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In the years before I owned my first SLR camera, I went through a range of digital compacts, many of which featured a long ranging zoom lens. The first of these 'superzoom' cameras that I purchased was Fuji's s5000 - a 3.1 megapixel shooter with a 10x optical lens. Of course, the average consumer wouldn't touch a camera with only three megapixels nowadays, but the device was responsive and well made, featuring a range of manual options. At the time of its release, the s5000 retailed at £250 - today however, you can pick up in the region of £25 - £35 from eBay.
Design & Appearance
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Predominantly constructed from black plastic, the s5000 is a professional looking model - however, at 113 x 81 x 79 mm it *isn't* a camera which will fit into your pocket. That said, it is fairly light at under 430 grams including the batteries, so you shouldn't suffer too much with aching arms. In general the s5000 is a comfortable camera to hold, feeling nicely balanced in the hands.
Instead of a through-the-lens optical viewfinder, The S5000 uses an electronic viewfinder (or 'EVF'), meaning that when you look through the eyepiece you'll actually be looking at a tiny LCD screen. Electronic viewfinders in general do take a little getting used to, but once you've used them for a while the experience is very natural. As well as composing your images through the s5000's EVF, you can also use it review the pictures you have taken - this is great in sunny conditions when the rear LCD is too reflective to see. Speaking of which, the camera's main LCD screen is rather small - tiny in fact at only 1.5 inches. That said, it's nice and sharp, displaying colours with vibrancy.
The Lens & Flash
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One of the s5000's main selling points is its 10x optical zoom lens, which is the equivalent of 37-370mm on a 35mm camera. If you want to use a 55mm filter with the lens, you'll need to attach the AR-FX5 adaptor, which handily comes complete with the camera when new. The lens comprises good quality Fujinon glass which limits distortions - there is however a touch of barrel distortion but nothing major. Starting at an aperture of f2.8, the lens is pretty good in lower light conditions, and ultimately I found it to be a decent camera for festival use. In terms of a macro mode, the camera will allow you to focus as close as 10 cms, which isn't especially impressive by today's standards. In regards to the flash, the camera's pop-up unit has an impressive range - it will happily illuminate to around twenty footy. There's plenty of flash modes to play around with too, including slow syncro, red-eye reduction, suppressed & forced, plus the good 'ol 'Auto' setting.
Image Quality, Battery Life, & Camera Speed
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On the whole, the s5000 manages to take high quality images - in daylight especially, the camera can compete with many of the supposedly "superior" cameras that I've owned since. By default I've found that shots are sharp throughout the zoom range, clear, and of the correct exposure. The only real downside is the fact that JPEG compression is a little high - good news for those who are after small file sizes, but you can see evidence of compression artifacts in solid areas of colour. Selectable ISO settings range between ISO 200, 400, & 800 - the lowest two are fairly respectable in terms of image noise, although ISO 800 is best reserved for emergencies.
The s5000 takes four AA batteries which i've found to last a reasonable amount of time before they need changing. The official line from Fuji is 280 shots, and I have found this to be just about correct. The camera will last even longer if you use the NiMh variety of recharchables, which are available relatively cheaply from Amazon. Speed-wise, the s5000 was considered quick when it was first released, but it's a little slow when compared to the cameras released in the last few years. The start-up time is roughly three seconds, whereas the shutter lag is around a quarter of a second per shot.
Additional Features + Final Word
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If you're after a camera with superb video capabilities, then the s5000 won't be for you - the movie mode maxes out at a maximum resolution of 320 x 240 pixels at thirty frames per second. The optical zoom lens is not useable during recording, although you can set it before you start. Storage wise, the camera takes the XD variety of memory cards - which, although not obsolete, are not as widely supported as they used to be. Finally, a quick word about the camera's menu system which is intuitive and should be able to be used by novices and experts alike.
