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"Picky Details" for the Nikon Coolpix S3 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 S3:


Nikon Coolpix S3 Timings
Power On -> First shot
LCD turns on and lens opens.
1.5 - 30
First time is simple shutdown, second time is worst-case buffer-clearing time.
Play to Record, first shot
Time until first shot is captured.
Record to play
3.0 / 0.8
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.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.68 / 0.94
First time is at full wide-angle, second is full telephoto.
Shutter lag, prefocus
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button.
Shutter lag, flash
Cycle Time, max/min resolution

2.06 / 2.07

First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" mode (640x480) images. Times are averages. In large/fine mode, shoots 10 frames this fast, then slows to about 2.5 seconds per shot. Buffer clears in 6 seconds. In TV mode, shoots this fast continuously, clearing the buffer after each shot.
Cycle Time, Flash exposures 5 (Flash at maximum power output)
Cycle Time, continuous mode, max/min resolution 0.69 / 0.68
(1.44 / 1.47 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 10 frames this fast, then slows to about 2.7 seconds per shot. Buffer clears in 9 seconds. In TV mode, shoots over 100 frames this without slowing, but takes 30 seconds to clear the buffer.
Cycle Time, Multi 16 mode 0.68
(1.47 fps)
Camera captures sixteen 704 x 528 pixel images, stores them in 4x4 arrays inside normal 2816 x 2112 files.Buffer clears in 2 seconds.



The Coolpix S3 uses a custom rechargeable 730mAh Lithium Ion battery for power. Nikon's own numbers for the Coolpix S3 (based on the CIPA standard test procedure) indicate that you should be able to get about 190 shots from a freshly-charged battery with the LCD on.

Operating Mode
Battery Life
Still-image capture mode
backlight on
190 shots


Storage Capacity

The Nikon Coolpix S3 stores its photos on SD / MMC memory cards or in approximately 14 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 internal memory at each size/quality setting.

Image Capacity vs
14 MB Internal Memory
Fine Normal
2816 x 2112 Images
(Avg size)
3.1 MB
1.6 MB
6:1 11:1
2048 x 1536 Images
(Avg size)
- 16
849 KB
- 11:1
1024 x 768 Images
(Avg size)
- 57
250 KB
- 9:1
640 x 480
(Avg size)
- 123
117 KB
- 8:1


Download Speed

The Nikon Coolpix S3 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 680 KBytes/second. (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.)


S3 Review
S3 Test Images
S3 Specifications
S3 "Picky Details"
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