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"Picky Details" for the Pentax Optio 555 digital camera
(Timing, Power, and Storage Info)

Timing
I measure both cycle times and shutter delay times for all the cameras I review, 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 Pentax Optio 555:

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.

Pentax Optio 555 Timings
Operation
Time
(secs)
Notes
Power On -> First shot
4.05
FujiFilm startup screen appears and lens extends forward. Slightly slow.
Shutdown
2.94
Lens retracts. About average.
Play to Record, first shot
1.13/1.15
Time until first shot is captured. Average to a bit faster than average.
Record to play
1.61/1.56
Time to display a large/fine file after capture. Quite fast.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
1.13/1.35
First time is for at full wide-angle, second is full telephoto. Rather slow, although there was a fair bit of variation from shot to shot. Still, I never saw a lag time of less than a second.
Shutter lag, prefocus 0.462 Time to capture, in manual focus mode. About average.
Shutter lag, prefocus
0.161
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button. A little faster than average for point & shoot cameras. (Average has been about 0.3 seconds, but these days is getting closer to 0.2.)
Cycle Time, max/min resolution
1.72/1.54
First number is for largest/fine files, second number is time for small/basic images. Times are averages. In large/fine mode, buffer holds four shots, after which camera pauses for 14.5 seconds, then captures a shot every 8.3 seconds. In small/basic mode, no indication of buffer limitation after 50+ shots. Buffer empties completely in 20.2 seconds in large/fine mode, ~52 seconds in small/fine. Pretty good large/fine cycle time for a five megapixel camera, and four-shot buffer will be adequate for most users.
Cycle Time, continuous mode, max/min resolution
1.035/0.935
First number is for large/fine, second for small/basic files. Shoots four frames in large/fine mode, very large number (100+) in small/basic mode before running out of room in its buffer memory and slowing down. In large/fine mode, the camera pauses for 15.4 seconds after the first 4 shots, then captures another shot every 8.37 seconds. In both modes, the interval between the first two shots and subsequent ones is slightly longer, 1.2 seconds for large/fine images, 0.97 seconds for small/basic ones. Overall, reasonably fast for a compact model, but not spectacular.

Overall, the Optio 555 ranges from average to somewhat slow in its shooting speed. Shutter lag is definitely on the slow side of average, but single-shot cycle time is fairly average for a five-megapixel model, at 1.72 seconds. Continuous-mode times are also decent but not spectacular. Not bad overall, but clearly not a first choice for sports and other fast action.

Power
The Optio 555 uses a custom rechargeable LiIon battery pack for power, and shows very good battery life, particularly for a compact model. The table below shows power drain and projected run times for a number of key operating modes.

 

Operating Mode
Power
(@4.5 volts on the external power terminal)
Est. Minutes
(3.7v 1800 mAh LiIon battery pack)
Capture Mode, w/LCD
626 mA
142
Capture Mode, no LCD
505 mA
176
Half-pressed shutter w/LCD
607 mA
146
Half-pressed w/o LCD
486 mA
183
Memory Write (transient)
702 mA
n/a
Flash Recharge (transient)
1427 mA
n/a
Image Playback
356 mA
249

These are quite respectable run times, particularly for a moderately compact model. Despite the good run times, I still strongly advise you to purchase an extra battery along with the camera, to pack along on extended outings. 

Storage Capacity
The FinePix A310 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 extra 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
TIFF
Fine
Standard
Economy
2,592 x 1,944 Images
(Avg size)
1
15.1 MB
4
3.5 MB
8
1.8 MB
15
1.1 MB
Approx.
Compression
1:1
4:1
8:1
14:1
2,048 x 1,536 Images
(Avg size)
-
7
2.1 MB
13
1.2 MB
20
798 KB
Approx.
Compression
-
5:1
8:1
12:1
1,600 x 1,200 Images
(Avg size)
-
12
1.3 MB
21
749 KB
29
548 KB
Approx.
Compression
-
5:1
8:1
11:1
1,024 x 768 Images
(Avg size)
-
26
598 KB
48
332 KB
60
266 KB
Approx.
Compression
-
4:1
7:1
9:1
640 x 480 Images
(Avg size)
-
56
282 KB
87
183 KB
107
149 KB
Approx.
Compression
-
3:1
5:1
6:1

 

Download Speed
The Optio 555 connects to a host computer via a USB interface. Downloading files to my 2.4 GHz Sony VAIO running Windows XP, I clocked it at 562 KBytes/second. This is a fairly typical figure. (Cameras with slow USB v1.1 interfaces run as low as 300 KB/s, cameras with fast ones run as high as 600 KB/s. Cameras with USB v2.0 connections run as fast as several megabytes per second.)

 

O555 Review
O555 Sample Pictures
O555 Specifications
O555 "Picky Details"
Up to Imaging Resource digital cameras area

 

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