Timings & File Sizes

The Finecam S3 isn't the fastest digital camera, it's primary problems are related to start-up time (around eight seconds) and MMC write speed. The camera does feature an internal buffer which is used to queue images being written to the card but it doesn't take long to fill this.

Timing Notes: All times calculated as an average of three operations. A Dane-Elec 64MB MMC card was used for timings involving file transfer. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 2048 x 1536 FINE JPEG image (approx. 700 KB per image).

Action Details Time taken
Power: Off to Record   8.1 Lens takes 3.2 secs *1
Power: Off to Play   1.9 Card access icon *2
Power: Record to Off   3.3 Lens retract
Power: Play to Off   <0.5  
Mode: Record to Play   1.9 Card access icon *2
Mode: Play to Record   2.0  
Play: Magnify   <0.5  
Rec: Thumbnail view 3 x 2 thumbnails <0.5  
Auto Focus LAG Normal AF 1.0 - 1.5 Average
Auto Focus LAG Macro AF 1.8 - 2.6 Average
Shutter Release LAG   0.1 Fast
Total LAG   1.2 - 1.8 Fast to Average
Off to Shot Taken   8.7 Average to Slow
Shot to Shot 2048 x 1536 JPEG FINE 5.6 Slow

*1 There is a 2.6 second delay between turning the power dial to 'ON' and the lens beginning its extension.
*2 Camera shows animated 'card access' icon. Image appears a few seconds later.
*3 Time taken to display the 'rough thumbnail' after pressing the up or down arrows.

File Flush / Display Timing

Timings shown below are the time taken for the camera to process and "flush" the image out to the MMC card, the timer was started as soon as the shutter release was pressed (shutter noise was heard) and stopped when activity indicator LED beside the MMC slot went off. This means the timings also include the cameras processing time and as such are more representative of the actual time to "complete the task".

Store file of type Time to store

Time to
File size
Approx. images
on a 16 MB
MMC card
2048 x 1536 TIFF 120.2 <0.2 9,280 KB  1
2048 x 1536 Super Fine 13.0 <0.2 ~1,430 KB   8
2048 x 1536 Fine 7.4 <0.2 ~600 KB   16
1024 x 768 Normal 5.0 <0.2 ~200 KB  63

*1 With JPEG it's difficult to predict the exact size of an image file because it will vary a fair amount depending on the content of the image (especially the amount of detail captured). For example, take a photograph of a fairly empty wall and you'll get a small JPEG, take a photograph of a bush with a lot of detail and you'll get a larger image. File sizes here are closer to the later, the larger size of file you should expect.
*2 The Finecam S3 is particularly fast at displaying images in play mode, the image is displayed almost as quickly as you can press the left and right buttons.

It took a whole two minutes to save a TIFF file, and this probably speaks volumes for MMC's main problem, it does not have a fast data transfer bus. Using the file sizes and time to store it's easy to calculate transfer rates were around 90 KB/sec, that's nearly four times slower than Compact Flash (eight times slower than some cameras).

Battery life

We ran the camera through our new battery life test. This test is designed to be fair and comparative to each camera and battery type:

  • Take 4 shots without flash
  • Wait 2 minutes (50% of the time powering the camera off)
  • Take 1 shot with flash
  • Wait 1 minute
  • Repeat

All batteries had been fully discharged and recharged before the test and all cameras were reset to their factory default settings. Here are the results:

Camera Battery Power Battery life Number of shots
Kyocera S3 BP-800S 2.1 Wh 54 mins 95
Canon Digital IXUS 300 NB-1L 2.5 Wh 1 hr 26 mins 155
Nikon Coolpix 775 *1 EN-EL1 4.8 Wh 2 hr 24 mins 220
Fujifilm FinePix 6900Z NP-80 4.1 Wh 2 hr 29 mins 250
Nikon Coolpix 990 4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP) 7.7 Wh 2 hr 30 mins 255
Nikon Coolpix 995 EN-EL1 4.8 Wh 2 hr 30 mins 255
Canon PowerShot G1 BP-511 8.1 Wh 3 hr 00 mins 300
Sony DSC-S75 NP-FM50 8.6 Wh 3 hr 15 mins 330
Sony DSC-S85 NP-FM50 8.6 Wh 3 hr 50 mins 400

The Kyocera S3 takes the slowest, top position on our battery test table, and that means it's got the shortest battery life of any camera we've tested. Lasting just 54 minutes in our test, real life use supported these results as the Kyocera often died far sooner than you'd expect. Interesting to note that it's battery is only slightly less powerful than the Canon NB-1L used in the IXUS 300 which managed to last half an hour longer. The S3 also tends to get noticeably hot during long sessions of use.