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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Fujifilm FinePix S100fs

Fuji Digital Cameras

   

Fujifilm FinePix S100fs Review

Review Date: Jun 9, 2008

Category: Serious Amateur

Fujifilm FinePix S100fs

Photoxels Editor's Choice 2008 - Super Zoom
Photoxels Editor's Choice 2008 - Super Zoom

HANDLING & FEEL

The Fujifilm FinePix S100fs incorporates the new Super CCD HR VIII image sensor. The image sensor is a slightly larger 2/3-in. type which we have not seen for a while. The camera is very well designed and this is apparent from the moment you pick it up. Controls click precisely and rings rotate smoothly. Overall construction feels solid and the build is very good.

There is a large and deep rubber-coated handgrip and the camera looks quite professional (and DSLR-type) in its black high-impact polycarbonate body.

Camera W
(mm)
H
(mm)
D
(mm)
Weight
(g)
Pentax K200D 133.5 95 74 630
Sony A-200 130.8 98.5 71.3 532
Canon XSi/450D 128.8 97.5 61.9 475
Nikon D60 126 94 64 475
Olympus E-520 136 91.5 68 475
Olympus E-420 129.5 91 53 380
Fujifilm S100fs 133.4 93.6 150.4
(with lens)
918
(with lens)
Panasonic FZ50 140.75 85.5 142
(with lens)
668
(with lens)
Olympus SP-570 UZ 118.5 84 87.5
(with lens)
445
(with lens)

As you can see from the table above, the S100fs is quite a big camera.

Performance is very good. Startup time is less than 2 sec. which is quite good for a super zoom but not instant as on a DSLR (unless Dust Reduction on the DSLR kicks in at start up). Autofocus is fast and precise (in good light and slightly slower in low light), and there is no practical shutter lag. Shot to shot time is approx. 1 sec. for 3 shots when the buffer gets full and needs to write out the images onto the memory card. Write time is relatively quite long at about 3 sec. (but the large buffer means you don't need to wait to take the next picture for up to 3 pictures).

Playback info display is a mixed bag. Images appear and scroll on the screen quite fast. However, the related info appears only approx. 1 sec. after the image itself appears on screen. The info is sparse, limited to Image Number, Image Quality (MP resolution) and Date/Time.

To view any useful exposure info, such as ISO, shutter speed and aperture, you press and hold down the [+/-] exposure compensation / Playback INFO button. This is a faster way to view exposure info than to press the DISP button repeatedly until it appears. A tip: if you want to see exposure info on a number of images in Playback, keep holding down the [+/-] button as you rotate the Command Dial to view each image in turn.

STYLE
- Colours: overall black with silver and chrome accents
- Looks: professional, DSLR-look, very attractively designed
   
FEEL
- Comfortable to hold and operate
- Non-slip rubberized handgrip
- Very smooth manual zoom ring
   
DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT
- Best way to carry this camera is slung over the shoulder or around the neck
- Dimensions: 133.4W x 93.6H x 150.4D mm / 5.3W x 3.7H x 5.9D in. (excluding accessories and attachments)
- Weight: Approx.918g / 32.4 oz.
(excluding accessories, batteries and memory card)
- NP-140 Li-ion battery
   
SPEED OF OPERATION
- No lens extension required and LCD turning on in less than 2 sec.
- Shot to shot time about 1 sec. (for 3 shots)
   

Included in the box is a rechargeable Li-ion battery that recharges in about 130 min. We recommend a spare battery if you plan to shoot in the field all day. As is now the case for new Fujifilm digital cameras, the S100fs has only one memory card slot that can accept either an xD-Picture Card or a SD/SDHC memory card.

Controls

The circular projection between the flash and the handgrip is the AF-assist illuminator (which also does double duty as Self-timer lamp). The AF-assist illuminator (white light) is very effective, allowing focus even in near complete darkness. You have to remember not to get your fingers in the way; also, the relatively long lens barrel can be in the way of the AF-assist light illuminating a subject that is very close (e.g. in macro photography).

Below it, near the bottom, is the Flash Synchronizing Terminal, which is covered with a small rubber plug (be careful not to lose it the very first time you use it!).

