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I've had my Finepix for around 3 years now, and as of yet have no complaints about it. I bought it primarily for the 10x optical zoom (so I could take better photographs of nearby birds), and because I wanted a camera where I could change settings etc. A digital SLR was far too complicated and far too expensive, so this was the next best thing. I thought I could learn a bit more about photography by using it, and although I've had a play with all the features I have to admit I really haven't taken it any further. Most of the time I just shoot in Auto mode, but happily this has led to some great results (my best picture being a close up of a puffin spreding it's wings, whilst on Skomer).
The camera itself is relatively light for it's size and I never have any trouble carrying it about whilst nature watching or sight seeing. It's a bit cumbersome to take to events such as meals or birthday parties, so if you want a camera primarily for this type of photography, stick with a compact one. The black with silver trim looks nice and the Finepix is very comfortable to hold due to the soft rubbery coating on the right hand side (unless you're left handed I suppose). The button layout is very intuitive with the on/off dial and shutter release operated by your right hand fore finger and the zoom, menu, flash, macro etc. buttons as well as the features dial easily operated by your thumb, whilst in hold. The features dial is something I particularly like as it means time spent looking at menus is minimised - you simply rotate the dial to the shooitng mode you want. The camera really is easy to use. The LCD screen, whilst smaller than other cameras is clear and bright, and you can also choose to view the scene through the viewfinder. The camera also has a screw hole beneath it, so it can be attached to the quick release clip of a tripod.
As I've already mentioned I do most of my photography in auto mode - switching to night time, landscape and macro mode as needed, and often manually operating the flash, which is as easy as turning it to on, off or to auto. The other modes are anti - shake and natural light. For those wanting more control the size of the aperture can be changed (F3.2 to F8) as can the shutter speed. Continuous shooting is available, which I have used, with a degree of success, when photographing birds. The Fuji Finepix S5600 also has a video mode. This takes up a lot of memory on the memory card, but is a really handy thing to have - just make sure you have enough room! It's worth mentioning that you cannot use the zoom whilst in this mode.
When taking a picture, you first depress the shutter button half way, and the camera focuses and then you press it fully to take the picure. In my opinion, the shutter release is really fast, and much better than many other digital cameras I have tried. Although the images taken are sharp and clear, at 5.1 mexapixels you can't blow them up too big without loosing some clarity. If I was buying now - I would definitely try and get something for more pixels. The camera is good at taking close up shots, and 55mm lenses (such as macro lenses) can be screwed on the end of the integral lens, which gives more control to take pictures how you want. I use extra macro lenses to take photos of moths!
The Fuji Finepix S5600 takes 4 AA batteries, and although the battery life is very good it's definitely worth getting rechargeable ones, if you don't want to keep forking out cash when they die. It takes an XD memory card which I have no problem with other than the fact that if it took an SD one, I could transfer the images easily to other media (such as my Nintendo Wii), so it is slightly annoying.
All in all, I'd say this is a fine camera and good value for money (£150 when I bought it, probably less now). It's a great bridging camera for those wanting to learn more about photography - if they have the time! That said, nowdays you could problably pick up something with more mexapixels for a similar price.
I bought this camera in the summer of 2007, a week before setting off to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Thought my little canon compact probably wouldn't do the landscape justice. This is an excellent bridge camera, packed with good features and opportunity to work in either point and shoot mode or to start to learn the craft of photography and learn what the effect of altering different settings such as light balance can have.
I have used the camera for nearly two years now and have no real complaints. The battery life, if operating without the flash, is excellent. The camera feels sturdy in your hands, with a reassuring weight to it that suggests robustness. It looks and feels well made, and mine has now survived trekking in Africa and backpacking round Europe without any problems.
There are plentiful different modes of shooting and an easy to use interface to navigate between settings. The video mode shoots good high quality stuff with excellent sound quality, although to my mind I don't think I have tired to video in low light conditions so couldn't tell you how it would perform. Landscape, anti-shake, and fast shoot modes are available just to name a few as is the ability to take multiple shots with one squeeze of the trigger, useful for moving objects.
