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"Picky Details" for the Nikon Coolpix 4800 digital camera
(Timing, Power, and Storage Info)


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 Nikon Coolpix 4800:

Nikon Coolpix 4800 Timings
Power On -> First shot
LCD turns on and lens extends forward. On the slow side of the average range.
2.3 - 95
First time is time to retract lens, second time is worst-case buffer-clearing time. First time is fairly fast. Second time is long, but is the time required to clear the buffer after a continuous-mode burst of 73 small/basic mode JPEG images.
Play to Record, first shot
Time until first shot is captured. Fairly fast.
Record to play
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. First time is rather slow, second time is reasonably fast.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
First time is at full wide-angle, second is full telephoto. Roughly average, unusual in that telephoto time is faster than wide angle. (The opposite is usually the case.)
Shutter lag, prefocus
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button. Slower than average, by current standards.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution

2.29 /

First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" mode (640x480) images. Times are averages. In large/fine mode, shoots 4 shots this fast, then slows to 3.5 seconds per shot. TV mode is slightly slower, but continues at this rate for over 30 shots. In either mode, buffer clears in 11 seconds. Average speed and buffer depth.

Cycle Time, continuous mode, max/min resolution 0.73 / 0.68
(1.36 / 1.48 fps)

First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" size images. Times are averages. In large/fine mode, shoots 4 shots this fast, then slows to 4.1 seconds per shot, and clears the buffer in 10 seconds. In TV mode, shoots 73 shots this fast before slowing to 3.7 seconds per shot, but takes a whopping 93 seconds to clear the buffer. On the slow side of average for a continuous-shooting mode.

Cycle Time, "3 shot buffer" mode, max/min resolution 0.94 / 0.90
(1.07 / 1.11 fps)
First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for small/basic images. Times are averages. Shoots a burst of 3 images in large/fine mode, or 5 in TV mode. Not very fast for a mode of this sort.
Cycle Time, continuous Multi 16 mode 0.47
(2.13 fps)
Camera captures 572 x 428 pixel images, stores them in 4x4 arrays inside normal 2288x1712 files. Interval between shots varies slightly, but averages 0.47 seconds for a frame rate of 2.45 frames/second. Every 16 shots, the camera pauses for 4 seconds to write the images to a file, after which it captures another 16 frames at the 2.13 fps rate. Reasonably fast.

Shutter lag and particularly cycle time are two of the Coolpix 4800's weaker areas. With a range from 0.91 - 1.04 seconds, full-autofocus cycle time is in the average range, which actually isn't bad for a camera with a long-ratio zoom lens. (Long zooms tend to focus more slowly.) Prefocus lag is very slow though, at 0.34 seconds, and cycle times are on the slow side as well, at about 2.3 seconds per shot for up to four large/fine images before the camera has to wait for the memory card to catch up. Continuous mode performance is a little faster, at about 1.5 frames per second, although (like many digicams), the interval between the first and second shots is longer, about 0.83 second, vs 0.67 for subsequent ones). Overall, probably not a first choice for sports or other action shooting, despite its long-ratio lens



Excellent battery life! Because it uses a custom power connector, I couldn't conduct my usual detailed power consumption measurements on the Coolpix 4800. A simple run-down test with the camera in its worst-case power drain mode (capture mode, with the LCD turned on) gave run times of just under three hours though, excellent by any standards. I still recommend purchasing a second battery along with the Coolpix 4800, but honestly, its battery life is good enough that many users won't need the extra capacity.


Storage Capacity

The Nikon Coolpix stores its photos in 13.5 MB of internal memory or on optional SD/MMC memory cards. (I strongly recommend buying at least a 64 MB card, preferably a 128 MB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings.) The chart below shows how many images can be stored in the internal memory at each size/quality setting.


Image Capacity vs
32 MB Memory Card
Fine Normal
2,288 x 1,712 Images
(Avg size)
2.1 MB
1.0 MB
6:1 11:1
1,600 x 1,200 Images
(Avg size)
542 KB
10:1  -
1,024 x 768 Images
(Avg size)
253 KB
9:1  -
640 x 480
(Avg size)
118 KB
8:1  -


Download Speed

The Nikon Coolpix 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 1,021 KBytes/second. This is faster than cameras with USB v1.1 interfaces can manage, but toward the slower end of the range for USB 2.0-equipped models. (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.)

4800 Review
4800 Test Images
4800 Specifications
4800 "Picky Details"
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