Fujifilm FinePix S4200 Review

January 23, 2013 | Matt Grayson | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Fujifilm FinePix S4200 is an affordable 24x optical zoom bridge camera. It also offers a modest 14 megapixel resolution, 3 inch LCD screen, direct web upload facility and HD video capability. Couple that with the 2cm macro and manual controls and the result is a highly flexible camera for all situations. But does the image quality match the impressive technical specification? In our expert review, we intend to find out. Priced at £109, the Fujifilm FinePix S4200 is available in red, black and white.

Ease of Use

It's nice to get a camera with some meat on it every once in a while. If there's one thing Fujifilm have always been able to do, it's make a chunky bridge camera and the Fujifilm FinePix S4200 certainly continues that trend. The exterior of the camera is littered with buttons, switches and dials. On the top is a mix of what you'd normally find on top of a bridge camera - such as the shutter release with zoom rocker surround, power switch and command dial – and some other bits that aren't such as the face detection button and continuous shooting modes.

The command dial is a large affair with lots of modes on it, so you'll find plenty to do. As well as the manual PASM modes, there's also a Custom button and a few Auto features such as Scene modes, Panorama and video. Next to this is a button with an F on it. The F stands for FinePix and is the S4200's quick menu area.

Fujifilm FinePix S4200 Fujifilm FinePix S4200
Front Rear

On the back, the Fujifilm FinePix S4200 is dominated by the large LCD screen. These days, it's easy to stick the camera out at arms length and start shooting. The S4200 has an Electronic Viewfinder (EVF), so if you want to, you can switch to shooting like you're using a DSLR. It will help secure the heavy front end as it frees the left hand to place under the lens and offer support. To use the EVF, press the EVF/LCD button that is sat next to the viewfinder. A small collection of buttons sits to the right of the screen. They access a variety of functions from exposure compensation to playback and screen display options.

The S4200 has a built-in flash for those hard-to-light places. It flops over the lens barrel when not in use and can be flipped up by pressing the flash button on the left side of the camera. The right button of the nav pad on the back will open up flash options for you, but only when the flash is activated.

The lens is a Fujinon Super EBC lens with a 24x optical zoom range. That's 4.3-103.2mm or 24-576mm in 35mm terms. The zoom is operated by the aforementioned zoom rocker that's wrapped around the shutter release. This is arguably the most convenient way to use the zoom if it's not manually operated by turning the lens barrel. In fact, if it wasn't for the price point being so low, the S4200 would have really benefited from a manual zoom ring simply because it gives much more precision handling over the zoom.

Fujifilm FinePix S4200 Fujifilm FinePix S4200
Pop-up Flash Side

Despite the plastic casing, the Fujifilm FinePix S4200's body certainly feels well made. From the smooth top plate to the faux leather effect on the grip, back and sides. There are a number of areas that give the camera an indication of its build quality. Namely, the HDMI socket cover on the side of the camera is a flimsy rubber, the tripod bush is plastic and while we wouldn't mark the camera down for using AA batteries, the door has to be more resilient and we worry about the longevity on the S4200. It has a lot of pressure on it while the camera has batteries loaded.

The S4200 has two menus. The smallest is the FinePix menu which is accessed by pressing the “F” button on the top of the camera. It gives access to the ISO, resolution and FinePix colour (standard, chrome or black & white). Pressing the Menu button on the back can also open up the same features along with a lot more such as Image quality, white-balance, sharpness, photometry (metering), AF modes and face recognition. Pressing left in this menu, will allow you to skip to the Set-up menu as they're laid out like tabs.  This menu holds access to more core features of the camera such as date & time, language, volume, LCD settings, red-eye removal, blink detection and loads of other features. In fact, there's five pages of modes to search through, so if you have a slow day, you can occupy a while having a look at them.

From cold, the Fujifilm FinePix S4200 can start up, focus and take a picture in a little over three seconds. This is slightly slower than other digital compact cameras which offer an average speed of around 2.5 seconds. However, the power switch tends to slow things down and the camera takes a moment to recover from the effort of switching on before it will focus and take a picture. While half a second isn't really a time frame that you should shake a stick at, in photography terms, it can be make or break.

Fujifilm FinePix S4200 Fujifilm FinePix S4200
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

There are a number of continuous shooting modes on the S4200 which are accessed by pressing the burst mode button on the grip just behind the shutter release. The Long Period mode in the middle of the ticker style menu is the continuous but after a relatively speedy start, it kind of plods along slowing to a shot every three seconds. In a ten second period, we took eight shots in total. It takes three images in the first second or so, before it slows down as the buffer fills up. There's Top6 which will take six continuous, evenly spread images before stopping. You can't take more and it takes an age to download them onto the card. Final6 will constantly take pictures as long as you hold the button down but only records the last six taken after you remove your finger from the shutter release. Shutter lag is around the standard time of 0.08sec.

