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"Picky Details" for the Pentax Optio S4 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 Optio S4:

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 S4 Timings
Operation
Time
(secs)
Notes
Power On -> First shot
3.24
Time is for lens to extend fully.
Shutdown
3.54/1.75
Lens has to retract. First time is that required for camera to finish writing a large/fine file to the memory card immediately after capturing it, the second time is time just to retract the lens.
Play to Record, first shot
1.24
Time until first shot is captured.
Record to play
6.51/0.83
Time to display a large/fine file after capture. Second time is for second display after processing has been completed.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.44/0.81
First time is for wide angle, second for telephoto.
Shutter lag, prefocus
0.01
Time to capture, after half-pressing Shutter button.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution
1.93/1.15
First numbers are for large/fine files, second number is time for small/basic images. In large/fine mode, the first two shots come about 1.93 seconds apart, then every three seconds if review is off. If the review is turned on, shots come about every 4.6 seconds.
Cycle Time, continuous mode, max/min resolution
1.79/1.18
0.5/0.8fps
First pair of numbers is for large/fine, second set for small/basic files. Numbers beneath are corresponding frames per second. The camera has a two-shot buffer for large/fine mode, though it's able to save as it goes in small/basic mode. Large/fine times start at 1.79, then average about 4.69 seconds between shots afterwards.

Power
The Optio S4 does not have an external power connector, so I could not perform my usual power measurements here. Instead, I measured the runtime for a fully charged battery in its most power-consuming mode, finding a worst-case run time of about 93 minutes. This isn't at all bad for a subcompact model like the S4, but I still strongly recommend that you purchase a second battery along with the camera.

Storage Capacity
The Optio S4 stores its photos on SD/MMC memory cards, and has 11MB of internal memory. The camera does not come with a memory card, so I strongly recommend buying at least a 64MB capacity card (preferably a 128MB one) to give you plenty of space for the camera's highest resolution setting. The chart below shows how many images can be stored on the 11MB internal memory at each size/quality setting.

 

Image Capacity vs
Resolution/Quality
11MB internal memory / 128MB SD Card
Fine
Normal
Economy
Full Resolution
2,304 x 1,728
Images
(Avg size)
3 / 44
2,909 KB
7 / 83
1,542 KB
10 / 125
1,024 KB
Approx.
Compression
4:1 8:1 9:1
1,600 x 1,200 Images
(Avg size)
8 / 104
1,231 KB
15 / 178
719 KB
21 / 250
512 KB
Approx.
Compression
5:1
8:1
11:1
1,024 x 768
Images
(Avg size)
19 / 227
564 KB
35 / 417
307 KB
46 / 544
235 KB
Approx.
Compression
4:1
8:1
10:1
640 x 480
Images
(Avg size)
42 / 500
256 KB
67 / 782
164 KB
89 / 1,043
123 KB
Approx.
Compression
4:1
6:1
8:1

 

Download Speed
The Optio S4 connects to a host computer via a USB interface. Downloading files to my Sony VAIO desktop, 2.4 GHz Pentium IV, running Windows XP ("VAIO"), I clocked it at 625 KBytes/second. This is a pretty fast performance. (Cameras with slow USB interfaces run as low as 300 KB/s, cameras with fast ones run as high as 600 KB/s.)

 

S4 Review
S4 Test Images
S4 Specifications
S4 "Picky Details"
Up to Imaging Resource digital cameras area

 

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