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Conclusion - Pros

  • Vivid color response, if a little strong with primary reds
  • Ten times optical zoom provides a lot of flexibility, low distortion measurement
  • Lens 'fast' even at telephoto (F3.2)
  • Respectable macro focus at around one third zoom
  • Excellent body design, feels very good in your hand
  • Lighter and smaller than you expect
  • Supplied lens adapter gives camera a more professional look, protects lens
  • "Thirds grid" overlay option on live view is useful
  • Good build quality for a plastic camera
  • Flexible Program AE (up / down arrow to select equiv. exposures)
  • Range of manual controls including aperture and shutter priority
  • Unlimited 30 fps 320x240 video (although large storage requirements)
  • RAW format (weighs in at 6.5 MB per file)
  • Bright LCD monitor which works well even in low light
  • Short write times to xD-Picture Card
  • Novel Final-5 continuous shooting mode
  • Amazing battery life


Conclusion - Cons

  • Sharpening algorithm too harsh (and/or unsophisticated)
  • Use of higher sensitivities affects image sharpness
  • Vignetting / Lens shading visible in everyday shots
  • Poor frame coverage of LCD and EVF (just 89% of final image)
  • Not enough latitude (or fineness) of adjustment of image parameters
  • Limited night exposure capability
  • No direct adjustment for tone or color saturation
  • No manual white balance preset
  • Relatively slow shutter release lag (half to full press of shutter release)
  • Flash exposures slightly underexposed (although could compensate)
  • ISO 800 limited to one megapixel image size (1280 x 960)
  • No gain in resolution shooting at the 6mp image size


Overall conclusion

Here's my rating of the Fujifilm FinePix S5000 Zoom: (3 megapixel compact)

Detail Rating (out of 10)
Construction 8
Features 8
Image quality 7
Lens / CCD combination 7
Ease of use 8
Value for money 8

The S5000 is a photographers camera, it is design to look and feel like a compact SLR with its deep hand grip, wide lens barrel, large eyepiece and rubberized body coating it appeals to the professional photographer element in all of us. In addition the camera will certainly be smaller and lighter than you expect, with its weight primarily in the palm of your hand (the four AA batteries) the camera also has good balance. Control layout is also good with everything where you expect it to be, the S5000 isn't limited to Auto mode, you have a range of exposure modes including aperture or shutter priority and manual.

The ten times lens provides plenty of flexibility, this camera is clearly aimed as a good all-rounder which can be used in a variety of situations and is offers great portability because of its light weight and small size.

However not everything is as perfect under the hood, the three megapixel SuperCCD HR delivers only average three megapixel resolution and doesn't produce any gain in detail when used in six megapixel image size. Competition in this segment of the market is very strong with several compact ten times zoom cameras to choose from the informed buyer will have to use image quality as a deciding factor. Throughout my time with the S5000 I was left wondering what it had been like had Fujifilm used a standard four or five megapixel CCD, that would have been interesting. And that is one of Fujifilm's challenges, while the SuperCCD design appears to pay dividends when used on larger sensors (such as in the S2 Pro) it really does nothing to enhance image quality in small cameras with small sensors.

Average

So which one should I buy? A question I get asked several times a day, and I wouldn't like to say. In a new addition to my reviews (after the amount of feedback I normally get) I've added a link to a specific forum in which you can discuss the review or ask me specific questions which I've not answered in these pages.

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