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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Fujifilm FinePix S5000

Fuji Digital Cameras


Fujifilm FinePix S5000 Review

Review Date: Oct 17, 2003

Category: Beginner to Serious Amateur

Fujifilm FinePix S5000 
Photoxels Awards

Image Quality

The Fujifilm FinePix S5000 is a digital camera targeted to beginner to serious amateur photographers and its image quality is comparable to other 3 megapixels resolution digital cameras. Though the FinePix can output a 6M file, I find it is noisier than a 3M output. I have included examples of both and you can make up your own mind on this.

Since most of you are interested in the FinePix S5000 because of the long zoom, I have taken a number of the picture samples at that focal length. Of course, I have also included pictures at other focal lengths and in different lighting situations. The long zoom opens up picture possibilities once reserved only to those who could afford expensive long zoom lenses for the professional SLR or dSLR category.

For this review, I used the following settings as my preferred settings:

  • Shooting Mode: Programmed Auto (though I started out with Auto)
  • Metering Mode: Spot (though I started out with Multi-Pattern)
  • ISO: 200
  • Image Size: 2048x1536 (3M)
  • Image Quality: Can't be set (the S5000 firmware unfortunately compresses the output)
  • White Balance: Auto

All the pictures on this and the other pages (including the navigation pictures at the top of each page) have been taken by the Fujifilm FinePix S5000 for this review. The pictures on this page provide a good sample of what the FinePix S5000 is capable of and I have provided the 800x600 version. Remember that this version is of slightly lesser quality than the original 2048x1536 version. Please open and download only once to your hard drive -- and save me some precious bandwidth. Thanks!

Clicking on a picture will display the 800x600 image in a separate window. Leave that separate window up for all the other images will also display in that same separate window.

Mississauga Civic Centre: 1/450 sec., F8 and ISO 200 (File size: 848 KB)Wide-angle. The Mississauga City Hall (Civic Center) on a cloudy and very windy day. Here is the 6mm coverage (35mm equivalent = 39mm). [Note: Even though I shoot at the widest angle, the FinePix Viewer records 6mm instead of 5.7mm.] I took a previous shot using Multi-Pattern metering and the foreground came out very dark. I decide to switch to Spot metering since most shots would be at telephoto range, and this comes out all right, though still a little darker than I like. I also decide to switch from Auto to Programmed Auto and make full use of the Program Shift feature by "dialing in" a small aperture to maximize depth of field. Focal Length 6mm, Programmed Auto, Spot, shutter speed 1/450 sec., aperture F8.0 and ISO 200. [File size: 848 KB]

Clock Tower: 1/640 sec., F8 and ISO 200 (File size: 860 KB)10x maximum zoom. And here is the clock tower zoomed in at the Finepix S5000's maximum focal length of 57mm (35mm equivalent = 370mm). That reach is pretty impressive! It is also a very windy day and I am barely able to hold my position. The combination of a good grip and a fast shutter speed means that I am able to hand hold this picture without suffering from any camera shake. Focal length 57mm, Programmed Auto, Spot, shutter speed 1/640 sec., aperture F8.0, ISO 200. [File size: 860 KB]

JetsGo: 1/400 sec., F5.6 and ISO 160 (File size: 871 KB)On my way home from the office. The traffic on Hwy 401 is at a stand still converting the highway into a temporary parking lot. I spy a plane taking off from the Lester Pearson International Airport beside the highway. Zoomed to the max, I point the FinePix S5000 through the windshield (sorry, a bit dirty) of my car and snap this picture of a JetsGo airplane taking off. Again handheld, with the car motor purring in idle. Focal length 57mm, Auto, Multi-Pattern, shutter speed 1/400 sec., aperture F5.6, ISO 160. [File size: 871 KB]

Duck: 1/150 sec., F3.2 and ISO 200 (File size: 831 KB)Keeping a safe distance and zooming in allows me to capture this shot without disturbing the duck's peaceful repose. This shutter speed of 1/150 sec. is about the lowest I can get an unblurred shot at maximum focal length. At slower shutter speed, I need a tripod or similar physical way to stabilize the shot. Focal length 57mm, Programmed Auto, Spot, shutter speed 1/150 sec, aperture F3.2 and ISO 200. [File size: 831 KB]

