Fujifilm FinePix S3000 Zoom
Review Date: 26th April 2004
Ease of Use
The Fujifilm FinePix S3000 Zoom is one of those cameras that instantly feels comfortable to use. It is neither so big that you feel like you need two pairs of hands to operate it, or so small that you can never seem to press the right button. At 295g without batteries or memory cards fitted the Fujifilm FinePix S3000 Zoom is not the lightest of cameras, but this gives it a reassuring weight in your hand. Its SLR-like body means that it isn't the most pocketable of cameras, but the chunky hand-grip ensures that the camera that be held comfortably with either one hand or two. I found the Fujifilm FinePix S3000 Zoom a joy to use dues to a combination of all these features - the weight, size and SLR styling are just right.
Fujifilm have also made sure that the Fujifilm FinePix S3000 Zoom is well-built. The camera has a quality feel to it which belies its current sub-£200 price. All of the various buttons and switches are well-fitted, and even the battery compartment and memory card door, both typically weak parts of a digital camera, work well despite their plastic construction. The only controls that have a cheap feel are the plastic buttons used for popping up the built-in flash and switching between the EVF and LCD displays. Due to it's rather limited feature list (this is an entry-level camera after all) the Fujifilm FinePix S3000 Zoom has an easy to understand layout, both in terms of its menu system and the external controls on the body of the camera. There aren't too many options to frighten off the new digital camera owner, and a more experienced photographer will be up and running in no time at all.
Thankfully Fujifilm have solved one of the major problems that I found with the FinePix S7000 Zoom that I reviewed a couple of weeks ago. On that camera, when you wanted to switch from Camera mode to Play mode, or vice versa, you had to press the EVF/LCD button on the back of the camera to switch between the EVF and LCD displays. This problem didn't arise if you exclusively used the LCD, but if like me you use the EVF and hold the camera up to your eye to take a photo, and then switch to the LCD to review what you have just taken, you had to press the EVF/LCD button EVERY time to switch between the two displays. On the S3000 Zoom, the display automatically changes from EVF to LCD when you switch from Camera mode to Play mode, and vice-versa. I'm not sure why this wasn't implemented on the much more expensive FinePix S7000 Zoom, but I'm glad that it has been corrected on the Fujifilm FinePix S3000 Zoom.
So overall the Fujifilm FinePix S3000 Zoom is an extremely well-built digital camera that benefits from its limited feature-list by being very easy to operate. It is also very well-designed ergonomically, and doesn't just feel like a box with a lens, a few buttons and a menu system - the Fujifilm designers have obviously put a lot of time and effort into what is a very comfortable camera to use. I really enjoyed my time with the Fujifilm FinePix S3000 Zoom and I hope that in the future the design is retained by Fujifilm in whatever their next range of digital cameras is.