
6:1 11:1 22:1
2048 x 1536 Images
(Avg size)
8
1.6 MB
16
843 KB
30
446 KB
Approx.
Compression
6:1 11:1 22:1
1600 x 1200 Images
(Avg size)
13
1.0 MB
25
529 KB
48
281 KB
Approx.
Compression
6:1 11:1 21:1
1280 x 1024 Images
(Avg size)
20
661 KB
39
347 KB
69
198 KB
Approx.
Compression
6:1 11:1 19:1
1024 x 768 Images
(Avg size)
30
446 KB
55
248 KB
92
149 KB
Approx.
Compression
5:1 10:1
16:1
640 x 480
Images
(Avg size)
69
198 KB
118
116 KB
165
83 KB
Approx.
Compression
5:1 8:1
11:1

 

Download Speed

The Nikon Coolpix P2 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 461 KBytes/second. (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.)

P2 Review
P2 Test Images
P2 Specifications
P2 "Picky Details"
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