Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 Review

March 5, 2013 | Matt Grayson | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The FinePix SL1000 is a very interesting bridge camera from Fujifilm that not only sports a 16 megapixel resolution, but also has a 3-inch tilting screen, 920K dot EVF, Full HD video, RAW format support and a teeth-aching 50x optical zoom. Other highlights include a 1cm Super Macro mode, a 3-level zoom switch, a flash hot-shoe, and a customisable Function button. How will this line-up of features square up in our test? The Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 costs around £335 / $399.95 and is available in any colour as long as it's black.

Ease of Use

Around a month ago, we published our review of the Fujifilm FinePix SL240 which we found to be an interesting camera because of the features it has for the price. The brand new SL1000 also has interesting features, but has a £200 price increase on its little brother. What do you get for the extra £200? Well, for a start, externally there's the flip out LCD screen. The articulation isn't fully manoeuvrable, it won't twist from side to side. It does flip down and up, making macro or gig photography easier to shoot. Add a 50x optical zoom to that and you're going to be taking pictures of your favourite pop artists from seven rows back. The 50x optical zoom starts at 24mm (in 35mm terms) and finally stops at a nostril flaring 1200mm.

The rest of the Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 is set up for the more advanced user. Don't take that the wrong way, it certainly has functions for the novice, but this is a camera that will be favoured by someone looking to increase their knowledge in photography. Typical modes that the SL1000 has to offer for the learning photographer include manual controls on the command dial that sits on top of the body, an external flash hot-shoe and RAW recording. Let's take a closer look at these modes for a moment.

The manual controls are the options on the command dial designated PASM. They stand for Program (camera controls shutter speed and aperture), Shutter priority (you control shutter speed, camera controls aperture), Aperture priority (as with Shutter priority, but reversed) and Manual (you control both Aperture and Shutter speed). The camera also controls the Aperture and Shutter speed in Auto mode, but in Program, the Main menu has more options open such as ISO and white-balance.

Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 Fujifilm FinePix SL1000
Front Rear

Look on top of the Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 at the flash that sits over the lens and you'll see the hot-shoe just behind it. If you're unfamiliar with a hot-shoe, it's designed to attach external flash units to the camera. The centre metal point fires an electrical current that tells the flash that the camera is taking a picture and that it should make a bright light. The three smaller pins are what makes the flash “dedicated” to the camera. Using a dedicated flash will allow the two units to talk to each other. For example, the camera will tell the flash if the zoom is out and that it should increase power output. It will also communicate if a subject is nearby. The flash will then reduce output to avoid bleaching.

RAW is a type of file that the Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 records in. When the camera takes a picture, no adjustments are made to the photograph. It's a raw file, hence the name. If you record in JPEG, the images are adjusted for colour saturation, contrast and sharpness then compressed to make them smaller by removing unnecessary data from the image. This frees up more space on the memory card to take more pictures. RAW files are therefore bigger and have no manipulation to them. They look flat and desaturated because the idea is that you do it all.

Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 Fujifilm FinePix SL1000
Front Side

To switch the SL1000 on, you need to slide the spring loaded power switch that's situated on the top plate just behind the grip. You can select whether you want to hold the camera out in front of you like a tourist, or use the viewfinder – which isn't that bad – like a professional. If you choose the latter, the camera is held firmer making pictures steadier at slower speeds. A zoom switch is located on the lens barrel to aid with zooming while using the EVF (Electronic View Finder). To switch between the two, a small button sits next to the EVF. If you use the screen, placing your eye to the EVF will switch the screen off and operate the EVF automatically. This is done by the small eye sensor next to the viewfinder hole.

The main issue we have with an EVF (and this isn't singularly Fujifilm) is that the menus are brought up in it too. To use the menu effectively, it's best to switch to LCD first, which is kind of annoying if you're in a rush. The menus are laid out like any other Fujifilm camera and also in the same colours. It's interesting that Fujifilm have left their menus relatively untouched over the last few years. Other companies have gone for swish graphics and fancy lettering. The SL1000 menus are very easy to use and Fujifilm camera menus always have been. They have added a function menu to the SL1000, so the Main menu isn't alone. This allows a dedicated operation to be one touch away. You can set which function you'd like that to be such as ISO, Image size or quality, white-balance, FinePix colour, metering (photometry) and AF modes among others.

Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 Fujifilm FinePix SL1000
Top Tilting LCD Screen

The Fujifilm FinePix SL1000's start up time from cold is fast. We managed 1.6 seconds which included turning on the camera, focusing and taking a picture. A typical digital compact camera will do the same work in around 2.5 seconds. There are three continuous shooting modes that use a burst function. They're designated High, Medium and Low. They record a different amount of photographs within a similar time-frame (referred to as frames per second, or fps). Low mode will record 3fps, Medium will record 5fps while High will record 10fps. All will stop recording after 9 frames have been shot and they all record at full image size, which is great. Along with those, there's also a Best Frame Capture which will take a sequence of shots and the best result will be chosen from them and AE bracket.