Mr. and Mrs. Mallard: 1/210 sec., F3.2 and ISO 200 (File size: 853 KB)A long telephoto means that you can get in close without physically having to do so. Here, ducks are floating lazily around in a pond and everytime I approach, they swim away. I zoom in to the 10x optical max, and use a fast shutter speed to negate any camera shake to allow me to capture this charming picture of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard. The texture on Mr. Mallard's feathers is captured exquisitely. Should have used a smaller aperture (perhaps F8.0) for greater depth of field and ensure both ducks are in focus. Focal length 57mm, Programmed Auto, Spot, shutter speed 1/210 sec, aperture F3.2 and ISO 200. [File size: 853 KB]

Blue Heron: 1/220 sec., F8 and ISO 200 (File size: 821 KB)I'm not too sure but this is probably a blue heron. For this picture, I have to patiently wait for the bird to turn its head otherwise I keep getting a picture of its backside. Finally it briefly turns its head sideways and I quickly snap a shot. Though this is still a bit far, a cropped portion of the original version looks very nice. Focal length 57mm, Programmed Auto, Spot, shutter speed 1/220 sec, aperture F8.0 and ISO 200. [File size: 821 KB]

Rail Road Crossing: 1/4.5 sec., F7.0 and ISO 200 (File size: 847 KB)With ISO 200, indoor shots are possible without flash. This indoor shot at the Woodbine Centre is hand held but I use a lamp post to brace myself against, allowing the use of an extremely slow shutter speed. The train and passengers can be seen as a blur in motion. I use an exposure compensation of +1.0EV to counteract the bright light streaming from the skylight, ensuring my subjects are not under exposed. Focal length 6mm, Programmed Auto, Spot, shutter speed 1/4.5 sec, aperture F7.0, +1.0EV and ISO 200. [File size: 847 KB]

Engine No. 9: 1/14 sec., F2.8 and ISO 200 (File size: 836 KB)Engine No. 9 waits for its young passengers to board. I've always liked Fujifilm's very nice vivid colours. Again this indoor shot would require the use of flash at ISO 50 or 100, but the FinePix S5000's ISO 200 gives a perfectly exposed indoor shot without the use of flash. This is a 3M output and noise is also barely noticeable. Pretty impressive. Focal length 6mm, Programmed Auto, Spot, shutter speed 1/14 sec, aperture F2.8 and ISO 200. [File size: 836 KB]

Masks: 1/70 sec., F3.2 and ISO 200 (File size: 815 KB)A closet full of masks. This picture reminds me of the masks we all tend to wear to hide our true selves. Lighting is fluorescent and the FinePix S5000's Auto White Balance does a pretty good job here. It's easy and smooth to zoom to the right composition: precise with many intermediate steps, allowing easy composition without having to toggle back and forth between wide-angle and tele to obtain the desired framing. Focal length 15mm, Programmed Auto, Spot, shutter speed 1/70 sec, aperture F3.2 and ISO 200. [File size: 815 KB]

Bisons: 1/80 sec., F8 and ISO 200 (File size: 804 KB)Outdoors, this picture of Bisons sculptures demonstrates the resolving power of the Fujinon lens on the FinePix S5000. The sculpture markings and the metal rivets are clearly visible and we can even see a bit through the tinted windows of the building in the background. Focal length 12mm, Programmed Auto, Spot, shutter speed 1/80 sec., aperture F8.0, ISO 200. [File size: 804 KB]

Eternal Flame: 1/480 sec., F3.2 and ISO 200 (File size: 840 KB)I'm not sure what this sculpture at the Mississauga Civic Centre represents, but it looks like a flame to me. Spot metering allows me to meter precisely on the "flame." It's quite windy, with leaves blowing around. A yellowish-orange crumbled piece of paper is also blown into the frame, adding a touch of colour in an otherwise grey-black composition. Focal length 25mm, Programmed Auto, Spot, shutter speed 1/480 sec., aperture F3.2, ISO 200. [File size: 840 KB]

Bench:: 1/60 sec., F7.0 and ISO 200 (File size: 850 KB)A bench in an alcove painted red with a square window above it. This interesting geometric composition is "hidden" and I miss it the first time I visit the Mississauga Civic Centre. Someone once said something to the effect that if we ensure there's something red in our pictures, we'll do OK. He might have been unto something. I like how the green contrasts with the red, the natural with the man-made, and how the back of the bench fans out. Focal length 8mm, Programmed Auto, Spot, shutter speed 1/60 sec., aperture F7.0 and ISO 200. [File size: 850 KB]

