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Fujifilm FinePix S100FS @DASHING THING REVIEW

11 Jul
image of Fujifilm FinePix S100FS
         

Fujifilm FinePix S100FS 


The Fujifilm FinePix S100FS is based around a 2/3-inch Super CCD HR VIII image sensor with an 11.1 effective megapixel resolution and Fuji’s RP Processor III. The sensor is coupled to a Fujinon-branded f/2.8 to f/5.3, 14.3x optical zoom lens that offers a 35mm-equivalent focal range from 28 to 400mm, and includes both optical image stabilization and a true manual zoom ring (rather than the “fly-by-wire” zooms found on most such digital cameras).

Other Fujifilm S100FS features include a 2.5-inch tilting LCD display, an SD/SDHC/xD-Picture Card combo slot, Fuji’s face detection 2.0 with automatic red-eye removal, extended dynamic range control, and ISO from 100 to 3,200 with extensions to ISO 6,400 at 6 megapixels and a very high ISO 10,000 at 3 megapixels. The Fujifilm FinePix S100FS also has the ability to save in RAW format, and offers a selection of film simulation modes.

In addition, the Fujifilm S100FS features:

  • Dual Image Stabilization: Fujifilm’s Dual Image Stabilization technology combines optical image stabilization with optimized image settings to reduce blur caused by camera movement and subject movement. A mechanically stabilized “floating” lens element reduces blur caused by slow, hand-held shutter speeds. At the same time, Fujifilm’s Picture Stabilization technology reduces blur caused by subject movement.
  • Multi-Bracketing Function: The S100FS offers expanded bracketing functions including: Film Simulation Bracketing, Dynamic Range Bracketing and AE Bracketing.
  • High-Speed Shooting: Reliable high-speed performance is possible with the S100FS through Fujifilm’s newly developed Super CCD VIII “HR” and the new image processor RP (Real Photo) III Processor. At 3-Megapixels, a maximum of 50 continuous shots at 7 frames per second is possible. In addition, 14 scene settings and customer settings are available with four auto-focus modes offering high-speed, high-precision shooting and focusing for a diverse range of conditions.
  • Movie Mode: The FinePix S100FS offers a Movie mode with sound at 30 fps in VGA quality, and zoom capable with manual zoom ring while in movie mode.
  • xD/SD/SD-HC Compatible Slot: The FinePix S100FS features an “xD/SD Compatible Slot” which accepts not only Fujifilm’s traditional xD-Picture Cards but also Secure Digital and SDHC cards too.

 

Fujifilm S100FS User Report

by Mike Pasini

Don’t let the price scare you. The Fujifilm FinePix S100FS is the least expensive hybrid you can buy.

The Fujifilm S100FS is not only built like a serious digital SLR, it has a larger sensor than most digicams, a real lens with a manual zoom ring, RAW file capture, and some sophisticated exposure controls beyond aperture and shutter speed.

Rough & Ready. The FinePix S100FS only looks like an SLR.

But the Fujifilm S100FS still retains some of the conveniences and fun of a digicam with Movie mode, Scene modes, a single lens (with digital zoom), and LCD/EVF framing (with a tiltable LCD, too).

The Fujifilm S100FS’s lens, with its 14.3x optical zoom and Super Macro focusing to 0.4 inch, is one reason this $800 digicam is a bargain. You’d spend a small fortune duplicating that range in digital SLR glass.

That range makes the Fujifilm S100FS a long zoom, but it gives the impression of being something beyond merely a long zoom digicam. It’s a hybrid that avoids many of in the inconveniences and expenses of a digital SLR and many of the shortcomings of a digicam. If you’re looking to move up but don’t want to pack a separate bag for camera gear, the Fujifilm S100FS might be just what you’re looking for.

I fell in love with the lens but there are plenty of other toys to play with on the Fujifilm S100FS.

Look and Feel. Perched on a table, the Fujifilm S100FS could easily be mistaken for a digital SLR. It’s actually slightly bigger than a Canon Rebel XSi with the kit lens. And it’s built just as well. There’s nothing cheap about the body, the buttons, or the dials.

Top. Just one contact for an external flash, nothing fancy there. A 3/8-inch thick Mode dial sits next to the very handy Command dial. The Shutter button is surrounded by the Power switch, and ISO and EV buttons are just behind it.

And there are plenty of buttons and dials on the Fujifilm S100FS, just like on a serious digital SLR. I really didn’t have to make many trips to the menu system to change settings. There was usually a button to make the change I wanted, whether it was EV, ISO, shutter release, focus mode, or just setting the aperture and shutter speed. The Fujifilm S100FS even has a command dial like a digital SLR, something rarely seen on a digicam).

That digital SLR experience, which in my view is really the optimum photographic user interface, extends to the lens. There’s no zoom lever. Instead, you twist the zoom ring on the lens, just as you would with any digital SLR lens. No steps, just a somewhat stiff twist to the perfect composition.

