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Timing & Performance

Overall performance from the 'TruePic TURBO' image processor is good, and certainly on a par with the better 7MP compacts. The Stylus 800 feels responsive in use, with menus and most operations being transparently fast. Focus speed is excellent, though this - along with the shutter lag - is not quite good enough to match the best of the 7MP cameras, though we're splitting hairs here. The one area of performance we found slightly disappointing was card writing (always a problem with xD-Picture Card based models), and the Stylus 800 would certainly benefit from a larger buffer. As it stands the camera will stall briefly after three or four best quality 8MP shots, so if you like to take a lot of pictures in succession you need to drop down to the HQ setting - not the end of the world as for everyday photography the quality loss isn't that great. We would also like to see the flash recycle time reduced slightly; if you use the red-eye reduction mode you're lucky if you can fire off a shot every six seconds or so.

Timing notes

All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 3264 x 2448 SHQ JPEG image (approx. 3,500 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a Fujifilm 512MB xD-Picture Card.

Action Details
Time, secs
Power: Off to Record   1.7
Power: Off to Play Image displayed 1.9
Power: Record to Off All activity ceased 2.5
Power: Play to Off When buffer is empty, lens extended 2.1
Power: Play to Off When buffer is empty, lens already retracted ~ 0.6
Record Review Image displayed ~ 0.8
Mode: Record to Play   ~ 0.5
Mode: Play to Record   0.7
Play: Magnify To full magnification (8x) *1 ~2.0
Play: Image to Image Time to display each saved image ~0.2
Play: Thumbnail view 3 x 3 thumbnails *2 ~0.5

Action Details
Time, seconds
Zoom from Wide to Tele 38 to 114 mm (3 x) 1.75
Half-press Lag (0->S1) Wide angle ~0.55
Half-press Lag (0->S1) Telephoto ~0.6
Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2) LCD live view ~0.15
Full-press Lag (0->S2) LCD live view, wide angle ~0.8
Off to Shot Taken LCD live view ~2.7
Shot to Shot Flash off 1.9 *3
Shot to Shot Flash on (with red eye reduction on) 4.1 *3
Shot to Shot Flash on (with red eye reduction off) 5.3 *3
*1 The Stylus 800 can also display thumbnails in a 5x5, 4x4 or 2x2 grid. It takes around 1.5 secs to display 25 thumbnails
*2 This is dependant on how quickly you can repeatedly press the right zoom key.
*3 When buffer is empty - once the buffer is full this time can extend slightly

Overall the performance is pretty much what we'd expect from this class of camera - focus feels fast (and is very reliable), and shot to shot times (without flash) are perfectly acceptable for most social photography.

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 Fujifilm 512MB xD-Picture Card. Shutter speed was kept above 1/200 sec during these tests.

Continuous drive mode

The Stylus 800 Digital has a two burst modes, one of which can only be used at 3MP or lower. The normal burst mode averages around 1.2 frames per second. The number of shots in a burst depends on the image size/quality used, and appears to be limited only by the size of the card once you drop to 3MP or below. The High Speed burst mode averages just over 4 frames per second; again the number of shots per burst depends on the file size in use (though in this case you cannot go above 2048 x 1536 pixels / 3MP).

Image Type
Mode
Avg. frames
per sec
Frames in a burst *1
After
burst
3264 x 2448 JPEG SHQ Burst 1.25 fps 3 ~6.0s delay *2
3264 x 2448 JPEG HQ Burst 1.23 fps 16 ~5.0s delay *2
2048 x 1546 JPEG SQ Burst 1.20 fps 40+ n/a 
1600 x 1200 JPEG SQ Burst 1.20 fps 40+ n/a
2048 x 1546 JPEG SQ Burst-High speed 4.17 fps 15 ~4.0s delay *2 
1600 x 1200 JPEG SQ Burst-High speed 4.17 fps 28 ~3.0s delay *2

*1 In a single "burst" (finger held down on shutter release).
*2 Once the buffer is full no more pictures can be taken. The figure shown is the approximate time you have to wait before the next burst can be started.

Obviously most buyers of the Stylus 800 are unlikely to be looking for class-leading continuous shooting performance, and if they are they're looking in the wrong place. The main issue is the size of the buffer and the relatively slow write speed of xD-Picture Card (though I'm sure there are faster xD cards around). This can all be alleviated somewhat by dropping the picture quality setting from SHQ to HQ, wherein the number of shots per burst jumps from a frankly useless 3 (according to the manual it should be 4, but we never got more than 3) to 16 - enough for most people's needs.

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". The media used for these tests was a Fujifilm 512MB xD-Picture Card.

Image Type
Time to store
(secs)

Time to display
(secs)

File size *1
(approx.)
Images on a *2
512MB Card
3264 x 2448 JPEG SHQ ~3.9 ~0.25 *3 3,500 KB 127
3264 x 2448 JPEG HQ ~2.6 ~0.25 1,520 KB 249
2048 x 1546 JPEG SQ ~2.0 ~0.25 680 KB 652
1600 x 1200 JPEG SQ ~1.8 ~0.25 460 KB 779

*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.
*3 The Stylus 800 uses screen-res previews and cacheing to speed up image display. If you want to magnify an image there is a small delay the first time the full resolution file is loaded - for an 8MP SHQ image this delay is around 1.0 seconds.

The Stylus 800 is processing and writing data at around 900 KB/s, which is on the low side of average for this kind of camera, and well below the capabilities of an xD-Picture card. That said, shooting using the HQ setting feels pretty fast and it is unlikely that the typical user of the Stylus 800 will be too affected by the buffer-clearing bottleneck.

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