Timing & Performance

Aside from the rather leisurely start up time (just shy of four seconds) and frankly disappointing burst mode performance, the S5500 feels very responsive indeed in use. It is also considerably faster than its predecessor, the S5000, in two key areas - focus speed (now down to under half a second at wideangle, not a lot more at telephoto) and shutter (full press) lag (now under 0.1 seconds).

Timing Notes

All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 2272 x 1704 'Fine' JPEG image (approx. 1,910 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 512MB XD-Picture card.

Action Details
Time, secs
Power: Off to Record   3.7
Power: Off to Play Image displayed 1.0
Power: Record to Off Lens retracted and all activity ceased 4.0
Power: Play to Off When buffer is empty, lens already retracted 0.3
Record Review Image displayed ~0.2
Mode: Record to Play   1.6
Mode: Play to Record Lens already extended 0.9
Mode: Play to Record Lens not extended 3.6
Play: Magnify To full magnification (14x) 3.2
Play: Image to Image Time to display each saved image ~0.5
Play: Thumbnail view 3 x 3 thumbnails ~0.2

Action Details
Time, seconds
Zoom from Wide to Tele 36 to 300 mm (8.3 x) 2.3
Half-press Lag (0->S1) Wide angle ~0.4
Half-press Lag (0->S1) Telephoto*1 ~0.6
Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2) LCD live view ~0.1
Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2) Viewfinder ~0.1
Full-press Lag (0->S2) LCD live view, wide angle ~0.7
Off to Shot Taken LCD live view 4.5
Shot to Shot Flash off 1.6
Shot to Shot Flash on (red eye reduction off) 4.9
Shot to Shot Flash on (red eye reduction off) 5.8
*1 The S5500''s half press lag varies widely at the tele end - most of the time it averages around 0.5 to 0.7 seconds, but if it has trouble locking on to the subject this can double to around 1.2 seconds.

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. Media used for these tests was a 512MB xD-Picture card. Shutter speed was kept above 1/200 sec during these tests.

The S5500/5100 has three 'drive' modes; Top 3 Frames, Final 3 Frames and Long Time Continuous Shooting Mode. In Final 3 Frames mode the camera takes shots in rapid succession as long as you keep your finger held down on the shutter, saving the last three when you release your finger. Top 3 simply takes three fast shots when you press and hold the shutter.

Continuous drive mode (Top 3/Final 3 modes)

The S5500 manages a respectable 0.3 second gap between shots in Top 3 and Final 3 modes, but only allows you to take three frames in a burst. At this point the entire buffer is emptied, leading to a wait of between 3 and 4 seconds before another shot can be taken. In continuous mode the S5500 does not show a preview image on-screen, but does show a brief review image for each frame captured.

Image Type
Avg. frames
per sec
Frames in a burst *1
Time to store
after last frame
2272 x 1704 JEPG Fine 3.33 fps 3 4.0 sec
2272 x 1704 JEPG Normal 3.33 fps 3 3.6 sec
1600 x 1200 JPEG 3.33 fps 3 3.4 sec
1280 x 960 JPEG 3.33 fps 3 3.1 sec

*1 In a single "burst" (finger held down on shutter release) until the buffer is full.
*2 Once you've taken three shots the screen displays 'Storing' whilst the buffer is emptied, during which time you cannot take another shot. This figure is the average time you have to wait.

Continuous drive mode (Long time continuous shooting mode)

The S5500's third 'burst' mode manages considerably better long sequence shooting, but at the expense of frame rate, which drops to an average of 1.25 frames per second (around 0.8 second gaps) - hardly enough to keep up with the action of a sports event or a distant flying eagle, but at least it can keep going for up to 40 shots, irrespective of image size/quality.

Image Type
Avg. frames
per sec
Frames in a burst *1
Time to store
after last frame
4M / 2M / 1M 1.25 fps 40 ~ 2.1 sec

*1 In a single "burst" (finger held down on shutter release) until the buffer is full.

Not a blazing burst mode performance, but not a terrible one either. Note that you cannot shoot continuously in raw mode, and - for reasons best know to Fuji's engineers - you can only use the Long time continuous shooting mode in Auto and subject modes (i.e not in P, A, S or M modes). Why?

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 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 512MB xD-Picture card.

Image Type
Time to store

Time to display

File size *1
Images on a *2
512MB Card
2272 x 1704 RAW ~3.5 ~0.2 8,290 KB 50
2272 x 1704 JEPG Fine ~2.1 ~0.2 1,910 KB 268
2272 x 1704 JEPG Normal ~2.1 ~0.2 860 KB 532
1600 x 1200 JPEG ~2.1 ~0.2 570 KB 818
1280 x 960 JPEG ~2.1 ~0.2 440 KB 1101

*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.

As you can see, the S5500/5100 is capable of processing and storing a 4MP JPEG file in just over two seconds - excellent. Even more impressive is the performance with raw files; around 3.5 seconds to store an 8.2 MB file is impressive stuff (around 2400 KB/s).