The Timing Tests

* NOTE: For all of our time tests, the cameras are reset to their factory default settings and set to record using the highest resolution and quality setting. They are set to record in Auto mode. For the Fuji and Olympus cameras, we used a FujiFilm 512 xD-Picture Card. For the Kodak camera, we used a PNY 512 MB SD card.

Before reading our results, please refer to our Testing Procedures page.

Startup Time

The startup time is recorded from the moment that the power button is pushed to the moment that the shutter sounds. All cameras were set to record in Auto mode.

   Startup time (seconds)
Fuji FinePix A330 3.27
Kodak CX7330 6.09
Olympus D-540 7.17

Fuji is clearly the winner here with a fairly impressive startup time of 3.27 seconds. Kodak had a rather slow startup time at 6.09 sec., but Olympus has the worst performance at 7.17 seconds.

Shutter Lag

To record shutter lag, we perform two tests. For the first test, we pre-focus the lens and measure the amount of time that it takes the camera to take a picture after the shutter button is pressed. The second test measures the time that it takes for the camera to take a picture after we press the shutter button without pre-focusing. Each test is performed 3 times and the results are averaged. For more information regarding our testing procedures, please refer to our Testing Procedures page.

   With Pre-focus (seconds)  Without Pre-focus (seconds)
Fuji FinePix A330 0.19 0.59
Kodak CX7330 0.20 0.79/1.29
Olympus D-540 0.19 1.50

When we pre-focused the cameras, we found that they all had a relatively fast shutter lag of either 0.19 or 0.20 sec. However, when we included auto-focus time in our test, the Fuji A330 is the clear winner with a fast time of 0.59 sec. The Kodak CX7330 showed a decent time of 0.79 sec. on the first shot taken. Unfortunately, as soon as there is even one picture in the buffer, the lag increases to 1.29 sec. Finally, we were astounded by the painfully slow 1.50 sec. shutter lag of the Olympus D-540 when auto-focus was included.

Write Times

Single Shot - The time that it takes for a single picture to be completely written to the flash card (the time that the "activity light" is on).
Shot To Shot (STS) - The time until the second shot is able to be taken after the first (shutter to shutter).
Shot To Shot w/Flash - The time that it takes for the camera to take two pictures with the flash, starting from the moment that the first flash is fired to the moment that the second is fired.
Shot To Shot w/Buffer Full - The time between taking the last shot of a burst to the moment that the shutter sounds again.
Clear Buffer - The time it takes the camera to clear the buffer after a full burst of pictures is taken.

We performed each test three times and averaged the results. Below are the resolution, quality setting, and average file size used for the tests.

   Resolution (pixels)  Quality setting  Avg. file size (MB)
Fuji FinePix A330 2016x1512 Fine 1.47
Kodak CX7330 2032x1524 Best 1.19
Olympus D-540 2048x1536 SHQ 1.71

   Single Shot  Shot To Shot  Shot To Shot w/Flash  Shot to Shot w/Buffer Full  Clear Buffer
Fuji FinePix A330 1.58 1.94 10.40 - -
Kodak CX7330 6.37 2.27 2.57 6.02 22.48
Olympus D-540 3.64 9.33 16.90 4.99 25.99

In our timing tests, these cameras really spread themselves out in terms of performance. The Fuji A330 had a very impressive Shot to Shot time of 1.94 sec., but slowed down to 10.40 sec. between shots when the flash was used. Although it does not offer a continuous shooting mode, we were impressed that it can shoot at 1.94 sec. between shots without slowing down.

The Kodak camera showed a mixed performance as well. Although it has a decent Shot to Shot time (with and without the flash), the CX7330 can only hold 3 full resolution frames in its buffer before slowing to 5.71 seconds between frames. In its continuous drive mode, the Kodak CX7330 can shoot up to 3 frames at 3.4 fps before filling its buffer. Then, it takes an abysmal 22.48 seconds to clear all three images to the flash card. However, as soon as the buffer fills from a continuous burst, one more frame can be taken every 6.02 sec.

