Fujifilm FinePix S4000 Review

June 6, 2011 | Matt Grayson | Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


From the minds of Fujifilm comes the FinePix S4000, a chunky DSLR-style compact digital camera aimed at the type of user that is venturing timidly into superzoom territory but still likes the familiarity of a standard compact. Featuring a 14 megapixel CCD sensor, 720p HD video, what the company calls Full HD photo, a 3 inch LCD screen and an eye popping 30x optical zoom, the S4000 certainly looks the part and, with a relatively low price point of $279.95 / £299.99, should attract admiring glances from a wider crowd.

Ease of Use

Fujifilm have moved on a lot in the years they've been producing digital cameras. They started on their innovation path with the Super CCD which would interpolate the pixels on the sensor to double the output. It can be argued that they pioneered the function key on a camera because of the "f" button however function buttons were present on Canon Powershot models slightly earlier. One area that Fujifilm proved their salt was in the menu system which was - and still is - extremely easy to use.

Back to the present and the finepix (f) button on the S4000 has a more simple approach than seen on the previous cameras. All that's shown is the ISO, image size and colour modes (colour, chrome and black & white). A rather unusual collection of options to place in one menu and the finepix button takes up a portion of the right shoulder next to the command dial. In front of this is the power switch which is a spring loaded slider. On top of the DSLR style grip are the face detection and burst buttons. The zoom is a twisting type that sits around the shutter release and it's a shame that Fujifilm haven't incorporated the zoom ring in the same way that they've done on some other of these DSLR design superzooms.

The command dial is strangely bereft of options with only 10 in place. As well as the manual PASM modes, there's a custom mode, auto, SR (Scene Recognition) auto, SP (Scene Position) which are basically the different pre-set scene modes, a panorama and video mode as well as a custom manual mode.

Fujifilm FinePix S4000 Fujifilm FinePix S4000
Front Rear

Arguably, the biggest feature of the Fujifilm FinePix S4000 is the 30x optical zoom which covers an eye watering focal range of  24 - 270mm in 35mm terms. It's great for photographing ships on horizons, closing in on wildlife and if room permits it adds compression to portraits.

To help with keeping your images sharp at high telephoto, the Fujifilm FinePix S4000 has two types of image stabilisation. A high sensitivity value of ISO6400 allows faster shutter speeds which couples with the sensor shift to keep your pictures steady. It's a shame that the zoom ring of the HS series of Fujifilm cameras hasn't been used on the S4000. Although it has 45 steps in the zoom range, it's still no substitute for the manual control of a zoom ring. However, it does mean that photographers moving up from smaller compacts have something familiar to use.

Fujifilm have improved on the standard panoramic mode that's found on most cameras these days. Typically, three photos are taken using a portion of the previous picture at half opacity to frame and align the next shot with. On the S4000 there's a much simpler way of doing things. After taking the first picture, a small yellow cross appears at the right side of the frame with a white circle that has a cross cut out in the centre. Aligning the two means the picture is framed perfectly for the next shot and to make sure it's done as soon as the cross fits into the cross shaped hole perfectly, the camera will automatically take a picture.

Fujifilm FinePix S4000 Fujifilm FinePix S4000
Top Side

The Fujifilm FinePix S4000 is styled like a DSLR, but is it built like one? Well, the casing is primarily plastic with leatherette trim in places where you will hold it. The command dial is large and easy to get hold of but it's slack and easily moved into place. While that's great with quickly getting it from one mode to another, there's always the chance of it getting knocked while reaching for something else.

The bottom of the camera shows two of the biggest surprises. The first is a plastic tripod bush which - on a budget camera - isn't that much of a surprise but on a camera that has such a large zoom, the tripod is going to be an overworked accessory. For that reason, the tripod bush becomes a high traffic area and a plastic one won't last as long as a metal one. The other area is in the battery compartment. The S4000 takes 4x AA batteries which isn't the surprise. What made us lift our eyebrows was the lack of SDXC compatibility. It's a brand new format that's on everyone's lips and new consumers are going to want all the latest technology. It's agreed that a maximum 16Gb capacity will be more than ample for the average user so maybe SDXC isn't all that necessary after all?

