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"Picky Details" for the Fujifilm FinePix 3800 digital camera
(Timing, Power, and Storage Info)

Timing
I measure both cycle times and shutter delay times, 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 3800:

NOTE: My qualitative characterizations of camera performance below (that is, "reasonably fast," "about average," etc.) are meant to be relative to other cameras of similar price and general capabilities. Thus, the same shutter lag that's "very fast" for a low-end consumer camera might be characterized as "quite slow" if I encountered it on a professional model. The comments are also intended as only a quick reference: If performance specs are critical for you, rely on the absolute numbers to compare cameras, rather than my purely qualitative comments.

Fujifilm FinePix 3800 Timings
Operation
Time
(secs)
Notes
Power On -> First shot
2.89
Electronic viewfinder activates and lens extends. Pretty quick.
Shutdown
3.16
Lens retracts. A bit faster than average for a camera with a telescoping lens.
Play to Record, first shot
2.34
Time until first shot is captured. About average
Record to play
2.28
Time to display a large/fine file after capture. Fairly fast.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.74/1.13
First time is at full wide-angle, second is full telephoto. Faster than average at wide angle, a bit slower than average at full telephoto. (Average is 1.0 to a bit lower, wide angle is a bit faster than telephoto on most cameras.)
Shutter lag, prefocus
0.188
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button. Faster than average. (Average is about 0.3)
Cycle Time, max/min resolution
2.96 /2.66
First numbers are for large/fine files, second number is time for small/basic images. Times are averages across multiple shots. About average, seemingly no buffer memory, so cycle time is the same, whether 1 shot or 50.

Overall, the FinePix 3800 ranges from average to a bit faster than average relative to other cameras in its class. (Actually though, there aren't any other cameras in it's "class," as it's by far the cheapest digicam with a 6x zoom lens that I'm aware of.) It has a pretty nimble shutter response in autofocus mode, and is a faster than average when "prefocused" by half-pressing and holding the shutter button before the shot itself. Shot-to-shot cycle times are not too bad overall, although there doesn't appear to be any buffer memory to help out the cycle time for the first few shots - All shots take the same time, regardless of how many you've taken.

Power
The FinePix 3800 uses four AA batteries for power, and displays good to excellent battery life. (Provided that is, that you use high-capacity NiMH cells, coupled with a good charger. See my comments below for more on batteries and chargers.) The table below shows the power drain and corresponding projected battery life in various operating modes.
 

Operating Mode
Power
(@5 volts on the external power terminal)
Est. Minutes
(Four 1600 mAh NiMH cells, true capacity)
Capture Mode, w/LCD
406 mA
227
Capture Mode, w/EVF only
354 mA
260
Half-pressed shutter w/LCD
401 mA
230
Half-pressed w/EVF only
344 mA
268
Memory Write (transient)
464 mA
n/a
Flash Recharge (transient)
1022 mA
n/a
Image Playback
255 mA
361

As you can see, my tests showed that the FinePix 3800 has really excellent battery life, with projected run times of well over three hours in all modes, and better than four hours when using the electronic viewfinder (EVF) alone. Still though, I highly recommend purchasing at least two sets of high-capacity NiMH batteries, and a good-quality charger for them. Read my NiMH Battery Shootout page for the latest on actual battery performance, or my review of the Maha C204F to see why it's my favorite charger.

 

Storage Capacity
The FinePix 3800 stores its photos on xD-Picture Cards, and a 16MB card is included with the camera. (I strongly recommend buying at least a 64MB card, preferably a 128MB one, to give yourself plenty of space for extended outings.) The chart below shows how many images can be stored on the included 16MB card at each size/quality setting.

 

Image Capacity vs
Resolution/Quality
16MB Memory Card
Fine
Normal
2,048 x 1,536 Images
(Avg size)
12
KB
26
KB
Approx.
Compression
7:1 16:1
1,600 x 1,200 Images
(Avg size)
(n/a) 39
KB
Approx.
Compression
- 14:1
1,280 x 960 Images
(Avg size)
(n/a)
49
KB
Approx.
Compression
-
11:1
640 x 480
Images
(Avg size)
(n/a)
123
KB
Approx.
Compression
-
7:1

 

Download Speed
The FinePix 3800 connects to a host computer via a USB interface. Downloading files to a dual 1 GHz PowerMac G4 (OS X, version 10.2.3), I clocked it at 544KBytes/second. This is pretty fast as USB-connected cameras go. (Cameras with slow USB interfaces run as low as 300 KB/s, cameras with fast ones run as high as 600 KB/s.)

3800 Review
3800 Test Images
3800 Specifications
3800 "Picky Details"
Up to Imaging Resource digital cameras area

 

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