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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

IMAGE QUALITY

The Fujifilm FinePix S100fs is a digital camera targeted to serious and advanced amateur photographers, though beginners will also find it easy enough to use. It has 11.1 effective megapixels resolution on a 2/3 in. SuperCCD HR image sensor. The Fujinon lens is a 28-400 mm (35mm format equivalent) F2.8(W)-F5.3(T), 14.3x optical zoom with optical Image Stabilization.

We welcome the return of the 2/3-in. image sensor which, though still smaller than 4/3 Systems or APS-sized sensors, is slightly larger than the 1/1.8-in. used in most other super zoom.

We love the 28mm wide-angle coverage and find the overall image quality of the Fujifilm S100fs to be very good at the low ISOs with low noise and good detail. Purple fringing is, however, a problem (though it can be removed in post-processing).

14.3x Wide Optical Zoom
Wide-angle 28 mm Tele 400 mm
Wide-angle 7.1mm
(28mm, 35mm equivalent)
Telephoto 101.5mm
(400mm, 35mm equivalent)

In the above pictures, we show the coverage for a 28mm wide-angle and 400mm tele. The 28mm wide-angle is the kind of coverage we like to see in a prosumer level digital camera. Also, the 14.3x optical zoom brings far subjects close with a more-than-enough 400mm tele coverage. The lens has a very good manual zoom ring for fast and precise zooming. It is threaded and will accept 67mm (2.6 in.)-diameter thin type polarizing filters (standard filters may cause vignetting). A lens hood is included and even has a removable polarizing filter window cover so you can adjust the polarizing filter with your finger with the lens hood attached. An optional remote release RR-80 can be attached with a cable into the USB connector.

Macro
Macro
Macro

The Fujifilm S100fs can focus as close as 10 cm (3.9 in.) in Macro mode and 1 cm (0.4 in.) in Super Macro mode.

Auto White Balance Indoors
AWB Custom WB
AWB Custom WB

As the above two pictures show, the Auto White Balance (AWB) has a slight pinkish cast under artificial tungsten light. The S100fs allows you to set a Custom (manual) White Balance, which gives good results. As expected, AWB works very well in natural light.

ISO Comparisons
ISO 100
ISO 100
 
ISO 200 ISO 400
ISO 200 ISO 400
 
ISO 800 ISO 1600
ISO 800 ISO 1600
 
ISO 3200 ISO 6400
ISO 3200 ISO 6400 (6M)
ISO 10000  
ISO 10000 (3M)  

The 100% crops above (area delimited by the white square) demonstrate the low noise superiority of the Fujifilm Super CCD HR image sensor once again. Noise is low at ISO 100, 200 and 400 with good detail. Noise starts to be visible at ISO 800 but is still very usable. Noise is quite visible at ISO 1600 and 3200 with some loss of detail. This low noise characteristic is comparable to (and in some cases superior to) that of entry-level DSLRs. ISO 6400 is at 6M and ISO 10000 at 3M, both with lots of noise and detail loss. Be forewarned that Extended DR can introduce noise in your images (see below).

Extended Dynamic Range Bracketing
100% 200% 400%

100%

200%
400%

The Extended DR (Dynamic Range) feature of the S100fs is software-based and claims to be able to retain detail in high-contrast shots where highlights would be otherwise blown. The high-contrast scene above is perfect to test this claim out. The left side of the picture is receiving the full afternoon sun while the right side is in dark shadows. The sky straight ahead is half-covered with clouds.

I have four choices here on how to expose the picture: expose for the bright left side, expose for the dark right side, expose for the middle of the two, or expose for the sky.

Of course, if I expose for the sky, the sky will come out well detailed and the rest of the picture will be dark -- and we would not be testing the Extended DR feature.

Suffice it to say that I exposed for all these choices, and the best shots are displayed above, where I exposed for the bright left side. Even as small thumbnails, you can tell the difference between the 100% and 400% shots. Click on a thumbnail for the original picture.

None of the other exposure choices (except for the one exposing for the sky) really made much of a difference. So, there are limits to the Extended DR feature and you should not expect miracles. Exposing for the "brighter" parts of a picture is where it works the best. Of course, my samples were an extreme bright and dark example; in real life, the range may not be that extreme.

Note that to take the full advantage of Extended DR, you need to use ISO 400 - 1600 (or the Auto ISO modes), which may exacerbate the presence of noise in the images.

[Note that a characteristic of Fujifilm's Super CCD HR is that when viewed at full size, the images (even at ISO 100) show some digital artefacts. These, however, do not seem to affect display or print quality until ISO 800 and above.]

