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"Picky Details" for the Olympus D-590 digital camera
(Timing, Power, and Storage Info)


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 Olympus D-590:

Olympus D-590 Timings
Power On -> First shot
LCD turns on and lens extends forward. About average.
3.1 - 11
First time is time to retract lens, second time is worst-case buffer-clearing time. About average.
Play to Record, first shot
Time until first shot is captured. Quite fast.
Record to play
5.4 / 1.2
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. On the slow side, particularly for images just shot.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.88 / 0.84
First time is at full wide-angle, second is full telephoto. Average.
Shutter lag, prefocus
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button. Very fast.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution

2.00 /

First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" mode (640x480) images. Times are averages. In large/fine mode, shoots five frames this fast, then slows to about 2.7 seconds per shot. In TV mode, continues at this rate indefinitely. Buffer clears in 7.5 seconds in large/fine mode, and almost immediately in TV mode. Average for its price range.

Cycle Time, continuous mode, max/min resolution 0.92 / 0.90
(1.09 / 1.11 fps)
First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" mode (640x480) images. Times are averages. In large/fine mode, shoots 3 frames this fast, then slows to about 3 seconds per shot. In TV mode, continues at this rate indefinitely. Buffer clears in 8 seconds in large/fine mode, and 2 seconds in TV mode. Average to a little slower than average for its price range.


Average performance for both shutter lag and cycle time. The word that best describes the Olympus D-590's performance is "average." It's solidly in the middle of the range for most parameters, with a shutter lag that ranges from 0.84-0.88 second in full autofocus mode, and cycle times on the order of two seconds. Startup and shutdown times are also typical of cameras in its class.



The Olympus D-590 uses a custom rechargeable LiIon battery for power. Here are the power consumption numbers I measured for it in various operating modes, along with the corresponding projected run times.

Operating Mode
(@4.8 volts on the external power terminal)
Est. Minutes
(3.7v, 1230mAh LiIon cell)
Capture Mode
471 mA
Half-pressed shutter
463 mA
Memory Write (transient)
479 mA
Flash Recharge (transient)
1115 mA
Image Playback
235 mA

Generally good battery life. With a worst-case run time of just over two hours in capture mode, the Olympus D-590 does better than most compact digital cameras. If you plan on any extended outings with it, I do still recommend purchasing a second battery, but for casual use, the included battery will probably be sufficient.


Storage Capacity

The Olympus D-590 stores its photos on xD memory cards, and a 16 MB card is included with the camera. (I strongly recommend buying at least a 64 MB card, preferably a 128 MB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings.) The chart below shows how many images can be stored on the included 16 MB card at each size/quality setting.

Image Capacity vs
16 MB Memory Card
Fine Normal
2272 x 1704 Images
(Avg size)
2.8 MB
962 KB
4:1 12:1
2048 x 1536
(Avg size)
785 KB
12:1  -
1600 x 1200 Images
(Avg size)
642 KB
9:1  -
1280 x 960
(Avg size)
417 KB
1024 x 768 Images
(Avg size)
272 KB
9:1  -
640 x 480
(Avg size)
176 KB


Download Speed

The Olympus D-590 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 505 KBytes/second, a decent if not exceptional speed. (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.)


D-590 Review
D-590 Test Images
D-590 Specifications
D-590 "Picky Details"
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