Fujifilm Finepix S9600 Review
(also called the Fujifilm Finepix S9100)

Review Date: March 12th 2007

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Page 1
Introduction / Ease of Use
Page 2
Image Quality
Page 3
Sample Images
Page 4
Design
Page 5
Specifications
Page 6
Conclusion

Conclusion


Ratings (out of 5)
Design
4.5
Features
4.5
Ease-of-Use
4
Image Quality
4.5
Value for Money
4.5

The Fujifilm Finepix S9600 is an excellent super-zoom compact digital compact camera. The Fujifilm Finepix S9600 is a cheaper but poorer alternative to an entry-level digital SLR camera. The Fujifilm Finepix S9600 is only a minor upgrade of the older S9500 model. All of these statements are true of the S9600.

The S9600 is Fujifilm's best attempt yet to fuse the advantages of compact and DSLR cameras together, but ultimately it cannot rival the latest entry-level DSLRs, which are becoming ever cheaper and more full-featured. The likes of the Nikon D40, Sony Alpha A100 and Canon EOS 400D all offer faster performance, slicker ease-of-use and better image quality than the Fujifilm Finepix S9600 in both JPEG and RAW mode. The difference in image quality is a lot narrower for JPEGs, but the S9600 still suffers by comparison with its noisy ISO 800 and 1600 ISO settings. RAW mode is a non-contest - the Fujifilm Finepix S9600 just takes too long to record a RAW image, and I suspect that the majority of users will not be prepared to wait. The other aspect where the S9600 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 dismissed the S9600 as an alternative to a true DSLR, it's now time to question its standing against other compact ultra-zoom cameras like the Sony Cybershot DSC-H2, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 and Canon Powershot S3 IS. At a similar price to most of the competitors, the Fujifilm Finepix S9600 Zoom makes a lot more sense than considering it as a DSLR alternative. Unfortunately the lack of an optical image stabilizer, which the extensive but noisy ISO range of the S9600 can't make up for, is a major negative point and a puzzling omission by Fujifilm. Finally, as an upgrade to the older S9500, the Fujifilm Finepix S9600 is at best only slightly improved, with a better LCD screen, improved auto-focus in low-light and faster RAW mode (although still not that quick). It's difficult to see what Fujifilm have changed, so if you're currently a S9500 owner, don't bother upgrading.

If you're looking for a super-zoom compact camera and you can live without image stabilisation, then the Fujifilm Finepix S9600 Zoom should find a place on your list, especially as its 9 megapixel sensor still beats the competition in terms of both size and image quality. Thankfully the street price of the S9600, at around 250 / $400, is a lot more competitive than its list price and the price that the older S9500 typically sold at. Still highly recommended then, although the S9700 will need to offer significant improvements to keep up with the newer competition...

Page 1
Introduction / Ease of Use
Page 2
Image Quality
Page 3
Sample Images
Page 4
Design
Page 5
Specifications
Page 6
Conclusion

DIWAPhotographyBLOG is a member of the DIWA organisation. Our test results for the Fujifilm Finepix S9600 have been submitted to DIWA for comparison with test results for different samples of the same camera model supplied by other DIWA member sites.

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