Fujifilm FinePix S1500 Review

4.0
June 1, 2009 | Gavin Stoker |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 10 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 4.5Mb.

With Fujifilm's populist intentions, you'd expect the images that the FinePix S1500 delivers to be nigh-on perfect straight out of the camera, and so, in terms of colour and detail they almost are, though we found ourselves on occasion playing with contrast to add some visual punch and depth to the shots - particularly when shooting in less than perfect light when results can appear a little flat.

There's no denying that like any camera with a broader than average focal range, the S1500 opens up a lot of creative framing possibilities and the option to attain some naturalistic candids, plus, moving from this camera back to a regular 3x optical zoom point and shoot you definitely appreciate the 12x range. That said inevitably there's a lack of crispness and bite to images shot handheld at maximum telephoto, despite the on-board image stabilization - and it's not always that easy to tell purely from the LCD screen at the time.

Perhaps inevitably there is some purple fringing visible between areas of high contrast, though it's well controlled and only really noticeable when enlarging an image to purposefully look for it. Lens flare is occasionally an issue in strong sunlight too - again this is nothing out of the ordinary - and Fujifim has a curious habit of rendering blue skies an unreal turquoise when there's a lot of green in the foreground. Highlights are also frequently blown - if you're not watching - when there's plenty of strong light around.

In terms of ISO performance, up to ISO 800 it's a clean bill of health - images noise free and sharp. From ISO 800 onwards there's some noticeable softening of detail, at ISO 1600 noise is readily visible, becoming more aggressive at ISO 3200 and rendering results at ISO 6400 akin to a poorly tuned TV signal. So, as we've found with previous Fujifilm bridge cameras such as the S8100fd, sticking to ISO 800 or below is the sensible option.

Noise

There are 8 ISO settings available on the Fujifilm FinePix S1500. Note that the image resolution is reduced to 3 megapixels for ISO 3200 and 6400. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting:

ISO 64 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The Fujifilm FinePix S1500's 12x zoom lens provides a focal length of 33-396mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.

33mm

396mm

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little bit soft at the default sharpening setting, and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Chromatic Aberrations

The Fujifilm FinePix S1500 handled chromatic aberrations very well during the review. Just a little purple fringing was present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Fujifilm FinePix S1500 offers a Super Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 2cms away from the camera. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject in Macro mode (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

Flash

The flash settings on the Fujifilm FinePix S1500 are Auto, Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Slow Synchro, and any of those modes combined with Red-eye Reduction. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (33mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (33mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (396mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (396mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. Neither the Auto or Red-eye reduction mode caused any amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Red Eye Reduction

Red Eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

The Fujifilm FinePix S1500's maximum shutter speed is 8 seconds, which is fairly good news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1/12th second, aperture of f/2.8 at ISO 64. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Entry Tags

compact, beginner, 2.7 inch LCD, super-zoom, fujifilm, 10 megapixel, finepix, bridge, 12x zoom, s1500

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