Unlike many digital SLRs, however, you can see the live image in the LCD or the electronic viewfinder. And because the LCD tilts, you can hold the camera at waist level or over your head and still see what the camera sees.

Although the camera is hefty, I never got tired shooting with it. You can’t pocket it but you don’t have to sling it over your shoulder either. I used a wrist strap and carried it in a holster case.

Back Panel. Controls are oddly arranged but functional.

With the Shutter button free of a Zoom lever, a simple Power switch rings it. So you won’t fumble around looking for some small button to power-on the S100FS. Behind it are an ISO button and an EV button (which also displays image info). And behind them is the handy Command dial.

Just to left of that cluster is the Mode dial. It’s a thick mode dial, not the coin-thin sort you see on ultracompacts. A full 3/8 inches thick, in fact, so you can easily stretch your thumb over to spin to another mode.

Usually your thumb will rest on the sculptured back panel right next to the Metering ring around the Exposure Lock button. Below that is the EVF/LCD switch and the Playback button. Directly below the Playback button is the four-way navigator with a Menu/OK button. And to the left of that is the Face Detection/Red Eye Removal button. Well below that is the Display/Back button.

Those back panel buttons are arranged rather randomly, but you get used to the layout quickly.

Ports. DC In, AV and USB ports are behind a rubber flap. Buttons for Shutter Release mode, Image Stabilization and Focus (including a ring for Focus modes) are also available.

On the left side of the camera are another set of buttons starting with the Shutter Release modes (which include Top 7 high res/Top 3 Raw, Last 50 3-megapixel, Dynamic range bracketing, Film simulation bracketing, Auto exposure bracketing, Last 7 high res/Last 3 Raw, and Long period). The Image Stabilization button is under that and below it is the Focus Modes switch (Continuous or Single autofocus or Manual focus) and a Focus button.

There’s a dioptric adjustment on the left side of the EVF, too. And, as noted, the bottom of the LCD flips up for low angles. You can also pull out the top and flip the bottom back in for overhead shots.

The grip is much more comfortable than the small XSi grip, in fact with a nice molded finger slot for your middle finger.

Get your hands on an S100FS and you won’t want to put it down. It handles so much like a digital SLR, I kept forgetting to use the LCD to frame my shots, bringing the viewfinder up to my eye.

Lens. The Fujinon multi-coated lens is a new design, optimized for nature photography, according to the company. Its 14.3x optical zoom ranges from 28mm to 400mm with a 2x digital zoom to extend it to 800mm. And optical zoom is all manual, done with a twist of the zoom ring on the lens barrel.

Real Glass. Unlike many digital SLR zooms, this lens does not rotate when focusing.

But at wide-angle, it can also get as close as 0.4 inch from your subject in Super Macro mode.

The 10 group and 13 element structure uses a non-spherical surface lens and an anomalous dispersion lens. Fujifilm claims, “The non-spherical surface lens suppresses distortion and the curved surface is ideal for efficient focusing of light onto one point, so it realizes high optical performance with a small number of elements. In addition, the anomalous dispersion lens compensates for chromatic aberration well and reduces color drift and mixing on contours — a common problem with telephoto lenses.”

Ingenious Hood. Fujifilm has thought to include a slot (cover removed) in the lens hood so you can poke a finger in to rotate a circular polarizer. That kind of photographic thoughtful detail is found all over the FinePix S100FS.

As Fujifilm notes, with any long zoom lens there are unavoidable optical compromises. At wide-angle, you’ll see soft corners and high chromatic aberration. At telephoto you’ll still see chromatic aberration and soft corners, just a bit less. This can be corrected in software, but that gets old fast. Still, it’s nice to know that you can clean up a great shot with a little post processing.

Barrel distortion was moderate at 0.9 percent and pincushion at telephoto was minimal at 0.1 percent.

Digital zoom was indeed useful, however. And the two Macro modes were really macro not just close-up, providing a tight frame at close quarters.

Dual Format Slot. Use either an xD Picture card or an SD format card.

A sensor in the camera detects any body vibration and activates the lens-shift image stabilization when enabled by the photographer. The mechanism uses a new compensation technology to precisely refract the light to compensate for the vibration. In low light, it can achieve up to three f-stops of compensation.

Sensor & Processor. The Fujifilm S100FS lens was developed with the new Super CCD VIII HR sensor. The 2/3-inch CCD enlarges the receptor area with 11.1 million pixels. Fujifilm claims the octagonal shape of the sensor sites enhances the light collection and light capture efficiency of each photo site.

Noise reduction was another goal of the engineers, who amplified the unprocessed signals before outputting them from the CCD and also improved the amplifier.

The Fujifilm S100FS’s new processor uses parallel processing to increase read speed, according to Fujifilm. The unique double noise reduction system separates noise with great accuracy from the input image signals and then meticulously eliminates the noise. This makes it possible to create clear images with extremely low noise for ISO 3,200 images at full resolution, the company claims. ISO 10,000 at 3 megapixel is also available on the Fujifilm S100FS.

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Posted by on July 11, 2011 in cameras

 

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