Fujifilm FinePix S100FS

14.3x optical zoom and 11.1-megapixel snaps

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Fujifilm FinePix S100FS
  • Fujifilm FinePix S100FS
  • Fujifilm FinePix S100FS
  • Fujifilm FinePix S100FS

Pros

  • Huge 14.3x zoom lens, sharp colourful pictures, lots of features, speedy operation

Cons

  • Some chromatic aberration issues, electronic viewfinder

Bottom Line

FujiFilm's FinePix S100fs is a great pseudo-SLR camera. Its 11.1 megapixel sensor and large 28-400mm lens capture great snaps and the manual shooting modes combined with speedy operation make it flexible and powerful.

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Sporting a gigantic 14.3x optical zoom lens and a robust black plastic body, you could be forgiven for mistaking the FujiFilm S100fs for an SLR. But although it is larger than some SLRs on the market, this unit doesn’t quite go all the way. It falls into the popular bridge category of advanced cameras for those who want more control without jumping into SLR territory. On the whole this camera is a fairly impressive unit, combining good quality images with a host of features and a huge lens.

We really did think we were dealing with an SLR when we first pulled the S100fs out of the box. It is built like a truck and the lens looks deceptively detachable thanks to a little rubber button on the left side (this is actually just a cover for a flash connection). Thankfully, it is comfortable to hold and feels solid — factors some users consider more important than size and portability.

It has one nifty design feature: its LCD screen can be angled up or down, making those tricky angled shots a little simpler. On the flip side, the viewfinder is electronic and thus it lacks the fine detail necessary to manually focus with precision.

The 14.3x optical zoom is huge and has an impressive 28-400mm focal length. It is also supported by optical image stabilisation, which worked very well in our tests. We were able to hand shoot at the full 400mm and produce only slightly blurry snaps that would be fine for small prints.

The images produced by the S100fs were on the whole pretty impressive. It captured some of the crispest, sharpest snaps we’ve seen from a non-SLR camera. This can largely be put down to the 11.1 megapixel sensor, which is apparently 2/3in in size; considerably larger than the 1/2in and 1/3in sensors used in other compacts.

Unfortunately the large lens did result in a fair bit of chromatic aberration. There was noticeable purple fringing outdoors and haloing indoors on our high-contrast chart tests. Corner softening wasn’t too horrible but there was some detail loss evident towards the corners of the frame.

Noise performance was good without being outstanding. The S100fs seems to hit the same border as most other compacts, producing good shots up to ISO 400 but suffering a little beyond that. At ISO 800 and 1600 there is some noticeable detail loss but the images will still be okay for small prints.

Colour balance was pretty good. Reds were slightly oversaturated but that should come as no surprise. The rest of the spectrum was rich but still accurate. The camera also has several colour modes and custom white balance.

Its other features include full manual shooting modes, extended dynamic range to help bring out detail in dark areas and RAW shooting. It also has a list of film simulations that tweak a variety of settings to recreate different types of film, which will be nice for old-school photographers.

The S100fs was lightning quick. It exhibited an extremely minimal 0.04 seconds of shutter lag, just one second between shots and a start-up time of two seconds. The burst mode was also extremely speedy at four frames per second (although that only captures seven shots in JPEG mode and three in RAW).

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