When reviewing your pictures, the Fujifilm FinePix S4200 will show the images full screen by default. You can view more of them by using the zoom switch and “zooming out”. There are a number of different ways of looking at the pictures. Zooming out once brings up a scrolling style reminiscent of Windows' Aero feature on Vista. Zoom out again and there's a cascade style to use. From there, you get thumbnails. Press the Menu button and the Playback menu pops up. It has a tabbed style and has a white background and black lettering style (the same as the main menu) but with a blue highlight to distinguish a different menu. There's lots of things to do in here such as create a Photobook, search for images, erase or mark them for upload to YouTube or Facebook. You can also create a slide-show if you wish. There's very basic editing features such as crop, resize or rotate. Interestingly, you can also erase any face recognition information. Although, we can't think of a reason why you'd need to.

In the box, the Fujifilm FinePix S4200 comes with 4x AA batteries, a neck strap and cables to link to the computer or television. Be aware that the cable for tv viewing is only an analogue cable at the television end and so you won't benefit from HD video recording. It's also mono sound. The paperwork consists of a Quick Start Guide and warranty information. The CD holds the full manual and FinePix Studio version 3.1.

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.


Low ISO image results are great on the Fujifilm FinePix S4200. There's loads of details and no colour distortion at all. Edge definition is also very good. The good results spread through to ISO 100, which really goes without saying as it's only around a third of a stop difference. ISO 200 also shows promising results although to be highly critical, a smidgen of colour noise pokes through darker areas.

Normally on a camera with such a small sensor, we'd expect to see a distinctive loss of image quality around ISO 400 but the S4200 has kept it at bay to reveal a decent image in our ISO test. Sure, there's some drop in quality – that's to be expected. ISO 800 sees a definite drop in quality with massive amounts of noise affecting the image all over.  We did notice an interesting area of our test image. Right on the distance ring on the lens, there's what we can only described as a “sweet spot” where there's no noise.

Because of the noise problems, the Fujifilm FinePix S4200 drops the resolution at ISO 3200 and it helps to a degree. If you want to use the camera at this setting or ISO 6400, do it sparingly, preferably using flash at a lower ISO.

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 focal length of the Fujifilm FinePix S4200 is 4.3-103.2mm or 24-576mm in 35mm terms. The camera does suffer from barrel distortion at wide-angle and pincushion at full zoom.




The S4200 has an inbuilt sharpness option in the Main menu. There's definite difference between the three settings of Soft, Normal and Hard. We also sharpened the Normal setting using Adobe Photoshop CS4 and it gives a similar result to the Hard setting, obviating the need to use editing suites for this action.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

File Quality

The Fujifilm FinePix S4200 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 find instances of chromatic aberration, but not many. However, the time we got to test the camera was particularly dull and so didn't get that much contrast. We noticed that most of the time we encountered chroma was on straight lines – not something normally seen in nature – and at the extreme edges of the frame.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)


The S4200 has two macro settings. The Macro setting allows you to focus closer to subjects and with the standard macro setting, you can get in as close as 7cm, compared with 40cm when out of macro mode. There's also a supermacro mode which allows you to get as close as 2cm although you can't zoom in this mode. Be careful what you shoot as well. Barrel distortion is more prevalent at this setting.


Macro (100% Crop)


The flash on the S4200 is a flip up type and the manual button to pop it up is on the left of the body. We think that because the flash is so much further away from the camera, it works as a red-eye removal system in itself. After all, red-eye is a reflection of the retina which then flares up and covers the iris. Red-eye reduction only reduces it to the pupil – but it's still present. Red-eye removal will remove the red-eye completely, usually via software.

At wide-angle, there's soft vignettes in the corners of the frame which harden and become more noticeable when the flash is used. At full zoom, the vignette disappears whether flash is used or not. Light is also spread pretty evenly at full zoom.

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)


As with all cameras that we get with manual control, we produced better results at the night shot test than using the night shot mode. Simply put, we could control the ISO and more importantly, the white-balance. There's still a smidgen of noise even at ISO 64, but that's probably from the pixels heating up over the long exposure of three seconds.

The night scene mode couldn't cope with the strong street lights and the white of the snow. It opted for a higher ISO 200 setting (still within our range of satisfactory settings on the S4200) and a half second exposure. The camera used a lower ISO and longer exposure because we opted for the Night shot (Tripod mounted) setting.

Night Auto

Night Auto (100% Crop)


Night Scene

Night Scene (100% Crop)

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Fujifilm FinePix S4200 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 28 second movie is 96.6Mb in size.

