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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd

Fuji Digital Cameras

   


Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd Review

Review Date: Nov 14, 2006

Category: Beginner to Serious Amateur

Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd

Photoxels Editor's Choice 2006 Award

HANDLING & FEEL

The Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd continues to be one of the best looking long zoom digital cameras around. Pick it up and your fingers wrap comfortably around the adequately large handgrip. Your index finger naturally falls over the shutter release button, and the thumb can easily rotate the Mode Dial. A very nice and comfortable neck strap is included.

The Fujifilm S6000fd comes in a black (with silver accents) solidly built plastic composite body. Unlike some long zoom digital cameras that weigh very light and feel like toys, the Fujifilm S6000fd has a nice heft to it which gives it a quality feel and helps when you want to hold it steady.

The FinePix S6000fd replaces the S5200 with 6.3MP and the addition of "face detection" (which is what the "fd" stands for). But what really sets this long zoom digital camera apart from its competitors is the addition of a manual Zoom Ring, manual (fly-by-wire) Focus Ring, and wide-angle 10.7x optical zoom lens. These three features add a new dimension of professionalism to the S6000fd that is usually available only in more expensive "prosumer" models.

Startup time is fast at around 1 sec., shot to shot times are average at approx. 2 sec., and there is no practical shutter lag. Autofocus is fast and precise.

STYLE
- Colours: overall black with silver accents
- Looks: professional, SLR-look, very attractively (and ergonomically) designed
   
FEEL
- Comfortable to hold and operate
- Non-slip textured handgrip
   
DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT
- Best way to carry this camera is slung over the shoulder or around the neck
- Dimensions: 130.7 x 97.2 x 119.5mm /
5.1 x 3.8 x 4.7 in.
- Weight: feels nicely hefty at 660g / 23.3 oz. (including batteries and xD-Picture Card)
- Takes 4 AA type alkaline batteries (included) or 4 AA rechargeable NiMH batteries (optional)
   
SPEED OF OPERATION
- Fast startup - no lens extension required and LCD turning on in about 1 sec.
- Shot to shot time in less than 2 sec. (including time to write to card)
   

Included in the box are 4 AA Alkaline batteries that are supposed to be able to take about 200 shots with LCD on (CIPA standard). But we found that they lasted much shorter so you might want to invest in 4 AA rechargeable NiMH batteries (2500 mAh) and battery charger (if you don't have them already). NiMH batteries should last for approx. 400 shots on a fresh charge (CIPA standard).

There is an electronic viewfinder (EVF) with 115,000 pixels resolution and a large 2.5-in. LCD monitor that both gain up very well in low light (though grainy, as to be expected). The frame coverage is approx. 100% for both.

The Terminal compartment is on the left side of the camera (viewed from the back) with a rubber flap that opens up wide to allow easy and frustration-free access.

The flash has a range of 60 cm - 8.3 m / 2.0 ft. - 27.2 ft., which is excellent. Though it is of the type that pops up automatically when needed, you can nevertheless set it to OFF so it does not surprise you when you don't want it to. Perfect for both beginers and advanced users. You can set the flash to Off, Slow Synchro, Red-Eye Reduction & Slow Synchro, Auto, Auto Red-Eye Reduction, or On [Forced Flash].

Controls

The controls on the Fujifilm S6000fd are similar to those on the S5200 with the following exceptions:

- the AF/MF button which was on the top of the S5200 has now been moved to the left side of the lens barrel [viewed from the back] and now incorporates a One-Touch AF.

- the Zoom lever at the back of the S5200 has been replaced by an excellent manual Zoom Ring around the lens.

- the S6000fd also now has a manual (fly-by-wire) Focus Ring, which makes manual focusing a snap.

These 3 improvements equip the Fujifilm S6000fd with advanced controls found only on more expensive models. I mean there is just no comparing a manual Zoom Ring with a Zoom Lever, or a manual Focus Ring with using UP and DOWN arrows.