The 10x optical zoom was a big draw for me and doesn't disappoint. However I would switch off the digital zoom as the quality of the shot is compromised when you use it. Don't be put off if you think 5.1 mega pixels won't be enough. I have had a canvas printed at 60 x 30cm of a photo taken with this camera and it looks fantastic. You really don't need masses of mega pixels unless you plan on printing above say 1 metre square.
Whilst the iso range seems impressive, my advice would be to avoid the highest setting unless you really know what you are doing. Otherwise unless the light is perfect results can come out grainy, particularly when shooting distance objects. I would leave this setting in auto mode or set it at iso 800 (one below the top setting) for best results.
One of the best features of the interface is the F button, located on the bottom right of the back of the camera. When pressed it allows you to quickly alter the settings for the size of the images being taken (lower sizes will use up less memory if you are running out of space on a card), iso settings and colour settings.
The software provided is adequate for the needs of most, can't say I've used it much, I like to just print my pictures naturally without trying to enhance them.
Overall I really can't fault this camera. It offers outstanding value for money and I would thoroughly recommend it for somebody interested in moving their photography up a step towards SLR shooting. I think the current Amazon price is £80 which is an absolute bargain! Buy this camera and you will not be disappointed.
Great Bridge Camera
The Fuji S5700 is what's known as a "bridge camera" because it bridges the gap between compact digital cameras and proper grown-up digital cameras with detachable lens, otherwise known as SLRs. Most people choose a bridge camera because they want something a bit more sophisticated and a bit more flexible than a compact, but they don't want the hassle of lugging around all the extra kit a real SLR entails. The Fuji S5700 is a great bridge camera. It's easy to use as a compact point and shoot camera. Leave it on the Auto setting and it takes great pictures for you, without you having to worry about aperture setting or shutter speed. But if you want to start learning a bit more about photography the Fuji S5700 is a great place to start. It has a completely manual mode that allows you to set the basics like aperture and shutter speed. Plus it has some really interesting modes that fall between the two extremes of fully Automatic or Manual.
Why I Bought the Fuji S5700
The current thinking amongst makers of high tech gadgets like digital cameras, mobile phones and mp3 players seems to be that smaller is better. But for a sizable portion of the population this isn't the case. And in my case this has all come to a head since I developed MS. My illness means that I walk with a cane and that at times my hands shake. I tend to drop things and I'm clumsier than I used to be. The older I get the less I'm impressed by tiny teeny gadgets. There is nothing to get a hold off, the buttons are just too tiny to be practical and the whole thing just doesn't feel substantial enough. Not with the Fuji S5700. It fits nicely into my hand. I can easily hold it in my right hand and support myself with my cane in my left. The hand grip is good sized, with a non-slip rubber like coating, with plenty of room on the back for my thumb and it houses the 4 AA batteries so the weight of the lens is well balanced. Since the Fuji S5700 comes with a good solid neck strap, even if I do drop it I know it will be okay. The buttons and controls are all conveniently located, feel solid and substantial, and are at just the right level of responsiveness, not to stiff to use, but not so easy to push that they get set off by mistake. The card is housed with the batteries, which put me off a little at first, as this arrangement can be fiddly to deal with, but so far it's caused no real problems.
Aside from the usual family snap shots of days out I was also looking for a camera to take photos of my craft work to post on my blog. The Fuji S5700 has a macro mode that allows you to focus in on objects at a very close range. I've been experimenting and I'm very impressed with the quality of photos I've been able to take, without any specialised equipment like a tripod or a lightbox.
General Photo Quality
The Fuji S5700 takes great photos in Auto Mode. Inside or out the colours are crisp and strong without being either washed out or too punched up looking. The zoom lens means you can take close ups and focus in on details. The manual does a good job of explaining all the functions and setting, and has allowed me to start experimenting with some of the more advanced features on the camera as soon as I took it out of the box.
