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S5600 / S5200 - Digital Camera Review
Fuji have this to say about the camera:
"This camera packs an almost unimaginable level of capability into its contoured, compact body. Not only does it feature Fujifilm's acclaimed Super CCD HR sensor technology, ensuring the best image quality possible, but you also benefit from manual control and the immense optical reach of a 10x Fujinon zoom lens. What's more, this camera has the crucial 1600 ISO setting, meaning that all forms of blur are much less likely to occur."
You can find more information on their website.
The Camera: a visual tour: (Photos of the camera taken with the Panasonic Lumix FZ30)
Size Comparison: Compared to a Pentax 35mm film camera - a medium/compact sized 35mm film camera.
Specifications / Features:
Average box contents - you will need to buy a larger memory card, rechargable batteries and charger, and a case (as with almost all digital cameras).
Battery usage: Up to 250 pictures with alkaline batteries, and upto 500 shots using Ni-MH 2500mAh rechargable batteries according to CIPA testing. Battery life seemed very good, equal with the 500-shot Fuji F10 for example.
Menu Options / Modes: The camera mode is selected using the top dial.
Photo mode/menu: The menu button brings up the menu screen as shown on the right below:
Screen / LCD display in photo mode: (shown on the left) The screen resolution with 114,000 pixels is good, but doesn't have a live histogram. The screen is clear and the text and menus are easy to read. Optical Viewfinder: There is no optical viewfinder, instead there is an Electronic ViewFinder (EVF) - which is especially useful outside on bright sunny days - this has a diopter corrector and the size of the EVF means I'm able to use it even when wearing glasses.
Photo menu options: Self-timer, photometry (multi, spot, average), white-balance (custom available), high-speed shooting (on/off), auto-focus mode (center, multi, area), sharpness (hard, standard, soft), bracketing.
Function menu options: (shown below, left) Picture size / quality, ISO setting, Colour mode (Standard, Chrome, Black and White)
Setup menu options: Image display, shutter volume, beep volume, playback volume, frame numbering, LCD brightness, digital zoom (on, off), CCD-RAW (on, off), zoom position (resume, reset), AF illuminator, auto power off, format (seems slow), date/time, time difference, language, background colour, USB mode, video system, discharge, reset.
Playback (Review) mode/menu: The menu button brings up the menu screen as shown on the left, below:
Playback mode: Scrolling through the photos is fairly quick, although initial display can seem a bit sluggish. The zoom is fairly quick (but slower than others). There were three different playback views, normal, thumbs (click to view), and date view. Further photo information was available by pressing the +/- exposure compensation button.
Playback menu options: Erase, Rotate, DPOF, Protect, Slideshow, voice memo, trimming.
Picture Size / Quality: The camera takes the following size pictures, and the following number of images will fit on the 16mb memory card provided with the camera:
As shown in the table above, you can fit a very small number of images on the 16mb memory card - a large memory card is definitely recommended, unless you want to use the lower image sizes / higher compression options in order to fit more pictures in memory. There is a good choice of image sizes and aspect ratios, and a good choice regarding image compression.
A large memory card is relatively cheap, and highly recommended, I would recommend at a bare minimum a 256mb memory card, and preferably a 512mb memory card, or larger, especially considering the relatively low prices - the larger the memory card, the more photos you will be able to take. If you are likely to go on holiday then the largest memory card you can afford would definitely be worth investing in, as you don't always know when you will next be at a computer. Listed below are links to memory cards that will work with the Fujifilm FinePix S5600 / S5200:
Find the latest
prices for XD memory cards at Amazon.co.uk: 256mb: £15.47,
1gb (1000mb): £48.94.
Speed: Tested with high-speed mode on. The camera is very quick to switch on and take photos, being ready in just under one second. Focusing seemed fairly quick even in low-light thanks to the bright focus-assist lamp. The playback mode is also fairly quick. The camera shutter response seemed quick (0.1 seconds) when pre-focused - and shot to shot time was quick, with a delay of just over 1 second between shots without flash. The flash recharge time was quite quick. The cameras menu's seemed quick. Continuous shooting is very quick, at roughly 2fps for upto 3 shots at the highest resolution (without flash).
Ease of use: The camera is very easy to use, especially in AUTO mode, or one of the scene modes, even though the camera has a lot of options. The controls on the back of the camera are quite straight forward - the menus are responsive and easy to read and navigate. The menus are also easy to use, and the options are big enough and easy enough to see clearly. The modes are easy to access, quick and simple, mainly thanks to the right number of dials and buttons on the camera (most options aren't hidden away in menus which makes it easier to use). Most functions can be worked out without having to refer to the manual.