The playback button is situated on the back of the Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 between the dedicated video record button and the navigation pad. Images will be played full screen unless you use the zoom switch to either zoom in on details of the picture or, if you go wider, the images will tile so you can see more than one at a time. The Playback menu replaces the Main menu which is accessed when in recording mode. The Set-up menu is still available though.

Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 Fujifilm FinePix SL1000
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

There are a few interesting features that Fujifilm cameras offer in the Playback menu. The first option the menu opens on is Photobook Assist. This mode allows you to create a list of images you'd like to use to create a photobook. You can create up to six books, which is pretty cool, especially if you're holidaying as you'll be able to designate images as you go. There's an option to search for images by specifying certain parameters such as date, face, favourites, type of data or upload mark. This latter option refers to the capability of allocating images to be uploaded to Facebook and videos to YouTube. There's also the option to upload to MyFinePix.com if you're a member. There are one or two editing modes such as red-eye removal, crop, resize and rotate.

In the box, the camera comes with a lithium ion battery and charger, lens cap and neck strap. There's a USB cable for downloading data direct to a computer. There's also a brief manual to get you started, warranty booklet and a CD which holds the full manual and a basic editing suite  called MyFinePix Studio Version 4.2. Conversion of RAW images is done by using Raw File Converter EX which is powered by Silkypix. The program is easy to use, simply open the folder or image you want, edit it in Converter EX or convert it to TIFF, which is a file type that an editing suite will recognise. The option to convert to JPEG is available, but there's no point in shooting RAW if you're going to convert it to JPEG.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 16 megapixel Finel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 6Mb.


Low noise image quality is very good – although that's to be expected. Blacks are black, with no colour invasion, smooth surfaces are smooth and edges are sharp. Being really picky (and we think we're allowed to be), there is what looks like a little colour starting to creep in at ISO 200 when viewed under scrutiny at full magnification. The best way to check instances such as this is by nudging the sensitivity up a setting to see if the problem exacerbates. Sure enough, the reddish colouring we notice at ISO 200 is more prevalent at ISO 400. Interestingly, mid-tones and highlights aren't affected by the increase in ISO with edges remaining sharp. Green colouring starts to affect the image at ISO 800, but we certainly expect it to by now, especially with a small sensor. Mid-tones are also becoming affected at this stage.

Noise reduction software becomes noticeable at ISO 1600 as the image starts to get smoothed out in a bid to eradicate coloured pixels. Bright colours are also more subdued showing that the software is working. At these high settings, colours in the pictures are a casualty of the war against noise. Noise gets steadily worse and by ISO 6400, the colour invasion is so bad that the camera knocks the resolution down to try and obviate the issues a bit. Even despite these problems, Fujifilm still put an extra setting on the camera, so if you feel that you need to use ISO 12800, it's there. Of course, with flash technology the way it is these days, you'll find that you can drop the ISO down to something more reasonable, use the pop-up flash or an external unit and get nicely balanced exposures.

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)


ISO 12800 (100% Crop)


Focal Range

The 50x optical zoom range on the SFujifilm FinePix SL1000 is simply astonishing. It's equal to a 35mm range of 24mm to 1200mm. Wide-angle does produce some barrel distortion, but it's not bad. Compression at full zoom is surprisingly low. We found backgrounds weren't thrown out of focus as much as we expected. The image stabiliser works very well but, of course, it's not going to be brilliant. However, putting the camera onto auto ISO and being more relaxed about noise invasion, the camera will still produce frozen images.




We decided that increasing the sharpness in an editing suite on images taken with the Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 didn't improve them enough to warrant taking the time to do it. We think that the pictures are sharp enough.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)


File Quality

The Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 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.

Fine (5.46Mb)

Normal (3.35Mb)

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberration is present on pictures from the Fujifilm FinePix SL1000. Although mainly at the far edges of the frame, if you have hard enough contrast, it can be found in any area of the picture.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)


Chromatic Aberrations 3 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 4 (100% Crop)


The Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 has two macro modes. The standard macro can focus as close as 7cm at wide-angle and 3.5m at full zoom. Go into supermacro and you can close into 1cm. However, the zoom is disabled in this mode.


Macro (100% Crop)


Super Macro

Super Macro (100% Crop)


The Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 suffers from slight vignetting whether the flash is used or not. This means that although the vignetting doesn't improve, it doesn't get worse either.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (24mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (24mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Wide Angle (1200mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (1200mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Due to the high location of the pop-up flash, red-eye isn't a problem on the camera, so using red-eye reduction or the post production in-camera red-eye removal isn't necessary. It's nice to know it's there, though, just in case.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)

Red Eye Reduction

Red Eye Reduction (100% Crop)


The night shot in Night scene mode used a slightly higher ISO 400 in our test which created a slightly lighter image and a faster shutter speed. However, both images are well exposed, have lots of detail and are in focus.