So why choose the Fuji S5700 over its competitors
The Fuji S5700 isn't the only camera with many of the features and attributes I've just described. But before choosing it, I looked at several very similar cameras. So why did I choose this specific one? First of all, it felt best in my hand. It had the right weight balance and the best hand grip. Second, it was just marginally smaller than the others I looked at meaning that it fit comfortably into my inside jean-jacket pocket. Third, was the price. The Fuji S5700 provided the best value for money deal. It had all the features I was looking for at the best price.
I would highly recommend the Fuji S5700 to anyone looking for a camera that is more substantial than a compact, either in terms of its physical size or in terms of what the camera can actually do.
A wonderful camera and exceptional value.
I am delighted with this camera after many months of usage. It takes superb photos and was recommended by a professional for me to take semi-professional photos. Perfect clear images. Robust yet very light. Great zoom. Ability to use a superior xD card. Very good video although unable to use zoom function while recording however the microphone is very sensitive and picks up individual voices clearly. Easy menu and functions. Everything is very well laid out.
The software provided is also easy to install and use. Very easy to download pictures and videos onto PC. Ability to protect individual pictures or video to eliminate accidental deletion. However, to be honest, accidentally deleting photos/videos is hard as it clearly states if you want to delete the photo/video after hitting the delete button.
The LCD monitor is large enough to clearly see what you want. Very easy to adjust brightness. The picture you see is the picture you get, very very little time difference if any at all.
There are so many very useful functions that I have still yet to use and I use this camera semi-professionally. Even for those "holiday" snaps it will produce outstanding photos/videos for the most novice.
The basics can be easily learnt in a couple of hours.
Everything about this camera works and fujifilm really have hit it on the head with the finepix range surpassing olympus like for like.
I purchased this camera for 160 maltese lira (equivalent to about £250 sterling) and im not bothered at all by prices being much lower simply because its an outstanding camera and worth every penny. I will have and frequently use this camera for many many years to come. You will not be dissapointed with this camera.
It is my 2nd digi cam, for about 6 months now been havey used and very pleased with it, getting the hang of the manual functions M S P and A now.The startup speed from Off to making a picture and the speed of making pictures one after one is very good.I paid 249.- for it. See http://www.digital-versand.de/
I have purchased a "refurbished" model direct from Fuji (£150) and I can't fault it.
I'm a bit worried that the rechargeable batteries (4 x AAs) might let me down so keep a spare set on charge.
Took over 1000 snaps with it in Croatia and swapped batteries 3 or 4 times..
Took a test snap of a church tower about 1 1/2 miles away and the zoom, though fuzzy, clearly showed individual tiles on the roof! impressive.
First thing I did was buy a 1gb card - stores over 1000 3 megapixel shots. I suppose one day I'll find a need to take higher resolution shots but, if I do, the camera should be able to handle it - 3 mp are good enough for me for up to A4 prints.
My brother-in-law thinks it's a toy camera due to it's size, but he can afford camera bodies that alone cost ten times of this camera!
Ive been using this camera for about a month now and have been impressed at how well it performs.
Outdoors the camera gives a very high level of detail and gives true reproductions of shaded areas even in exceptonally bright/dull conditions.
Indoors the camera is again impressive and gives sharp, detailed pictures without any fuss.
The pop-up flash easily illuminates rooms in complete darkness and gives sufficiant light for some decent pics.
The ten times optical zoom is great and out-performs some higher priced digital cameras. The lens is equivalent to 38-380mm in 35mm format. There is also a 5.7x digital zoom feature. For close up photography the camera can focus from 10cms away from the subject.
For scrolling through images and accessing the menu system there is a 1.8 inch LCD screen. The menu screen is quick and easy to use and with a bit of practice you can navigate through it in seconds. The screen has a brightness control to help you see the screen in lowlight.
shutter time is pretty fast and can take a picture every 1.5 seconds or so. Also havent seen any red-eye in the 200+ pics ive taken.
The 16mb xD Picture card supplied however is pretty poor and only takes 12 pictures so you will almost certainly need to buy a bigger card. Most cameras come with these crappy cards so I cant really fault the camera for it.
Overall I cant see any negatives in the camera. The picture quality is almost always superb and looks and performs like cameras twice its price.
I find it to be very easy to use and fantastic value for money.