Fujifilm FinePix S3200 Review

September 8, 2011 | Matt Grayson | Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


Fujifilm are arguably one of the most popular names in super-zoom cameras today. The cameras they produce are consistently easy to use, good quality and take great pictures. In this test, we're taking a look at the FinePix S3200, a 14 megapixel DSLR shaped unit with a monstrous 24x optical zoom and command dials with manual overrides. The S3200 also offers dual image stabilization, a 3 inch LCD screen, an Electronic Viewfinder, 720p video, Motion Panorama shooting mode, Smile and Blink Detection, Face Recognition and Image Searching. The Fujifilm FinePix S3200 is available in black, priced at £149.95 / $249.95.

Ease of Use

Fujifilm FinePix superzooms have all got a similar design to them, incorporating a large chunky grip - which is great for holding the camera in one hand when it's not being used - a huge lens barrel with a built-in flash squatting over it, an electronic viewfinder (EVF) and plenty of buttons and switches to keep you entertained.

The S3200 is no different in the design stakes. The Fujinon lens is a Super EBC type, EBC meaning Electronic Beam Coating. It's a technique that's been used on Fujinon lenses for years and involves using an electronic pulse to lay the coatings over the lens. These layers reduce flare and ghosting which we'll be taking a look at throughout the test.

The 24x optical zoom ranges from 4.3 - 103.2mm or 24 - 576mm in 35mm terms. There's a ribbed ring on the lens barrel for holding while taking a picture. On higher specification cameras, this ring has been used as a zoom function and it's a shame that it's one on of the key selling features that's omitted on lower range cameras because it's very useful. The way that the zoom is operated is by the rocker switch perched on the grip with the shutter release button in the centre. It's easy to use but it's stepped and not as precise as a zoom ring.

Fujifilm FinePix S3200 Fujifilm FinePix S3200
Front Rear

On the Fujifilm FinePix S3200's grip, there's a couple of buttons located behind the shutter release for face detection and drive modes. Interestingly, there are six different options in the drive button alone. It's a far cry from simply holding your finger down and letting the camera constantly take pictures. There is that option but it's called long period which is kind of gloomy sounding.

A large command dial bulges out of the top plate, towering over the small FinePix button like David and Goliath. The dial has the traditional PASM modes which are accompanied by a custom button, video, panorama mode, scenes (SP), scene recognition auto and standard auto. The dial is easy to move and clicks firmly into place.

Depending on the camera, the FinePix button will have more to offer. On the S3200, which is an entry level model, there are only three options for ISO, image size and FinePix Colour. On higher specification cameras, this latter option will adjust the colour responsiveness of the sensor to represent different types of film from Fuji such as Provia and Velvia. The S3200 has three options: Colour, Chrome and Black & White. The colour option is designed to look like a colour print, chrome looks like slide film and black & white speaks for itself.

The Fujifilm FinePix S3200 is a solid little camera with the speckled paintwork akin to DSLRs. There's no movement in the chassis or the lens at wide-angle. There is a degree of play when the lens is at full zoom and it makes a sound like it's coming loose but never does. On the battery door there's a lock to keep it closed and we think this is due to the pressure of the 4x AA batteries that push against it to keep touching the contacts.

Fujifilm FinePix S3200 Fujifilm FinePix S3200
Top Side

The SD/SDHC memory card also goes in the battery compartment and after the introduction of SDXC, we're surprised not to see it on every new camera that's coming out. Saying that, SDXC cards cost on average £200 which is around the same price as the camera. It's probable that users of the Fuji won't spend another £200 on a memory card so the SDXC compatibility would be redundant.

A small button is situated next to the electronic viewfinder which flicks between using the EVF and the LCD screen on the back. The screen is bright and clear and easy to see except in very bright sunlight. The EVF is much lower resolution but it's also a lot smaller. There's a distinct amount of motion blur on the EVF but we still preferred to use it over the screen simply because a camera of this shape and size is easier to use when it's held tight in to the body.