FRONT VIEW
- Shutter Release button is angled.
The shutter release button does not have a release socket for a cable release but you can optionally purchase a cabled remote release RR-80 that plugs into the USB socket.
- AF-assist Illuminator (also Self-timer lamp)
- Flash Synchronizing Terminal (covered with plug)
   

Fujifilm FinePix S100fs - Top View

FinePix S100fs Top View

There are lots of control buttons. The Mode Dial has the standard AUTO, PSAM (Programmed Auto, Shutter-Priority, Aperture-Priority and Manual) modes, 2 customizable modes (C1 and C2), Movie mode, 2 customizable Scene Modes (SP1 and SP2), and FSB (Film Simulation Mode).

The Mode Dial is rotated with the thumb and has a positive locking click to it. You'll be glad to know that it freely rotates both clockwise and anti-clockwise.

C1 and C2 allow you to save 2 favorite customized settings. The way you set each is extremely easy. First, select PSAM, and customize the settings to your liking. Then press the MENU/OK button. Go to Shooting Menu 3 - Custom Set - select C1 or C2 - OK.

Similarly, SP1 and SP2 allow you to save 2 favorite Scene Modes from different sets of available scene modes. SP1 features a set of 4 "Nature" scene modes, and SP2 features a set of 10 more scene modes.

To set SP1, rotate to SP1. Then press the MENU/OK button. Go to Scene Position - select a scene mode for SP1 - OK. From then on, when you rotate the Mode Dial to SP1, the selected scene mode will be defaulted. Of course, you can always press MENU/OK to bring up the Scene Mode menu and select another scene mode. Whichever scene mode you select then becomes the new default for SP1. Do the same for SP2.

PROVIA
Velvia
SOFT
PROVIA
Velvia
SOFT

FSB stands for Film Simulation Bracketing and allows you to take 3 shots with one click at PROVIA (standard colors and tones), Velvia (high brightness and sharp tone) and SOFT (soft tone with muted color) modes. Note that resolution is changed to 11M Normal and ISO to 200.

You can record movies with monaural sound at either 640 x 480 pixels 30fps (you'll be able to record about 30m 41s worth on a 4GB SDHC card) or 320x240 30fps (record about 60m 38s worth on a 4GB SDHC card). Note, however, that a movie clip can be only approx. 2GB. Since the zoom is manual, you can (silently) zoom during recording.

TOP OF CAMERA
- Shutter release button
- Mode Dial (Auto, PSAM, C1, C2, Movie, SP1, SP2, FSB)
- ISO
- Exposure Compensation
- Command Dial
- Hot Shoe accepts ordinary external flash units (with some exceptions)
   
EXPOSURE COMPENSATION / HISTOGRAM / PLAYBACK INFO
- Once set, the Exposure Compensation Indicator conveniently stays displayed on screen until it is reset to "0"
- Range: -2 EV to +2 EV (13 steps in 1/3 EV increments)
- A Live Histogram displays as long as you hold down the Exposure Compensation button
- The screen brightness will increase or decrease to reflect the value you use
- Note: the exposure compensation value selected is retained even when mode is changed or camera is turned off (so remember to reset to "0" after using it or the next time you turn the camera on, your shots may be over- or under-exposed.)
- The button also doubles as the Playback INFO button, displaying exposure info as long as you hold down this INFO button
   

Fujifilm FinePix S100fs - Back View with flip-out LCD

FinePix S100fs Back View with flip-out LCD

 

BACK OF CAMERA
- Photometry (Light Metering) Selector Dial (a bit difficult to turn) with AE-Lock button in the middle
- EVF/LCD monitor selector
- Playback
- Intelligent Face Detection/Red-Eye Removal
- 4 Way Arrows: UP (Playback Digital Zoom), RIGHT: Flash, DOWN: Self-timer, LEFT: Macro/Super Macro
- MENU/OK
- DISP/Back
- Diopter Adjustment Control besides EVF
- LCD pulls out for easy view looking up above crowd or looking down for ground level shooting
   

