Fujifilm Finepix S9500 Zoom
(Fujifilm Finepix S9000 Zoom in the USA)
Review Date: November 28th 2005
(out of 5 stars)
The Fujifilm Finepix S9500 Zoom is an excellent but expensive super-zoom compact digital compact camera. The Fujifilm Finepix S9500 Zoom is a cheap but rather poor digital SLR camera. Both of these statements are true. The S9500 is the best attempt yet to fuse the advantages of compact and DSLR cameras together, but ultimately it cannot rival the entry-level DSLRs that Fujifilm is aiming at. The likes of the Nikon D50, Konica Minolta 5D and Canon EOS 350D all offer faster performance, slicker ease-of-use and better image quality than the Fujifilm Finepix S9500 Zoom in both JPEG and RAW mode. The difference in image quality is a lot narrower for JPEGs, but the S9500 still suffers by comparison with its noisy ISO 800 and 1600 modes. RAW mode is a non-contest - the Fujifilm Finepix S9500 Zoom takes forever to record a RAW image, and I suspect that the majority of users will not be prepared to wait. In addition the RAW software that Fujifilm provides in the box is simply not up to the job. The other aspect where the S9500 suffers in comparison is the electronic view-finder, which is less comfortable and accurate than a traditional optical viewfinder, especially for action photography. So despite some great, DSLR-like features like the manual zooming and focusing rings and external hotshoe, the advantages of the compact digicam format (movie mode, live preview via the tilting LCD screen, dust-free fixed lens) don't out-weigh the disadvantages of this camera.
Having said all of that, if you look at the Fujifilm Finepix S9500 Zoom as a rival to the likes of the Sony Cybershot DSC-H1, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 and Canon Powershot S2 IS, it starts to make a lot more sense. Although slightly more expensive than most of the competitors, the Fujifilm Finepix S9500 Zoom does offer more features and functionality - the only notable exception is the lack of an optical image stabilizer, which the extensive but noisy ISO range of the S9500 can't quite make up for. If you're looking for a super-zoom compact and you're prepared to pay for the best, then the Fujifilm Finepix S9500 Zoom should definitely be on your list, especially as its 9 megapixel sensor beats the competition in terms of both size and image quality. You will have to pay a bit extra, however, and with a street price of around £400 / $600, the Fujifilm Finepix S9500 Zoom isn't that much cheaper than a Nikon D50 with kit lens. I know which camera I would choose (I hope you guessed the Nikon) - I'll leave you to make up your own minds!
PhotographyBLOG is a member of the DIWA organisation. Our test results for the Fujifilm Finepix S9500 Zoom have been submitted to DIWA for comparison with test results for different samples of the same camera model supplied by other DIWA member sites.