Night Scene

Night Scene (100% Crop)


Night Program

Night Program (100% Crop)

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 camera, which were all taken using the 16 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample RAW Images

The Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 enables users to capture RAW and JPEG format files. We've provided some Fujifilm RAW (RAF) samples for you to download (thumbnail images shown below are not 100% representative).

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 1920x1080 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 37 second movie is 86.4Mb in size.

Product Images

Fujifilm FinePix SL1000

Front of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix SL1000

Front of the Camera / Pop-up Flash

Fujifilm FinePix SL1000

Front of the Camera / Isometric View

Fujifilm FinePix SL1000

Isometric View

Fujifilm FinePix SL1000

Isometric View

Fujifilm FinePix SL1000

Rear of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix SL1000

Rear of the Camera / Turned On

Fujifilm FinePix SL1000

Rear of the Camera / Info Screen

Fujifilm FinePix SL1000

Rear of the Camera / Shooting Mode Menu


Fujifilm FinePix SL1000

Rear of the Camera / Shooting Menu

Fujifilm FinePix SL1000

Rear of the Camera / Set-up Menu

Fujifilm FinePix SL1000

Rear of the Camera / ISO Menu

Fujifilm FinePix SL1000

Tilting LCD Screen

Fujifilm FinePix SL1000

Tilting LCD Screen

Fujifilm FinePix SL1000

Top of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix SL1000

Botttom of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix SL1000

Side of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix SL1000

Side of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix SL1000

Front of the Camera

Fujifilm FinePix SL1000

Memory Card Slot

Fujifilm FinePix SL1000

Battery Compartment


Used in the right circumstances, the Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 is a lovely camera to work with. The 50x optical zoom has to be seen to be believed, it really is quite extraordinary. But the great thing about the zoom is that Fujifilm haven't simply been pottering about in the R&D lab, discovered an amazing way to put a huge zoom in a camera and done it. No, they've also made sure that the image stabiliser will be able to cope with it and they've put it on a camera with some features that work brilliantly with it.

In fact, all the Fujifilm FinePix SL1000's features work well with one another and although the start up time is still nearly a second faster than a typical digital compact, we still have our reservations over the spring loaded power switch. It's not 100% reliable and sometimes needs either a second flick or needs to be held for longer until the camera starts up.

The rest of the build quality is good, the buttons are firm and responsive and the dial clicks nicely into place. The screen on the back is bright and while the EVF is good for shooting, it's not easy to navigate a menu with a camera up to your eye. We like the idea of the eye sensor, but found it to be a little bit too responsive. Often we'd have the camera on live display on the screen, go to press a button and the screen would switch off because it thought you were moving the camera to your face.

Despite our reservations about the noise, the image quality is very good. Taking pictures at low ISO will produce very high quality results.. The images are well exposed, sharp and colourful. The digital filters and effects are fun to use, such as Toy camera and Selective colour.

At £334 the Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 is not a cheap compact camera. However, the 50x optical zoom is currently untouched and that's worth a premium. If you're a photographer of many disciplines, enjoying a variety of styles, then this is the camera for you. Likewise if you're wanting to learn about the art of photography, the extra features will help you get there such as the external flash and RAW recording. Additionally, if you really can't cope without knowing what a sparrow 500ft away had for lunch, then you definitely need the new Fujifilm FinePix SL1000.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 4.5
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 4
Value for money 3.5


Model FinePix SL1000
Effective Pixels 16.2 million pixels
Sensor type 1/2.3-inch CMOS with primary colour filter
Storage media
  • Internal memory
  • SD / SDHC / SDXC (UHS-I) memory card *2
File format
still image
JPEG (Exif Ver 2.3 ) / RAW (RAF format), RAW+JPEG
(Design rule for Camera File system compliant / DPOF-compatible)
3D still image
MPO compliant
H.264 (MOV)
Linear PCM / stereo sound
Number of recorded pixels L : (4:3) 4608 x 3456 / (3:2) 4608 x 3072 / (16:9) 4608 x 2592 / (1:1) 3456 x 3456
M : (4:3) 3264 x 2448 / (16:9) 3264 x 1840
S : (4:3) 2304 x 1728 / (16:9) 1920 x 1080

