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"Picky Details" for the Nikon Coolpix S1 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 S1:

Nikon Coolpix S1 Timings
Power On -> First shot
LCD turns on and lens cover opens. Fairly fast.
1.2 - 14
First time is simple shutdown, second time is worst-case buffer-clearing time. Fairly fast. (14 second shutdown is time to flush buffer after 19 large/fine shots in continuous mode, an unusually large burst capacity.)
Play to Record, first shot
Time until first shot is captured. Pretty good.
Record to play
3.5 / 0.9
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 number is slow, second is pretty good.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.80 / 0.81
First time is at full wide-angle, second is full telephoto. On the fast side of average.
Shutter lag, prefocus
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button. Very fast.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution

2.03 /

First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" mode (640x480) images. Times are averages. In large/fine mode, shoots 15 shots this fast, then slows to about 2.5 seconds per shot. In TV mode, shoots over 50 frames without slowing. Buffer clears in 11 seconds in large/fine mode, 6 seconds in TV mode. Average speed, but excellent buffer depth. (Clearing time was measured with Lexar 32x SD card, slower cards would take longer.)
Cycle Time, Flash Recycle ~6 Time required to recharge flash and shoot the next photo, after a full-power flash discharge. About average.
Cycle Time, continuous mode, max/min resolution 0.61 / 0.59
(1.65 / 1.68 fps)
First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" mode (640x480) images. Times are averages. In large/fine mode, shoots 19 shots this fast, then slows to about 2.7 seconds per shot. In TV mode, shoots over 100 frames without slowing. Buffer clears in 13 seconds in large/fine mode, almost immediately in TV mode. Pretty fast, excellent buffer capacity. (Clearing time was measured with Lexar 32x SD card, slower cards would take longer.)
Cycle Time, Multi Shot 16 mode 0.50
(2.00 fps)
Camera captures sixteen 648 x 486 pixel images, stores them in 4x4 arrays inside normal 2592 x 1944 pixel files. Pauses about a second between sets, and clears the buffer in 2 seconds. Pretty fast, but not too impressive for this sort of continuous mode.

Slightly better than average speed, excellent buffer capacity. Overall, the Nikon Coolpix S1 does quite well for a subcompact model, with shutter lag figures on the fast side of average in full-autofocus mode, and blazingly fast when the camera is "prefocused" by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the shot itself. Shot to shot speeds are about average (which is pretty good for a compact camera model), but the buffer capacity is positively huge when compared to the competition. (15 large/fine shots in single-shot mode, 19 large/fine ones in continuous mode) Buffer clearing speed is also quite good, particularly in light of just how many images the buffer can hold.



Good battery life for a sub-compact, but a second battery still might be wise. The Nikon Coolpix S1 uses a custom rechargeable LiIon battery for power, and has no external power connector, so I couldn't perform my usual direct measurements of power consumption. Running the camera in its worst-case power-drain mode (capture mode, not sleeping, LCD on) showed a run time of 109 minutes. Not all bad for such a compact digital camera, but also not terribly long if you plan any extended outings with the S1. - I highly recommend purchasing a second battery if you plan any longer shooting sessions with the S1.


Storage Capacity

The Nikon Coolpix S1 stores its photos on SD / MMC memory cards or in approximately 12 MB of internal memory, and 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
12 MB Internal Memory
Fine Normal
2592 x 1944
(Avg size)
2.5 MB
1.3 MB
6:1 12:1
2048 x 1536
(Avg size)
- 17
818 KB
- 12:1
1024 x 768 Images
(Avg size)
- 56
246 KB
- 10:1
640 x 480
(Avg size)
- 122
115 KB
- 8:1


Download Speed

The Nikon Coolpix S1 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 710 KBytes/second, a pretty good pace. (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.)

S1 Review
S1 Test Images
S1 Specifications
S1 "Picky Details"
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