The FZ18 performs typically for its class. From power on to first shot takes only 1.8 seconds, pretty quick for a long-lenser. Time to focus and shoot runs only 0.7 second in good light, rising to 1.1 seconds in dimmer situations - good for a non-dSLR, but still slower than you want.
The interval for two consecutive shots is a brisk 1.3 seconds, which rises to an uncommonly fast 1.8 seconds with flash. Raw capture runs a bit slower - 2.3 seconds for two sequential shots, which makes raw shooting a suboptimal workaround for the JPEG issues discussed earlier. In burst mode, it snaps at a clip of about 3.7 frames per second, but the camera’s continuous shooting is limited to 7 frames at standard quality and 4 frames at fine quality.