Ergonomics and Buttons: (Feel, placement, labels, etc) The buttons are fairly easy to use, and they are in a good position. There seem to be the right amount of buttons and dials allowing easy access to the most commonly used functions and features. The buttons feel okay, although some may find them small. The shutter release is quite decent. The buttons are labelled fairly well - although the button used to get extra information in playback mode seems badly placed and badly labelled - you have to use the +/i exposure compensation button for extra information. I thought the camera felt good ergonomically, with a good size handgrip, the rubberised cover will appeal to many, as will the SLR-styling and black colour. The camera feels like a solid, robust and well built camera.
Image Quality: Here are some sample photos taken in various settings, such as Inside, Noise, Outside, Zoom, Macro, to demonstrate the quality of pictures taken and also show different features of the camera. Larger versions of these photos, plus more photos are available in the Fujifilm FinePix S5600 S5200 Sample Photo Gallery!
Inside: The camera has good colour - It took a good "Heather and Flower" photo - there is no red-eye in the photo. It has a decent flash, and copes well with group photos, although on AUTO ISO, the ISO setting is often increased, in this photo, the automatic ISO chose ISO400, and the photo appears to have high noise reduction applied resulting in a loss of detail, and the photo appears soft. The camera did a good job at focusing even in low-light.
Noise: Noise is generally a bad thing - it removes detail, and gives a grainy effect over the image. With digital cameras noise can be a real problem as digital camera noise is often made out of blue, red or green dots. As the ISO setting increases, pictures tend to have more noise. Noise is most noticeable in dark areas of photos. The camera has an Automatic mode for ISO levels, and manual ISO settings (ISO: 64, 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1600) - below you'll find the noise test image, plus actual pixel crops from the image taken at different ISO settings.
Noise is visible in photos taken at ISO200 and ISO400, however, there appears to be quite strong noise reduction which does remove detail - ISO200 and ISO400 photos are still usable with quite acceptable results which is good, as a lot of other cameras produce unusable images when ISO200 or above is used. Noise levels at ISO800 and ISO1600 are very high, and there is very high noise reduction, which removes a lot of detail (making 'PEN' almost invisible at ISO1600) - these ISO settings are best avoided if image quality is your highest priority - the camera doesn't seem as capable as the Fuji FinePix F10 in this area.
Outside, the camera had very good colour, with good contrast and saturation. There was good detail although images did seem slightly soft. There seemed to be good (but not brilliant) dynamic range. Noise seemed quite low, especially on sunny days. I didn't notice jpeg artefacts in the images. There was quite high purple fringing on the photo of the red berries.
Zoom: The camera has a 10x optical zoom lens, and a 5.7x digital zoom - I've included examples below to show what the zoom range of the camera is. Using the digital zoom degrades image quality and is best avoided.
Exposure / Metering on the photos of the clock tower seems good, with the dark areas of the photo not too dark, and the bright areas of the photo still visible. There is higher than average purple fringing in these photos.
Lens noise and zoom: The lens is quiet. The shutter is quiet. There are roughly 19 steps between wide and telephoto giving you very good control on how you frame your subject.
Other Image Quality issues: Purple fringing seemed quite high (higher than average) - especially noticable when the clock tower photos, or red berries photo were viewed at medium / full size.
Macro: You can use the flash in macro mode, although if the subject is too close, then there will be a shadow cast over some of the image due to the position of the flash and the long lens. The camera can be roughly as close as 10cm away from the subject from the front of the lens in wide setting, when set to macro mode.
The macro mode is fairly average - colour and detail is good, and there apears to be low noise at ISO100. The camera allows you to get quite close to the subject. Images did seem a bit soft - and may benefit from sharpening. You'll need to be careful when / if using the flash, to ensure the picture is correctly exposed.
Movie: The movie mode on this camera is very good with VGA at 30fps, with sound. The camera also has a 320x240 video mode with sound. The camera did well even in low light. Videos are recorded as .AVI files.
The Fujifilm FinePix S5600 is a good ultra zoom digital camera, better
than it's predecessor, it's nice to see Fujifilm are developing and improving
their digital cameras, rather than simply releasing the same camera with
more megapixels. The easy to use camera offers very speedy performance,
good battery life, a good camera body and controls, and good image quality,
although with higher than average purple fringing, and slightly soft images.
The high ISO settings may come in handy on occasion, at the cost of image
quality. I would recommend this camera, especially to people who like
it's SLR styling, and rubber body, as it is a good camera, and the cameras
negatives are mainly minor complaints, but due to the very good competition,
I would recommend having a look at some of the other ultra zooms featuring
What I like:
What I don't like:
Remember to have a
look at the test photos in the Fujifilm
FinePix S5600 S5200 Sample Photo Gallery.