Product Images

Fujifilm FinePix S4200

Front of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix S4200

Front of the Camera / Pop-up Flash

Fujifilm FinePix S4200

Isometric View

Fujifilm FinePix S4200

Isometric View

Fujifilm FinePix S4200

Isometric View

Fujifilm FinePix S4200

Rear of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix S4200

Rear of the Camera / Panorama Mode

Fujifilm FinePix S4200

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Fujifilm FinePix S4200

Rear of the Camera / Turned On


Fujifilm FinePix S4200

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

Fujifilm FinePix S4200

Rear of the Camera / F-Mode Menu

Fujifilm FinePix S4200

Top of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix S4200

Side of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix S4200

Side of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix S4200

Front of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix S4200

Front of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix S4200

Memory Card Slot

Fujifilm FinePix S4200

Battery Compartment


Once we'd concluded our test shots, we made one decision about the Fujifilm FinePix S4200: It's not a camera to rush around with. Taking landscapes, cityscapes, posed portraits, still life and macro subjects are great. The camera works fine doing these because it doesn't need to act fast. However, sports photography, street candids, some nature and family shots may not fall in the remit of the S4200 if things are happening too fast. The sample shots of the horses were only two of around 20 we took. The others were blurred or – mostly – out of focus because the animals had moved before the camera could react. So we know it's slow.

Image quality is great if you use it at ISO 400 or lower. Or if you can cope with the much lower resolution, you can use it at ISO 3200. But only that one, for some reason. Take a look at the ISO test shots if you haven't already and it will all become clear. Using the Fujifilm FinePix S4200 will be easy for most people although some people who are hard of sight may have issues with the menu colour system.

It's fair to say that no-one can grumble about the cost of the S4200. At £110, the price isn't anything to shake a stick at. That's a cost effective camera that is easily replaceable if it gets dropped and isn't covered by a warranty. After all, it's built out of plastic, so if it is dropped, it's highly likely that it'll break. The price does show through, though. Aside from the plastic exterior, the plastic tripod bush and flimsy rubber port covers scream budget camera. The menu is strangely bereft of fashionable Instagram style effects, but this could be a camera for those not looking to post pictures of cats, sunrises and cups of coffee.

If that's you, then the Fujifilm FinePix S4200 could be a great camera for you. If you do decide to get it, get it in white so you have a camera that looks like a Star Wars stormtrooper.

4 stars

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

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Fujifilm FinePix S4200 from around the web.

reviews.cnet.com »

To avoid any confusion during what you're about to read, let's get something straight: the Fujifilm FinePix S4500, S4400, S4300, and S4200 are all the same camera, but with different lenses. The S4500 has a 30x f3.1-5.9 24-720mm lens; the S4400 has a 28x f3.1-5.9 24-672mm lens; the S4300 has a 26x f3.1-5.9 24-624mm lens; and the S4200 has a 24x f3.1-5.9 24-576mm lens.
Read the full review »


Model FinePix S4200
Resolution 14.0 million pixels*1
Sensor type 1/2.3 - inch CCD with primary colour filter
Storage media
  • Internal memory (none)
  • SD / SDHC / SDXC memory card *2
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. 6.7 x (up to approx. 160.8 x , with 24 x optical zoom)
Aperture F3.1 / F8 (Wide)
F5.9 / F8 / F20 (Telephoto)  with ND filter
Focus distance (from lens surface)
  • Wide : Approx. 40 cm to infinity / 1.3 ft. to infinity
  • Telephoto : Approx. 2.8 m to infinity / 9.1 ft. to infinity
  • Wide : Approx. 7 cm - 3.0 m / 2.7 in. - 9.8 ft.
  • Telephoto : Approx. 2.0 m - 3.0 m / 6.5 ft. - 9.8 ft.
Super Macro
  • Wide : Approx. 2 cm - 1.0 m / 0.8 in. - 3.3 ft.
Sensitivity Auto,Equivalent to ISO 64 / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200* / 6400* (Standard Output Sensitivity) * ISO3200 / 6400 is effective in image size S.
Image stabilisation CCD shift type
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. * Optical zoom function can be used.
Power supply 4 x AA type alkaline batteries (included) / 4 x AA type Ni-MH rechargeable batteries (sold separately)
4 x AA type lithium batteries (sold separately)
Dimensions 118.0 (W) x 80.9 (H) x 99.8 (D) mm / 4.6 (W) x 3.1 (H) x 3.9 (D) in.
Weight Approx. 543 g / 19.1 oz. (including batteries and memory card)
Approx. 448 g / 15.8 oz. (excluding batteries and memory card)
Battery life Alkaline batteries : Approx. 300frames (AUTO mode)
Ni-MH rechargeable batteries : Approx 500 frames (AUTO mode)
Lithium batteries : Approx. 700 frames (AUTO mode)
Accessories included 4 x AA type alkaline batteries
Shoulder strap
USB-A/V cable
Lens cap and Lens cap cord
Owner's manual
  *1 Number of effective pixels: The number of pixels on the image sensor which receive input light through the optical lens, and which are effectively reflected in the final output data of the still image.*2 Please see the Fujifilm website to check memory card compatibility.

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