Finally, the Olympus D-540 proved to be the slowest camera of the pack. It had a horrendous Shot to Shot time of 9.33 seconds and an even slower time of 16.90 sec. between shots with the flash. In its continuous drive mode, the D-540 can shoot 12 frames (640x480) at 1.2 fps. After this, the camera needs nearly 26 seconds to flush these images to the flash card. After the buffer fills from a continuous burst, the camera can take one more frame after 4.99 seconds.

After running our time tests and looking at the data, it becomes clear that the two fastest cameras are the Fuji A330 and the Kodak CX7330. Which one you prefer will depend on two things. How often will you be shooting with the flash? Do you need a continuous drive mode? The Fuji A330 has the advantage of being able to shoot "forever" without running into a full buffer slowdown. The Kodak CX7330 remains pretty fast until its buffer is filled with 3 images. It is really going to be a personal decision, but we would opt for the speed of the Fuji A330.

Battery Performance Resolving Fine Lines
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  • akaristos2 - Tuesday, February 08, 2005 - link

    Any sources in Europe where it could be had for 129 euros? Much appreciated a reply. Thanks Reply
  • akaristos2 - Tuesday, February 08, 2005 - link

    Where can I gt a Ricoh Caplio RX and at what price point. Thanks for a reply. Reply
  • cryptonomicon - Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - link

    the a340 will probably enter the price point soon too, i got it for $161 at ritz's / wolf's. Reply
  • tmim16 - Monday, January 03, 2005 - link

    I got the Fuji A330 for my wife back in May for her birthday not knowing that much about it, but man were we impressed! I got it as a mother's day newegg special for $180 including a 128MB xd card.

    Even though I'm not in the market for another camera, I would have liked to see a couple more compared.
    Reply
  • orenb - Monday, January 03, 2005 - link

    Zepper, the Ricoh Caplio RX can be had for €129 in Europe, which is not that far off $150.

    As for not having it in the US, well, that's a bummer. Having to settle for plastic toys that take almost a whole second to actually shoot sucks, especially when one has to pay roughly the same price as the RX.

    Both Ricoh and American residents are losing big time from this, the former loses a huge market, the latter loses some really cool and innovative cameras, but since Ricoh can't handle the demand in Europe (at least in the UK and Germany they can't), I bet they have a good reason to wait with a US launch.
    Reply
  • unclebud - Monday, January 03, 2005 - link

    "Nice article... would have been nice to see it BEFORE the holidays though ;) "
    what i was thinking (although i have 6 or 7 digicams and ain't gone buy another one for more than a hundred)
    Reply
  • Zepper - Monday, January 03, 2005 - link

    Almost no Ricoh product is available in the USA as Ricoh has chosen not to compete here in the consumer market (perhaps you weren't aware that AT was an American web site). I guess it's not too hard to get their copiers here though.
    . Not to mention that the price of the few Caplio RXs I've found such as on eBay is about twice that of the units under test - apples and oranges...
    .bh.
    Reply
  • spug1 - Sunday, January 02, 2005 - link

    ...geez everyone!! Get off their back. It would be an impossible job to do all of the cameras at this price point! Kodak, fuji and olympus are big names, which people will often go to straight away....so its allowing the customer to make an educated choice on popular brands. I sell a large range of cameras at my shop, and I most always recomend the a330. Its a beautiful little camera, and IMO the best bang 4 buck at this price!! Reply
  • Souka - Sunday, January 02, 2005 - link

    Title should be "Three $150 digi-cams compared"

    Reply
  • Z80 - Saturday, January 01, 2005 - link

    I'm on my third Fuji digital camera and they have all been great performers! They all still work too! The latest model I purchased last year just before Christmas was the FinePix S5000 with 10x optical zoom. I've found that the xD-Picture Card memory helps lengthen battery life to where I can shoot well over 100 photos without recharging the batteries. Also, the Fuji cameras all appear to have better jpeg compression that other cameras because my photo files at 3.1 or 4.2 Megapixel take less space than other cameras. When my family got together and compared photos after our Christmas party last weekend, my Fuji consistently took better photos than the other cameras. Even the Canon Digital Rebel that my nephew didn't really know how to use. Reply

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