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Are you at that stage where your point and shoot digital camera is not quite giving you the pictures that you require but you do not yet feel comfortable with moving on to a DSLR? Well here's the camera for you, known as a bridge type camera the Fujifilm S8000fd offers you the choice of taking brilliant photos on auto mode where the camera does all the adjustments for you or the chance to take control of aperatures, white balance and ISO`s to choose exactly the outcome you require for each photo you take.
The S8000fd really does produce top quality images that to the untrained eye could easily pass for professional. It can be used to take extreme close ups known as Macro shots to super zoom shots due to its amazing lens system which offers up to an 18x optical zoom the camera also comes with not one but two built in anti-shake systems to prevent blur from camera movement allowing you to take full advantage of the awesome zoom lens without using a tripod.
THE LENS SYSTEM
Type: Zoom lens - 4.7 mm - 84.2 mm - f/2.8-4.5
Focal Length: 4.7 mm - 84.2 mm
Focal Length Equivalent to 35mm Camera: 27 - 486mm
Focus Adjustment: Automatic, manual
Auto Focus: TTL contrast detection
Min Focus Range: 70 cm
Macro Focus Range: 1cm
Lens Aperture: F/2.8-4.5
Optical Zoom: 18 x
Zoom Adjustment: Motorised drive
I have been trying out this camera for over a month as well as offering lessons on how to get the best out of it and I can honestly say I have been very surprised by just how good the camera really is. When shooting Macro a professional would use a specially designed Macro lens which this camera does not have but what this camera does have is a built in Macro setting which forces the lens to act as a Macro lens offering amazing results. Before using this camera I would have been very sceptical as to the outcome of macro shots taken in this manor but the results were very impressive.
As well as being impressed by the Macro shots the shots at half zoom or above were also very impressive. Usually by the time a camera is at half zoom the photos are starting to show signs of blur especially those outdoor shots in tricky conditions but because of the anti-shake system in the S8000fd you really can go a step or two further before your images start to suffer. If you use a tripod you can use the full 18x optical zoom and even venture into the digital zoom whilst still producing very useable images.
Most cameras of this type although
they may claim to offer the option of adjusting things like white balance, ISO settings, aperatures and even flash settings most are very limited in what they actually offer. The S8000fd however branches further into this than any other non DSLR camera and can even challenge some of the lower range DSLR`s. It offers a wide range of settings that would suit both the rank amateur and the serious photographer although if you were venturing into the professional photography market this camera would not be of high enough spec for most.
I used this camera to do a mock outdoor photo shoot (using members of my photography club rather than models) and I also used it do to some waterscape shots of local lakes and rivers. The fast shutter speeds offered by this camera allowed me to catch vibrant, clear and beautiful shots of the rolling water on rivers and the ability to use slower, longer shutter speeds meant that even as night was beginning to fall and the sun had gone the outdoor photo shoot was still in full flow either with or without the use of the flash.
The photos taken at night fall with no flash are still fairly clear due to the slow shutter speeds and the colour in them is still very crisp and clear which you would not get with an average camera without flash. Now you may be wondering why I would bother with shutter speeds and not just use the flash well the reason for it is simple, if you use the flash it just comes out as a brightly lit image as if taken in day light where as a slow shutter speed will allow you to catch the brightness and colour of the people in the photo but retain the atmospheric night background and really goes to offer much more to the photo than a flash would.
So with all these fancy settings at your finger tip how easy will they be to use? Well the answer is very in most cases, if you already have some experience of using these settings then you should breeze through using this camera, if you have no experience then a good read of the manual and plenty practice and you will be taking manual set photos as though you had been doing it all your life.
There is a built in histogram on the LCD display should you wish to use it as a guide for setting your camera up, the histogram shows how the 256 possible levels of brightness are distributed in an image. A histogram can show if there is enough detail in shadow, midtone and highlight areas of an image. An image that uses the entire dynamic range of the camera will have a reasonable number of pixels spread out over all levels of brightness. In short it will help you get the best possible image without over or under exposure often giving a much better result than letting the camera decide for you.
Another very clever pre set setting on this camera is the face detection mode, now in the past I have run down so called face detection setting in cameras because they just did not seem to do what they claimed but the one on this camera is very impressive and much faster than others. Face detection is used to pick out and focus in on faces in portrait shots allowing the true skin tone and colour to come through on the image even if you are not using the best lighting or flash equipment, it can also remove any red eye from the shot before storing the image to your memory card.
Now for me as well as having all the right settings and functions a camera must be reliable and robust and the build quality of this camera is as good as anything else about it. Despite its plastic body it feels very strong and solid and has a good weight about it without being considered too heavy. I like to feel a camera in my hands and with this one weighing in at a little over 500g with its batteries in place it feels very good to hold.
The S8000fd also has a very fast start up and shut down speed which is ideal for when you suddenly see something you just have to capture, in less than 3 seconds your camera can be switched on and ready to go and then with the touch of one sliding button put back to sleep in under 2 seconds.
So over all I would say that the S8000fd is a very smart, eye catching and extremely versatile camera which will produce very high quality images regardless of which type of photography it is used for. When you then consider that it can be found in some places for the ridiculously low price of £150 it is clearly a far better buy than some of the point and shoots in that price range. I am a very avid fan of the Sony cyber-shot range of point and shoots and what they can achieve but some of the better cyber-shots still retail over £200 so I would recommend this for value for money every time.
It is also worth noting that unlike DSLR cameras this camera also has the ability to capture video clips and does so very well at 30 frames per second. So it can be an all round family camera as well as a serious photographer's tool.
Lens Fujinon 18X Optical zoom lens , F2.8 - F4.5 Lens Focal Length f=4.7mm - 84.2 mm, Equivalent to 27- 486 mm on a 35mm camera
Aperture F2.8- F8.0, 10 steps in 1/3 EV increment
Digital Zoom Approx 5.1X
Focus Distance Normal : Wide angle :Approx. 70cm/2.3 ft to infinity, Telephoto :Approx. 1.5 m/4.9 ft to infinity Macro : Wide angle :Approx. 10cm/0.3 ft to 80cm/2.6ft Telephoto :Approx. 1.2m/3.9 ft to 3.2m/10.5ft Super Macro : Approx 1cm /0.4 in. to 1m /3.3 ft.
Shooting Modes Mode dial : Auto, PS(Anti-Blur), Natural Light,Natural Light& with Flash, SP1, SP2, P, A, S, M, Movie SP1/SP2 : Portrait,Landscape,Sport,Night,Fireworks,Sunset,Sn ow,Beach,Museum,Party, Flower,Text, Auction
Image Stabilizer CCD-shift type
Shutter speed 4sec. to 1/2000 sec. (depend on Shooting mode)
Movie Recording 640 x 480 pixels, 30 frames/sec. 320 x 240 pixels, 30 frames/sec. With monaural sound, With Electronic Image Stabilization.
Sorry for the list but it does only contain vital information for anyone serious about spending their hard earned money on this camera. The final word from me will be to say that when you purchase this camera it comes with a Neck strap, wrist strap, AV and USB cables, CD ROM, PC and Mac software, manual but no camera case. It would be my recommendation that at the first available opportunity you purchase a case to look after your camera when you are on the move.
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