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"Picky Details" for the Olympus Stylus 400 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 01 second.) Here are the numbers I collected for the Stylus 400 Digital:

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.

Olympus Stylus 400 Digital Timings
Operation
Time
(secs)
Notes
Power On -> First shot
3.16
Startup screen appears and lens moves into position. About average.
Shutdown
1.13
Lens retracts. Faster than average.
Play to Record, first shot
0.92
Time until first shot is captured. Fairly fast.
Record to play
2.23
Time to display a large/fine file after capture. About average.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
1.00/0.86
First number is wide angle, second is full telephoto.About average. (Interesting that it focuses faster with the lens zoomed to telephoto than in the wide angle position.)
Shutter lag, prefocus
0.17
Delay after shutter button is half-pressed and held. Faster than average.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution
2.43/1.97
First numbers are for large/fine files, second number is time for small/basic images. About average. (While I didn't find evidence of a buffer memory on the Stylus 300, the 400 seems to have one, as the cycle time stretches to about 3 seconds after the first 7 shots are captured.)
Cycle Time, continuous mode, max/min resolution
0.97/0.91
(1.03/1.10)
First pair of numbers is for large/fine, second set for small/basic files. Run length is 3 frames in large/fine mode, 60+ frames in small/basic. Numbers beneath are corresponding frames per second. Not terribly fast, but not bad for a compact model.

Overall, the Stylus 400 is a fairly fast camera, although its shutter lag is closer to average. It starts up and shuts down quickly, but its shutter lag is a bit longer than that of the Stylus 300, likely due to the larger chip on the 400, increasing the amount of time it takes to get data off-chip and processed to evaluate the focus accuracy. Cycle time is only average, but no worse than that. All in all, a good performance, particularly for a compact model.

Power
The Stylus 400 Digital uses a single, custom lithium-ion battery pack for its power source, and shows surprisingly good power consumption for a compact digicam. Battery life in capture mode with the LCD turned off is particularly impressive. Despite the excellent battery life though, I still strongly advise purchasing a second battery and packing it along on outings.

The table below shows the Stylus 400 Digital's power consumption in various modes, and approximate run times for each, based on a lithium-ion battery with a 1090 mAh capacity:

 

Operating Mode
Power
(@4.8 volts on the external power terminal)
Est. Minutes
(One 1090 mAh Li-Ion cell)
Capture Mode, w/LCD
491 mA
103
Capture Mode, no LCD
101 mA
499 (!)
(8.3 hours)
Half-pressed shutter w/LCD
480 mA
105
Half-pressed w/o LCD
298 mA
169
Memory Write (transient)
511 mA
n/a
Flash Recharge (transient)
856 mA
n/a
Image Playback
251 mA
201

 

Storage Capacity
The Stylus 400 Digital stores its photos on xD-Picture Cards, and a 16MB card is included with the camera. (I strongly recommend buying at least a 32MB card, preferably a 64MB 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, along with the average images sizes and approximate compression ratios..

 

Image Capacity vs
Resolution/Quality
16MB Memory Card
Fine
Normal
Full Resolution 2,272 x 1,704 Images
(Avg size)
5
2,909 KB
16
970 KB
Approx.
Compression
4:1
12:1
2,048 x 1,536 Images
(Avg size)
-
20
800 KB
Approx.
Compression
-
12:1
1,600 x 1,200 Images
(Avg size)
-
38
653 KB
Approx.
Compression
-
9:1
1,280 x 960
Images
(Avg size)
-
38
421 KB
Approx.
Compression
-
9:1
1,024 x 768
Images
(Avg size)
-
58
274 KB
Approx.
Compression
-
9:1
640 x 480
Images
(Avg size)
-
99
161 KB
Approx.
Compression
-
6:1

 

Download Speed
The Stylus 400 Digital connects to a host computer via a USB interface. Downloading files to my Sony VAIO desktop (2.4 GHz Pentium IV, Windows XP), I clocked it at 515 KBytes/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 600 KB/s or a little more.)

 

Stylus 400 Review
Stylus 400 Test Images
Stylus 400 Specifications
Stylus 400 "Picky Details"
Up to Imaging Resource digital cameras area

 

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