It appears after looking over the camera that despite the shape making it look as though it's a proper bridge camera that a keen photographer would use instead of taking a DSLR kit, it's actually more geared to a beginner that fancies a big zoom on their camera. If you're the former it would be better to look at the HS20 EXR model. However, the S4000 is a nicely equipped camera for the market it's aimed at. The large zoom will tempt many while the easy to use functions will set racing minds at ease. We like the easy to hold design, the chunky grip feels good but the fake leatherette covering is a bit slippy. However, we were confident while holding it one handed.

Fujifilm FinePix S4000 Fujifilm FinePix S4000
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

The finepix button has been around for around 7 years now and what Fuji have is a widely recognised button simply because of its heritage. However, instead of working it, they've dropped off the amount of functions that it holds to just three on the S4000. It would be good to see it used more as a function button maybe putting more commonly used features in there such as white-balance, resolution (image size is already in there), metering and AF.

Looking at the pictures we took on the back of the camera, they look crisp and well exposed. The functions in playback take a while to get started, for example when the playback button is pressed, it's not possible to zoom into the picture for around 5 seconds after the picture has been displayed. Not good if you're in a rush, but then the shutter lag is such that it's not possible to be in a hurry using the S4000 anyway. Not that it's super slow, it's around the same as any other compact but maybe it's because it looks like a DSLR, we expect it to work like one.

In the box is a set of 4x AA batteries, driver software and quick start guide to get you shooting straight away. The full manual is on the disc that comes with the camera. Because the batteries aren't rechargeable, there's no charger with the camera. There's also a strap to prevent you from dropping the camera and a lens cap to cover the lens when the camera's not in use.

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 S4000 as a bit weird. From a normal viewing distance, the pictures look great. The look sharp and rich in colour. However, cropping into them and the pictures look overly sharpened to the degree that they look painted. At ISO64, the pictures show no digital noise at all.  In fact we're really impressed with the low end ISO settings. Being overly critical, the ISO200 setting does show extremely minor signs of noise poking through. Image quality is still very good, though and it's not until ISO800 that quality takes a nosedive.

So it looks as though the S4000 has a very good noise reduction system but at ISO800 it either can't cope or it gives up the ghost. Discolouration occurs at ISO1600 and any dark areas change colour completely. We continuously got casts when shooting at high ISO but we're still impressed with edge definition even at this high setting. In a bid to reduce the amount of noise interfering with the picture, at ISO3200, the camera knocks down the resolution. The idea being that because the pixels are spaced out so don't apply heat to neighbouring pixels which can generate a type of noise.


There are 8 ISO settings available on the Fujifilm FinePix S4000. 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 S4000's 30x zoom lens offers an incredibly versatile focal range, as illustrated by these examples:




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 S4000 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

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 rarely on the S4000 but when it does appear, it's a hard edged line of colour.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)


There are two macro modes on the Fujifilm FinePix S4000. 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


Because of the design of the FinePix S4000, the 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 hen 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 that 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. The Auto setting caused a small amount of red-eye which was removed by the Red-eye reduction mode.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)

Red Eye Reduction

Red Eye Reduction (100% Crop)


For the main night test we used a manual control to get settings that we wanted to use. In aperture priority, we chose a low ISO rating 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.

One point that we came across on most pictures, especially ones at low ISO was that they had a kind of painted effect to them. It's really unusual and actually spoils an otherwise great performance from the camera.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Fujifilm FinePix S4000 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 30 second movie is 105Mb in size.

Product Images

Fujifilm FinePix S4000

Front of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix S4000

Front of the Camera / Pop-up Flash

Fujifilm FinePix S4000

Isometric View

Fujifilm FinePix S4000

Isometric View

Fujifilm FinePix S4000

Isometric View

Fujifilm FinePix S4000

Rear of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix S4000

Rear of the Camera / Panorama Mode

Fujifilm FinePix S4000

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Fujifilm FinePix S4000

Rear of the Camera / Turned On


Fujifilm FinePix S4000

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

Fujifilm FinePix S4000

Rear of the Camera / F-Mode Menu

Fujifilm FinePix S4000

Top of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix S4000

Side of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix S4000

Side of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix S4000

Front of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix S4000

Front of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix S4000

Memory Card Slot

Fujifilm FinePix S4000

Battery Compartment


What Fujifilm have developed in the FinePix S4000 is a decent superzoom camera for a budget price. The 30x optical zoom means that you can reach subjects that are too far away for the majority of cameras, even other superzooms. The style fo the camera is attractive, it's styled nicely and has a good enough build quality. There's always the age old debate about AA batteries versus lithium ion and while it's still fairly relevant, it's less so these days. The Duracell batteries that we got in the box was enough to last the duration of the test and there are lithium rechargeable versions of AA batteries these days.

