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Fuji FinePix S5000

Fuji's latest electronic SLR offers a full 10x optical zoom lens.

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Page 7:Shutter Lag & Cycle Time Tests

Review First Posted: 10/01/2003

Shutter Lag/Cycle Times

When you press the shutter release on a camera, there's usually a delay or lag time before the shutter actually fires. This is the time required by the autofocus and autoexposure mechanisms to do their work, and can amount to a fairly long delay in some situations. Since this number is almost never reported on, and can significantly affect the picture taking experience, I routinely measure it with a custom test setup I built for the purpose. The table below shows the numbers I collected for the FinePix S5000.

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.

Fuji FinePix S5000 Timings
Time (secs)
Power On -> First shot
Lens extends before shooting. On the slow side of average.
Lens retracts. A little slow.
Play to Record, first shot
Time to capture first shot after switching from playback mode. Quite fast.
Record to play (max/min res)
Time after capture until image displayed in playback mode. Quite fast.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
First time is for wide angle, second is for telephoto. About average. (Average range is 0.8 to 1.0 second.)
Shutter lag, continuous autofocus
Continuous AF is slightly faster than single AF. May help more with moving subjects, but I have no way to test that.
Shutter lag, manual focus
A bit slower than average.
Shutter lag, prefocus
On the slow side of average for full-featured cameras.
Cycle Time, max/min res
Quite fast, and no sign of a buffer. (I could take 15 high-res shots this quickly, without waiting for the buffer to empty.)
Cycle Time, continuous mode, max/min res.
(4 fps)
Very fast. Camera snaps 5 shots, then there's a 4 second delay (at max res) to write the images to the memory card before the camera is ready to snap the next series.
Cycle Time, "long continuous" mode
(2 fps)
Image size is forced to 1M (1280x960), but camera can capture up to 40 shots without pausing. There's also no apparently buffer-empty delay in this mode, the camera can capture another series as soon as it's finished with the current one. (NOTE that this mode only works in Auto mode.)

The S5000 is a bit of a mixed bag in the speed department. It starts up and shuts down a little slowly, and its shutter lag performance is solidly average. On the other hand, its shot to shot cycle times are very good, and it's very fast indeed in its high-speed continuous modes. Its "Last 5" continuous mode in particular would be very useful for sports and other fast action, with its ability capture images before you tell it to.


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