<Motion Panorama>
360° Vertical : 1624 x 11520 Horizontal : 11520 x 1080
240° Vertical : 1624 x 5760 Horizontal : 5760 x 1080
120° Vertical : 1624 x 3840 Horizontal : 3840 x 1080
Fujinon 50x optical zoom lens
focal length
f=4.3mm - 215.0mm, equivalent to 24 - 1200mm on a 35mm format
F2.9 (Wide) - F6.5 (Telephoto)
12 groups 17 lenses
Digital zoom approx. 2.0x (up to approx. 100x , with 50x optical zoom)
Aperture F2.9 / F8.4 (Wide)
F6.5 / F7.8 / F19 (Telephoto) with ND filter
Focus distance (from lens surface)
  • Wide : Approx. 40cm to infinity / 1.3ft. to infinity
  • Telephoto : Approx. 3.5m to infinity / 11.8ft. to infinity
  • Wide : Approx. 7cm - 3.0m / 2.7in. - 9.8ft.
  • Telephoto : Approx. 3.5m - 5.0m /11.8ft - 16.4ft
Super Macro
  • Wide : Approx. 1cm - 1.0m / 0.3in. - 3.3ft.
Sensitivity AUTO / AUTO (400) / AUTO (800) / AUTO (1600) / AUTO (3200), Equivalent to ISO 64/100/200/400/800/1600/3200/6400*/12800* (Standard Output Sensitivity)
  • * ISO6400 is effective in image size M or S / 12800 is effective in image size S
Exposure control TTL 256-zone metering, Multi / Spot / Average
Exposure mode Programmed AE, Shutter Priority AE, Aperture Priority AE, Manual exposure
Shooting modes
Portrait, Landscape, Sport, Night, Night (Tripod), Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Beach, Party, Flower, Text
SR AUTO, AUTO, Adv, P, S, A, M, Custom, Panorama, SP
Image stabilisation Lens shift type
Exposure compensation -2.0EV - +2.0EV 1/3EV step
Shutter speed (Auto mode) 1/4 sec. to 1/1700 sec. , (All other modes) 30 sec. to 1/1700 sec. with mechanical shutter
Continuous shooting
H : approx. 10 fps (max. 9 frames)
M : approx. 5.0 fps (max. 9 frames)
L : approx. 3.0 fps (max. 9 frames)
Best Frame capture
H : approx. 10 fps max. 9 frames (Size L,M,S)/max. 18 frames (Size S)
M : approx. 5.0 fps max. 9 frames (Size L,M,S)/max. 18 frames (Size S)
L : approx. 3.0 fps max. 9 frames (Size L,M,S)/max. 18 frames (Size S)
Auto bracketing AE Bracketing (±1/3 EV, ±2/3 EV, ±1 EV)
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. 45cm - 8.0m / 1.4ft. - 26.2ft.,
  • Telephoto : approx. 3.5m - 4.0m / 11.4ft. - 13.1ft.
  • Wide : approx. 30cm - 3.0m / 0.9ft. - 9.8ft.,
  • Telephoto : approx. 2.0m - 4.0m / 6.5ft. - 13.1ft.
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 YES
Electronic viewfinder 0.2-inch, approx. 920K-dot, colour LCD viewfinder approx. 97% coverage
LCD monitor 3.0-inch, approx. 920K-dot, TFT colour tilting LCD monitor, approx. 97% coverage
Movie recording 1920 x 1080 pixels (60fps) / 1280 x 720 pixels (30fps) / 640 x 480 pixels (30fps) with stereo sound.*
HS 640 x 480 pixels (120fps) / HS 320 x 240 pixels (240fps) / HS 240 x 180 pixels (480fps)
  • * Optical zoom function can be used.
Photography functions SR AUTO, Adv. mode (Pro Low-Light, Advanced Filter, Natural Light & with Flash, Natural Light, HDR, Zoom Bracketing, Individual shutter 3D) Instant zoom, Face Detection, Auto red-eye removal, Framing guideline, blink detection, Frame No. memory, Histogram display, Motion Panorama, Date stamp
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,<br/> 35 Languages, Time difference, Silent mode
Video output
Digital interface
USB 2.0 High-Speed
HDMI output
HDMI mini connector
Power supply Li-ion battery NP-85 (included)
Dimensions 122.7 (W) x 88.6 (H) x 122.6 (D) mm / 4.8(W) x 3.4 (H) x 4.8 (D) in.
Weight Approx. 659 g / 23.2 oz. (including batteries and memory card)
Approx. 619 g / 21.8 oz. (excluding batteries and memory card)
Operating temperature 0°C - 40°C
Operating humidity 10% - 80% (no condensation)
Battery life Approx. 350 frames (AUTO mode)
  • * Fujifilm research based on CIPA standards
Accessories included Li-ion battery NP-85
Battery charger BC-85A
Plug adapter
Shoulder strap
Lens cap and Lens cap cord
Owner's manual
Optional accessories Li-ion battery NP-85
Shoe Mount Fash EF-20 / EF-X20 / EF-42
  • *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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