As with any Fujifilm FinePix camera, the S3200's menus are very easy to use. Everything is laid out in a logical order and divided up into sectors for shooting and set-up. In playback, the menu changes slightly for the editing options. For a camera aimed at new-comers, it's unusual that Fujifilm have an option titled photometry instead of metering, a title which everyone knows and loves.

Playback should be shortened to play because that's exactly what you get to do. In the menu, there's a photobook assistant, you can search for images, mark pictures or video for uploading to YouTube and Facebook and even create a slide-show. If you took a picture of someone and struggled to get the shot only to have red-eye in it, there's an option to remove it in the menu.

Fujifilm FinePix S3200 Fujifilm FinePix S3200
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

Start up time is around 1.5 seconds and we managed to start the Fujifilm FinePix S3200, focus and take a shot in just under 4 seconds. For subjects slightly out of the default focal plane, the camera can find focus in around half a second. Flash recycle times are fast enough: By the time we were ready to take another shot, the S3200 had charged the flash. Shutter lag is around 0.8 seconds which is around average for a digital compact camera.

Once we'd got used to using the Fujifilm FinePix S3200 and knew where the modes that we needed were, we could flick through them very fast as long as the camera wasn't doing anything else. If you know the camera back to front, you'll find it can take a while to get into certain modes and you'll be left waiting. We also found that while the S3200 was processing a photograph, we could go into the menu and choose a mode, but we couldn't access macro, flash or the self-timer on the back.

Fujifilm don't put a lot of paperwork in their boxes. With the S3200, there's warranty information, a basic manual and a driver CD that contains the full manual and Version 2.1 of FinePix Studio. To aid the camera, there's camera strap which is wider than what is provided with smaller cameras, 4x single use AA batteries, a lens cap and USB/HDMI lead.

After looking through the modes and features, the Fujifilm FinePix S3200 won't break any records but that's not the point of it. It's a camera that will be perfectly suited to a newcomer to superzooms or photography as a whole.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 14 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 4Mb.

Colours from the Fujifilm FinePix S3200 are punchy and rich. Primary colours look nice especially. The camera produces the best results with subjects front lit. If the sun is in front of the camera, colours start to wash out and the metering begins to struggle. Occasionally we found that the S3200 would over-sharpen the whole picture. Couple that with an over zealous noise reduction facility and pictures take on a painted look.

You may think that's an ironic use of the term over-zealous, but in our ISO tests, we found noise starting to appear at ISO 200. When a camera has to drop resolution for the higher sensitivity ratings, it obviously has a problem with noise in the first place.

At the lowest settings, we rarely encountered a problem with image quality although we struggled in low light to get a sharp image because of the slower shutter speeds required. This is more noticeable at telephoto settings and it's worth taking the time to check the sharpness of the picture before moving on. We lost a few pictures because we thought they were sharp and they turned out not to be when we saw them bigger on a computer. The Fujifilm FinePix S3200's screen can be deceiving and with the zoom function on playback taking forever to start working, let alone actually zoom in, it's easy to get fed up and hope they're ok.

When we hit the right chord, pictures are lovely from the Fujifilm FinePix S3200 and we're pleased as punch with the results.


As we said, the low ISO settings are great. We couldn't find any noise at ISO 80, the pictures are sharp with good edge definition and not even any salt and pepper noise coming through. The same can pretty much be said for ISO 100 as well, but if we're to be really picky, edges do break up slightly at this setting. However, it needs to be noted that we view the test pictures at 100% magnification. Viewing them at normal size won't show this problem up at all.

Surprisingly, we found noise starting to creep in at ISO 200 with some salt and pepper noise in shadow areas. Again this is at 100% magnification and at normal size, it can't be seen. At ISO 400 we found evidence of colour invasion in dark and mid-tone areas - shown as green blotching on our test shots.

ISO 800 is the breaking point for the Fujifilm FinePix S3200. An aggressive attack on image quality comes as the signal is boosted beyond what the noise reduction system can cope with. Pictures take on a cast which gets stronger at ISO 1600. Hard contrast edges retain definition but softer edges start to blur.

