The Timing Tests

* NOTE: For all of our time tests, the camera is reset to its factory default settings and set to record using the highest resolution and quality setting. It is set to record in Auto mode. We also disabled all sounds. A PNY 512MB SD card was used.

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. The camera is set to record in Auto mode.

Startup time (seconds)
Canon SD300 1.84
Casio EX-Z40 2.15
Pentax S40 3.63
Olympus Verve 3.76
Nikon 4100 4.02

The Nikon Coolpix 4100 takes 4.02 seconds to power on and take a shot when startup sounds are disabled. This time slows to 4.58 with the startup sound enabled. In comparison to similar models that we have reviewed, the Nikon 4100 seems quite leisurely in its startup operation.

Shutter Lag

To record shutter lag, we perform two tests with the lens at its widest angle setting. 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)
Nikon 4100 0.09 0.55
Canon SD300 0.08 0.62
Olympus Verve 0.13 0.64
Pentax S40 0.29 0.78

Compared to the competition, the Nikon 4100 does very well with regard to shutter lag. The camera has a lag of just 0.09 sec. when it is pre-focused. When we include focusing time, the 4100 comes out on top with a time of 0.55 sec. In short, we are very impressed with its shutter lag performance.

Write Times

We recorded 5 different write times with a PNY 512 MB SD card:

Single Shot - The time that it takes for a single picture to be written completely to the flash card (the time that the "activity light" is on).
Shot To Shot (STS) - The time until the second shot can be taken after the first (shutter to shutter).
Shot To Shot w/Flash - The time that it takes 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 the last shot of a burst that fills the buffer to the moment that the shutter sounds again.
Clear Buffer - The time that 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)
Nikon 4100 2288x1712 High 1.34
Canon SD300 2272x1704 Superfine 2.33
Olympus Verve 2272x1704 SHQ 2.56
Pentax S40 2304x1728 Superior 2.48

   Single Shot  Shot to Shot  Shot to Shot w/Flash  Shot to Shot w/Buffer Full  Clear Buffer
Canon SD300 * 1.24 5.07 N/A N/A
Nikon 4100 * 1.90 12.07 3.54 9.99
Olympus Verve 3.08 1.93 11.47 2.85 20.05
Pentax S40 1.26 3.75 12.21 1.58 N/A

* Because these cameras do not have precise activity lights, we were unable to record a Single Shot time.

The Nikon 4100 takes a somewhat average 1.90 seconds between shots without the flash. When the flash is enabled, shooting slows to a very slow 12.07 seconds between shots. In our test, the camera takes 4 or 5 frames at 1.65 fps in Continuous drive mode. Then, the camera slows to 3.54 seconds between shots. When the buffer is full, it takes nearly 10 seconds (9.99) to clear the images out to the flash card. The number of frames that the camera can take in Continuous mode will vary depending on the file size.

Battery Performance Resolving Fine Lines
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  • stephencaston - Friday, March 11, 2005 - link

    #4: You make a good point. As we are relatively new with digital camera reviews, we are still building our base of comparisons. However, check out the comparison cameras on the testing pages to see the relative performance of similar models we have reviewed. Reply
  • Turin39789 - Friday, March 11, 2005 - link

    In most hardware reviews when a product falls short in terms of quality for its category/price range the article will mention the top performers/best values. This article tells me the nikon 4100 is not for me, but doesnt really point me in the right direction for a better choice. Reply
  • skrivis - Friday, March 11, 2005 - link

    I looked at these, but Nikon USA is offering a rebate of $200 on the Coolpix 5400. (Until 03/31)

    I got much more camera for about $50 more. Total price after rebate was $259.
    Reply
  • stephencaston - Friday, March 11, 2005 - link

    #1, I think you meant the 4600. At any rate, we are always limited to what is available to us at the time. We certainly intend to look into the entire new line-up of Nikons in the future as they become available to us. Even so, the 4100 is very popular and widely available. Hang tight for the new Nikons...we are eagerly awaiting our chance at reviewing them.

    Stephen
    Reply
  • buttwhacker - Friday, March 11, 2005 - link

    Its a good thing Anandtech is reviewing cameras but please the next time before you review the cameras make sure they are current coz this one is discontinued.... yeah, discontinued. The replacement for Coolpix 4100 is Coolpix 4900, pretty much the same but with a bigger screen and smaller size, look into that.
    Thanx for the review anyways.
    Reply
  • woodhamiiltonn - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    Nikon Coolpix 4100 is a good camera and you've allocated an informative review of this camera. I enjoyed the camera comparison you've made and I think anyone would be delighted before purchasing Nikon Coolpix 4100. Thanks. Reply

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