Fujifilm FinePix S2000HD Review
Review Date: October 8th 2008
Author: Gavin Stoker
The Fujifilm FinePix S2000HD is a new ultra-zoom compact digital camera, featuring a 15x optical zoom lens with a focal length of 27.6-414mm. The 10 megapixel S2000 HD has dual image stabilisation (CCD shift plus high ISO) to help avoid camera-shake and keep your photos sharp, and there's a 2.7 inch LCD screen and an electronic viewfinder for image composition. The FinePix S2000HD is the first ever Fujifilm camera to record both High Definition movies and still photos, shooting HD video at 720p (1280 x 720 pixels). You can also zoom the 15x lens during movie recording, and then connect the Fujifilm S2000HD to a HD TV using the supplied remote control and cable to view your handiwork. Priced at £249 / $299, the Fujifilm FinePix S2000HD is one of the more affordable super-zooms on the market, but is it the best?
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Ease of Use
With its large, springy, clearly labeled controls, relatively lightweight chassis (even with four AAs and Secure Digital card inserted) plus plastic build, Fujifilm's new DSLR-styled FinePix S20000HD at first glance would appear a decent challenger for Canon's recently-reviewed PowerShot SX110 IS in the 'family friendly' superzoom stakes. Yet Fujifilm's press blurb is also suggesting its camera as an apt fit for the 'budding pro'. So can the S2000HD truly satisfy both enthusiast and occasional happy snapper – or does it fall unconvincingly between the two stools?
The Fujifilm FinePix S2000HD's headline features certainly tick the required boxes: 10 megapixel resolution, 15x optical zoom (equivalent to 27.6-414mm in 35mm terms) backed up by dual image stabilisation (CCD shift plus high ISO) and, here, a movie mode that promises High Definition resolution clips, hence the model's none too subtle 'HD' suffix. Thankfully, and unlike too many rivals (including Nikon's P80 and Canon's SX110), the optical zoom can be accessed in movie mode. That said, a movie resolution of 1280x720 pixels is not strictly 'full' HD (1920x1080), but still betters the usual maximum of 640x480 pixels offered by most compacts.
Matching the likes of Olympus' own super zoom in the SP-570UZ, the Fujifilm FinePix S2000HD offers the added enticement of 13.5 frames per second continuous capture, thought at three megapixels rather than full resolution. Likewise, the S2000HD boasts light sensitivity up to an impressive ISO 6400, but go over ISO 1600 and the resolution drops to five megapixels. You also get a 55MB internal memory to get users started out of the box (good for around 11 shots at full resolution, least compression setting), with an available slot for supplementary SD card, rather than Fujifilm and Olympus' regular 'tipple' of the less widely used xD format.
With a dappled plastic body shell boasting a non-nonsense matt black finish and leather effect (yet actually rubber) moulded handgrip, viewed front-on the S2000HD is lent an air of sophistication, that huge Fujinon zoom lens barrel dominating proceedings. This subconsciously suggests it's worth its £249 suggested UK retail price, though a quick online hunt at time of writing found it retailing for an even more reasonable £190, which, on the face of it is incredible value.
Staying at the front and directly above the lens is the sloping hood housing the pop up flash, a button for the manual activation of which is located top right, with a barely visible pin-prick for the built-in microphone tucked just below. Over on the left hand side of the lens – still viewing the camera front on – is a dual use AF-assist illuminator and self-timer lamp – with a receptor/receiver for a remote control sitting at the top of the handgrip. The Fujifilm FinePix S2000HD's aforementioned grip is both large and comfortable, with sufficient room between it and the lens barrel to slide three fingers, the forth naturally hovering over the shutter release button, here encircled by a zoom slider switch also controlled by the forefinger.
Moving to the top of the camera then, a flick of the on/off slider set back from the equally obvious shutter release button and the S2000HD powers up in a couple of seconds, the lens barrel extending to maximum wideangle with on-screen display momentarily indicating where you are in the range. The zoom is quick to respond, smooth and steady while traveling through the range, though soundtracked by audible mechanics. Composition or playback is either via the rear 2.7-inch LCD or large and bright electronic viewfinder sitting above. Both offer a smooth frame rate of 60fps, plus 230k and 200k dot resolution respectively. Handholding the Fujifilm FinePix S2000HD and utilising the full extent of the zoom, it's no surprise that the image relayed to the rear LCD (or EVF) is a little jumpy however, resulting in a case of shoot and hope as much as point and shoot.
Also atop the Fujifilm FinePix S2000HD are, unusually, dedicated buttons for both activating the now must-have face detection (the camera identifying and prioritizing up to 10 faces in a frame, with automatic red eye removal if required) and a second button for continuous shooting mode. Press this second button and you're rewarded with a vertically ranged toolbar down the right hand side of the screen, providing a broad range of quick shooting options that will undoubtedly come in handy for the school sports day. As well as the aforementioned ultra high speed, 13.5fps three-megapixel mode, these include a 7fps five megapixel option plus a 0.5fps option limited only by the camera's available storage capacity, a 1.1fps bracketing option delivering (as expected) three differing exposures, or continuous shooting at full resolution to a sequence of up to three frames at 1.1fps. Take the first (13.5fps) option though and be prepared for the fact that after the initial machine gun-like burst you'll be waiting 15 seconds or so while the images are processed before you can fire off another shot.