Fujifilm FinePix S100fs - Left Front View

FinePix S100fs Left Front View

SIDE VIEW
- Flash (manual pop-up button)
- Continuous Shooting
- Dual IS
- Focus Mode Selector Switch (C-AF, S-AF, MF) with One-Touch AF button in the middle
- Rubber Terminal Cover for access to DC IN, A/V, USB
- Focus Ring (thin, closer to the body) is fly-by-wire
- Zoom Ring
   
CONTINUOUS SHOOTING
- Top 7: allows you to shoot up to 7 JPEG (or 3 RAW) frames at max. 3fps
- Top 50: High speed shooting at max. 7fps (3M)
- DR: Dynamic Range Bracketing
- FS: Film Simulation Bracketing
- AE Bracketing: takes 3 shots of the same image with different exposure settings (correctly exposed, over-exposed, under-exposed). The Auto bracketing settings can be specified in the MENU as ±1/3 EV, ±2/3 EV, or ±1 EV; available only in PASM modes
- Last 7: This is an incredibly useful feature for increasing your chances of catching action at just the right moment. Press and hold the shutter release button down as the action nears the point where you want to take the shot. The camera will take up to 40 shots as you follow the action. When you let go of the shutter release button at the right moment (say, as the puck or soccer ball goes into the goal), the camera retains the last 7 JPEG (or 3 RAW) shots at max. 3fps.
- Long Period: allows you to take up to 40 continuous shots (max. 1.1fps); available only in AUTO and Scene modes
   

LCD & Menus

There is an electronic viewfinder (EVF) with a large eyepiece and diopter correction, as well as a large 2.5 in. wide-viewing LCD monitor with a standard 230,000 pixels resolution and approximately 100% coverage. The EVF and LCD are clear and bright. The diopter adjustment dial works very well (which cannot be said for many cameras) and is easy to rotate and adjust.

The LCD has a fast refresh rate for a smooth display. It gains up well in low-light situations (but not as well in extreme low-light as the FinePix F30 does).

The LCD tilts from 0° to 90° up, and 0° to 45° down, and I find this much more preferable than the 360 degrees on some point-and-shoot digicams. I pull out the LCD mostly when shooting close to the ground and this avoids having to scrunch down for a clear view either through the LCD or EVF. This construction allows for a fast flip of the LCD without the unnecessary aggravation of pulling it all the way out and rotating it into place.

A great feature is the AF Area focusing mode with (7 horizontal x 7 vertical =) 49 positions. You can move the AF target point to any of these 49 positions and the camera will focus where the AF target point has been moved. The target points are very close to the edges of the screen so there is no point where you cannot focus on. I find this very helpful in macro photography and whenever the subject is off-center. Select AF Area mode in the MENU to turn this feature on. When you want to move the AF frame around, depress the One-Touch AF button and use the arrow keys to move it around the screen. Note that spot AF metering is not available and exposure is always set using the area in the center of the screen.

It is possible to save images in the RAW file format. You have to select RAW in SETUP, which can take up to 16 button presses to do so. If you take a RAW image and waits for it to finish writing to memory card, it takes about 5 sec. to save. However, because there is a shooting buffer, I find that RAW performance is very good: you can take up to 4 RAW images in quick succession, wait about 3 sec. then take another one and so on. Continuous Shooting allows you to take 3 RAW (3fps).

There are 3 MENU screens and 5 SETUP screens. They are very well implemented though there is still room for some improvement in the user interface: at times, it throws you out of the MENU and you need to navigate all the way back to where you last left off. I like the fact that all the options on one screen correspond to one tab so you do not need to scroll down to see if your feature is hidden further down the screen. However, SET-UP should have its own tab on the Shooting Menu (i.e. tab 1, tab 2, tab 3, Set-up tab) instead of being the last item on Shooting Menu tab 3.