The final two settings are at reduced resolution in a bid to remove a type of digital noise that's generated from the heat of pixels affecting neighbouring pixels. The cast from the lower settings has gone but at the expense of sharpness. At 3 megapixels, the picture quality simply doesn't cut the mustard.

ISO 80 (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 S3200's 24x zoom lens offers a very versatile focal range, as illustrated by these examples:




The Fujifilm FinePix S3200 has 3 settings of sharpening: Soft, Standard and Hard. The camera is defaulted to the standard setting. We found that if you need to increase it to a harder setting, the Fujifilm gives perfectly good results. We sharpened the standard setting photograph in Adobe Photoshop CS4 and found that it gives similar results.

Soft (100% Crop)

Standard (100% Crop)

Hard (100% Crop)  

File Quality

The Fujifilm FinePix S3200 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.



Chromatic Aberrations

We did get the occasional problem with chromatic aberration on pictures from the Fujifilm FinePix S3200 but the main problem we got was with ghosting. It wasn't a lot, just a thin white line around hard edges of contrast.

Example 1 (100% Crop)


When we conducted the macro test, we were surprised at how close the Fujifilm FinePix S3200 could get to the subjects. Macro is started by pressing the flower icon on the back of the camera. There's 2 options for macro which has a close focusing of 7cm and super macro which can get in to 2cm. In super macro, the zoom is disabled. Standard macro shows no signs of barrel distortion although as we moved out to the edges of the frame, sharpness started to peter out earlier than we expected.

Macro Shot

100% Crop


The flash is a built-in pop up type and has a manual button on the left side to activate it if it's needed. The flash is very sympathetic to the exposure and doesn't bleach out unless you get too close.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (24mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (24mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Wide Angle (576mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (576mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Red-eye is removed by a software program which needs to be switched on in the main menu but we found that the camera copes well without it because the light is elevated high enough to avoid the problem.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)

Red Eye Reduction

Red Eye Reduction (100% Crop)


This is a sample of the Fujifilm FinePix S3200's ability in low light on a support. There are 2 options for night shooting either with a support or without. We opted for the support mode so the camera keeps the ISO low. The S3200 selected an sensitivity of ISO 200 and has produced a very good picture. Noise reduction has worked well and produced smooth results. Some detail definition is lost and sharpening looks to do overtime but this is only at full magnification. When viewed at normal size the pictures in low light look great.

Don't be put off by the wide aperture of f/3.1 that was used in our test shot, the size of the sensor means that the shallow depth of field normally associated with wider apertures isn't as harsh. In fact, the results give a depth of field equivalent of around f/11 on a 35mm size sensor.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Fujifilm FinePix S3200 camera, which were all taken using the 14 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 1280x720 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 46 second movie is 147Mb in size.

Product Images

Fujifilm FinePix S3200

Front of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix S3200

Isometric View

Fujifilm FinePix S3200

Isometric View

Fujifilm FinePix S3200

Isometric View

Fujifilm FinePix S3200

Rear of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix S3200

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Fujifilm FinePix S3200

Rear of the Camera / Shooting Menu

Fujifilm FinePix S3200

Rear of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix S3200

Rear of the Camera / Shooting Mode


Fujifilm FinePix S3200

Rear of the Camera / F-Mode Menu

Fujifilm FinePix S3200

Rear of the Camera / Panorama Mode

Fujifilm FinePix S3200

Top of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix S3200

Side of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix S3200

Side of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix S3200

Front of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix S3200

Memory Card Slot

Fujifilm FinePix S3200
Battery Compartment


The Fujifilm FinePix S3200 is a really nice camera to work with. It has its problems in all areas and that's kind of what lets it down. If we were looking at a camera that was excellent in most areas but had a small issue in one then it could be forgiven. The S3200 is good in all areas but lacks in places that it really shouldn't.