Columns: 1/15 sec., F7.0 and ISO 200 (File size: 833 KB)One last picture from the Mississauga Civic Centre. The bench from the previous picture can be glimpsed on the right with the greenery on the left. Because I use Spot metering (which is centered at the far end of the rafters), the FinePix S5000 brings out some of the details in the rafters. I angle the camera slightly upward and that explains why the columns tilt a bit. Focal length 8mm, Programmed Auto, Spot, shutter speed 1/15 sec, aperture F7.0 and ISO 200. [File size: 833 KB]

Bridge: 1/90 sec., F5.0 and ISO 200 (File size: 847 KB)Here is our deep-shadows-and-bright-sun photo at James Garden. Since I want to ensure the bridge is properly exposed, I use Spot metering here. Does not seem to make a difference whether spot or multi-pattern metering is used (see next photo sample): the result is blown highlights and dark shadows. The rest of the picture is, however, nicely exposed, which is really what matters here. Focal length 6mm, Programmed Auto, Spot, shutter speed 1/90 sec, aperture F5.0 and ISO 200. [File size: 847 KB]

Path in Edwards Garden: 1/100 sec., F2.8 and ISO 200 (File size: 832 KB)A peaceful walk along the path at Edwards Garden. This is not a particularly great shot but the strolling visitors add to the sense of quiet and relaxation. On the other side of the garden, though, it is just teeming with people taking advantage of the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday and the nice weather. Focal length 6mm, Programmed Auto, Multi-Pattern, shutter speed 1/100 sec, aperture F2.8 and ISO 200. [File size: 832 KB]

Fir Needles: 1/170 sec., F3.2 and ISO 200 (File size: 809 KB)Fir needles against a background of Burning Bush. Macro at wide-angle is at 3.5 in. but for this close-up shot, I zoom in instead to compress the distance and get a blurred background. Since I cannot properly focus on the fir needles in the center of the frame (the autofocus keep focusing past the fir needles onto the red leaves instead), I select Area Focus and move the AF frame to the left so that it covers only the fir needles. Focal length 19mm, Programmed Auto, Spot, shutter speed 1/60 sec, aperture F8.0 and ISO 200. [File size: 809 KB]

For our panorama shot at Edwards Garden, I take note of the exposure setting, switch to Manual mode and enter the shutter speed and aperture manually. Then I take 6 portrait shots hand held. To stitch the shots together, I use ArcSoft Panorama Maker, my favorite panorama software so far. Picture #5 and #6 do not quite match (difficult to match leaves) so I manually specify 3 points in both pictures that should match, in this case, concentrating on getting the path continued smoothly. Taking panorama shots with people in it is always a bit tricky. In this shot, look carefully and you'll find that the couple in the middle of the picture appear twice! Focal length 6mm, Manual, Multi-Pattern, shutter speed 1/100 sec., aperture F4 and ISO 200.

Edwards Garden Panorama: 6 portrait shots taken at 1/100 sec., F4 and ISO 200; Combined in Panorama Maker (File size: 1.8 MB)

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A Personal Word

As with every new digital camera, it takes me some time to get to know the FinePix S5000. One thing I find at first (that you probably will also) is that when using the LCD, the image reviewed on it tends to look better (sharper, brighter) even if it is really just a bit out of focus or slightly under-exposed. (If it is way out of focus or way under-exposed, you'll notice it for sure.)

At first, I get many blurred hand held shots at long zoom. But once I learn to hold the S5000 properly, understand how its 2-stage shutter release (and slight shutter lag) works, I'm home free.

As the sample images attest, the FinePix S5000 produces quality 3MP pictures in Programmed Auto mode. Probably due to the high ISO of 200, they are a bit noisier than I'd like (though the noise is barely visible or quite acceptable at 3M output).

Even though Aperture-Priority and Shutter-Priority is available, I find that the Program Shift function serves as well in Programmed Auto mode, allowing me to influence the shutter speed or aperture. I would recommend that you experiment a bit with the three different metering modes and see which one you like best: I have personally settled on Spot metering.

The more I use the Fujifilm FinePix S5000, the more I like it. Fujifilm has done a tremendous job with the FinePix S5000. If you are an aspiring photographer and it's a long zoom that you want, be sure to try out the FinePix S5000.

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