Timing & Performance

In use the Coolpix 4800 feels fast and responsive most of the time, though sometimes the focus 'hunts' at the telephoto end of the zoom, taking the best part of a second and a half to find its mark. Shot to shot times (with and without flash) are impressive and scrolling through saved images is almost instantaneous (the camera uses low res previews to speed things up). Strangely the 4800 feels slower than it is if you use the menus a lot, as they are not that responsive, and require too many button presses to make basic changes. It's also impossible to quickly check pictures without going into play mode and coming back out again, all of which makes some operations feel a little sluggish.

Timing Notes

All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 2288 x 1766 Super-Fine JPEG image (approx. 1,850 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 512MB SanDisk Extreme (aka Ultra II) SD card.

Action Details
Time, secs
Power: Off to Record   3.0
Power: Off to Play Image displayed 2.9
Power: Record to Off Lens retracted and all activity ceased 2.4
Power: Play to Off When buffer is empty, lens already retracted 2.0
Power: Play to Off When buffer is empty, lens extended 2.4
Record Review Image displayed ~0.6
Mode: Record to Play   ~0.7
Mode: Play to Record Lens already extended 1.3
Mode: Play to Record Lens not extended 2.8
Play: Magnify To full magnification (10x) 2.3
Play: Image to Image Time to display each saved image (low res) ~0.25
Play: Image to Image Time to display full res image (allows zooming) 0.8
Play: Thumbnail view 2 x 2 thumbnails 1.2
Play: Thumbnail view 3 x 3 thumbnails 0.7

Action Details
Time, seconds
Zoom from Wide to Tele 36 to 300 mm (8.3 x) ~1.0
Half-press Lag (0->S1) Wide angle ~0.75
Half-press Lag (0->S1) Telephoto*1 ~0.8-1.3
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 *2 ~0.6
Off to Shot Taken LCD live view 4.3
Shot to Shot Flash off 2.0
Shot to Shot Flash on (red eye reduction off) 2.1
*1 The 4800's half press lag varies widely at the tele end, so we have included a range instead of the usual average. The average figure was 0.93 secs

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. Media used for these tests was a 512MB SanDisk Extreme (aka Ultra II) SD card. Shutter speed was kept above 1/200 sec during these tests.

The Coolpix 4800 also has a 16-shot burst mode that takes 16 frames in 7 seconds and combines them into a single 2288x1712 image. There is also a 3-frame buffer mode (keeps shooting until you take finger off, saves last 3 or 4 frames).

Continuous drive mode

In burst mode the Coolpix 4800 shows a brief review image for each frame taken.

Image Type
Avg. frames
per sec
Frames in a burst *1
2288 x 1712 JEPG Fine Continuous 1.36 fps 4 approx 0.27 fps
2288 x 1712 JPEG Normal Continuous 1.36 fps 8 approx 0.29 fps
1600 x 1200 JPEG Fine Continuous 1.36 fps 15 approx 0.3 fps

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

Not quite the 1.5 frames per second (or 'up to 1.5 fps') quoted in Nikon's literature, even with a fast 512MB card. At the best 4MP setting you're pretty much restricted to bursts of 4 frames, as though the 4800 will continue to take shots at a rate of around one every 3.3 seconds, this can hardly be considered 'burst' shooting. The buffer takes around 8 or 9 seconds to clear completely, after which you can take another burst at full speed.

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 SanDisk Extreme (aka Ultra II) SD card.

Image Type
Time to store

Time to display

File size *1
Images on a *2
512MB Card
2288 x 1712 JEPG Fine 2.7 ~0.6 1,480 KB 260
2288 x 1712 JPEG Normal 2.5 ~0.6 875 KB 507
1600 x 1200 JPEG Normal 2.4 ~0.6 406 KB 967

*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.

The small-ish buffer may restrict burst shooting, but in normal use it rarely fills up (though when it does you'll get a red warning on-screen and the camera is to all intents and purposes frozen for a few seconds). Write speeds - around 2.7 seconds for a 1.5MB file are okay, but nothing special (around 550 KB/s).