Fujifilm FinePix S5700
- 10x optical zoom, speedy operation
- Poor colour reproduction, high chromatic aberration, slow burst mode
The FinePix S5700 is a decent but uninspiring advanced digital camera. While it will do most of what you want, it is let down by average image quality.
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
Unlike their latest compact camera, the FinePix F40fd, FujiFilm's new advanced model, the FinePix S5700, is a little bit of a disappointment. Sporting a 10x zoom lens and a bevy of manual features it offers a lot of functionality, but falls down in image quality.
The most noticeable issue colour. Scoring 10.6 in Imatest's colour checker test, this camera doesn't compare favourably with the competition. We almost never see models get double digit scores, so this was disappointing. Our test shots revealed strong inaccuracy across the whole spectrum, particularly blues, which lead us to think this was a white balance issue. As illustrated in our test charts, many shades of blue turned out grey. We tried playing with the white balance presets and using the custom mode, but it didn't have a big impact. The error is just high enough to be readily visible in regular photographs and will irritate some users.
Our sharpness and chromatic aberration tests also encountered some issues. For Imatest to operate properly the shot needs to be exposed correctly. Normally we take a variety of shots with different exposure compensation settings, in order to capture several that will test without error. Unfortunately with the S5700, we couldn't manage to capture a shot that was perfectly exposed. Imatest always gave us a small amount of clipping. This isn't a massive problem, but it does mean the results may not be as accurate as normal.
With that in mind we took the shot with the lowest error, which was barely big enough to cause concern, and it achieved a score of 1543 in Imatest. This is a decent result for a 7.1 megapixel sensor and places the S5700 in the middle of the pack. We noticed a slight softness to some of our test shots, but unless you're making fairly hefty enlargements this won't be noticeable.
Another area of disappointment was the chromatic aberration test, where this camera scored .188%. This is quite a bit higher than we normally see, and is most probably the cause of a lot of the softness we saw around the edges of our test shots. We also noticed a fairly prominent haloing around areas of high contrast, which was visible at small and medium magnifications. This won't impact standard 4x6in prints, but as with the sharpness, if you want to make reasonable enlargements it will become a factor.
The S5700 scored a little better in image noise, with a result of .73% at ISO 100. It produced clean, speckle free shots which will satisfy the majority of users. We also tested at higher sensitivities and found generally the noise scaled quite well. Our shots were usable at up to ISO 400 with only minor degradation, and while above that they had a very visible drop in quality, we would say they are still somewhat usable. People who enjoy shooting in low light should find this performance enticing.
When combined with the 10x optical zoom lens it also means the S5700 is a great option for shooting things like children's sporting events, as the high ISO will help reduce blur. Other features include full manual shooting modes with aperture settings from f/3.5 - f/13.6 and shutter speeds from 1/1000th of a second through to four seconds. These aren't quite as robust as the settings on some other advanced cameras (particularly the four second maximum) but they allow a little extra creative control and should sate budding photographers.
There is also the standard array of preset and manual white balance options, ISO sensitivities up to 1600 and the usual multi and spot focus modes. There is a burst mode, but it was extremely slow for an advanced camera, operating at roughly 1.2 shots per second. Compared to some units which churn out two or three shots per second this was quite disappointing. It was a little strange though, seeing as in our other speed tests, the S5700 performed admirably. With a 1.8 second power-up time and 1.9 seconds between shots combined with the miniscule .04 second shutter lag, you won't miss any action with this model.
The S5700 has a fairly standard design for an advanced model. It is chunky and angular with a black plastic casing that isn't as sturdy as we'd like. Ultra zoom models never tend to look attractive as they have the zoom lens jutting from the front and typically accompany that with a rugged leather grip. The S5700 certainly won't win any awards for style, but it manages to stick fairly closely to this aesthetic.
The controls are laid out in a relatively standard manner, with a few exceptions. Turning the unit on and off is achieved by flicking a switch, which is a novel, if useless difference. The rest of the functions are controlled using a five-way navigation ring and a function wheel. A few buttons are scattered around the chassis to provide shortcuts.
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