|Fuji FinePix S5100 QuickLook|
|User Level||Novice – Amateur|
|Product Uses||Family / Travel / Special Events|
|Digicam Design||Point and Shoot|
|Picture Quality||Good, 4.0-megapixel CCD|
|Print Sizes||up to 11×14, 8×10 with some cropping|
|Suggested Retail Price
The Fuji FinePix S5100 is one of the latest in a long line of Fujifilm long-zoom digital cameras. Fujifilm produces a wide range of digicam models, from bare-bones entry-level models up to and including a high-end digital SLR. To my mind though, their greatest success has been in creating good-quality midrange cameras that sell at very competitive prices, and the new Fuji S5100 is another good example of that trend. A couple of years back, Fuji brought long-zoom digicams down to affordable price levels with their FinePix 2800 and 3800 models. Now, the Fuji S5100 advances the cause even further, with a 4.0 megapixel CCD, a 10x optical zoom lens, and a host of exposure features. While it still sports a super-easy fully automatic mode, the Fuji FinePix S5100 goes beyond basic “point & shoot” capability with Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, and Manual modes, as well as a few scene modes. The Fuji S5100 offers very long-zoom capability and greater exposure control at a surprisingly affordable price.
Featuring a miniaturized, “SLR-style” body design that brings to mind a scaled-down Nikon D70, the Fuji FinePix S5100 offers a 10x optical zoom lens complemented by a four-megapixel CCD. To accommodate the camera’s long zoom lens, the Fuji S5100’s body is a little chunky, but still compact compared to many long-zoom digicams. Very portable and lightweight, the S5100 will definitely be handy for impromptu outings and social gatherings. An included lens cover/accessory lens adapter ring provides protection and doesn’t add too much to the bulk, so users would do well to keep it attached to protect the projecting lens from impact damage. Conveniently, the lens cap fits on both the lens and the lens with adapter ring. Too large for a standard shirt pocket either way, the Fuji S5100 should fit into larger coat pockets and purses, and comes with a shoulder strap to make carrying easier. Measuring 4.4 x 3.2 x 3.1 inches (112.7 x 81.1 x 79.3 millimeters), the S5100 weighs 15.5 ounces (439 grams) with batteries and xD-Picture Card, and fits well in one hand. A substantial handgrip provides a very firm hold, nicely balancing out the weight of the lens barrel. The Fuji S1500’s 4.0-megapixel CCD delivers clear, sharp images as large as 2,272 x 1,704 pixels, suitable for printing as large as 11×14 inches with great detail, or 8×10 inches with some cropping. (A lower resolution is also available for more email-friendly file sizes.)
The Fuji FinePix S5100’s Fujinon 10x, 5.7-57mm lens is the equivalent of a 37-370mm zoom on a 35mm camera, representing a focal length range from moderate wide-angle to substantial telephoto. A small, plastic lens cap protects the lens when not in use, and tethers to the camera so you don’t have to worry about losing it. The telescoping lens extends about an inch from the camera when powered on, and promptly retracts when the camera is shut off. Apertures range from f/2.8 to f/8, and can be manually set through the Record menu (in Manual mode only). Focus remains under automatic control at all times, with a focal range from 3.0 feet (90cm) to infinity in normal mode, and from 3.9 inches to 6.6 feet (10 cm to 2 meters) in Macro mode. In addition to the 10x optical zoom, the S5100 also offers as much as 3.4x digital enlargement, depending on the image size selected. The digital zoom works only in the 2, 1, and 0.3 megapixel mode, to avoid the traditional lossy zoomed images of other cameras; no digital zoom is available at the 4 megapixel mode. Packaged with the Fuji S5100 is a lens adapter ring, which screws into filter threads on the inside lip of the lens barrel. The ring protects the lens when it’s extended and accommodates Fuji’s wide angle, telephoto, and macro lens adapters, which extend the camera’s zoom capabilities. The S5100 offers both a TTL electronic optical viewfinder (EVF) and a 1.5-inch, amorphous silicon color LCD monitor. The viewfinder display switches between the EVF and LCD monitor via a button on the rear panel, which means that the complete display is available on the EVF, including the settings menus. The viewfinder’s information display reports various camera settings with a central AF target, and an optional framing guide display divides the image into thirds horizontally and vertically for more accurate framing.
The Fuji FinePix S5100 offers a full complement of capture modes, from Automatic to full Manual, plus several Scene modes. The Mode dial on top of the camera puts the camera into Auto, Program, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual, Movie, Night Portrait, Sports, Landscape, and Portrait modes. Auto mode determines the entire exposure automatically, with the user able to adjust the zoom, flash mode, and image size and quality settings only. Program mode allows the user to change most settings, including alternate combinations of Aperture and Shutter speed using the up and down arrows. Shutter and Aperture Priority work as expected, also allowing the user to adjust settings with the up and down arrows. In Manual mode, you use the up and down arrows to adjust shutter speed, and you must hold down the Exposure Compensation button on the camera’s top panel to adjust Aperture. Shutter speeds range from 1/2,000 to 15 seconds. The FujiFilm S5100 uses a 64-zone metering system to determine exposure, with three modes: Multi, Spot, and Average. Multi metering mode considers all 64 zones, Spot considers only the center 2 percent, and Average places the greatest emphasis on the center portion of the image area. Light sensitivity can be set to Auto, 64, 100, 200, and 400. When shooting in Program, Shutter, and Aperture exposure modes, exposure compensation is adjustable from +/-2EV in one-third-step increments. White Balance offers seven settings, including Auto, Custom, Daylight, Shade, Daylight Fluorescent, Warm White Fluorescent, Cool White Fluorescent, and Incandescent. The S5100’s Scene mode offers four preset “scenes” for shooting in potentially tricky situations, and includes Portrait, Landscape, Sport, and Night Scene modes.
The Fuji FinePix S5100’s built-in, pop-up flash operates in one of six modes, which include Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, Forced, Suppressed, Slow Synchro, and Slow Synchro with Red-Eye Reduction modes. Through the settings menu, flash power is adjustable from -0.6 to +0.6 EV values in one-third-step increments. For self-portraits or those times when pressing the Shutter button might result in camera movement, the S5100 features a Self-Timer that delays the shutter release until 10 seconds after the Shutter button is fully pressed. The FinePix S5100 can also capture movies with sound up to the limit of the card’s capacity while in Movie capture mode. Movie files are saved in the Motion JPEG format, at either 640 x 480 or 320 x 240 pixels.
The FujiFilm FinePix S5100 can also record still images in Continuous mode, at up to 3.45 frames per second, according to our tests. Top 3-frame mode saves the first three images, and Final 3-frame saves the last three images in the buffer. Long-period Continuous Shooting mode can handle up to 40 frames before the buffer is filled, but it takes a little longer between shots, at a speed of 1.23 frames per second.
Images captured by the Fuji S5100 are saved to xD-Picture Cards. A 16MB card comes with the camera. In addition to the 2,272 x 1,704-pixel resolution size, the S5100 also offers 1,600 x 1,200; 1,280 x 960; and 640 x 480-pixel resolutions. Two JPEG compression ratios are available, including Fine and Normal. The Playback menu offers DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) settings for printing images on a compatible device. A USB cable and software CD accompany the camera, allowing for high-speed connection to a computer. The software CD contains Fuji’s FinePix Viewer software, which organizes and displays downloaded images, and provides printing and minor editing capabilities.