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Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd Review
Date: Nov 14, 2006
to Serious Amateur
Wednesday, Oct 30, 2006 - Here's what I receive
in the box:
- FinePix S6000fd
- 4x AA type Alkaline Batteries
- Shoulder Strap
- Lens Cap and Retaining String, Lens Cap Holder
- Lens Hood
- USB (mini-B) and A/V Cables
- Documentation (English only): QuickStart;
- Software CD: FinePixViewer 5.3 (3.4 for Mac),
ImageMixer VCD2 LE for FinePix
The Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd is targeted
to beginner and serious amateur photographers,
providing full exposure flexibility. It is a major
improvement over the S5200 with the addition of
a manual Zoom Ring and manual Focus Ring, giving
it a more professional and intuitive handling.
Fujifilm has wisely limited the resolution to
6.3MP (that's plenty for beautiful large prints)
and incorporated its Super CCD HR image sensor,
Real Photo Technology Processor and quality Fujinon
lens to provide true low-light capability to this
You can go up to ISO 400 without being bothered
with noise. ISO 800 is very usable and, if necessary,
you can go up to ISO 1600 and 3200. What's missing
is the ISO AUTO 400 setting that will let the
camera automatically select an ISO from 100 to
400. The FinePix F30 has it and there I just have
to set ISO to AUTO 400 and not worry about noise.
One great thing about this versatile digital
camera is that it uses AA Alkaline batteries.
My in-the-field experience is that the alkaline
batteries do not last too long, notwithstanding
what the specs say. I would therefore highly recommend
that you purchase 4 rechargeable AA Ni-MH batteries
and an optional battery charger.
There is no optical viewfinder, but an electronic
one (EVF) with a comfortably large eyepiece and
easy-to-rotate diopter adjustment wheel on the
left side of the eyepiece. The LCD monitor is
a large 2.5 in. with a high resolution 235,000
pixels resolution. A fast refresh rate makes viewing
images smooth. One feature I was glad to see is
that the LCD gains up in low light to permit composing.
Press the DISP button repeatedly and a Framing
Guide of horizontal and vertical lines overlays
on the screen. This is very helpful if you take
lots of pictures of buildings or pictures with
lots of horizontals and/or verticals.
There is an AF Illuminator and the AF is quite
fast and precise at all times. Even in extreme
low-light, at wide-angle focal length, it locks
focus without hunting.
Another attractive feature of the Fujifilm S6000fd
is its wide-angle 10.7x optical zoom lens (28-300mm,
35mm equivalent). There is an optional Wide conversion
lens WL-FXS6, but no Tele conversion lens, available
for the S6000fd. The lens is threaded (58mm diameter)
and should therefore accept optional filters.
As usual, don't buy on faith, it's well worth
to pay a visit to your friendly retail camera
store and try a filter on for size and fit.
A manual zoom allows you to zoom at the speed
you want and to stop at any focal length. It is
relatively smooth (though not as smooth as on
more advanced models), precise and allows you
to zoom during picture recording to produce special
zoom effects (such as my not-so-inspiring example
below, but you get the idea).
In the field, the Fujifilm S6000fd performed
extremely well. There was no fumbling with
the controls, no frustration trying to set the
functions you want, and the camera was point-and-shoot
simplicity. I really loved the manual Zoom Ring
allowing precise and fast framing.
Another practical feature is the 49 positions
Area AF. On the S5200, you needed about 9 button
presses to set an AF Frame. On the S6000fd, simply
press the One-Touch AF button and use the ARROW
keys. I love this new intuitive implementation
but have 2 problems with the whole thing: 1) Once
set, the AF Frame remains at that new location
until you move it elsewhere. This is good. But,
there is no quick way to return the AF Frame to
center position. 2) Exposure does not follow
the AF Frame but always measures the center of
the screen. Not a problem if you are using Multi
metering, but if you are using center-weighted
average or spot metering, and your subject is
way off center, you need to lock AE first, which
kind of defeat the whole purpose of using Area
Though RAW is available, this option is buried
quite deep into the MENU: it takes 10 button presses
to select RAW (used to be 17 key presses for the
The Fujifilm S6000fd is comfortably carried in
one hand, though you would probably want to attach
the shoulder strap for hands-free carrying.
The Terminal Cover is an L-shaped rubber flap
that opens up wide for easy access to the terminals.
Transferring images to your PC is simply a matter
of connecting the USB cable and either using the
FinePix Viewer to index the images or simply drag-n-drop
in Windows Explorer.
The FinePixViewer software is still one of my
favourite because all the information is contained
in one screen. Each image's filename is clearly
visible and you do not need to launch another
window to view the EXIF info. You can do basic
image editing, re: adjust image quality, correct
red-eye, resize image, brightness, saturation,
hue, contrast, sharpness.
The Fujifilm S6000fd Owner's Manual is well illustrated
and written, and though the print font is small,
it is quite legible. Surprisingly (for Canada),
there is no French version included (the Quick
Start Guide has a Spanish version), so be sure
to request French documentation if this is what
Anti-Blur Scene Mode vs. Image Stabilization
How effective is Anti-Blur compared to Image
These are different from each other. Image Stabilization
is a real technology that works effectively to
usually give between 2 and 3 f-stops gain in exposure.
Anti-Blur is a scene mode that cleverly uses a
high ISO so as to be able to use a fast enough
shutter speed to minimize blur dues to camera
shake and subject movement.
In a long zoom digital camera, both Anti-Blur
and Image Stabilization has the same goal: minimize
blur caused by camera shake and subject movement
when hand holding the camera with the lens set
at a long focal length.
Image Stabilization does that by stabilizing
the lens or image sensor; Anti-Blur accomplishes
that by using a higher ISO so a fast enough shutter
speed can be used. And, where other cameras fear
to use a high ISO because of the resulting high
noise, the Fujifilm S6000fd, with its low-noise
image sensor, can boldly do so.
So, though Anti-Blur is definitely not the same
as image stabilization, it can nevertheless be
effective when used in a situation where a fast
enough shutter speed can be selected by upping
Anti-Blur is a clever scene mode that works quite
well in the Fujifilm S6000fd (in other digital
cameras, the high noise is not acceptable), though
it would have been perfect if it also offered
image stabilization (either of the lens or image
The Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd is easily
the best looking long zoom digital camera as well
as being very comfortable to hold and use in the
field. It consistently gives very good to excellent
image quality, including low noise up to ISO 400,
with very usable ISO 800. ISO 1600-3200 is a bonus.
The manual Zoom Ring is a pleasure to use and
the manual Focus Ring makes manual focus a snap.
It's one of those cameras that you just pick up
and start using right away -- "so easy even mom
can use it. (c) Copyright Photoxels 2006."