The power switch is around the shutter release button, as is also Playback. Behind the Shutter Release Button is the Drive button (Top 3, Auto Bracketing, Final 3, Long Period) and Exposure Compensation/Histogram button

The Mode Dial has the standard AUTO, PASM (Programmed Auto, Aperture-Priority, Shutter-Priority, and Manual) modes, plus Movie mode, 4 Scene Modes: Anti-Blur, Natural Light, Portrait, Landscape, and a Scene Position that gives access (via the MENU) to 10 more scene modes: Sport, Night, Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Beach, Museum, Party, Flower, Text.

The Mode Dial can be rotated with the thumb and has a positive locking click to it. During an actual shooting session, there is not much risk that the Mode Dial is inadvertently switched to another shooting mode.

The Natural Light Scene Mode disables the flash (even if it is popped open) and takes full advantage of the low-light capability of this camera (made possible by the use of Fujifilm's SuperCCD HR image sensor and Real Photo Technology) to capture an image that retains the natural ambience of low-light photography (indoors, by candlelight, in restaurants and museums).

The Anti-Blur scene mode tells the camera to use a high ISO and a fast enough shutter speed to minimize blur caused by camera shake and/or a moving subject. This scene mode is also referred to as Picture Stabilization and tends to be confused with Image Stabilization. No, the S6000fd does not have Image Stabilization but, thanks to the low-light capability of its image sensor, you can safely use a high ISO (up to ISO 400) and a faster shutter speed to achieve the same effect of minimizing blur that true image stabilization does. Of course, it would be ideal if Fujifilm would start equipping its digital cameras with image stabilization -- this, plus their low-light sensor, would make Fujifilm digital cameras the unequivocal best in their categories.

You can record movies with monaural sound at either 640 x 480 pixels 30fps or 320x240 30fps. Thanks to the manual Zoom Ring, you can zoom to your heart's content during recording.

Video Storage Capacity
1GB
4:3 VGA
640x480
30fps
14m 54s
4:3 QVGA
320x240
30fps
29m 20s

 

xD-Picture Card Storage Capacity (approx. # images, JPEG)
Quality Pixels File Size (MB) 1GB
6M F 2848x2136 3.0 341
6M N 2848x2136 1.5 680
3:2 3136x2352 1.5 680
3M 2560x1920 780KB 1305
2M 2560x1920 630KB 1639
03M 2560x1920 130KB 7995
RAW 2048x1536 13.4MB 76

As the above chart shows, at 6MP Fine image quality, you can store approx. 341 images can be saved on a 1GB xD-Picture Card. We recomend that you purchase either a 1GB or 2GB xD-Picture Card, depending on the number of images you normally shoot in one session.

 

FUNCTIONS ACCESSIBLE BY CONTROL BUTTONS (Top of Camera)
- Mode Dial (AUTO, PASM, Movie, Anti-Blur, Natural Light, Portrait, Landscape, SP)
- Exposure Compensation button
- Drive button (Continuous Shooting)
   
CONTINUOUS SHOOTING
- Top 3-Frame: allows you to shoot up to 3 frames at max 2.2fps
- Auto 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
- Final 3-Frame: This is an incredibly useful feature for increasing your chance 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 (max 2.2fps) 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 3 shots.
- You select a Continuous Shooting mode by pressing and holding down the Continuous Shooting button and using the LEFT and RIGHT arrow keys
- Long Period: Shooting continues as long as you hold the shutter button down -- up to the capacity of your xD-Picture Card. It's however not particlularly fast: I was able to take approx. 5-6 shots in 10 sec.
- The camera is reset to Single Shot when the camera is turned off/on.
   
EXPOSURE COMPENSATION / HISTOGRAM
- To access the exposure compensation, you press and hold the Exposure Compensation button down and use the LEFT and RIGHT arrow keys to select a value.
- There is no live Histogram display during Record mode, but if you press and hold down the Exposure Compensation button during Playback, a histogram will display, together with other exposure info. The Histogram disappears when you let go of the Exp. Comp. button.
- 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)
- 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.)
   

