As you can see the S5000 has a very 'SLR-like' appearance, its black body, moulded hand grip and all-round rubberized coating give it a rugged, professional appearance. The camera's proportions are in my opinion just right as are the subtle design hints and practical touches like the finger grip indent on the front of the camera and thumb grip on the rear. The S5000 looks and feels like a modernized, lightweight and compact S602 Zoom. Of course an important difference between the S5000 and the S602 Zoom is that the S5000 has considerably more telephoto reach (370 mm equiv. compared to the S602's 210 mm equiv.). The camera is supplied with a screw-on lens hood / thread adapter which is designed to protect the lens system but also gives the camera a more solid appearance (picture with hood on previous page).
Side by side
Below you can see the three megapixel (effective) Fujifilm FinePix S5000 Zoom beside the three megapixel Minolta DiMAGE Z1. Both of these cameras are aimed at the same sector of the market, both are similar size and weight, both sport 10x optical zoom lenses and both have a range of manual controls. Design is a matter of personal taste but I prefer the S5000.
In your hand
In your hand the S5000 feels very nicely balanced, the weight of the camera almost equally split between the lens system and the batteries (which are in the camera's hand grip). For extra stability there is a rubber ring around the lens barrel (it doesn't move and isn't a manual focus or zoom ring). Fujifilm has implemented a similar grip design to the S602 Zoom with a notable 'bump' at the top rear of the camera which sits in the V formed by your thumb and forefinger. The entire camera is 'wrapped' in a rubberized coating.
The S5000 has a bright and relatively sharp 114,000 pixel 1.5" LCD monitor on the rear. It's protected by a stiff plastic window but has no anti-reflective coating. The LCD screen is turned off after 30 seconds of inactivity, the LED light below the EVF blinks to indicate the camera is still on, press any button to exit power save mode. The LCD provides just 89% frame coverage.
Just like the S602 Zoom the S5000 has an electronic viewfinder which provides the exact same view as the LCD monitor but at eye level (and size). The S5000's EVF is a 0.33" unit with 110,000 pixels. It's relatively clear if not as detailed or 'smooth' as some we have seen, it's also noticeably smaller than the eyepiece view (although this avoids corner distortion). The EVF does have dioptre adjustment. The EVF provides just 89% frame coverage.
Poor frame coverage
Perhaps the most annoying thing about both the LCD and EVF (electronic viewfinder) is that they only provide 90% frame coverage, making it all too easy to capture something at the edges of the frame that you didn't want. This can be seen in the image below, the shaded area wasn't seen when framing the shot and unfortunately the shot now includes the top of someone's head.
|89% frame coverage|
On the base of the hand grip is the battery compartment door which slides to the left to open. As you can see from this image the S5000 takes four AA batteries, we would recommend a good set of NiMH rechargeables.
On the left side of the camera beside the camera's speaker and just above the connectors is a very subtle (and small) door behind which is the xD-Picture Card storage slot. The S5000 is part of the 'new generation' of Fujifilm digital cameras which now only supports the new xD-Picture Card storage format. 128 and 256 MB xD-Picture Card's do seem to be readily available we have yet to see the newer 512 MB unit hit the shelves.