The camera has a good feel to it thanks to a nice design. The chunky grip allows for holding it in one hand and even shooting that way too. We like how the buttons and switches fall to hand but we still maintain that for the additional cost, it would have been better to use the lens barrel as a zoom ring for superior manual control instead of the stepped version on the shutter release.

Picture quality is good when viewed at a normal distance or seen on a standard size photograph but when they're zoomed into, it has an effect we can only describe as painted. If you can put up with this then the colours are recorded very nicely and there's a decent amount of detail too. We're unsure why the sensor performs like this and it makes us wish that they could put the EXR sensor in all their cameras.

Style and features wise, the Fujifilm FinePix S4000 is suitable for photographers who have experience of a DSLR or those who want to experience everything a DSLR can do for them without the cost or weight. Image wise, take a look at the sample pictures in the review and decide for yourself whether you like what the Fujifilm can do for you. We don't really like it but things like this can be subjective.

3.5 stars

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


Number of effective pixels

14.0 million pixels

CCD sensor

1/2.3-inch CCD with primary color filter

Storage media

Internal memory (none) SD / SDHC memory card

File format

Still image - JPEG (Exif Ver 2.3 ) (Design rule for Camera File system compliant / DPOF-compatible) Movie - AVI (Motion JPEG ) Sound - WAVE format, Monaural sound


Fujinon 30x optical zoom lens

Lens focal length

f=4.3mm - 129.0mm, equivalent to 24 - 720mm on a 35 mm camera


Mode - Single AF / Continuous AF (SR AUTO, Movie) Type - TTL contrast AF, AF assist illuminator available AF frame selection - Center, Multi, Area, Tracking

Focus distance

Normal - Wide : Approx. 40cm / 1.3ft. to infinity, Telephoto : Approx. 2.8m / 9.2ft. to infinity Macro - Wide : Approx. 7cm - 3m / 2.8in. - 9.8ft. Telephoto : Approx. 2.0m - 3m / 6.6ft. - 9.8ft. Super Macro - Wide : Approx. 2cm / 0.8in. - 1.0m / 0.8in. - 3.3ft.

Shutter speed

(Auto mode) 1/4 sec. to 1/2000 sec. , (All other modes) 8 sec. to 1/2000 sec. with mechanical shutter


F3.1 / F8(Wide) F5.9 / F8 / F20(Telephoto) with ND filter


Auto,Equivalent to ISO 64 / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200* / 6400* (Standard Output Sensitivity) * ISO3200/6400 is effective in S mode.

Exposure modes

Programmed AE, Shutter Priority AE, Aperture Priority AE, Manual exposure

White balance

Automatic scene recognition. Preset - Fine, Shade, Fluorescent light (Daylight), Fluorescent light (Warm White), Fluorescent light (Cool White), Incandescent light, Custom


0.2-inch., approx. 200,000 dots, color LCD viewfinder approx. 97% coverage

LCD Monitor

3.0-inch, approx. 460,000 dots, TFT color LCD monitor, approx. 97% coverage


Approx. 10 sec. / 2 sec. Delay

Video Output

HDMI (Type C) NTSC/PAL selectable

Digital Interface

USB 2.0 High-speed

Power source

4xAA type alkaline batteries (included) / 4xAA type Ni-MH rechargeable batteries (sold separately) / 4xAA type lithium batteries (sold separately)


118.0 (W) x 80.9 (H) x 99.8(D) mm / 4.6in.(W) x 3.2in.(H) x 3.9in.(D)


Approx. 445g / 15.7oz. (excluding accessories, batteries and memory card) Approx. 540g / 19.0oz. (including accessories, batteries and memory card)

Digital Zoom

Approx. 6.7x (up to approx. 201.0x, with 30x optical zoom)

Shooting modes

SP - Zoom Bracketing, Natural Light & with Flash, Natural Light, Portrait, Baby, Smile, Landscape, Sport, Night, Night (Tripod), Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Beach, Party, Flower, Text. MODE DIAL - SR AUTO, AUTO, P, S, A, M, Custom, Movie, Panorama, SP

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.


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

Voice memo

WAVE format, Monaural sound

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