So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Fujifilm FinePix S1000fd
- 12x zoom, low chromatic aberration
- Over-sharpened pictures, slow, no image stabilisation
FujiFilm's FinePix S1000fd is a decent ultra-zoom with a small body, but its lack of image stabilisation makes the large lens much less useful and the sluggish performance will irritate many users.
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
With its 12x optical zoom and 10-megapixel sensor, FujiFilm's FinePix S1000fd is relatively powerful but it lacks a few essentials — such as optical image stabilisation. This makes it difficult to take full advantage of the long lens.
12x is about middle of the range for a large zoom camera, but considering the relatively small build of this unit it is quite impressive. The problem lies in the fact that you'll never capture a useable shot at maximum zoom without some kind of optical stabilisation. The S1000fd does include some basic stabilisation, but it just works by adjusting the ISO sensitivity and doesn't do a particularly good job of compensating for shaking hands. We tried snapping some shots at 12x magnification, but without a tripod it just wasn't worth going over 4x or 5x.
Our test shots were fairly good, with some niggling issues that may annoy image quality purists. The biggest problem was some notable over-sharpening; our shots were clear and sharp with well-rendered detail and crisp edges, but at times they were too crisp. This made everything look somewhat cut-out and unrealistic. It wasn't problematic at small print sizes but was noticeable at larger magnifications.
Fortunately, chromatic aberration was almost non-existent, which is extremely pleasing considering the size and complexity of the lens. There was no haloing on our indoor high-contrast charts and minimal detail loss towards the corners of the frame. Colours were typical for a consumer-oriented camera, with brightly saturated primary colours, most notably reds and blues. Unfortunately, there is no way to adjust colour saturation in the menus, so you'll need to do some tweaking in post processing if you're unsatisfied with the default balance.
Noise performance was also disappointing. Even at ISO 200 there were signs of speckling, and by ISO 400 our shots had a noticeable white graininess to them; this was visible even at small print sizes. Anything above that is basically unusable, which really cuts down on your shooting options.
The speed of this unit was less than impressive. Its start-up time was sluggish at 2.3sec, but this is standard for an ultra-zoom. What was less expected was the 0.2-0.25sec shutter lag and the 3.1sec shot-to-shot time, both of which are extremely slow. The burst mode was also a touch leisurely at 2.2 frames per second.
The camera has some advanced features, including full manual shooting modes, but it lacks the options more advanced photographers will want. These include things like onboard colour, contrast and sharpness adjustment, image stabilisation and RAW shooting. There are some basics like Face Detect and a nifty panorama mode, but we'd have liked to see the features more fleshed out.
We liked the construction of the S1000fd. It has an extremely heavy, sturdy body and a large rubber grip. It is comfortable to hold yet still somewhat compact for an ultra-zoom. The interface is a little confusing. It isn't nearly as streamlined as the menu system found on some competing products, but it does the job.
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