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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd

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Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd Review

Review Date: Oct 22, 2007

Category: Beginner to Serious Amateur

Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd

USER'S EXPERIENCE

Wednesday, Oct 5, 2007 - Here's what I receive in the box:

  • FinePix S8000fd
  • 4x AA type Alkaline Batteries
  • Shoulder Strap
  • Lens Cap and Retaining String
  • USB (mini-B) and A/V Cables
  • Documentation: QuickStart (English, French, Spanish); Owner's Manual (English only)
  • Software CD: FinePixViewer 5.4 (3.5 for Mac), Owner's Manual 1.0 (English and French)

The Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd is targeted to beginner and serious amateur photographers desiring a long zoom digital camera that gives great results. With 18x optical zoom that starts at a wonderful 27mm wide-angle and ends at 486mm Tele (35mm equivalent), the Fujifilm S8000fd is an impressive ultra zoom, yet remains an easy and fun camera to use.

Fujifilm has opted not to use its Super CCD HR image sensor (which seems to be available only in the 1/1.7-in. size) but the regular CCD has good low noise capability nonetheless and, among the 18x ultra zooms, I personally prefer the S8000fd's image quality.

There is a High-Speed Shooting mode that allows for faster AF lock, but shooting and AF performance is still only average, i.e. good, without the instant response that we've seen on some other cameras. There is no real focus issue to speak of: AF performance is very good in bright light and good in low light, sometimes hunting a bit before locking focus if your subject contrast is low -- but that's par on any ultra zoom. AF at the long end of the zoom is also quite good.

As the above picture shows, the handgrip is deep and you can get your little pinkie onto the handgrip for a secure hold. At the back of the camera, the top right edge is raised to provide a surface for your thumb to press against. This provides a secure grip though personally I would have preferred the hard edge to be a bit on the softer side.

The FinePix S8000fd looks quite handsome in its black body with chrome and silver accents. I don't believe there is an all-black body version available, though it would have looked real nice and professional.

The power switch is of the spring-loaded type: slide to the right to turn the camera on; the switch slides back to the left; slide to the right again to turn camera off.

I have no complaints with either the EVF or the LCD. There is no optical viewfinder, but a bright electronic one (EVF) with a comfortably large eyepiece and easy-to-rotate diopter adjustment wheel on the left side of the eyepiece. Both the EVF and the LCD monitor feature a high resolution 230,000 pixels, a fast 30fps or 60fps refresh rate and 97% coverage. The fast refresh rate makes viewing images very smooth. One feature I was glad to see is that they both gain up very well in low light.

Another favourite practical feature I always look for in a digital camera is Area AF. The Fujifilm S8000fd has 49 positions on screen you can move the AF Frame to and the camera will focus at that point. Inconveniently, we are back to accessing this feature in the MENU, requiring about 10 button presses to set an AF Frame. There is also no quick way to return the AF Frame to center position. Exposure does not follow the AF Frame but always measures the center of the screen. Anyway, better have it than not and it is very convenient in macro photography when you don't want to move the camera and require precise focus.

If Manual Focus is important to you, you may want to know that its implementation on the S8000fd is quite arkward. First, the central portion of the screen is not enlarged, though the image is clear enough to tell when the subject is in focus. The camera also helps by turning the central circle yellow when it thinks focus is achieved. Second, you have to hold down the [+/-] exposure compensation button [presumably with your thumb] while using the zoom lever to manually focus [with your index finger], which makes it quite difficult to hold the camera steady and at the same time hit the sweet focus spot.

A couple of minor quibbles: The flash closes quite loudly and the lens cover dangles irritatingly with no way to attach it to the shoulder strap.

More importantly, I am a bit surprised that the slowest shutter speed is only 4 sec. Something to bear in mind if you are heavily into Night Photography and require longer shutter speeds.

I'm also not sure why Fujifilm left out the availability of RAW file format. This might swing some people's decision toward a competitor's model since RAW seems to be such an important deciding feature for advanced photographers.

FinePix Viewer
FinePixViewer v5.4

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.

FinePix Viewer

You can do basic image editing, re: adjust image quality, correct red-eye, resize image, brightness, saturation, hue, contrast, sharpness, Sepia/B&W. An Operation Guide also displays to walk you through making any changes to your image.

The Fujifilm S8000fd Owner's Manual is well illustrated and written, and though the print font is small, it is quite legible. For Canada, there is a CD with both English and French version, but there's no hardcopy French version included, so be sure to request a French hardcopy documentation if this is what you desire.

I know many of you are going to be comparing features on paper between the three 18x ultra zoom digital cameras -- and probably drive yourselves crazy doing so. Here's my take on it, plain and simple:

I prefer the image quality the Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd produces in a 18x wide-angle optical zoom camera. You won't be wowed by the average shooting and AF performance, though. Some features important for the advanced photographers are missing: longer shutter speeds and RAW file format. I don't do RAW that much so it's presence and absence is not a deciding factor for me personally. What I foresee many will like is the S8000fd's metering which seems to be cleverly calibrated to retain detail in the highlights so you'll get less, if any, blown highlights without having to dial in a negative exposure compensation. The FinePix S8000fd is an impressive package and should meet most advanced photographers' requirements. If you like the Fujifilm's images (see the S8000fd photo gallery), then be sure to check out the Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd. I enjoyed using it very much and loved the pictures it captured.

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