Manual Focus has been tremendously improved thanks to the manual Focus Ring. A One-Touch AF button will engage the AF to focus the scene once. You can then use the Focus Ring to precisely adjust the focus. A Focus Indicator Mark turns yellow to indicate the scene is focused. A small arrow appears at the bottom of the Focus Indicator Mark to indicate in which direction to turn the Focus Ring to achieve focus. The LCD resolution is also improved from 115,000 pixels on the S5200 to 235,000 pixels on the S6000fd. The Owner's Manual does not mention this but you can press the Digital Zoom button to magnify the screen and allow a better view; just remember to press the Digital Zoom button again to disable it before you take your shot.

Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd - Back View

FUNCTIONS ACCESSIBLE BY CONTROL BUTTONS (Back View)
- Intelligent Face Detection Button: Mercifully, face detection is not ON by default. Press the button and the camera will instantaneously recognize up to 10 faces (as long as they are facing toward the camera) and give focus priority to the one nearest to the center of the picture.
- EVF/LCD monitor selector
- Digital Zoom: up to 2x
- 4 Way Arrows: UP/DOWN = Program Shift; LEFT = Macro; RIGHT = Flash
- MENU/OK
- DISP/Back
- Photo (F) Mode (ISO, Image Quality, Color)
   
ISO
- ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
- Surprisingly, there's no ISO AUTO in PASM.
- Doubly surprisingly, there's no ISO AUTO 400 or ISO AUTO 1600 in PASM -- as is available in the FinePix F30.
- I believe this is an oversight and requires a firmware fix. I don't really care for ISO AUTO, but there should be at least an ISO AUTO 400 to take advantage of the wonderful low noise characteristic of the image sensor up to ISO 400. The photographer can park the ISO to ISO AUTO 400 in PASM with the confidence that image quality will not be compromised as far as noise is concerned.
   

Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd - Left View

SIDE VIEW
- Flash (no manual pop-up button; pops up automatically if you set it ON using the RIGHT Arrow)
- Focus Mode Selector Switch / One-Touch AF button
- Memory Card compartment (accepts xD-Picture Card)
- Speaker (the slits right in front of where the notch of the memory card compartment door is)
- Rubber Terminal Cover (A/V, USB, DC IN) underneath the Memory Card Compartment
- Lens barrel: on the S5200, the notches on the lens barrel did not turn and were just for esthetics and to provide a good grip, but the S6000fd actually has a manual Zoom Ring and a manual Focus Ring behind it.
   

LCD & Menus

There is an electronic viewfinder (EVF) with a large eyepiece and diopter correction, as well as a larger 2.5 in. LCD monitor with a high resolution 235,000 pixels resolution and approximately 100% coverage. The LCD has a fast refresh rate for a smooth display. It gains up slightly in extreme low-light situations to permit you to compose.

The Low-Light View button on the S5200 has been removed but you can still increase the brightness of the LCD monitor (but not the EVF) by holding the Exposure Compensation button down and pressing the Disp/Back button simultaneously. This feature is useful when the sun is shining on the LCD.

The circular projection between the flash and the handgrip is the AF-assist illuminator. The AF-assist illuminator (green light) is quite effective, but 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).

A cool lens shade comes standard and you'll use this outdoors to cut out glare in bright conditions. Indoors, you'll want to remove it because it will block the light from the AF-assist Illuminator as well as from the flash.

The AF-assist Illuminator is very effective and I've found auto focusing to be quite fast and precise in low-light situations.

You can also display a framing grid of horizontal and vertical lines by pressing Disp/Back button, which is very useful when you need to align vertical and horizontal lines precisely. The lines are fine and grey and do not interfere with the composition -- the way we like them.

A great feature is the AF Area focusing mode. Press in the One-Touch AF button and use the ARROW keys to move the AF target point to any of with (7 horizontal x 7 vertical =) 49 positions and the camera will focus where the AF target point has been moved. I find this very helpful in macro photography and whenever the subject is off-center. The implementation is also intuitive and does not require access to the MENU to set it on.

Advanced photographers will be glad to know that it is possible to save images in the RAW file format. Unfortunately, it takes more or less 9 key presses to set it in MENU - SETUP - CCD-RAW ON. It takes about 4 sec. to save an image in RAW. Continuous Shooting is not available for RAW. RAW mode is kept even when you turn the camera off, so don't forget to reset it if you only meant to use RAW for only a couple of shots.