Overall - the FinePix s5000 is a really good little camera, combining an impressive image quality with a solid build and ease of use. The only thing lacking about the camera is its megapixel count - and although the old adage of "Megapixels aren't everything" is very true, having just three will be a significant issue for those who like to print large or crop their images. What's especially good about the camera is the fact that it's fun to use and very reliable - plus the quality of the zoom lens is second to none.
I bought this camera from a relative in 2004 with the idea of using it for taking family and holiday snaps but soon realised that this camera is able to produce high quality shots too. I take it everywhere with me. Excellent for all new to photography. Looking at it now it seems quite outdated with its 3.1 MP specification and is unable to compete with the latest models, but still a great camera none the less. Becuase of this you can pick one up pretty cheap.
Megapixels, shemegapixels! Yes, you heard me. Here I am, pooh-poohing what seems to have become the zenith feature of digital cameras - the pixel count. You know why? Because I can't really see the difference between a picture taken with a 1mp camera and a 10mp camera - that's why. But ask me if I can see the difference between a 2x zoom and a 10x zoom? Then, yes, the truth is, I certainly can with no doubts whatsoever. And that's why my son was easily able to convince me to buy the Fujifilm FinePix S5000 digital camera - because it not only has a 10x optical zoom, it also has a 2.2x digital zoom, which (if you know your maths) will tell you that this camera can zoom up to a whopping 22x! Uh, huh, you read me right - 22 times! Stick that into your pixels and mega it, baby! Of course, if the rest of the camera wasn't also good, I wouldn't be able to tell you more, so here goes.
Let me get the boring stuff out of the way here. This camera is a 3.1megapixel camera (but goes up to 6.6mp interpolated - whatever that means) and comes with a 32mb xD picture memory card, which will probably store anywhere between 36 and 180 pictures (depending on the size and resolution of the pictures you choose to take). These memory cards are pretty cheap these days and it would be well advised to get another card or two of at least 265mb, if not more, so you can fiddle with the resolution of the pictures and still have room to take hundreds of photos as well as a movie or two.
The software that comes with this camera is pretty basic, and I'm not at all sure you really need to install it. You can download your pictures directly from the camera via a USB cable and most operating systems today will recognize the connection as soon as you plug it in and you can download by cutting and pasting just as easily - if not more efficiently - than using the software. Note that the USB connection here is 1.1 and not 2.0 so it shouldn't cause any problems with connecting to older computers, but the downloading will take a tad more time - however, not enough so that you'd really notice it, if you ask me.
Also, if you have an HP printer like I have, I've noticed that their software automatically let's you download your pictures to any specified folder when you plug your camera in. Now there may be other printers with similar software so you might want to check that before you start fiddling with brand new programs on your computer. In that sense, while we found that the software we got was perfectly fine, we never bothered to use it after the first time since my son decided that there were other photo editing programs around that were much better - including Picasa2 from Google.
First of all, this really looks like a 'real' camera. Just take a look at the picture of it up there. It looks sturdy, like something that you can really hold onto. Like a 35mm camera used to look. Not like these little nitty-bitty things you see all over that look like you'd use them once and toss them away. This is really substantial. It has a curved part on the side that you can get a good grip onto, which looks similar to the area where the roll of film used to go. Actually, that's where the batteries are stored. It has a big lens on the front and the usual buttons on the top. It also has a screen at the back and some buttons there, like ones for using that screen. What's more important is that the view finder has one of those bits of soft plastic around it so that when you put your eye up to the finder as little disturbing light will get in, so you can see the shot you're trying to take more clearly. This is something that's usually reserved for your more professional cameras - including the reflex ones (reflex is another way of referring to still, film cameras, in case you didn't know).
I don't want to get terribly technical here, but there are a few things that are especially good about this camera. Firstly, all of the automatic modes for taking your normal, run of the mill portrait or landscape pictures work very well and you'll be easily able to identify them on the wheel at the top of the camera. It also has the usual buttons for taking continuous shots - you know, for when you want the camera to take a whole bunch of pictures one immediately after the other without having to keep pushing the button for each and every one of the pictures. I've never found that handy, but I'm sure some of you might find a use for it, and if you do, you can take from 5 up to 40 in a row, depending on how you set the camera.
