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I bought a Fuji becaue my uncle is a professional photographer and he recommended them. Finepix is said to be one of the best brands in the business, and this camera doesn't disappoint.
-What's in the box:
You get your camera(!), Batteries (Awful, switch to rechargeables), Memory Card (16mb, waay too small), Cables, Straps, Manuals, Driver CD - that's the important stuff anyway, you get a few bits and pieces that are not worth mentioning here.
The finepix has a ~9 MP sensor, a 10.2X optical zoom, a 2X digital zoom, 1/4000-30secs shutter speed (and bulb mode), built in flash, auto focus, focusing ring, 1cm macro mode.
The number of megapixels is not really important - that's basically how big the picture will be. The zoom however is exceptional - you can zoom in on practically anything perfectly, without distortion. The shutter speed can be set to auto, or manual - i like it on manual, although if you're indoors, it has a tendancy to underexpose at high speed if you're not using a flash. The flash is a flip up one on the top - it's bright, but doesn't flood the picture either (great for parties!).
The focus ring is something which is handy if you have time to spare, a tripod or you're doing macro shots. 1cm at 9mp is very, very good for macro photography on a non-SLR camera.
Well, it looks like an SLR, it's chunky, feels robust and has a nice grip. The zoom lens sticks out quite a way - this is NOT a compact camera by any means. The LCD screen is pin sharp, responsive and is adjustable (you can tilt it for ease of use). I personally think it's great.
The start up time is impressive - you can turn it on and shoot in under 3 seconds, very handy for candid shots of friends wehn they're not expecting it - or if you're more professional, you can take shots of events as they happen (sounds cliched, but it's tried and tested). The dial on the top lets you switch between modes, including Manual, Auto, Night, Anti-Blur. I would recommend using Auto while you get used to the camera, then use manual (you can tweak the shutter speed, aperture, etc.). There are settings for normal, monochrome and FujiChrome (high contrast, bit like KodaChrome prints) - i love the results that chrome gets, especially if taking nature shots.
The zoom takes a bit of getting used to if you've used two buttons all your life. It allows much better control and gives better pictures. Using the autofocus button is a piece of pie too, just point and click :)
The playback menu is nice, it looks simple and functional and also has digital zoom functions. The pictures look nice and sharp - so you can see easily whether it's save or erase. Not much more to it than that!
I personally don't use the supplied software because i think it's a waste of space (unless you take RAW pictures). Plug the camera into the usb slot with the cable provided and use the standard camera wizard to copy the images across.
The menus on the camera are easy to navigate (a simple D-Pad on the camera is used) and are clearly labelled. You can change just about everything you need.
This is a nifty little button on the left side of the camera that displays a histogram of the current scene (such as those in photoshop) - useful for pro photographers, otherwise more of a curio.
I would suggest you immediately buy a set of 2000+mA NiMh batteries as the supplied alkaline batteries are terrible. As a general rule, always use rechargeable - the camera is NOT compatible with NiCad as the heat damages the inner workings.
The finepix takes 52mm lens filters, such as IR or polarising which are great for outdoor pictures.
Macro pictures are easy with this camera, simply get it on a tripod with a cable release and hit the macro button (also on the left). There is also super macro mode with a distance of about 1cm - flash is not supported this close.
There are many more features, some even i don't know how to use, but if you want a concise list, then pop over to the FujiFilm website (also if you want to check out full tech specs)
To Conclude, i think this camera is the best thing since sliced bread! It is in a decent price bracket as well as being well featured, having a very high picture quality and a moderately easy to use interface. If you want to jump into the world of semi professional photography, but don't want an SLR, then i would recommend the S9500.
-Other points -Takes XD cards and CF cards -Advisable to get a case -Needs a tripod for really good results
If you'd like more information, don't hesitate to send me a message/email - and i'll add it in the comment section.
gaunts 20.12.2006 10:03
some good points made, could do with a little more info if possible...i totally agree with your uncle though, Fuji make some quality cameras and they hardly ever dissapoint....they have been in the business for a long time tho!...gaunty