As expected, the Fujifilm FinePix S2000HD's main shooting functions are grouped around a chunky, bottle top style mode dial – the operation of which could do with being slightly stiffer, as on occasion we managed to slip onto a subsequent setting in the process of merely slipping the camera into a bag or jacket pocket. However, given the asking price it's hard to grumble too loudly about such minor shortcomings. Ranged around the dial are the familiar dedicated settings for all-auto mode, program, shutter priority, manual (via which aperture and shutter speed can be independently set via a combination of pressing the exposure compensation button and four way controller at the rear), plus user-attributed custom mode. Continuing clockwise next up is movie mode. Press the 'F' (for 'Foto') mode at the rear and access is here provided to the better than average HD, regular VGA or QVGA quality MPEG4-format video clips, though with mono sound.
Adjacent on the mode dial is SP or 'Scene Position', basically your pre-optimised scene modes. Select the one closest to your intended subject and let the Fujifilm FinePix S2000HD do the rest. Here we find the usual suspects of portrait, landscape, sport, night, fireworks, sunset, snow, beach, museum, party, flower, text, plus e-Bay friendly (VGA file size) auction mode. The next candidate on the dial, and, again, an indication of the camera's hand holding user-friendliness, is the rather more interesting zoom bracketing function. Fire the shutter in this mode and the S2000HD takes three shots: one at full frame and two successively cropped. The lens doesn't actually move, so all this is doing, aside from the crop itself, is producing incrementally smaller file sizes. An instant zoom function located on the four-way rear control pad does maintain pixel dimensions however, avoiding the user having to toggle back and forth by jumping to a 1.4x or 2x zoom equivalent, either in portrait or landscape ratio.
Continuing around the dial we find a combined natural light and flash mode, taking two shots: one with flash and one without so the user can compare and decide which they prefer. For those who have already decided the natural look is the one they prefer however, turning one click around to a dedicated natural light mode bumps up the ISO for captures without flash. ISO is set to auto only in this mode. The final one of the 11 modes on the dial, indicated by a 'vibrating man' icon, as expected is an anti shake, or to use Fujifilm's parlance, anti blur mode. Again, the camera automatically selects what it considers the best ISO setting for the conditions at hand. While the above indicates that the S2000HD puts user friendliness above all else, it also shows there plenty of available shooting options for those who do want to get more creative, as long as the attendant hand holding doesn't put them off.
The back of the Fujifilm FinePix S2000HD is similarly unthreatening, dominated as it is by that 2.7-inch LCD screen with a small round window for the decent sized and reasonably bright electronic viewfinder immediately above, a button in between for swapping between them on the fly. The LCD itself is refreshingly clear, free from ghosting and image lag, even when panning around low light interiors. With a familiar four-way control pad (or selector button) to the right of the screen, we find the equally familiar playback button and 'F' for 'Foto' (or Photo) mode button alongside it. The latter provides access to an abbreviation of key shooting settings including image size and compression, ISO setting and FinePix colour options – including the default of 'standard', the punchier, contemporary-feel 'chrome' or B&W. And, keeping things simple, that's it. When conditions are dull, chrome provides a welcome overall boost to colours.
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The next control down is the aforementioned control pad, with a central menu/OK button and, set at four surrounding compass points, dedicated settings for deleting images on the fly, calling up the flash modes (auto & red eye reduction, forced flash & red eye reduction, red eye reduction & slow synchro), the already touched upon instant zoom, and macro/close up modes (macro, super macro down to 1cm, or off). Press the central menu button meanwhile and the user has access to several menu screens and sub folders, manual options naturally more limited in the 'auto everything' modes, yet all of which are cleanly presented and so easily navigated. Press the exposure compensation button below the four-way control pad meanwhile to access the usual on-screen slider, but also in this mode, a useful live histogram displaying the areas of brightness in the image.
The final button on the Fujifilm FinePix S2000HD's backplate, the display/back button, is reasonably self-explanatory. This either turns the potentially distracting on screen shooting information off, calls up a nine zone or 16:9 ratio widescreen compositional grid, or flags up a row of three vacant image boxes so users shooting panoramas can compare individual elements of the potential 'stitch' alongside each other. Moving to the right hand side of the camera, if still viewing it from the rear, we find the S2000HD's vacant card slot for optional SD/SDHC memory, protected by slide out and flip-open cover otherwise neatly blended in with the dappled bodywork. Over on the left-hand flank meanwhile is a rubber cover for AV, USB and HD out ports, nestling next to a larger than average single built-in speaker for replaying mono sound clips.
Examining the base of the S2000HD reveals the usual screw thread for attaching the camera to a tripod – a wise decision if utilising the full extent of the zoom, whether image stabilisation is switched on or off – plus a slide open cover protecting the battery compartment into which are packed the four standard alkaline AAs provided. Battery life stood up well over our test period, with Fujifilm's own blurb suggesting they're good for up to 300 captures, CIPA standard, ringing true.
So, to sum up, the Fujifilm FinePix S2000HD is an unthreatening camera that nevertheless packs in some more unusual options than are typically found at this price point. But how does it fare when it comes to image quality?
PhotographyBLOG is a member of the DIWA organisation. Our test results for the Fujifilm FinePix S2000HD have been submitted to DIWA for comparison with test results for different samples of the same camera model supplied by other DIWA member sites.