SHOOTING MENU 1 of 3

- Film Simulation
- Dynamic Range
- Quality
- Color
- Tone
- Sharpness

SHOOTING MENU 2 of 3

- White Balance
- WB Fine Tune
- AE Bracketing EV Steps
- Flash Compensation
- External Flash
- AF Mode

SHOOTING MENU 3 of 3

- High-Speed Shooting
- Custom Set
- Set-Up Menu

FILM SIMULATION - PROVIA

- Ideal for a wide range of subjects

FILM SIMULATION - VELVIA

- Vibrant reproduction, ideal for landscape and nature

FILM SIMULATION - SOFT

- Softer color and contrast for a more subdued look

FILM SIMULATION - PORTRAIT

- Natural skin color for a general portrait

DYNAMIC RANGE

- Auto
- 100%
- 200%
- 400%

QUALITY

- 11M Fine
- 11M Normal
- 3:2
- 6M
- 3M
- 2M
- 0.3M

COLOR

- High
- Mid
- Low
- B&W
- No Sepia???

TONE (CONTRAST)

- Hard
- Standard
- Soft

SHARPNESS

- Hard
- Standard
- Soft

WHITE BALANCE 1 of 2

- Auto
- Custom 1
- Custom 2
- Fine (Sunny)
- Shade
- Fluorescent 1 (Daylight)
- Fluorescent 2 (Warm White)

WHITE BALANCE 2 of 2

- Fluorescent 3 (Cool White)
- Incandescent

WB FINE TUNE

AE BRACKET EV STEPS

- +/- 1/3 EV
- +/- 2/3 EV
- +/- 1 EV

FLASH COMPENSATION

- + 2/3 to -2/3

EXTERNAL FLASH

- On
- Off

AF MODE

- Center
- Multi
- Area

AF MODE - AREA

- 7 x 7 = 49 Target Points
- Press and hold the One-touch AF button and use the ARROW KEYS to move the Target Point around the screen
- Exposure is always set at center of screen

 

SETUP 1 of 5

- Image Display
- Frame No.
- Dual IS Mode
- Save Original Image
- AF Illuminator
- CCD-RAW

SETUP 2 of 5

- EVF/LCD Mode
- AE-Lock Mode
- Focus Check

SETUP 3 of 5

- Date/Time
- Operation Volume
- Shutter Volume
- Playback Volume
- Autorotate PB
- LCD Brightness

SETUP 4 of 5

- Format
- Language
- Auto Power Off
- Time Difference
- Background Color
- Guidance Display

SETUP 5 of 5

- Video System
- Reset
- Custom Reset

IMAGE DISPLAY

- Continuous
- 3 sec.
- 1.5 sec.
- Zoom (Continuous)

FRAME NO.

- Continuous
- Renew

DUAL IS MODE

- Continuous
- Shooting Only

SAVE ORIGINAL IMAGE

- ON
- Off
- Saves original image when Red-eye correction is applied

AF ILLUMINATOR

- ON
- Off

CCD-RAW

- On
- Off

AE-LOCK MODE

- AE-L 1 (press & hold AE-L to fix exposure)
- AE-L 2 (press AE-L to fix exposure, press again to release exposure)

FOCUS CHECK

- On
- Off
- When focusing manually, center of image enlarges

DATE/TIME

 

OPERATION VOLUME

 

SHUTTER VOLUME

 

PLAYBACK VOLUME

 

AUTO ROTATE

- On
- Off

LCD BRIGHTNESS

LANGUAGE

AUTO POWER OFF

- 5 min
- 2 min
- Off

TIME DIFFERENCE

- Home
- Local

BACKGROUND COLOR

 

GUIDANCE DISPLAY

- On
- Off

VIDEO SYSTEM

- NTSC
- PAL

 

PLAYBACK MENU 1 of 2

- Erase
- Slide Show
- Red-Eye Removal
- Image Rotate
- Protect
- Copy

PLAYBACK MENU 2 of 2

- Voice Memo
- Trimming
- Print Order (DPOF)
- Set-Up

PLAYBACK DISPLAY - SINGLE FRAME WITH TEXT

 

PLAYBACK DISPLAY - SINGLE FRAME NO TEXT

 

PLAYBACK DISPLAY - 2 FRAMES

 

PLAYBACK DISPLAY - 9 FRAMES

 

PLAYBACK DISPLAY - 100 FRAMES

- Up to 10 x 10 = 100 tiny thumbnails.

