Fujifilm FinePix S100fs digital megazoom camera
The market for the so-called bridge cameras is very much under pressure due to the DSLR cameras becoming cheaper and cheaper. And yet the bridge cameras are obviously in favour, especially when they have a huge zoom range. It's quite clear that a camera offering an all-round zoom range puts less weight and costs on you than a similar DSLR camera. Fujifilm have broad experience and has been active for years in this segment. Bringing out the FinePix S100fs, Fujifilm start attacking the cheaper reflex camera and have their own alternative to the entry-level reflex cameras of the competition.
Fujifilm S100fs works as a true SLR camera
If you take a look at the Fujifilm FinePix S100fs, I can imagine you questioning yourself why on earth you would also want to purchase a cheaper DSLR camera. The Fujifilm S100fs offers simply everything an entry-level reflex camera offers. And additionally, a huge zoom range, more than you'd find in a standard digital SLR kit. On top of that, all photographic functions such as exposure programs, the possibility to shoot in RAW and an enhanced accessory program are available. Moreover, the Fujifilm FinePix S100fs has a beautiful build. I can not emphasize this enough; the camera feels and works just like a real SLR.
FinePix S100fs offers a Fujinon lens
One of the great advantages of the Fujifilm S100fs is of course the range of the high quality Fujinon lens. With focal lengths from 28mm up to and including 400mm, there is not a lot that you cannot capture. And, finally, Fujifilm have decided to combine this with physical image stabilization that truly works well. The lens is of superb quality, except for the chromatic aberration, that is disappointing. The sharpness is impressive for the entire range making it one of the best lenses I have seen on a compact camera. The zoom ring allows you to zoom in quite precisely. All it needs is for the focus ring to offer more resistance and grow bigger, that will make manual focus a lot easier and it will make the Fujifilm FinePix S100fs feel like a real reflex camera.
Fujifilm FinePix S100fs image sensor and processor
Characteristic for Fujifilm is the Super CCD image sensor. This kind of sensor has proven its value more than once and does so again in the FinePix S100fs. Certainly in combination with the RP III image processor. Noise is visible however; details are kept. I find that Fujifilm have managed a nice balance between sharpness, detail and noise, considering these three are not exactly friends. The dynamic range is also beautiful. It is already huge standard, yet you can still enhance it even though this is at the cost of some flexibility.
Many functions are dependent of other functions
And that brings me to a weak point of the Fujifilm S100fs. Many functions relate to each other, although it is not always clear as to how they are related. Even reading the manual frequently and thoroughly doesn't always make it clear. If you increase the dynamic range, the ISO range becomes limited. The same goes for certain film modes, which require an enhanced dynamic range. Many settings allow you to use bracketing but not in RAW mode. The highest sensitivities require the lowest resolution. And although the camera offers many functions, these are unfortunately not really comprehensible.
Menu structure of the Fujifilm S100fs megazoom camera
This also applies to the menu. The famous F-button has disappeared and that is why most settings are now accessible through the menu. This is a pity, more so because I am still not convinced of the menu structure Fujifilm offers. Who would possibly think of placing the RAW option somewhere far away hidden in the menu instead of where you would look for it under image quality? I truly hope that Fujifilm will reconsider the menu structure and change it adequately. The many similar competing models are proof of how it can be done successfully.
Fujifilm FinePix S100fs is an allround camera
These are the kind of characteristics that withhold me from being enthusiastic about working with the Fujifilm FinePix S100fs. It is a nice camera, no doubt about that, with nice and useful functions like the excellent face detection. You don't get dust on the sensor, one of the main annoyances with DSLR cameras. And even though you don’t get the same depth of image reproduction as an SLR offers, the S100fs is still excellent to use for enlargements and print jobs. Still, the camera has a tad too many issues that I can't or won't get used to. It is a typical case of a camera that performs excellently when tested extensively in a lab but doesn't live up to that expectation in practice. But then again, not everybody might look upon this as a big problem. What's left then, is a fine full Megazoom camera with an all-round lens of high quality.
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Fujifilm FinePix S100fs resolution
The choice for resolution and quality is rather limited. There are some six resolutions available, which is fine, however, it is only in the highest JPEG that you're able to choose from a high and low compression. And that is rather scanty. Besides JPEG you can also shoot in RAW, although it seems that Fujifilm do not want you to, since the option is hidden in a faraway spot somewhere in the menu. Fujifilm deliver a RAW convertor, unfortunately it doesn't work too well. However, better this than nothing at all. Thankfully you can also work in Adobe Camera RAW with the files of the Fujifilm FinePix S100fs.
Frames per second in RAW and JPEG
A RAW file is fairly large with its file size of 23MB. This is a disadvantage that comes with the Super CCD sensor. The JPEGs are considerably smaller and this is noticeable in the buffer. At full resolution the Fujifilm S100fs reaches 3 frames per second. Maybe not too impressive but for a camera like this it is sufficient. You can shoot 3 RAW pictures sequentially whilst in JPEG you can carry on. Certainly thanks to the files being written onto the card quickly, and RAW hardly slows down. If you need more speed, you have to use the 3 Megapixel resolution. You will then reach 7 frames per second and it allows for storing 50. All in all a decent result.
1GB memory card recommended
If you prefer working in RAW format, you'll have to invest in memory cards. Just as well prices are still dropping. In the table below you will find the amount of pictures you can take with a 1GB memory card, which to me feels like the minimum capacity you should be taking along.
Considering 1GB storage capacity:
RAW - 3840x2880 pixels - 23.2MB - 44 pictures
JPEG - 11M - Fine - 3840x2880 pixels - 5.4MB - 187 pictures
JPEG - 11M - Normal - 3840x2880 pixels - 2.7MB - 373 pictures
JPEG - 3:2 - 4032x2688 pixels - 2.7MB - 380 pictures
JPEG - 6M - 2816x2112 pixels - 1490kB - 687 pictures
JPEG - 3M - 2048x1536 pixels - 800kB - 1253 pictures
JPEG - 2M - 1600x1200 pixels - 650kB - 1559 pictures
JPEG - 0.3M - 640x480 pixels - 150kB - 6396 pictures
Video resolution - 640x480 pixels - 30fps - 14.9 min
Video resolution - 320x240 pixels - 30fps - 29.5 min