There's also a 'fast action' mode for taking shots of things that are moving. Of course, if you're like me, you can just set it for "Auto" and click away. Taking a picture with the flash is as easy as pushing the button to have the flash bit flip up and the camera will know to use it. Essentially, for those who don't want to plow through a huge instruction book, you'll be able to "point and shoot" with this camera and come up with some really beautiful shots.
But if you're into reading the instructions - like my son was - you'll find some really nifty things to do with this camera. For instance, you can take black & white pictures with this camera. You can fiddle with the light meter and play with exposure so that you can brighten or darken the picture you're taking without having to add a flash. You can also adjust the shutter speed so that pictures can look less or more blurry when you're trying to capture something moving. There's also an option to be able to take short movies with this camera, and depending on the size of your memory card, you could take several minutes worth of movies on this camera. There's also a built in microphone so your movies will include sound to them.
Finally, my son showed me that when you've taken the picture, you can fiddle with it when its on the screen, even before downloading it. Of course, you can also delete a picture you don't like while its still in the camera, but it seems to me that most of the time people don't do that much unless they're running out of memory space. These days with 1giga plus memory cards available, I see that function becoming the least used one on any digital camera.
My Two Niggles:
Now, while this looks like it might be heavy from its shape, its actually relatively light, even when you have the batteries in. This camera takes four AA batteries, which seem to take up almost half of the weight of the camera itself. And as for the battery life of this camera - I'd say its average to fair. I've seen my kids go through 8-12 batteries over a long weekend of touring and site seeing. Most people would agree with me that anyone using a digital camera for any length of time would want to invest in a good set of rechargeable batteries and charger, especially if they don't want to go broke during a vacation. So, one of the things I would have preferred on this camera would have been if it was fitted with a Li-On rechargeable battery instead of using the AA ones.
I should mention that the view finder is another small drawback on this camera. The problem is that either you look through the viewfinder OR you look at the screen on the back, but you can't actually do both because they are electronically connected. What this means is that what you're seeing through the viewfinder is in reality the exact same digital viewing from the screen of what the lens will pick up. So, when you look through the viewfinder you're not actually seeing through the lens itself. Some digital cameras have the viewfinder being what your lens will pick up and the screen being the digital view of what the lens is seeing. (In those cases, you'll probably be able to use both the screen and the viewfinder at the same time.) The disadvantage of this is that because of the teeny-tiny delay between the lens and the image you're seeing, you might not actually succeed in getting the totally precise picture you're aiming at. I do think I would have preferred a real optical viewfinder in addition to the digital screen.
The Best Part:
Of course, the best part about this camera is the relatively large lens and the amazing zoom you can get with this camera. It seems to me that this is really what makes the difference between a good picture and a really great one. You see, those little lenses just can't give you the clarity and depth that a good sized lens can. And with these little digital cameras, you're totally stuck with what you buy in the package. This camera, however, has the possibility of adding a wide-angle lens or a teleconversion lens onto it for taking even more professional looking shots. But even without that, the zoom and lens here are truly of high quality.
What's more, with this camera you can be a total amateur and still have your pictures coming out looking professional without having to wade through the whole instruction book. On the other hand, if you want to read the instruction book (which is a very good one, by the way), then you can use this camera with all its bells and whistles and take truly fantastic pictures.
My son took this camera with him to Africa and the pictures he got were totally amazing. From flora to fauna, practically every shot looks very professional without ever needing to use any photo editing programs to fix them up. I'd love to download all the pictures he took for you, but unfortunately that's not possible here, so you'll just have to take my word for it.