PLAYBACK DISPLAY - SORT BY DATE

 

SHOOTING - FACE DETECTION

- This is a snapshot of the LCD screen during Shooting Mode with Face Detection turned on

PLAYBACK DISPLAY - DETECTED FACES

- When you go into Playback, the camera informs you one or more faces were detected in the picture (i.e. you used Face Detection)

 

PLAYBACK DISPLAY - IDENTIFY FACE

- Now, still in Playback, press the Face Detection button to identify the face(s)

 

PLAYBACK DISPLAY - ZOOM FACE

- Press Face Detection button again to zoom onto the face so you can check focus

 

PLAYBACK DISPLAY - TRIMMING FACE 1 of 4

- In Playback, Go to MENU - Trim
- Face is detected (if you had previously used Face Detection to capture the picture)

 

PLAYBACK DISPLAY - TRIMMING FACE 2 of 4

- Press Face Detection button repeatedly to select a face (if there are more than one faces detected in the picture)
- Press OK to confirm face selection

 

PLAYBACK DISPLAY - TRIMMING FACE 3 of 4

- Trimmed image is now 0.3M
- Press OK to confirm

 

PLAYBACK DISPLAY - TRIMMING FACE 4 of 4

- The picture is trimmed and a copy saved
- Original picture is untouched

 

 

SHOOTING MODE - AUTO

- Auto

SHOOTING MODE - P

- Program AE
- P mode, Dual IS 2, Face Detect On, Flash Off, Macro On, Self-timer 10 sec., 11M Fine, Available frames: 695
- Battery indicator, Multi-Pattern, Continuous Shooting, High-Speed Shooting, AF frame (face detected), ISO 100
- Camera Shake warning
- Exposure Compensation Indicator
- Note that the shutter speed and aperture display only when you half-press the shutter release button
- Rotate Command Dial to go into Program Shift

SHOOTING MODE - S

- Shutter-Priority AE
- Rotate Command Dial to select a shutter speed (4 sec. - 1/4000 sec. in 1/3 EV increments)
- Only shutter speed displays
- To see aperture, you need to half-press the shutter release button

SHOOTING MODE - A

- Aperture-Priority AE
- Rotate Command Dial to select an aperture (F2.8(W)/F5.3(T) to F8 in 1/3 EV increments)
- Only aperture displays
- To see shutter speed, you need to half-press the shutter release button

SHOOTING MODE - M

- Manual
- Rotate Command Dial to select a shutter speed (4 sec. - 1/4000 sec. in 1/3 EV increments)
- Press & hold Exp. Comp. [+/-] button and rotate Command Dial to select an aperture (F2.8(W)/F5.3(T) to F8 in 1/3 EV increments)
- The Exposure Indicator bar acts as an approximaye guide to when correct exposure is achieved

SHOOTING MODE - MOVIE

- Movie

SHOOTING MODE - SP2 - 1 of 10

- Portrait scene mode

SHOOTING MODE - SP2 - 2 of 10

- Portrait Soft scene mode

SHOOTING MODE - SP2 - 3 of 10

- Baby scene mode

SHOOTING MODE - SP2 - 4 of 10

- Portrait Enhancer scene mode

SHOOTING MODE - SP2 - 5 of 10

- Night scene mode

SHOOTING MODE - SP2 - 6 of 10

- Sunset scene mode

SHOOTING MODE - SP2 - 7 of 10

- Snow scene mode

SHOOTING MODE - SP2 - 8 of 10

- Beach scene mode

SHOOTING MODE - SP2 - 9 of 10

- Sport scene mode

SHOOTING MODE - SP2 - 10 of 10

- Fireworks scene mode

SHOOTING MODE - SP1 - 1 of 4

- Nature scene mode

SHOOTING MODE - SP1 - 2 of 4

- Nature Soft scene mode

SHOOTING MODE - SP1 - 3 of 4

- Nature Vivid scene mode

SHOOTING MODE - SP1 - 4 of 4

- Nature scene mode

The Fujifilm FinePix S100fs is a well-designed super zoom digital camera with excellent handling and fast operation. It has excellent proportions and successfully captures the DSLR-like handling. A couple of often-used features (WB, AF Mode) are still menu-bound and would gain much in practical usability if they were more directly accessible. All in all, a very well designed and thought-out digital camera which feels and handles as you would expect a professional DSLR to.

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