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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

USER'S EXPERIENCE

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; Owner's Manual
  • 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 camera.

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 AF.

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 S5200).

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.

FinePix Viewer
FinePixViewer v5.3

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 you desire.

Anti-Blur Scene Mode vs. Image Stabilization

How effective is Anti-Blur compared to Image Stabilization?

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 the ISO.

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 sensor).

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."

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