For example, the S3200's features are good enough for an entry level photographer to use and there's the manual modes for more advanced users, but it would be good to see some more creative effects for new users to play with and see what different genres of photography look like. The build quality is good but is let down by the quality of the EVF. Sure, they're all usually below par from most manufacturers but is it ok to make excuses? Finally, image quality is good when looked at on a computer at normal viewing size but it's by no means excellent. Noise comes in at low stages and noise reduction works so hard it smudges the colours about making them look like they've been painted on.

If you're a keen photographer looking to trade in your DSLR and lenses for something more compact or you want a DSLR style camera for when a load of kit is too much, you may want to think about getting a higher spec Fujifilm model. If you're just entering the market or you know a little about photography and want more, thhe Fujifilm FinePix S3200 will be better suited to you. The manual controls allow freedom to learn about apertures and shutter speed relations while the auto features will help if it all gets too much.

That being said, we got on well with the Fujifilm FinePix S3200. Switch on time is fast but could be faster without the Fujifilm screen at the start. Focusing is pretty fast and the metering is accurate. It's a digital compact camera sensor, so the dynamic range is limited but we didn't get any burn out in highlights. If you're in the market for this type of camera, they're available for around £150 which is a pretty decent price for the amount of zoom and manual controls.

3.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 3.5
Features 3
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 3
Value for money 4

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Fujifilm FinePix S3200 from around the web.

ephotozine.com »

The Fujifilm FinePix S3200 is one of Fujifilm's many ultra zoom bridge cameras, and offers a wide angle 24x optical zoom lens, a 14megapixel sensor and manual controls, as well as a black design that looks a lot like an SLR style camera.
Read the full review »

pocket-lint.com »

The Fujifilm FinePix S3200 is the latest 24x optical zoom camera that packs in plenty of zoom at an affordable price. Superzoom cameras have been going from strength to strength over recent months, though the 14-megapixel S3200 is a more budget model to fill the lower-priced gap in the market below the likes of the premium Fujifilm FinePix HS20.
Read the full review »


