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"Picky Details" for the Nikon Coolpix 5600 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 5600:

Nikon Coolpix 5600 Timings
Power On -> First shot
LCD turns on and lens extends forward. Average to a bit slower than average.
2.7 - 144
First time is time to retract lens, second time is worst-case buffer-clearing time. First time is average, second time is very slow, but corresponds to saving over 100 small/basic quality shots from continuous shooting mode. (Still very slow though.)
Play to Record, first shot
Time until first shot is captured. About average.
Record to play
3.3 / 0.5
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 on the slow side, second time is pretty good.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.56 / 0.60
First time is at full wide-angle, second is full telephoto. A good bit faster than average.
Shutter lag, prefocus
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button. Very fast.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution

1.74 / 1.52

First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" mode (640x480) images. Times are averages. Shoots 9 images this fast in large/fine mode, then slows to an irregular pace of about 2.8 seconds per shot. In TV mode, shoots over 50 shots this fast without slowing. Buffer clears in 11 seconds for large/fine images, 15 seconds for lowest resolution. Buffer clearing times recorded with 32x Lexar SD card, slower cards could take longer. About average for this class of camera.
Cycle Time, flash exposures, flash at maximum power output ~12 sec Very slow, your subjects may fall asleep before the flash recharges...
Cycle Time, continuous mode, max/min resolution 0.71 / 0.60
(1.40 / 1.66 fps)
First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" size images. Times are averages. Shoots 8 images this fast in large/fine mode, then slows to about 7.1 seconds per shot. In TV mode, shoots over 100 shots this fast without slowing. Buffer clears in 38 seconds for large/fine images, a whopping 141 seconds after 100 shots at lowest resolution. Buffer clearing times recorded with 32x Lexar SD card, slower cards could take longer. Cycle times are about average for a camera of this class.
Cycle Time, continuous Multi 16 mode 0.50
(2.0 fps)
Camera captures 648 x 486 pixel images, stores them in 4x4 arrays inside normal 2592 x 1944 files. Ticks off 16 shots at a steady half-second apiece. Every 16 shots, the camera pauses for about 3 seconds to write the images to a file, after which it captures another 16 frames at the 2 fps rate. A reasonable rate of capture, although for a sub-frame continuous mode like this, I'd normally expect to see some faster capture rates as an option.

Average cycle times, better than average shutter lag. Overall, the Nikon Coolpix 5600 performed well for such a compact digital camera model. (I've found that compacts generally are on the slow side when compared to full-sized digital cameras.) Its shot to shot cycle times were about average for a camera in its price/features class, and its shutter response was noticeably better than average, with full-autofocus shutter delays of 0.56 - 0.60 second. (Average is roughly 0.8 - 1.0 second.) Shutter lag when the camera is first "prefocused" by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the shot itself is a blazing 0.081 second. Bottom line, the Nikon 5600 will do better than most compact cameras at capturing fast-moving subjects like squirming toddlers or sports action. The 5600's big limitation is its flash recharge time though, taking about 12 seconds to get ready for the next shot after a full-power flash pulse. (This is longer than it sounds, the flash recharge seems interminable when you're waiting to take the next shot of your subject.)



Good battery life for a camera running from two AA cells. The Nikon Coolpix 5600 uses two AA batteries for power, but its lack of a standard external power terminal prevented me from conducting my standard power measurements. It does seem to have pretty good battery life, particularly if you run it from high-capacity rechargeable NiMH cells. Not being able to measure the battery life directly, we have to rely upon Nikon's stated battery life specs, based on the CIPA standard. Under CIPA conditions (zoom adjusted on each shot, flash used in approximately 1/2 of the shots), Nikon reports battery life as 220 shots with alkaline batteries, 340 shots with their own EN-MH1 NiMH batteries, or 600 frames with lithium cells. Although we don't know what capacity Nikon's NiMH cells have, 340 shots per charge is a very respectable number. As always though, I strongly recommend picking up a couple of sets of high-capacity NiMH cells and a good-quality NiMH battery charger. (Don't skimp on the charger, a poor one won't give you the maximum capacity your batteries are capable of, could even shorten battery life considerably.)


Storage Capacity

The Nikon Coolpix 5600 stores its photos on SD / MMC memory cards or in approximately 14 MB of internal memory. No card is included with the camera. (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
14 MB Internal Memory
Fine Normal
2592 x 1944 Images
(Avg size)
2.7 MB
1.3 MB
6:1 11:1
2048 x 1536 Images
(Avg size)
- 16
842 KB
- 11:1
1024 x 768 Images
(Avg size)
- 55
253 KB
- 9:1
640 x 480
(Avg size)
- 118
118 KB
- 8:1


Download Speed

The Nikon Coolpix 5600 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 720 KBytes/second, fast enough that most users will have no need of a separate card reader. (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.)


5600 Review
5600 Test Images
5600 Specifications
5600 "Picky Details"
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