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"Picky Details" for the Fujifilm FinePix E550 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 Fujifilm FinePix E550:

Fujifilm FinePix E550 Timings
Operation
Time
(secs)
Notes
Power On -> First shot
1.3
LCD turns on and lens extends forward. Very fast.
Shutdown
1.3 - 10.3
First time is time to retract lens, second time is worst-case buffer-clearing time. Very fast.
Play to Record, first shot
1.1
Time until first shot is captured. Quite fast.
Record to play
4.6/1.8
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. Average.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.64/0.75
First time is at full wide-angle, second is full telephoto. Faster than average.
Shutter lag, prefocus
0.076
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button. Very fast.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution

1.56 / 1.21

First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" mode (640x480) images. Times are averages. Buffer must partially clear between shots. In large/fine mode, buffer empties in 4 seconds; in TV mode, just 2 seconds. Not astonishing, but notable in that the camera will shoot this fast indefinitely, until the memory card is filled.
Cycle Time, raw mode 6.0 Times are averages. Buffer clears after every shot. Fast for RAW-mode.
Cycle Time, 4-frame continuous mode, max resolution 0.34 (2.94 fps) Times are averages. Shoots four images in large/fine mode, clears the buffer in about 10 seconds, and is ready for four more. Quite fast, 4-shot buffer is good for a consumer model.
Cycle Time, Long-period continuous mode 1.12
(0.89 fps)
Resolution is set to 1600x1200 pixels. Camera captures up to 40 images, and buffer clears in just 1 second. Not terribly fast, but a long series.

With shutter delays ranging from 0.64 - 0.75 second, the E550 is somewhat faster than the range of 0.8-1.0 second that I've found to be average among cameras of its class. When "prefocused" by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button prior to the shot itself, the shutter lag drops to a very brief 0.076 second. Shot to shot cycle times are also quite good, at 1.56 seconds between shots at the camera's highest resolution, and no apparent buffer-size limitation: It will snap photos that quickly until the memory card is filled. A four-shot continuous mode grabs a shot every 0.34 seconds (3 frames/second), and is ready to snap the next photo 10 seconds after the last shot of the series has been captured. Finally, the camera starts up and shuts down quite quickly (only 1.3 seconds from power up to the first shot captured), a nice feature in a digicam.

 

Power

The Fujifilm FinePix E550 uses 2 AA batteries for power.

Operating Mode
Power
(@3.2 volts on the external power terminal)
Est. Minutes
(two 1600 mA cells)
Capture Mode, w/LCD
531 mA
136
Capture Mode, no LCD
204 mA
353
Half-pressed shutter w/LCD
698 mA
103
Half-pressed w/o LCD
667 mA
108
Memory Write (transient)
823 mA
n/a
Flash Recharge (transient)
1146 mA
n/a
Image Playback
266 mA
271

Excellent battery life, but still plan on buying an extra set of batteries. The E550 sips power pretty sparingly from its batteries, with a worst-case run time (capture mode with the LCD turned on) of about 136 minutes on my "standard" 1600 mAh NiMH cells, and almost six hours with the LCD turned off. In playback mode, runtime is a very impressive 4.5 hours. Better yet though, the E550 ships with a charger and pair of very high-capacity NiMH batteries (rated capacity of 2300 mAh, actual capacity of 2200 mAh in my tests), which should push the worst-case run time to more than three hours. This is excellent by any standards, let alone for a relatively compact camera. I do still strongly recommend purchasing a second set of high-capacity NiMH cells, so you can always have a spare set fully charged, but the E550's battery life is quite remarkable for a camera powered by only two AA cells. (See my Battery Shootout page for a listing of actual performance figures for a large number of NiMH AA cells, as an aid to finding high-capacity cells.)

 

Storage Capacity

The Fujifilm FinePix stores its photos on xD memory cards, and a 16 MB card is included with the camera. (I strongly recommend buying at least a 128 MB card, preferably a 256 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
Resolution/Quality
16 MB Memory Card
Raw Fine
Normal
4048 x 3040 Images
(Avg size)
1
13.5 MB
3
4.9 MB
6
2.4 MB
Approx.
Compression
- 7:1 15:1
2848 x 2136 Images
(Avg size)
    10
1.5 MB
Approx.
Compression
    12:1
2048 x 1536 Images
(Avg size)
    20
788 KB
Approx.
Compression
    12:1
1600 x 1200 Images
(Avg size)
   
25
626 KB
Approx.
Compression
   
9:1
640 x 480
Images
(Avg size)
   
124
128 KB
Approx.
Compression
   
7:1

 

Download Speed

The Fujifilm FinePix 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 990 KBytes/second, a pretty good pace. (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.)

 

E550 Review
E550 Test Images
E550 Specifications
E550 "Picky Details"
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