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Timing & Performance

Considering the length of its zoom, and the limitations of contrast detect autofocus method, the S100FS is not a bad performer, by any means. AF-Continuous mode means that the camera is constantly searching for focus, greatly reducing the time taken to lock focus (which is usually responsible for most of the delay before taking a photo, rather than shutter-lag itself). It regularly takes as little as 0.6 seconds to achive focus and fire off a shot, though this pace drops off in low light and low contrast situations.

More impressivley, is the fact that it performs just as rapidly in RAW mode as it does when recording JPEGs. The internal buffer must be pretty sizable to allow the camera to grab three RAW shots in a second, considering that each one is around 24 megabytes in size. Even without the camera being in continuous shooting mode, it will snap a RAW file once a second and, with a fast card, will shoot around five before you have to worry about it slowing down.

FujiFilm recommends using xD cards in the S100FS. We don't. The generous buffer means that card type makes little, if any difference to shooting speed, but makes a huge difference to how long the buffer takes to empty before you can shoot again. (Fill the buffer by shooting more than three RAW files in rapid sucession and you can expect a fast, Type-H xD card to take 30 seconds to take up the buffered information, while our Sandisk Ducati Edition SD card too a fraction over 5).

Timing Notes

All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 3840 x 2880 Fine JPEG image (approx. 5,300 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 4GB Sandisk Extreme Ducati Edition SD card.

Action Details
Time, secs
Power: Off to Record Ready to take first picture 2.0
Power: Off to Play Image displayed 2.2 
Power: Record to Off All activity ceased 1.1
Power: Play to Off When buffer is empty 1.0
Record Review Image displayed ~0.6
Mode: Record to Play   ~0.5
Mode: Play to Record   ~0.8
Play: Magnify To full magnification (6x) 11MP image 6.1
Play: Image to Image Time to display each saved image ~0.3
Play: Thumbnail view 3 x 3 thumbnails ~0.3

Action Details
Time, seconds
Half-press Lag (0->S1) Wide angle ~0.6
Half-press Lag (0->S1) Telephoto ~0.6-1.0 *1
Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2) EVF live view ~0.1
Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2) LCD live view ~0.1
Full-press Lag (0->S2) LCD live view, wide angle ~0.6
Off to Shot Taken LCD live view ~2.8
Shot to Shot Flash off, JPEG/RAW 1.0/1.0
Shot to Shot Flash on (with red eye reduction off) 2.0
Shot to Shot Flash on (with red eye reduction on) 2.7
*1 Test conducted in AF-C mode, in which the camera constantly attempts to find focus and locks when the shutter button is half-pressed.

Lag Timing Definitions

Half-press Lag (0->S1)
Many digital camera users prime the AF and AE systems on their camera by half-pressing the shutter release. This is the amount of time between a half-press of the shutter release and the camera indicating an auto focus & auto exposure lock on the LCD monitor / viewfinder (ready to shoot).
 

(Prime AF/AE)
Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2)
The amount of time it takes from a full depression of the shutter release button (assuming you have already primed the camera with a half-press) to the image being taken.
 

(Take shot, AF/AE primed)
Full-press Lag (0->S2)
The amount of time it takes from a full depression of the shutter release button (without performing a half-press of the shutter release beforehand) to the image being taken. This is more representative of the use of the camera in a spur of the moment 'point and shoot' situation.
 

(Take shot, AF/AE not primed)

Continuous mode

The tables below show the results of our continuous shooting test, indicating the actual frame rate along with maximum number of frames and how long you would have to wait after taking the maximum number of frames before you could take another shot. The media used for these tests was a 4GB Sandisk Extreme Ducati Edition SD card. Shutter speed was kept above 1/120 sec during these tests.

Continuous drive mode

The S100FS has three high-speed shooting modes: the snappily titled Top 7 (3 RAW), Last 7 (3 RAW) and Top 50. All are pretty self-explanatory, the 'Top' modes record the first images and the 'Last' mode saves the previous images before you release the shutter button. Top 50 mode can only record images of up to 3MP while the other modes record either 7 JPEGS (up to full, 11MP, resolution), or 3 RAW files. There is no speed advantage to dropping the resolution in Top or Last 7 (3 RAW) modes: you get the same number of images with the same frequency. These are impressive figures for a 'compact' camera, but are a generation or two behind the performance of the latest entry-level DSLRs.

Image Type
Mode
Avg. frames
per sec
Frames in a burst *1
After
burst
*2
11 MP JPEG Fine Top 7 Continuous 2.9 fps 7 ~8.5s delay
11MP RAW Fine Top 3 Continuous 2.9 fps 3 ~6.0s delay
3MP JPEG Fine Top 50 Continuous 6.7 fps 50 ~7.5s delay

*1 In a single "burst" (finger held down on shutter release).
*2 This is the delay waiting for the buffer to empty. It takes around twice as long with a fast xD card

File Write / Display and Sizes

Timings shown below are the time taken for the camera to process and "flush" the image out to the storage card, the timer was started as soon as the shutter release was pressed and stopped when the activity indicator went out. This means the timings also include the camera's processing time and as such are more representative of the actual time to "complete the task". Again a 4GB Sandisk Extreme Ducati Edition SD card was used.

Image Type
Time to store
(secs)

Time to display
(secs)

File size *1
(approx.)
Images on a *2
1GB Card
11MP RAW ~3.0 ~0.6 23,100 KB 41
11MP JPEG Fine ~1.8 ~0.6 5,400 KB 177
11MP JPEG Normal ~1.7 ~0.6 2,550 KB 353
6MP JPEG ~1.3 ~0.6 1,400 KB 649

*1 All file sizes are an average of three files. As is the case with JPEG it's difficult to predict the size of an image because it will vary a fair amount depending on the content of the image (detail and noise).
*2 Camera estimation.

Although RAW is a very useful feature of the S100FS (and for the best quality and giving the most scope for removing chromatic aberrations from images, I'd probably leave it in RAW mode for most occasions), it does produce huge files. Each one is a hard-drive-hungry 23 MB. Which is slightly annoying, because 11.1 million or so photosites (there will actually be more, used for various aspects of image processing), each creating 14 bits of information, only comes to around 19.5 MB of information. This suggests the S100FS is storing 14 bits of real data in 16-bit word (two-bytes), meaning that around 3.5 MB of each files contains no real information and is just there to make processing easier. It's hardly the first camera to do it, but it would have been nice if the blow were softened by applying some lossless compression.

 

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