So, to summarize: the Extended DR works well within reasonable limits -- and when it does its job silently in the background, it can be magic! But watch out for possible higher noise, even at the low ISOs.

All in all, even though you could manually select these settings yourself, the Extended DR bracketing feature simply makes it point-and-shoot easy to ensure you retain some detail in what would otherwise be blown highlights.

Film Simulation Bracketing
PROVIA Velvia SOFT

PROVIA

Velvia
SOFT

The FS (Film Simulation) Bracketing feature of the S100fs is useful for those who take lots of nature and landscape shots. All you have to remember here is that Velvia produces more vivid colors, which is what you really want in nature and landscape pictures. I am not sure a bracketing feature is required here; simply allowing a quicker and easier selection of the modes would have been plenty enough (while the FSB is easily accessible on the Mode Dial, to select just one of the FS mode, you currently have to set this with 5 button presses in the Shooting Menu). Note that FSB automatically changes image quality to Normal and ISO to 200.

Both the Extended DR and FS bracketing modes are conveniently set through the Continuous Shooting button (FSB is also on the Mode Dial) and should make it easier for the nature and landscape photographer to obtain a properly and pleasantly exposed picture.

Chromatic Aberrations
CA

12.2mm, P, Pattern, 1/42 sec., F3.2, ISO 100, Handheld, DR Auto

CA (purple fringing) is present in everyday high contrast shots. In the shot above, CA is visible at the position delimited by the red square at middle left (reproduced at 100% crop at bottom right).

Despite the strong CA (which fortunately can be removed in post processing), this picture is the one that differentiates the S100fs from its competitors, including many DSLRs. Click for the original image and notice the detail in the shadows!

In this picture, all I care about is to shoot in a dark room with bright highlights so we can observe CA. I don't compose, I don't meter anything special, I simply don't really care. All I do is point the camera and shoot. Most (all so far) digital cameras (including DSLRs) underexpose the room and blow the highlights (to be expected). Imagine my surprise when I looked at this S100fs photo closely: perfectly exposed, with detail preserved in the shadows, and noise under control. And hand held at 1/42 sec. at that!

Long Shutter Speed
Long Exposure
7.1mm, Manual, Pattern, 30 sec., F6.4, ISO 100
Custom WB, Macro, Self-Timer (2 sec.), Tripod Used

The Fujifilm S100fs provides a maximum long shutter speed of 30 sec. in Manual Mode, making it possible to take some nice night shots. Here I'm checking out the presence of noise at long exposure (noise usually increases the longer the shutter is left open). As usual, I place Bamm-Bamm under my office desk, in the shadows, to obtain a long exposure of 30 sec. at F6.4.

Since the longest shutter speed in PASM goes only up to 4 sec., I have to switch to Manual mode. There is an Exposure Indicator in Manual Mode to help you get an approximation of when correct exposure is achieved. However, do note that the Exposure Indicator gives only an approximation and experimentation is recommended to obtain correct exposure.

To eliminate camera shake, I place the camera on a tripod and use the self-timer (set to fire after 2 sec.). Note that the camera does not add any extra (noise reduction) processing time to the 30 sec. exposure.

Overall, the Fujifilm S100fs can deliver DSLR-quality images in the hands of a capable photographer. I am a bit concerned about the unexplained high noise (or digital artefacts) present in some of the ISO 100 images.

The pictures in the Fujifilm FinePix S100fs Photo Gallery page provide a good sample of what the camera is capable of. I have provided samples at 800x600 pixels (compressed to Quality 60/100 in Photoshop Elements) as well as the 3840 x 2880 pixels original size (click on the image for the original version).

You can safely assume that most macro shots and slow shutter speed shots required the use of a tripod. Any image that is adjusted for levels in Photoshop has "_adjusted" appended to the file name.

I have defaulted the image size to 800x600 pixels. For those who have their monitor resolution set to 1024x728 pixels, everything should snugly fit and you should not have to scroll to see the whole image. If your monitor is set to 800x600 pixels resolution, start the slide show and then scroll to the right to position the image within your screen width. Then, press F11 (if you are using Internet Explorer) to switch to full screen mode, and the image should fill your screen nicely. Press F11 again at any time to switch your monitor display back to normal mode.

To return to this page from the Photo Gallery, click on the animated graphics of the camera.

Please open and download the original size version only if you need to and only once to your hard drive -- and save me some precious bandwidth. Thanks!

 

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