As I mentioned in a pervious post in this section, for almost four years now, I have been using a FujiFilm FinePix 2400Z camera, which is a basic point and shoot consumer oriented camera with 3X optical zoom, and 2 megapixel resolution.
This camera allowed me to take some good pictures over the years. However, it was time for an upgrade, now that the technology is more mature, and for the same price point, one can get more features. Specifically, I wanted a more powerful zoom that can give better framing and get closer to subjects, specially wildlife. I also wanted more manual control of various features.
For a long time, I wanted to get a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ2, then the FZ10 came out, and recently the FZ20.
These cameras have really nice lenses, but they do not balance well in one's hand, and are expensive as well.
So, I read the reviews on the FujiFilm FinePix S5100, which is a 4 megapixel, 10X optical zoom with a lot of manual control features.
Here is a list of the reviews I could found for it:
- Digital Photography Review
- Digital Camera Resource
- Steve's Digicams
- Imaging Resource
- C|Net Review, also at ZDNet
- User Reviews at Amazon.com
- User opinions at DPReview.com
- FujiTalk forum at DPReview.com
- DigitalCameraInfo has a very negative review. This seems to be common on that site. For example, see the review of the Canon S1 IS, and the visitors' comments at the bottom of each review.
Value for Money
This camera retails online in Canada for about 420 Cdn dollars. This is half the price of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20.
The camera is full of nice features, such as:
- A good 10X optical zoom going from 37 mm to 370 mm (35mm equivalent) with a bright F/2.8 aperture.
- Noticably faster in processing than the 2400Z. Power up time, shutter lag, and time to write images are all very fast. Also in playback mode, the pictures are displayed almost instantly.
- The focus assist lamp makes it possible to focus in near complete darkness indoors.
- Nice balanced feel and contoured hand grip.
This camera is not perfect by any means. There are some drawbacks that I found, and read about in reviews. However on a price-performance scale, it provides very good value for the money paid.
My complaints fall in two categories:
Awkward Multi-Button Controls On Some Functions
Some features requiring two buttons are very awkward to perform. This is a very bad design decision. For example, one has to hold down the +/- button for Exposure Compensation at the same time that you press up/down button. These buttons cannot be operated using one hand (the right hand) at the same time. It would have been much better to have a wheel on the grip below the shutter release button to move values up or down, in conjunction with a button on the left hand side of the camera. Luckily, these features are not the most frequent ones used in day to day photography.
Manual Focus Is Hard to Operate
Although the camera has manual focus, it is a multi-step to do so. Not only do you have to unlock and press the focus mode button on the top left, but you have use the +/- button in conjunction with the Tele-Wide button, and they are too close together.
There are other minor complaints, such as the small 1.5" LCD on the back, but I mainly use the Electronic View Finder (EVF).
I will be posting some sample pictures soon.