Model name FinePix S3200 / S3250
Number of effective pixels *1 14.0 million pixels
Image sensor 1/2.3-inch CCD with primary color filter
Storage media
  • Internal memory (none)
  • SD / SDHC memory card *2
File format
still image
JPEG (Exif Ver 2.3 ) *3
(Design rule for Camera File system compliant / DPOF-compatible)
AVI (Motion JPEG )
WAVE format, Monaural sound
Number of recorded pixels
Still image
L : (4:3) 4288 x 3216 / (3:2) 4288 x 2864 / (16:9) 4288 x 2416
M : (4:3) 3072 x 2304 / (3:2) 3072 x 2048 / (16:9) 3072 x 1728
S : (4:3) 2048 x 1536 / (3:2) 2048 x 1360 / (16:9) 1920 x 1080
Fujinon 24x optical zoom lens
focal length
f=4.3mm - 103.2mm, equivalent to 24 - 576mm on a 35 mm camera
F3.1(Wide) - F5.9 (Telephoto)
11 groups 15 lenses
Digital zoom Approx. 6.7x (up to approx. 160.8x, with 24x optical zoom)
Aperture F3.1 / F8(Wide)
F5.9 / F8 / F20(Telephoto) with ND filter
Focus distance
(from lens surface)
  • Wide : Approx. 40cm / 1.3ft. to infinity,
  • Telephoto : Approx. 2.5m / 8.2ft. to infinity
  • Wide : Approx. 7cm - 3m / 2.8in. - 9.8ft.
  • Telephoto : Approx. 1.9m - 3m / 5.9ft. - 9.8ft.
Super Macro
  • Wide : Approx. 2cm / 0.8in. - 1.0m / 0.8in. - 3.3ft.
Sensitivity Auto,Equivalent to ISO 64 / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200* / 6400* (Standard Output Sensitivity)
  • * ISO3200/6400 is effective in S mode.
Exposure control TTL 256-zones metering ; Spot, Multi, Average
Exposure mode Programmed AE, Shutter Priority AE, Aperture Priority AE, Manual exposure
Shooting modes
Zoom Bracketing, Natural Light & with Flash, Natural Light, Portrait, Baby, Smile, Landscape, Sport, Night, Night (Tripod), Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Beach, Party, Flower, Text,
SR AUTO, AUTO, P, S, A, M, Custom, Movie, Panorama, SP
Image stabilizer CCD-shift type
Face detection Yes
Exposure compensation -2.0EV - +2.0EV 1/3EV step
Shutter speed (Auto mode) 1/4 sec. to 1/2000 sec. , (All other modes) 8 sec. to 1/2000 sec. with mechanical shutter
Continuous shooting
max. 1.2 frames / sec;
max. 3.3frames / sec; size (M,S)
max. 8frames / sec; size (S)
max. 1.2 frames / sec; last 3 frames recorded
max. 1.2 frames / sec; maximum number of frames varies with image size and available memory
Auto Bracketing AE Bracketing (±1/3EV, ±2/3EV, ±1EV)
Single AF / Continuous AF (SR AUTO, Movie)
TTL contrast AF, AF assist illuminator available
AF frame selection
Center, Multi, Area, Tracking
White balance Automatic scene recognition
Fine, Shade, Fluorescent light (Daylight), Fluorescent light (Warm White), Fluorescent light (Cool White), Incandescent light, Custom
Self-timer Approx. 10 sec. / 2 sec. Delay
Flash Auto flash (i-flash)
Effective range: (ISO AUTO)
  • Wide: Approx. 40 cm - 7.0 m / 1.3 ft. - 22.9 ft.,
  • Telephoto: Approx. 2.5 m - 3.6 m / 8.2 ft. - 11.8 ft.
  • Wide: Approx. 30 cm - 3.0 m / 1 ft. - 9.8 ft.,
  • Telephoto: Approx.2.0 m - 3.0 m / 6.5 ft. - 9.8 ft.
Flash modes Red-eye removal OFF: Auto, Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Slow Synchro.
Red-eye removal ON: Red-eye Reduction Auto, Red-eye Reduction & Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Red-eye Reduction & Slow Synchro.
Hot shoe -
Electronic Viewfinder 0.2-inch., approx. 200,000 dots, color LCD viewfinder approx. 97% coverage
LCD monitor 3.0-inch, approx. 230,000 dots, TFT color LCD monitor, approx. 97% coverage
Movie recording 1280 x 720 pixels / 640 x 480 pixels / 320 x 240 pixels (30 frames / sec.) with monaural sound.
  • * Zoom function can be used.
Photography functions SR AUTO, Instant zoom, Face Detection, Auto red-eye removal, Framing guideline, blink detection, Frame No. memory, Histogram display, motion panorama, Face recognition
Playback functions Face Detection, Auto red-eye removal, Multi-frame playback (with micro thumbnail), Protect, Crop, Resize, Slide show, Image rotate, voice memo, histogram display, exposure warning, Photobook assist, image search, Favorites, Mark for upload, Panorama, Erase selected frames
Other functions PictBridge, Exif Print, 35 Languages, Time difference, Silent mode
Video output
NTSC / PAL selectable with monaural sound
Digital interface
USB 2.0 High-Speed
HD output
HDMI Mini connector
Power supply 4xAA type alkaline batteries (included) / 4xAA type Ni-MH rechargeable batteries (sold separately) / 4xAA type lithium batteries (sold separately)
Dimensions 118.0 (W) x 80.9 (H) x 99.8(D) mm / 4.6in.(W) x 3.2in.(H) x 3.9in.(D)
Weight Approx. 445g / 15.7oz. (excluding accessories, batteries and memory card)
Approx. 540g / 19.0oz. (including accessories, batteries and memory card)
Operating Temperature 0°C - 40°C
Operating Humidity 10% - 80% (no condensation)
Guide to the number of available frames for battery operation Alkaline batteries: Approx. 300frames
Ni-MH rechargeable batteries : Approx 500 frames
Lithium batteries : Approx. 700 frames
Accessories included 4xAA type alkaline batteries
Shoulder strap
USB-A / V cable
Lens cap and Lens cap cord
Owner's manual
Optional accessories AC Power Adapter AC-5VX
DC coupler CP-04

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