S100FS - IQ and value. Still a good digicam ?

Started May 4, 2008 | Discussions thread
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S100FS - IQ and value. Still a good digicam ?
May 4, 2008

I've been combing through the discussions (battles ?) about this cam since March and now I'm throwing my 2 cents in ! I am considering this camera for purchase but am really getting put off by the amount of negative comments (there's that word again..) about it. I don't pretend to be a camera expert; I am, however, an informed shopper.

Firstly, there is the huge debate over the PF/CA issue and whether or not it is actually a major fault on the camera. There is a very vocal group of pixel peepers who simply cannot understand how a camera with this much PF/CA could possibly make it to market while claiming to be 'dslr like'. I am curious to know how many of the people who refuse to purchase this camera based on IQ regularly scrutinize each image for quality, post/sumbit for competition and/or have large prints made on a regular basis. Hands up ? Is it possible some casual users looking for a step up cam are being scared off by stories about returned cameras and posts of worst-case scenario PF ? I have no hands on experience with this type of camera but I understand this type of issue is common to extended zooms - can someone give me an indication of how much worse this cam is to others in it's class ? Can anyone point me in the direction of a similar camera that performs as well as this at iso 400 ? (Who really uses iso 3200 anyway....)

Another big debate: Screw spending $800 on a camera with neon highlights - spend the same amount on ebay or $400 more retail for the same specs in a dslr !! This is a big point of contention for me, mainly because of where I live. It seems that anyone living in the USA would do very well to skip the S100FS and move up to a budget dslr or save some cash and move down to a similarly endowed (decent sensor, big zoom, quality build) but older and cheap cam (specifically, but not limited to, a panny FZ50). Due to the economic shift of late, products that are traditionally cheaper in the US are now becoming cheaper in Canada. Using the FZ50 as an example - This camera was released in the summer/fall of '06 when pricing was better down south. In the USA, it currently runs $400-$500 where the S100FS would be had for $700-$800. Up in Canada, a completely different story. The FZ50 STILL retails upwards of $700, while the S100FS can be has for as cheap as $630 if you're lucky enough to find it on sale. Now you tell me - Given the pros/cons of each unit; is the Fuji a better buy ? See pricing info:

http://www.audiotronic.ca/eSection/electrProd.asp?send=eng&codFab=PAN&codPrd=DMCFZ50K - CANADA FZ50 $697

http://www.cameracanada.com/eNet-cart/Product.asp?pid=DMCFZ50K&type= - CANADA FZ50 $644

http://www.vistek.ca/store/DigitalCameras/226667/panasonic-dmcfz50k-digital-camera-black.aspx CANADA FZ50 $699

http://www.vistek.ca/store/DigitalCameras/235440/fuji-finepix-s100fs-digital-camera.aspx CANADA S100FS $699

http://www.cameracanada.com/eNet-cart/Product.asp?pid=973854&type= CANADA S100FS $669

http://www.adencamera.com/prod-overview.asp?ProdID=2244&Category=5 CANADA S100FS $619 (ON SALE) $699 (REG PRICE)

If you care to check, this price difference is reflected in the Canadian and USA list prices on the Fuji websites. Could it now be worth an American to import an S100FS, like us Canadians do for cheaper US goods ?

I'm still not sure if I should take the risk on the camera - for the price and versatility (no lens changes, compact compared to dslr with same zoom, ability to take videos) it is very attractive, but the IQ does make me nervous. Can anyone with experience with the cam let me know, realistically, how much PF to expect ? Is every branch infront of an overcast sky going to show or is it hit and miss ?

Final point... When it is referred to as 'bridge' or 'dslr-like' I don't believe it's intended to replace a dslr. I believe it's for people such as myself who might want the advantages of a compact and quality and features approaching that of a dslr but don't want the costs and hassle associated with it.

If anyone can point me in the direction of another non-slr cam, with the image quality and zoom aproaching that of the S100FS, minus PF (regardless of age, sensor size or price) I would love to hear about it ! Prefer good image quality in a zoom 28mm or less, to 400mm or better with full manual control.

Other cameras that I have researched but are not desired for one reason or another (feel free to comment):
Panasonic FZ18
Panasonic FZ50
Olympus SP-560/570 UZ
Fuji S9100
Canon S5 IS
Nikon P80
Sony H10
Sony H50

Wow... I had a lot to say - sorry 'bout that. All comments and advice welcome !


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