Fujifilm FinePix SL300 Review

3.5
May 30, 2012 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 14 megapixe Finel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 6Mb.

We can only describe the image quality on the SL300 as a bit weird. From a normal viewing distance, the pictures look great. They look sharp and rich in colour. However, cropping into them and the pictures look overly sharpened to the degree that they look painted. At ISO 64, the pictures show no digital noise at all. In fact we're really impressed with the low end ISO settings. Being overly critical, the ISO 200 setting does show extremely minor signs of noise poking through. Image quality is still very good, though and it's not until ISO 800 that quality takes a significant nosedive.

So it looks as though the SL300 has a very good noise reduction system but at ISO 800 it either can't cope or it gives up the ghost. Discolouration occurs at ISO 1600 and any dark areas change colour completely. We continuously got casts when shooting at high ISO but we're still impressed with the edge definition even at this high setting. In a bid to reduce the amount of noise interfering with the picture, at ISO 3200 and 6400 the camera knocks down the resolution.

Noise

There are 8 ISO settings available on the Fujifilm FinePix SL300. Note that the highest settings of ISO 3200 and 6400 are recorded using the Small image size. 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 SL300's 30x zoom lens offers an incredibly versatile focal range, as illustrated by these examples:

24mm

720mm

Sharpening

Despite being sharp straight out of the camera, the pictures do improve slightly from a standard sharpening in an editing suite such as Adobe Photoshop. Below are samples of images both sharpened and unsharpened.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

File Quality

The Fujifilm FinePix SL300 has 2 different image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options.

Fine (7.05Mb)

Normal (3.55Mb)

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberration occurs when the lens can't focus all colours onto the sensor. It generally appears as a purple line along high contrast edges such as black lettering on white paper or branches against a sky. It occurred very rarely on the SL300 and when it did appear, it's a hard edged line of colour.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Macro

There are two macro modes on the Fujifilm FinePix SL300. The normal macro mode can close in to around 7cm while the super macro can get in as close as 2cm. Using the normal macro mode will allow you to still zoom in whereas switching to super macro disables the zoom function.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

Flash

The built-in flash is a flip up variety that has to be opened manually by pressing the small button on the left side of the flash. Red-eye reduction is done using the main menu. It's just a simple red-eye on/red-eye off option. We found that there's no trace of red-eye in the pictures anyway and this is down to the height of the flash when it's in operation. Because of the angle of light, it bounces the reflection that causes red-eye at an oblique angle to the lens. We found in our test that the camera gives very similar light spread with the flash than it does without the flash. At wide-angle there's a degree of vignetting in the corners which does peter out towards the telephoto end.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (24mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (24mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Wide Angle (720mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (720mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. Neither the Auto setting or the 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

For the main night test we used a manual control to get the settings that we wanted to use. In aperture priority, we chose the lowest ISO rating of 64 to reduce noise and f/8 to close down the aperture and use a longer shutter speed. We found that the noise performance was very good on the camera because long exposures can sometimes cause noise.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Image Stabilisation

Image Stabilisation is Fujifilm's name for anti-shake, which in the SL300 works via a sensor-shift mechanism. To test this, I took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with anti shake turned off, the second with it turned on. Here are some 100% crops of the images to show the results. As you can see, with anti shake turned on, the images are much sharper than with anti shake turned off.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)

1/25th / 24mm
     
1/4th sec / 720mm

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, 720p, hdmi, 14 megapixel, super-zoom, fujifilm, super zoom, finepix, 30x, Fujifilm FinePix SL300 Review, fujifilm sl300, finepix sl300, sl300