Bottom Line - this is a really professional looking camera, which is just as great for the amateur shooter as it is for the more seasoned ones. While it looks heavy, it really isn't even though it uses 4 AA batteries. The viewfinder is unfortunately digital, but that's and the batteries are its only downfalls. Most importantly, its easy to use and takes great pictures and has lots of great features for those who really get into fiddling around with these things. I'll recommend it and give it 4 stars.
Thanks for reading!
Davida Chazan © January, 2006
Full information about this camera can be found on the FujiFilm web page at http://tinyurl.com/dnsbo
At the time of writing this review, Pricerunner.co.uk only found one retailer selling this camera and that was at That Camera Place and they have this camera in stock and are selling it (delivered) for £305.99.
This camera has been replaced by newer models but you can still find them on Ebay - I found them there going for £70-£100 - or reconditioned from your local camera shop, which is what we did, and at the time, including the extra xD card, and a carrying case, it cost us about £235 back in March of 2005.
Amazon.co.uk sells the teleconversion lens for this for £88.99
Fuji Finepix s5000/s5000z Introduction: This is a camera aimed at the midrange market, costing around £200-£300. with a feature set including: - 10x optical zoom - 2.2x digital zoom - program mode - shutter priority mode - apeture priority mode - manual mode - preset modes for sport/landscapes/portraits - manual focus - macro mode and various other functions you'd expect on a camera such as flash, redeye..etc..etc. all in all quite a feature filled camera for £200. Casing: The casing of the camera is black plastic with a black rubberised material covering the body, it feels both light and comfortable to hold, and yet sturdy. the camera body is rather a small one, those of you with big hands might have some trouble holding the camera securely (this can be resolved with a few modifications however). the lense housing does "rattle" for want of a better word, if you touch the lense housing you will notice that it does have some play in it, however your not meant to be holding the thing so as to be touching the lense but rather meant to have the adaptor tube fitted at all times, which protects it perfectly, and gives you somewhere to place a hand for some stability. button placement/manual focus: the buttons seem well placed on the camera body, there are one or two niggles, but you soon adapt to them. for instance, the photo quality buttons and evf/lcd switching button are above the lcd, whilst this may seem logical i would have loved to be able to change photo quality with my right thumb rather than having to take one hand away and change position in order to do so. the multi directional arrows used for menu navigation are easy to press and well placed, with the shutter button and photo mode knobs also equally as well placed very much like a normal slr camera. same with
the manual focus arrangement, its quite awkward the first few goes to keep the camera steady, keep looking through the viewfinder (I simply prefer to use a camera they were intended to use in the first place rather than watch a glorified tv screen) and change the focus, and there is also no indication of maximum/minimum with regards to the focus control, with a lense based ring... it stops when you have focused as far as you can go.. with this button arrangement it becomes awkward to discern how far you have left to go. LCD/EVF: The LCD is a 1.5" affair, nice definition, and very clear to see even in bright sunlight. The EVF is a fantastic tool, replicating all of the same information provided on the lcd, It can appear grainy at times and is clearly set to a lower resolution than the LCD display, however I still prefer it to using the LCD to frame my shots. One problem that does affect both of these is that they only show around 89% of total frame size... you have a further 11% of a frame which is in essence out of view to you, so its very easy to end up with someones hand or head in the shot when it was not intended, This is easily corrected by software but its just a shame in the end. Storage: This camera as like most (if not all) Fuji camera's uses Fuji's propriatory flash card medium known as the XD card. a 16mb card is supplied with the camera (which quite frankly is a poor show by fuji as most manufacturers will supply a 32mb card as standard), but they range in size all the way up to 512mb for around £100. Because its a propriatory format they are sold in less places than the usual SD card, or Compact Flash, and they are often more expensive, they are also a problem when it comes to buying readers for them, as most 5 in 1 bay readers for a computer will no