There are 2 MENU screens and 4 SETUP screens. The user interface is very well implemented and easy to use. The MENU screens are semi-transparent (but easily read); the SETUP screens have a solid white background.

MENU 1 of 2

- Self-timer: 10 sec. or 2 sec.
- Photometry: Multi, Spot, Average
- White Balance: AUTO; Custom; Fine (Sunny); Shade; Fluorescent 1, 2, 3, Incandescent
- High-Speed Shooting: On, Off (speeds up AF, uses more battery)
- AF: Center, Multi, Area
- Sharpness: Hard, Standard, Soft

MENU 2 of 2

- Flash Bracketing: 0, ±1/3 EV, ±2/3 EV
- Auto Bracketing: ±1/3 EV, ±2/3 EV, ±1 EV
- SETUP

SETUP 1 of 4

- Image Disp.: Continuous, 3s, 1.5s, Zoom (Continuous)
- Frame No.: Continuous, Renew
- AF Illuminator: On, Off
- CCD-RAW: On, Off
- EVF/LCD Mode: 30fps, 60fps
- Focus Check: On, Off

SETUP 2 of 4

- Date/Time
- Beep Volume
- Shutter Volume
- Playback Volume
- LCD Brightness - Digital Zoom ON/OFF
- Format

SETUP 3 of 4

- Language: 13 languages to choose from
- Auto Power Off: 5m, 2m, Off
- Time Difference: Home, Local
- Background Color: 6 colors to choose from
- Discharge
- Video System: NTSC, PAL

SETUP 4 of 4

- Reset

LANGUAGES

- displays in 13 languages

SCENE MODES 1 of 2

- Sport
- Night
_ Fireworks
- Sunset
- Snow
- Beach

SCENE MODES 2 of 2

- Museum
- Party
- Flower
- Text

White Balance

- AUTO
- Custom
- Fine (Sunny)
- Shade
- Fluorescent 1 - Daylight FLuorescent
- Fluorescent 2 - Warm White Fluorescent
- Fluorescent 3 - Cool White Fluorescent
- Incandescent

Photo (F) Mode - ISO

- Ships from factory set to ISO 200

Photo (F) Mode - Image Quality

- Ships from factory set to 6M N

Photo (F) Mode - Color Effects

- Chrome

Photo (F) Mode - Color Effects

- B&W

PROGRAMMED AUTO MODE

Clockwise from Top Left:
- Face Detection ON
- Flash OFF
- Super Macro ON
- Self-timer 2 sec.
- Multi AF
- Custom WB
- Image Quality 6MP Fine
- Available frames: 341

- High-Speed Shooting ON
- Auto Bracketing
- ISO 100

- Focus check warning
- Face Detection has detected Allegra's face (green rectangle)
- Camera Shake warning

- Histogram (displays only when Exp. Comp. button is held down)
- Program Mode
- Shutter Speed and Aperture values with Program Shift indicator
- Exposure Compensation Indicator

NATURAL LIGHT MODE

- Camera disables flash and selects a higher ISO

ANTI-BLUR MODE

- Camera selects a fast shutter speed to reduce camera shake (aperture and ISO are adjusted accordingly for correct exposure)

MOVIE

- 640x480 @ 30fps
- 320x240 @ 30fps

MOVIE

- 14m39s left

POST SHOT ASSIST WINDOW

- Displays last 3 shots
- Not available in RAW

PLAYBACK

- No info displays in Playback until you hold down the Exposure Compensation button
- Besides a Histogram, Highlight Warning will flash the areas that are overexposed


Note: Some of the screens may have been "blackened" to permit a clearer view of the settings.

The Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd is a well-designed long zoom digital camera with excellent handling and super fast operations. It wins hands down where looks and handling are concerned. The addition of advanced controls suce as a manual Zoom Ring and a manual Focus Ring, both of which work extremely well, vaults this camera above its closest competitors. It is also choked-full of features that are well implemented for a frustration-free use.

Beginner amateur photographers will find this camera easy-to-use and producing great images with its wonderful image sensor with low noise characteristics; advanced amateur photographers will love the manual Zoom Ring and manual Focus Ring as well as the versatility and full exposure flexibility it provides.

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