|ISO sensitivity settings and noise
To start with noise, one of the main issues on a digital camera. The sensitivity of the sensor ranges from ISO 100 up to and including 3200 at full resolution. Decreasing the resolution, also sensitivities of ISO 6400 and even ISO 1000 are made possible. With the latter. only 3 of the 11 Megapixels remain. Fujifilm are renowned for their noise-free pictures thanks to the Super CCD image sensor. The pictures made in practice look good as far as noise is concerned. Our test pictures made in the Lab show increasing noise when the sensitivity is raised. Often in practice, the same results are not obtained. In some pictures, noise is more evident than in others. The Fujifilm FinePix S100fs is able to keep sufficient detail and that is maybe the most important fact. Even a picture taken with ISO 1600 shows nice results. There is sufficient sharpness and some noise, but never annoying. The typical artefacts, similar to watercolour effects, are a lot less visible than I am used to from Fujifilm. Just as well, and it seems that Fujifilm have improved in this area. By the way, on a print these artefacts are completely invisible.
Dynamic range of the FinePix S100fs
Equally important as noise is the dynamic range. It decides how much detail you can obtain in the light and the dark areas of a picture at the same time. The Fujifilm FinePix S100fs scores excellently on this point. Even at standard dynamic range, the values remain excellent to outstanding. And when the range does not suffice, it can be increased. It looks like the system Fujifilm use in their professional D-SLR, the S5Pro. The range can be enhanced to two steps. If you place two pictures side by side, the difference might not be too evident, although there is a vast difference that becomes clear when studying closely. There is just a tad more detail in the light and shaded areas of the picture. This overcomes one of the handicaps of a compact camera. The disadvantage, and a large one for that matter, is the fact that the ISO values become limited. When you increase two steps (400%) it only allows you to use ISO 400 up to and including ISO 1600.
Film simulation function on the Fujifilm S100fs
The film simulation is somewhat disappointing. There are differences but only minor ones. The settings, besides Soft and Portrait, are pointing at Fujifilm films; the Provia and the Velvia. The Provia is the all-round professional film of Fujifilm and is the standard setting. At Portrait, skin tones are adjusted, a bit like in Astia films. The Velvia film is known for its high contrast and saturation. These differences are visible, just not as much as when using the films.
|Providing you don't shoot in RAW, you can also use bracketing together with film simulation. The camera will capture pictures in three different modes; Soft, Provia and Velvia. It's not that one picture is edited three times which would be logical. No, three different pictures are actually captured and that is rather odd. I understand RAW is out of the question here. You can adjust settings through the included software which I advice you to do, as you don't waste three pictures that way. The sensitivity is automatically set to ISO 200 required by Soft because the dynamic range is set to 200%. All in all, it is quite a complicated way and all things are influenced. The manual being somewhat incomprehensible doesn't make things easier.
White balance settings on the Fujifilm S100fs
The auto white balance is reasonable. Shooting under incandescent as well as fluorescent light results in a strong deviation. The solution is simple; just shoot in RAW or create a manual white balance. The Fujifilm FinePix S100fs Megazoom camera has two memory banks for a manual white balance; a luxury for a camera in this class.
Fujifilm S100fs offers a Fujinon lens
The new Fujinon lens is a fine one. Not only because of its build and range but also because of its performance. The sharpness if fine throughout the entire zoom range starting from maximum opening. In most cases sharpness increases when using aperture to decrease at a certain point. All the same; the lens of the Fujifilm S100sf is at its best at maximum aperture. However; you should try to avoid aperture f/11, sharpness decreases fast especially in the corners. Aperture less than that, the corners stay behind the centre as far as sharpness is concerned but they are still very sharp indeed. Due to the sharpness decreasing fast at f/11, the amount of apertures is limited to 4 in the best case. If you zoom in, only three useful focal lengths remain. It's an issue more compact cameras suffer from.
Chromatic aberation and distortion
Distortion is kept within limits, only wide angle shows an obvious but not too disturbing distortion. I am less happy with the chromatic aberration. It is rather evident in wide angle. Zooming in makes it somewhat more acceptable however, it does not disappear completely. You have to be aware of high contrasts. On the other hand; vignetting is hardly present. Unless you did not place the hood correctly on the lens, of course.