t accept them without first purchasing an adapter. Picture Quality: Top Notch, with a 3.1MPixel Super CCD sensor when set on the highest quality (NOT RAW) the images seem closer to that of 5mp rather than 3mp cameras, and its because of this I believe its image quality is better than most other cameras in the 3mp class. Colours are captured well in almost all light situations, and I've yet to have a picture that appeared to be washed out of colour. The camera's on board processing software does tend to Oversharpen images when left on the "normal" sharpness setting and as such you will probably find most users take pictures using the "soft" setting and then sharpen them up on the computer. If you wish to have the best quality pics however, the S5000 supports RAW mode, which allows you to save the information taken directly from the CCD sensor with NO processing being done by the camera, and it being uncompressed, be aware though 1 RAW picture has a size of around 8Mb!... so with the supplied 16Mb card you will find yourself running back and forth to the computer every 5 seconds, its clear to take full advantage of this function you would need at least a 256mb card if not a 512mb card which allows around 37ish images in RAW mode. Additional Features: The camera comes with a 55mm Adaptor which is intended to be affixed to the camera at all times, it allows you to add filters, and additional lenses to the camera in order to get more functionality out of it, and full praise goes to fuji for providing this in the package. Macro Mode, when used correctly its very impressive, however I am only an amateur and as such I have been unable to use it to the maximum of its abilities and so I can
only comment slightly on it. Video with sound, Very impressive feature to find included on this sort of camera, at 320x240 it isnt going to be winning any oscars or baftas, however the quality is sufficient and the addition of sound is a great bonus, its great for those moments when you wish you had taken your camcorder out with you but hadnt. the 16mb card can take around 30 seconds of video with the largest 512mb taking around 20mins. Two PC Modes, the camera supports two methods of being connected to your PC, one purely as a removable drive in order to get the pictures off of the camera and onto your computer. The other... as a web camera, normally this feature is exluded from the more expensive camera's such as this and its nice to see it still offered in this case. Changing between these modes is done via a menu item within the "setup" menu. One negative point about this is the lack of an AC Adaptor, webcam mode does tend to drain your batteries very fast indeed. Battery Life, Very Long indeed, in many comparison reviews the fuji s5000 lasted many times longer than its nearest rival. Great considering it takes 4 AA's and so each time they run out it does cost a little more to replace, I highly recommend getting a set of rechargeble batteries they will pay for themselves many many times over. Conclusion: A very good camera for the money, and feature packed for the amateur photographer, more professional photographers would perhaps consider the S7000 (the bigger brother of the S5000) rather than this camera, however for someone just starting out to someone looking for a camera to use as a hobby item this is a great buy. Capital letters courtesy of: http://www.chuckleweb.co.uk/fixit.php
This is quite an amazing piece of kit. The Fuji S5000 boasts quality. It even feels like an SLR, although don't be confused, it isn't! I have bought Fuji cameras for quite sometime, they always seem to deliver and to be quite honest, I've always found them to be the most user friendly cameras around. I am not a professional photographer, but this camera makes you feel like one. The quality of the images is just unbelievable. They are sharp, clear, very life-like. Whether its scenery, people, macro shots or just plain fun snapping, the images are super. It's difficult to take a bad picture with this camera. The optical zoom is fantastic. It has 10x optical zoom and 2.2x digital zoom, in total thats 22x zoom. Don't be fooled by cameras stating they can zoom rediculous times like 100x zoom, because digital zoom doesn't really mean anything, digital zoom is just magnifying the digital image, optical zoom is literally zooming in with a lense before the photo is taken. If you are going to be using the camera for a lot of zoom shooting, I suggest getting a tripod for your camera as a steady hand is needed! This camera also features a movie mode and sound recording mode, I was very impressed by the quality of the movies as normally they are very poor when built into digital cameras, also they sound recording is very clear for a product of this nature. This camera has far too many features to mention, but at the same time it is very user friendly, if you are the first time photographer, you will be able to pic this camera up and take great photos in seconds, if you are a professional photographer there is plenty of features for you to play about with. For the price you are paying, this camera is a must buy. I have yet to find a fault with it!