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
POST A COMMENT

16 Comments

View All Comments

  • Jeff7181 - Friday, December 31, 2004 - link

    Nice article... would have been nice to see it BEFORE the holidays though ;) Reply
  • stephencaston - Friday, December 31, 2004 - link

    #4,

    Unfortunately, when it comes to digital cameras, it is impossible to cover every camera at a specific price point. We had to make choices when picking which cameras to use and ended up choosing three cameras at $150 with very similar features to make the comparisons more relevant.

    I did not mean to imply that this article will determine the best camera at $150. The article was meant to compare these three cameras to each other. I have amended the title accordingly to reflect this.

    We always encourage people to do as much research as possible before buying a camera. There are so many different things to consider when reviewing digital cameras and each review site focuses on different areas.
    Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Friday, December 31, 2004 - link

    I'd take the Minolta DiMAGE X31 over any of the cameras reviewed any day; it's a lot more compact than them which is what many people desire when out and about, is reported to give a good picture for it's price and size, has lots of features, and at $150 is just as cheap as them. My DiMAGE X20 is a lovely little camera that does everything you could ask of it, and from what I've read the X31 makes a good thing better.

    I will reiterate a point I made when digicam reviews first appeared on AT, which is that unless you can review *every* model in depth to find which is the best in that category, then you are doing a dis-service to your readers by potentially not even looking at what might be the best camera in that range.

    Specialist digicam websites review all cameras so that they can give an informed opinion on any new models, even if that means buying one themselves like AT might do for a computer product that free review samples weren't available for. What AT is doing with digicam reviews is just picking two or three models out of the many available and saying one of them is the best, when better ones you didn't even look at are available. AT does excellent reviews of computer components, but I'm afraid you'd have to be a fool to only use your recommendations when buying a digicam.
    Reply
  • orenb - Friday, December 31, 2004 - link

    The best digital camera at this price point is the Ricoh Caplio RX. 28-100mm zoom. Metal body. Almost no shutter lag. These three don't even come close.

    Prog.
    Reply
  • Joony - Friday, December 31, 2004 - link

    The Canon A400 should be in this review... Reply
  • cosmotic - Thursday, December 30, 2004 - link

    Again, Kodak EasyShare is turned into an ad link and blends into the background of the table cell. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now