Fujifilm has a long-established fan base for its interchangeable lens digital SLRs, based on a Nikon body, but in recent years has tended to concentrate on its fixed lens digicams. The Fujifilm FinePix S100FS confirms this situation spectacularly.
The camera captures 11.1 megapixel images onto a 17 mm CCD, via a substantial Fujinon 14.3x optical zoom lens, stabilized with a lens-shift arrangement. Viewing is via a turret-mounted LCD or a rear 6.4 LCD screen; the former is particularly sharp and useful for focus determination when ambient light is too bright for the rear screen, although the latter gains from an angular movement that swings 90 degrees up and 45 degrees down.
The camera captures in RAW or JPEG but cannot store an image in both simultaneously. Weighing nearly a kilo, this is serious near-DSLR territory.
Fujifilm Finepix S100FS Features
In case you were wondering, the FS in the model name stands for ‘Film Simulation’ and there’s a heap of features to substantiate this claim.
The S100FS is the first fixed lens digital to have an extended Dynamic Range feature similar to that of film. Three shots in a row can be shot with 100/200/400 per cent variation. To explain: this suppresses white flaring and black patches in scenes with high contrast, while also delivering good levels of contrast in flat indoor or overcast exterior pictures where a wide dynamic range is not needed.
Another attraction is the camera’s ability to take three shots in sequence — with a novel twist. Called FSB (Film Simulation Bracketting), as you press the button the camera takes three shots in sequence with characteristics that simulate Fuji’s well-regarded Provia and Velvia transparency films plus a final one with a ‘soft’ look.
Naturally, this bracketing feature extends to a three shot run with exposure variations of an f stop each.
Straightforward continuous shooting is also well served: you can bang off seven shots at a speed of 3 fps or (with reduced resolution) 50 shots at 7 fps.
With a fixed lens of enormous zoom power, one of the DSLR’s bugbears — dust intrusion — is removed, thanks to the composite body and lens structure.
Aside from the accepted auto, Program AE, shutter and aperture priority modes, there are manual and 14 different scene settings. Plus two custom modes.
Auto focus can be handled in single AF, continuous AF, manual focus and one-push manual AF.
If you need it, the camera has a face detection system that sets optimal focusing and exposure for faces, with the camera held vertically or horizontally.
Not bad. Three seconds from power up to first shot; subsequent shots about two seconds apart.
The bad news is that pronounced barrel distortion occurs with the zoom set to the wide end and some pincushion distortion is evident at the tele end. But don’t forget: this is a hell of a zoom!
This is possibly the ideal camera for those who want a DSLR but without the hassle and expense of additional lenses to make it sing and dance.
Make no mistake: this is a serious shooter and one that I and many others would be keen to use on all our photo projects.
Quality: fine, sharp and naturally coloured images.
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